Postal address: Industriell näringslära och livsmedelskemi, LTH, Box 124, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden
Visiting address: Getingevägen 60, Entrance E
Web site: http://www.food-health-science.lu.se/en/start
SASNET Fermented Foods web page: http://www.fermented-foods.net/
Contact persons: Professor Emeritus Baboo M Nair, phone: +46 (0)46 222 9634
Professor Rickard Öste, phone: +46 (0)46 222 2383
Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry
Within the field of applied nutrition, food-related nutritional research is carried out with the aim of gaining an understanding of how the composition and properties of food affect the health of the consumer. Special interest is being focused on the possibility of optimising the nutritional content and health-promoting properties in general through the selection of raw materials and processes in the production of foodstuffs.
Within the subject of food chemistry, reactions are being studied in the handling, storage and processing of foodstuffs. Great importance is afforded to the development of new and specific methods for food analysis. One of our most important projects is concerned with the changes in dietary fibre during processing. Another central area is the study of the Maillard reaction in relation to safe food, i e the production of carcinogenic substances during the heating of food, and their effects.
Research at the Department is being carried out by 5 groups:
‡ Bioavailability and the Nutritional Importance of Carbohydrates
Head of Research: Professor Inger Björk
‡ Nutrition in the Developing Countries
Head of Research: Professor Baboo M. Nair
‡ The Composition and Nutritional Importance of Indigestible Carbohydrates
Head of Research: Professor Margareta Nyman
‡ The Formation and Role of Genotoxic (Mutagenic) Substances, Food Product Analysis
Head of Research: Dr Kerstin Skog
‡ Applied Food Chemistry
Head of Research: Rickard Öste, Adjuncted Professor
Ongoing Research Projects related to South Asia
• Professor Emeritus Baboo M Nair is involved in a number of research projects connected to India, and has been instrumental in creating a South Asian network for research on fermentation of foods. His research field is fermentation as a method of food preservation. It is widely practised as an easy and convenient way of food preservation in almost all parts of the world. It is also energy efficient, environment friendly and sustainable process. In addition it has also many other advantages like improvement of sensory properties like taste and smell as well as physical characteristics like viscosity and water holding capacity. Food safety is improved by prevention of the growth of pathogenic micro-organisms while the nutritional properties are improved by starch degradation, protein digestibility, production of vitamins, and degradation of some anti-nutrients like phytic acid.
In a first phase of this research project Prof. Nair and his colleagues studied the factors which affect the rate of pH reduction and the amount of various organic acids produced at different intervals during fermentation (spontaneous as well as back slopping technique) of a wheat flour slurry in water using an HPLC method. The effect of fermentation on the growth of a pathogenic Escherichia coli- strain NG7C in gruels made from whole grain flours of wheat and tef after spontaneous fermentation as well as back-slopping were also studied.
Prof. Nair has a close collaboration with Kerala University in India. Its Pro Vice Chancellor has visited Lund University in connection with the Erasmus Mundus Action 2 programme that LU and Kerala University are both members of (more information). Together they are now trying to develop an international Masters programme in Biotechnology and Bioinformatics at Kerala University. Future plans are also to develop collaborative self financing international masters degree programmes in food science and biotechnology also at Anand Agricultural University in Gujarat (another collaboration partner). The programmes should be carried out in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering (LTH) at Lund University.
Recently, in 2009, a new network was formed, Sustainable Kerala Network, with active support from SASNET and Lund University. It has been registered as a nongovernmental organisation in India, and a partner for collaboration with Lund University, LTH and INSTEC on environmental issues. More information on the formation of the Sustainable Kerala network.
SASNET Fermented Foods Network
On an International level Prof. Baboo Nair has been instrumental in forming a network of scientists who are doing research on fermentation of foods in South Asia, the SASNET – Fermented Foods project, with initial funding from SASNET.
The work has been carried out in collaboration with Professor J B Prajapati, Head of the Dairy Microbiology Department, SMC College of Dairy Science, Anand Agricultural University, Gujarat, India.
