My research course began with a dissertation (1991) at SLU in the field of inhibitory substances in milk, e.g. antimicrobial drugs. Working close to the dairy industry and milk assessment organisations has given me a basic understanding of the milk's entire value chain. The opportunity to combine applied and basic research has been highly motivating and since 2012 I am Professor in Food Science, focusing on animal derived foods. Currently I lead a research group of 5-10 persons, collaborating with researchers in Sweden and internationally, and with actors outside the university, e.g. governmental agencies, bransch organisations, dairy companies, advisory organisations and farmers.
My research focus on quality characteristics of milk and dairy products. What factors in the production of the raw milk on the dairy farm may affect the composition and properties of the raw milk, and what are the consequences of the variation in the raw milk in different processes at the dairy as well as for the stability, sensory properties and shelf life of the resulting dairy products?
In my early research, I studied various consequences of different forms of mastitis on the composition and properties of the raw milk. This included the development and evaluation of control systems and analytical methods for residues of antimicrobial drugs, but also studies of new potential markers for unwanted changes in milk composition as a consequence of mastitis, such as acute phase proteins and differential cell count. I participated in the development of optical biosensor technology for applications in the field of food, such as for the control of drug residues in milk and meat.
In more recent years, my research has focused on new quality markers of the raw milk; markers that better correlate with and can be used to predict the quality of the final dairy products. In several collaborative projects, we work with quality management along the whole milk value chain; studying how production system and management on the farm affect raw milk composition, microbiology and process characteristics as well as storage time, texture and flavor of the resulting cheese. In addition to our activities related to the value chain of cheese, we study how the variation in raw milk may affect the stability of UHT-treated (ultra-high temperature) milk during storage.
Since our research involves the whole value chain, collaboration with dairy industry, their milk producers, advisory organizations, process equipment manufacturers and governmental agencies is essential. Collaboration gives us access to information on production parameters on dairy farms, raw milk samples, dairy processes and products, and allows us to work in full scale production, as well as pilot and laboratory scale. Characterization of forages, raw milk and dairy products is usually done in our laboratories at SLU, but also in cooperation with Eurofins, KTH, and other researchers.