Food Biotechnology

Last changed: 20 April 2021

We are developing novel cell factories to produce compounds such as lipids and carotenoids from side products such as lignocellulose, test microbial oils and protein as components in aquaculture feed, and investigate health effects of food components and microorganisms in fermented food.

Food biotechnology applies biotechnology to the production, processing and manufacture of foodstuffs. Raw materials derived from primary production are converted to food with the help of organisms (in most cases microorganisms) or derivatives of them (such as enzymes or metabolites). Food biotechnology includes the oldest biotechnology processes like food fermentation and brewing. Microorganisms in food fermentations can have positive health effects on consumers. Food biotechnology also uses techniques of modern biotechnology to understand and manipulate metabolic pathways related to the processing quality of food raw materials, manufacture food additives or to introduce novel, up to now not edible raw materials into the food chain, such as lignocellulose. Novel strains used in food biotechnology are analysed using modern analytical techniques including genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics and proteomics. Those –omics technologies are also used to analyse microbial populations for instance in fermented foods or the intestine of consumers of fermented food.

The field of food biotechnology was established in 2020. We are working on three major research topics, yeasts/ microbial cell factories, probiotic bacteria and gastrointestinal microbiology and health effects of bioactive substances in food.

The yeast group

We have long- standing experience in investigating the metabolism of yeasts used in ethanol production and in biopreservation. Biopreservation can also be used as pre-treatment method for lignocellulosic biomass (https://www.slu.se/en/departments/molecular-sciences/research/microfungi/).

A few years ago, we started studying oleaginous yeasts with a main focus on biodiesel production (https://www.slu.se/en/departments/molecular-sciences/research/microfungi/converting-carbohydrates-to-biodiesel/). This approach was now extended to a project (supported by Formas) for generating oil and compounds such as carotenoids and glycolipids as food and feed additives and as high value chemicals. We are also establishing molecular tools for oleaginous species of the Rhodotorula- group.

Contact: Volkmar Passoth (volkmar.passoth@slu.se)

The probiotic bacteria and gastrointestinal microbiology group

The presentation of this group is under construction. Please have a look at https://www.slu.se/en/departments/molecular-sciences/research/food-and-feed-microbiology/probiotic-bacteria-gastrointestinal-microbiology/

Contact: Stefan Roos (stefan.roos@slu.se)

 

Bioactive substances

Our research is about understanding metabolic pathways of different bioactive compounds, including lipids. We work with quality of fish and meat as food in relation to human health (see https://www.slu.se/en/departments/molecular-sciences/research-groups/the-jana-pickova-lab---bioactive-compounds-and-lipids/ and https://www.slu.se/en/departments/molecular-sciences/research/health-effects/ for more information.

Contact: Jana Pickova (jana.pickova@slu.se)

Page editor: Henrik.Hansson@slu.se