Nair and Prajapati (both seen on the photo to the right) received three SASNET planning grants, one in January 2002, the second in August 2002, and the third in August 2004, for a project titled ”Development of an interdisciplinary Swedish South Asian Studies Network for research on fermentation of foods in relation to public health and social welfare”.
The seed money was used first to organise an International seminar and workshop in Anand, Gujarat, India, 13–14 November 2003, and then to establish an International network. The workshop in 2003, titled ”Fermented Foods, Health Status and Social Well being”, was jointly organised by the Dept of Applied Nutrition, Lund University, and the Dept of Dairy Microbiology, Gujarat Agricultural University.
The meeting was attended by about 165 participants, most of them from India, but also from Sweden, Denmark, Australia, USA, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Dr V Kurien, the father of White Revolution in India, inaugurated the seminar on 13 November. In the final Joint Session, the participants resolved unanimously to establish a Network on Fermented foods. Read a comprehensive conference report (as a pdf-file).
In November 2004 the Delegation of the European Commission to India, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka decided to grant a sum of 63 280 Euros for the networking activities of the recently formed SASNET–Fermented Foods project, jointly run by the Dept. of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, (through Baboo Nair), SMC College of Dairy Science, Anand, India (through Dr. J.B. Prajapati), and the Institute of Rural management, also in Anand (through Dr. Pratap Reddy).
The grant was used for organising a series of three strategic meetings/workshops during the year 2005. The first seminar for informing R&D directors of food research institutions, and the second addressed towards food industries and the third one for important media people, including social workers, politicians and journalists. More information on the SASNET–Fermented Foods project’s home page.
In August 2005 Prof. Nair again received a SASNET planning grant in connection with the SASNET – Fermented Foods network, this time for a project titled ”Creation of data base and interactive website for SASNET-fermented foods (Swedish South Asian network for fermented foods), plus organising a second International seminar on fermented foods.” The web site was created, see http://www.fermented-foods.net/, and in December 2005 the Second International Conference on ”Fermented Foods, Health Status and Social Well-being” was held in Anand, Gujarat. The conference was now organized by the Swedish South Asian Network on Fermented Foods, in association with Anand Agricultural University, Institute of Rural Management, Anand, and the Dept. of Applied Nutrition, Lund University. More information on the conference (as a pdf-file).
As a part of the European Commission funded project Prof. Nair and his partners also invited a group of Indian scientists to Sweden to conduct a final strategic meeting of the Sasnet Fermented Foods project. This coincided with the International Food & Health Innovation Conference 2006, held in Malmö and Lund, 25–27 October 2006, a conference organised by the Skåne Food Innovation Network (Skånes Livsmedelsakademi) and dealing with obesity, diabetes and other diet-related disorders.
A separate one-day seminar about the potential of fermented foods of South Asia was held in Copenhagen on Monday 23 October 2006. The seminar was titled “Fermented foods, health status, and wellbeing”, jointly organised by Sasnet Fermented Foods and the Øresund Food Network. During the seminar, scientists from India, coming from prominent institutions of food and dairy research in the country, presented examples of modern food research on fermented foods being conducted in India. Special attention was paid to health promoting foods. More information.
Read a report about the South Asia research presented at the conferences in Copenhagen and Malmö, written by Nenda Wangchuk (photo to the right ), Masters student from Bhutan, presently studying at the Dept. of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry.
• The Third International Conference on Fermented Foods was held in Anand, Gujarat, India, 14–15 December 2007. It was organised by the Dept. of Dairy Microbiology at Anand Agricultural University; in collaboration with the Dept. of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Lund University, Sweden, UNESCO Institute of Trace Elements in Lyon, France; and the National Dairy Development Board in Anand, on behalf of the Swedish South Asian Network on Fermented Foods (SASNET–Fermented Foods), that was established with SASNET support in 2002. More information (as a pdf-file)
• A delegation from Anand Agricultural University (AAU), consisting of Dr. A.K. Pathak, Director of Research at AAU, and Dr. J.B. Prajapati (who is the Coordinator of the SASNET Fermented Foods project) visited Sweden in the beginning of October 2007. The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Varshneya, was also supposed to come, but had to cancel his tour at the last minute. The delegation mainly visited Lund University, where an extensive programme had been prepared for them to visit several departments, but also including an important meeting with representatives for the Rector’s office, Lund Institute of Technology. This meeting was aimed at facilitating a long-term collaboration between the Food departments of LTH/LU and related faculties of Anand Agricultural University. The collaboration if it develops well would/could be, included in the present Indian national effort in establishing four centres of excellence in food processing at different parts of the country, AAU being one of them.
