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The research group Functional Ingredients offers research aimed at developing new applications for biopolymers. Biopolymers are widely found in nature and are currently used in almost countless number of applications, both food and non-food. The activities of FI cover the chain from ingredient development to applications in a multidisciplinary way.
The projects, conducted in FI, cover a wide range of biopolymer related issues. Examples are obtaining functional protein from green crops such as beet leaves to physical modification of starches by super-heated steam resulting in clean label food additives. Also reduction of sugar, saturated fats and salts in a variety of food products like snacks, confectionery and meat products are important topics, whereby selective separation of sugars from fruit juices is another reformulation technique. And last but not least, development of new dietary fibers for food applications is a recent topic. The research in the non-food area is aiming at transferring biomass (mainly lignocellulose) into glucose for bioethanol or other fermentation purposes or use the biomass or components from biomass towards the development of new materials.
Functional Ingredients operates in 4 main research areas, namely:
These research areas overlap with each other and most projects are a combination of at least two of the mentioned research areas. Each of the core activities of Functional Ingredients play a crucial part in projects executed in the research group. Projects within the research group are executed always in a multi-disciplinary way in order to create optimum solutions. Due to the broad knowledge base FI has the capability to cover a wide spectrum of biopolymer related issues both in the food and non-food area.
Reduction of sugar in fruit juices
FI has developed a separation process for extracting sugar while the taste and texture stays the same. The use of this technology has opened a new category of juice products with reduced calories.
Reduction of sugars in candy bars
Also in this market reduction of calories play an important role. This project is part of a larger program on reformulation of food products and techniques are also used for the reduction of fat and salt.
The production of glucose from ligno cellulose biomass is gaining a stronger momentum. FI has developed a technology whereby it is possible to obtain at higher dry weight concentrations through the use of enzymes liberating glucose from ligno cellulose. This glucose can subsequently be used in fermentations and transformed into useful materials.
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