Food structures and properties

Last changed: 27 June 2022

We characterize the food raw material, food products as well as bio-based food material by different physico-chemical and structural methods from molecule to macro levels. The overall objective is to design structures with targeted properties, to be applied in food or/and bio-based materials.


Our research expertise is on:

  • The relationship between microstructure and product (food and bio-based materials) quality
  • Design food processes to achieve desired food product properties
  • Create microstructures by optimized/designed processing for healthy and tasty foods 
  • Design bio-based materials (additives and composites) with desired functions and properties
  • Study interaction/degradation of the microstructures and bio-based materials with external environmental conditions, including body assimilation
  • Exploitation of biomass for recovering biopolymers and nanoparticles


Overall research aims, methods and equipment

The overall aim is to determine the impact of raw material and process conditions for the products microstructure, and to be able to relate this to the characteristics of the products. 



Group members

Head of unit

  • Professor Maud Langton


  • Galia Zamaratskaia, Assoc. prof.
  • Saeid Karkehabadi, PhD
  • Henrik Hansson, PhD
  • Hanna Eriksson Röhnisch, PhD

Post docs

  • Jing Lu, PhD

PhD students

  • Anja Herneke
  • Klara Nilsson
  • Solja Pietiäinen
  • Mathias Johansson
  • Jaqueline Auer
  • Johanna Östlund

Project/Master students (spring/summer 2022)

  • Katrin Müller (ETH)


  • Kristine Koch
  • Daniel Johansson
  • Rosana Moriana
  • Daniel García García
  • Xinran Liu (Sherry)
  • Mohammed Salaheldin Mustafa Elhassan 
  • Jing Li
  • Vassileios Varelas
  • Patricia López-Sánchez 
  • José Luis Vázquez-Gutiérrez
  • Thomas Steglich
  • Carolin Menzel
  • Agnes Wahlsten
  • Fanny Knab
  • Louise Lundquist
  • Rebecka Sterner
  • Moa Rönnhagen
Group photo, members of the group food structure and  properties
Back (from the left): Jaqueline Auer, Jing Lu, Solja Pietiäinen, Anja Herneke, Mathias Johansson, Klara Nilsson. Front: Galia Zamaratskaia, Maud Langton, Saeid Karkehabadi and Henrik Hansson.

Plant-based protein nanofibrils (Anja Herneke's project)

Plant-based protein nanofibrils (PNF)

This project aims to get a better understanding of plant-based protein nanofibrils (PNFs) and how these can be used for future food applications.

Graphical abstract

  • Protein extraction and characterization from plant-based sources (e.g. fava bean, mung bean, lupin, oat, rapeseed)
  • Producing plant-based PNFs (pH 2, 85 °C)
  • Characterization of PNFs, (secondary structure, morphology and interactions)
  • Investigating the microstructural and mechanical properties of the PNFs in higher-order systems
  • Use the knowledge of plant-based PNFs to create new sustainable food applications
  • Publications:

Physiochemical properties of Faba bean starch (Klara Nilsson's project)

The major part of the faba bean is starch. This project aims at characterising the ratio amylose:amylopectin, protein, fat, ash and moisture


Graphical abstract for a Faba bean starch project

Physical parameters that will be studied:
Structure: particle size -> using SEM, crystallinity with XRD (X-Ray Difraction)
Thermalproperties: DSC & HSMO, samples will also be stored to see effect of “retrogradation”.
Textural and visual properties
Clarity -> Spectrophotometry
Pasting profile -> rheometer and gelation -> RVA
Starch aging; creep, texture analyser and synerisis

Fractionation of wheat bran to create functional ingredients (Solja Pietiäinen's project)

Arabinoxylan (AX) is an important functional component in baked products affecting water binding and holding, rheology and starch retrogradation that could be used as a bakery ingredient to improve bread quality. In this project we investigate how to increase AX extractability and how extraction affects the properties of AX with the aim at possible fractionation of wheat bran on industrial scale to generate AX.

Graphical abstract

Mixed gel-systems (Mathias Johansson's project)

This project aims at an increased knowledge of the interplay between different macromolecules related to structure formation, especially gel formation with the focus on proteins and other compunds extracted from  Faba bean.

Graphical abstract

  • The ability to tailor properties for specific applications
  • Allowing utilization of a larger part of the bean
  • Facilitate the development of novel plant-based foods based on non-soy legumes
  • Support the shift towards a more sustainable food system

Other projects

  • Gelation of faba bean proteins - for the development of new plant based foods from swedish crops

  • Fermentation of Swedish faba beans for food with improved texture, flavour and nutritional properties

  • Effect of oat bran particle size in bread on β-glucan molecular weight, solubility and in vitro viscosity

  • Tailored Carbohydrate Quality for Personalized Weight Management and Metabolic Health (Carb-Q-4-Health), WP3 - Food structure-sateity

  • Plant-based proteins for health and wellbeing (PAN Sweden), WP1 - Protein Characteristics

  • Advancing food structure, processing and function with MAX IV and ESS for a sustainable food system "Fork to Farm" - Food Structure and Properties

  • Wood to feed

  • Insects as food

Recent activities

Stability of Ultra High Temperature milk 

  • Jing Lu; doctoral thesis ”Impact of sampling month and processing and storage conditions on UHT milk Stability”
  • Maria Karlsson; doctoral thesis “Stability of ultra-high temperature treated milk – The effect of raw milk quality, storage temperature and storage time”



Maud Langton
Professor at the Department of Molecular Sciences; Matens strukturer och egenskaper 

Telephone: 018-671983

Postal address:
Institutionen för molekylära vetenskaper
 Box 7015 
750 07 Uppsala 
Visiting address: Almas Allé 5, BioCentrum, Ultuna Uppsala