The Ambassador of India to Sweden, Ms. Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa, and the First Secretary, Mr. Rajesh Vaishnaw, came to Lund to participate in this meeting, and since SASNET was instrumental in the creation of the SASNET Fermented Foods Network, giving initial funding, the delegation also made a courtesy call to the SASNET office on Tuesday 2 October 2007. The guest from India weere also accompanied by Dr. M. Abdulla, UNESCO Institute of Trace Elements, Lyon, France, who is also involved in the collaboration on fermented foods with AAU in India. An informal meeting was organised by SASNET (Anna Lindberg and Lars Eklund) in the conference room at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies (ACE), Scheelevägen 15 D.
The visit to Lund included not only meetings with researchers at LTH, but also with representatives for Ideon Research Park, Lund Innovation and LUAB, and from Lund they also went to Stockholm, for meetings at the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH
• The Fourth International Conference on Fermented Foods, Health Status and Social Well-being was held at Anand Agricultural University in Gujarat, India, on 11–12 December 2009. The conference was organised by the Swedish South Asian Network on Fermented Foods (SASNET – Fermented Foods), in association with Anand Agricultural University, the National Dairy Development Board in Anand, and Lund University, Sweden. Full information about the 2009 conference.
The fifth International Conference on Fermented Foods, Health Status and Social Well-being was held at the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in Mysore 15–16 December 2011, and it was very successful. The organising secretary was Dr. G. Vijayalekshmi, Deputy Director, CFTRI. Full information about the 2011 workshop.
At the conference, it was decided to form a southern unit at Mysore and a eastern unit at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi.
The tenth anniversary of the network will be celebrated in December 2013.
Research projects related to South Asia
• Professor Nair has also been involved in a research project called ”Evaluation of Salvinia Auriculata as a raw material for agro-food-feed industry”. This is carried out in collaboration with the Krishi Vigyan Bhavan, Vellanad, India and the Kerala Agricultural University in Vellyani, India, and has received funding from Sida/SAREC.
Abstract: Salvinia auriculata is an aquatic plant which grows quickly and well in competition with other plants, all over the backwaters, irrigation channels, water reservoirs and irrigated rice fields of Kerala State in India. Eradication of this weed by various means has not been very successful. The main objectives of the present project is to carry out chemical analysis of the vegetative parts of the plant to determine its economic value and suitable utilisation in food, feed and/or other agriculture based industries.
In February 2005 Prof. Nair received a SASNET planning grant related to this project, in order to organise a workshop on sustainable utilisation of tropical plant biomass as a raw material in an integrated agro-food process industry. The idea is to organise a workshop in Thiruvananthapuram inviting researchers from India and other South Asian countries, such as Sri Lanka and Maldives. The planning is made by Prof. Nair in collaboration with Dr. V. Shobha, Head of the Dept. of Environmental Sciences, Kerala University, Thiruvananthapuram; Dr. G.M. Nair, Director of the Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram; and Dr. Madhusoodanan, Head of the Dept. of Botany, Calicut University.
An international seminar and workshop on ”Sustainable Utilization of Tropical Plant Bio-mass” was held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala State, India, 15–16 December 2008. It was jointly organized by the Centre for Bioinformatics, and the Department of Environmental Sciences of Kerala University; Kerala Agricultural University; Kerala State Council of Science Technology and Environment; the SASNET Fermented Foods (based at Anand Agricultural University, Gujarat); and the Dept. of Applied Nutrition, Lund University. Full information.
