Food Technology and Human Nutrition

Workspace

We are engaged in research and utilisation of aquatic resources in the field of food technology and nutrition. We identify substances from marine sources (such as algae, mussels, fishery by-products, fish cells) and develop processes for the production of novel food products and ingredients. These products represent high-quality and safe end products that also take into account aspects such as health and sustainability.

Attention to macroalgae as an innovative resource is increasing in Europe. They are a renewable resource that does not require arable land or fresh water and binds CO2 in the process. Besides the sustainability aspects, their ingredients also have an enormous potential for healthy human nutrition. Macroalgae have a high protein and fibre content, as well as many vitamins and minerals. These ingredients have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects and their use in food can lead to health-promoting effects. In order to exploit this potential, we are working on both the direct use of macroalgae in food and the development of novel and functional ingredients from this raw material.

Due to ecological and economic points, the food industry is pursuing aspects of a holistic utilisation of raw materials. We have specifically targeted the holistic use of aquatic resources such as fishery by-products and mussels. For example, mussels are not recycled due to their size and are discarded under normal circumstances. With the help of special machines, these products are processed so that they can be used in food and are available for the development of new types of products.

A completely new and unique field in the food industry is the cultivation of animal cells in the bioreactor, which are intended for human consumption. It is not only possible to cultivate meat cells but also fish cells. They offer the advantages of being cultivable at room temperature, more robust and structurally simpler. Before a whole fish fillet can be offered on the market, we are working on the development of innovative hybrid products consisting of fish cells as well as vegan raw materials.

The sea and its organisms still hold many untapped resources whose potential we want to use to develop innovative, healthy and sustainable products and make them available to humans.

Our department has an extensively equipped technical centre for applied food research and corresponding laboratory capacities for the necessary experiments and analyses.

Fields of research

Algae products

Macroalgae are versatile heroes from the sea that hold different potentials. In particular, they are characterised by their positive effects on the environment and their good properties for further processing into food. Macroalgae can either be used directly or certain ingredients can be isolated from them in order to use their positive properties in other food products. Since this field of research is still quite new, especially in Europe, macroalgae still have enormous research potential.

 

Read more here!

Cell based fish

Already today, around 90 per cent of all fish stocks are considered to be maximally exploited or overfished, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. But in view of the growing world population, more and more people are dependent on fish as a source of protein. Bluu GmbH - a spin-off of the Fraunhofer Development Center for Marine and Cellular Biotechnology EMB, which is an associated centre of the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Individualized and Cell-based Medical Technology IMTE - has a solution to the problem. The company specialises in the production of cell-based fish. It is produced from real fish cells and cultivated in a bioreactor. Unlike wild-caught fish, this is not at the expense of animal welfare.

 

Read more here!

Production of a protein-rich snack from by-products of the fishing industry

The food industry produces many residues that can be further utilised to ensure a holistic use of resources. One example of this is the fish industry, whose production produces by-products that can be used for the development of new types of food products. On this basis, a protein-rich snack with a high omega-3 fatty acid content from fishery by-products was developed, which not only tastes good but is also healthy.

Read more here!

Optimal utilization of mussel and algae cultivation residues

In the LaMuOpt project - Optimal utilisation of mussel and algae cultivation residues - mussels and residues from algae extraction, so-called algae pomace, are to be further processed and utilised.

 

Mussels (Mytilidae) are only used for human consumption above a certain size, the rest is discarded back into the sea. But the contents of these too-small mussels can be used to prepare fish food or as ingredients in food. Initial results show that both fish food and novel food products, such as mussel spread, are well received by the end consumer. Residues from the processing of macroalgae (such as Saccharina latissima) into algae extracts can also be used in feed and food. These algae marc contain health-promoting ingredients such as fucoidans and are thus ideally suited for use in healthy end products. 

 

Read more here!

Food products from halophytes

The biomass production of vascular plants is used for nutrient reduction of eutrophic coastal waters of the Baltic Sea as well as aquaculture facilities. Different techniques are tested at three different locations - at a constructed wetland, at floating greenhouses and at floating islands. The vascular plants used are halophytes that tolerate different salt concentrations. Their biomass can then be further processed in, for example, food or cosmetic products for the development of innovative products. In the food sector, these plants are already used as a spice or in pure form as a garnish. Therefore, the idea of developing smoothies with halophytes as an ingredient was born. The products could convince so far in tastings in terms of taste, so that further products are to follow. 

 

Read more here!

Services

From aquatic ingredients to finished products, we develop high-quality and safe foods for healthy and sustainable enjoyment.

 

  • In doing so, we use our expertise in assessing the marine source material. 
  • We develop new processes including extraction & fermentation for the use of macroalgae. 
  • We support the use of fish by-products.
  • We develop cell-based products (cultured / cell based meat & fish)

Equipment

Kitchen equipment Technical devices  Laboratory equipment
  • Table cutter and cutter (up to max. 20 L)
  • Vacuum packaging machine with MAP
  • Meat mincer
  • 3 combi steamers
  • Smoker (max. 5 kg)
  • Gastro kitchen equipment
  • Crushed ice machine (2 kg/h)
  • Freeze dryer (10 kg/24 h)
  • High pressure homogeniser up to 2000 bar
  • Microbial fermenter up to 10 L
  • Large capacity rotary evaporator (up to max. 20 L)
  • Sieve analyser (5 mm to 25 µm)
  • Muffle furnace (tmax = 1100 °C)           
  • Cutting mill
  • Autoclave
  • Photometer (Ultrospec 3100 pro)
  • Texture Analyser HD Plus up to 250 kg measuring cell
  • Rotational viscometer
  • Ultra-Turrax
  • Soxhlet extraction (volume 50 mL)
  • Standard distillation (up to max. 1 L)
  • Cryopreservation by liquid nitrogen
  • Centrifuges (max. 6 x 1 L)
  • pH titrator
  • Karl Fischer titrator
  • Refractometer
  • Spectrophotometer (L*a*b* colour measurement)
  • Ultrasonic bath