A second conference on the same theme was held at Kerala University, Karyavattom Campus 14–15 December 2010. It was organised by the same partners as the 2008 conference. The aim was to present a platform for discussing sustainable utilization of the tropical plant biomass addressing not only to the day to day needs of the human beings regarding food, shelter, health and social well-being but also covering aspects of biodiversity, environmental hazards and climatic changes in a long term perspective.
Delegates were expected from India, Sri Lanka, Sweden and many other countries. The scientific committee has included Dr. Rickard Öste, Lund University; Dr. Sagarika Ekanayake, Jayawardenapura University, Sri Lanka; Dr. Sasikumar Punnekkat, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Mälardalen University (MDH), Campus Västerås; and Dr. Rajiv Thottapallil, Division for Electricity and Lightning Research, Uppsala University. More information.
Read also an article on the conference in The Hindu, 18 October 2010.
In December 2014, the Fourth International Seminar on Sustainable Utilization of Tropical Plant Biomass Ayur informatics will be held at the Department of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, University of Kerala, Karyavattom Campus. It is organised in collaboration with the Department of Applied Nutrition and Food chemistry, Lund University, the SASNET Fermented Foods, and Dr. S. Vasudev Foundation in Thiruvananthapuram. More information.
• Professor Nair is finally involved in a research project titled ”Composition and nutritional value of Canavalia Gladiata”. This project is carried out in collaboration with Dr. Sagarika Ekanayake, Department of Medical nutrition, Faculty of medical Sciences, Sri Jayawardenepura University, Sri Lanka.
Project abstract: Legumes like Canavalia gladiata (Sword beans, a common vegetable in Sri Lanka) are important sources of protein in developing countries. Composition and physicochemical properties of the protein and starch in this legume are being studied for development of products of optimal quality for human consumption. Most of the leguminous seeds contain protein of high nutritional value, which can be complementary to cereal-based diets. Canavalia Gladiata is grown in Sri Lanka for its tender fruits/beans, which are usually consumed as a green vegetable. The dried seeds of Canavalia Gladiata could be used for production of flour for use as a food ingredient. The nutritional quality of the seeds are evaluated by chemical analysis as well as animal feeding experiments. Protein nutritional quality, anti-nutritional constituents like amylase inhibitors, phytic acid and protease inhibitors as well as nature and quality of starch and protein were also determined.
Dr. Ekanayake was a sandwich PhD student at Lund University, and defended her doctoral dissertation, called ”Potential of Canavalia gladiata as a food ingredient – nutritional and functional aspects”, on Wednesday 1 June 2005. Three years earlier Ekanayake defended her Licentiate thesis at Lund University on the same subject. The thesis deals with the tender fruits of sword beans (Canavalia gladiata), eaten as a green vegetable in Sri Lanka, and how methods could be developed to increase the utilization of sword beans for human consumption. Faculty opponent was Professor Ulf Svanberg, Division of Food Science, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg. More information with abstract.
Bindu Sunikumar is a PhD student at the Food for Health Science Centre at Lund University since 2010. Her project focusses on the development of high protein oat lines. The overall aim of her study is to exploit the inherent resources of the oat genome to develop high quality oats especially designed from the end users specifications. This would open ways to use oat as raw material for novel food products. In particular, properties such as protein quantity and quality, lipid composition (i.e sterol content, omega-3 fatty acids) as well as “integrated” quality parameters such as colour and emulsion stability in liquid oat products will be targeted.
Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window Programme scholarship holders
A large number of Indian students, PhD candidates, post-docs and academic staff has come to Lund University during the academic year 2009-10, and anothre batch during the academic year 2010-11, as scholarship holders through the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window mobility programme Lot 15, coordinated by Lund University. This programme was announced in 2008, and out of a total mobility of 320 persons, 53 Indian students, researchers and academic staff were selected to come specically to Lund University. More information about the EMECW programme lot 15 (from 2009 renamed to be one out of four programmes under the mobility lot 13).
In 2009, Prof. Baboo Nair was selected by the consortium behind the mobility lot to go to India for two months as a scholarship holder being an academic staff at Kerala University. In 2010, he was again selected a scholarship holder, this time to spend three months at Anand Agricultural University in Gujarat.
In the other direction, Prof. Jashbhai B. Prajapati, involved in research collaboration with the Dept. of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry (see above), was selected to spend two months at the Dept. of Biotechnology, Lund University, also as an academic staff. While in Lund, he organises a mini course on Fermented Foods, and is also planning collaborative research projects. Prof. Prajapati is also coordinating activities of SASNET-Fermented Foods, the network of scientists, academicians, professionals, industry personnel and others interested in promoting fermented foods for public health and social well-being.
Another scholarship holder from India to get a temporary position as a post-doc at the Dept. of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry in 2009 was Dr. Maya Raman, with a doctorate from the School of Industrial Fisheries, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala, India. Dr. Raman is engaged in a research study on Dietary fibers and Food Mutagens.
Her research work has focused on the role of collagen on texture of muscle tissue during freezing and cooking. She has selected three species viz., a fresh water fish (rohu), marine water cephalopod (squid) and an elasmobranch (shark). They differ in their collagen content; and squid and shark were found to contain highest concentration. The theory has been supported by Texture Profile Analyzer, Histochemistry and Electrophoresis. Dr. Raman has published a few papers in refereed national and international journals and symposia.
PhD candidate Bindu Sunilkumar came in August 2010 as a scholarship holder to spend three years at the department. She was supervised by Prof. Rickard Öste. Her research work will focus on isolating and identifying Oat proteins and to create a best oat variety with high quality protein.
In February 2012, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency Sida, announced grants for its Selective Cooperation Partner Driven Cooperation (PDC) programme, with the title ”Use of Research Results Collaboration Grants 2012-2013 in India and Indonesia”. Decisions were taken in late May. The objective of the grants was not to support research, but rather provide support for assisting partners in using research in policy formulation and innovation that can be of particular use for poverty alleviation. The use of research results is fundamental for economic development and successful application of research often results when several actors are involved. PDC aims to stimulate and strengthen the emergence of self-supporting relationships of mutual interest between Swedish partners and partners in selective cooperation countries in order to contribute to poverty reduction and equitable and sustainable global development. 13 projects were approved. Out of them six related to Indonesia collaboration projects, and eight to India. More information.
One of the approved Indo-Swedish collaboration projects was applied for by Professor Rickard Öste (photo) and his colleagues at the department (including Prof. Baboo Nair) and at the private Lund based company Aventure AB, with which Prof. Öste and Dr. Jörgen Holm are associated with. Aventure is a research-based company in the field of food – biotechnology. Its core activity is the development of scientifically verified products and processes for functional foods and adjacent spheres, well in line with the research carried out at the Dept. of Applied Nutrition during the past 10 years. Aventure’s competence stretches all the way from research to finished products. Aventure AB web page.
The researchers received SEK 2.2 m as a grant for a project entitled ”New Knowledge and Innovative Food Design Leading to Sustainable Development of the Agro-Food Sector and Decreased Poverty”. With other additional funding from other partners the full project has received SEK 3.6 m.
The Indian collaboration partner units are Anand Agricultural University, Gujarat; and Hildur Functional Foods Pvt Ltd (an Indo-Swedish joint venture SME); and also the SASNET-Fermented Foods network described above.
Project abstract: Implement the findings of a collaborative Swedish-Indian research project aimed to sustainable development of a functional food product based on fermented milk and oats. The product will be manufactured and marketed in India through a joint partnership. Advantages are twofold: (1) Poverty reduction among farmers and workers of the agro-food sector through increased productivity leading to appreciation of primary production via manufacturing of added value products. (2) The products provide a tool in the prevention of the increasing incidence of life style diseases found among a very large part of the Indian urban population, especially diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, which puts an alarming burden on the Indian health care system. The set-up is expected to serve as a model and demonstrate how innovation can be a key driver for development and poverty alleviation.