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  • Antimicrobial compounds
  • Green proteins
  • Protein-lipid interactions
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanoencapsulation
  • Antifouling
  • Biosensing
  • Enzyme engineering
  • Metabolomics

Insight into food components at the molecular level

The Nanofood research area exploits technology developments that intersect with applications in food technology and food safety, and brings state-of-the-art characterization tools to food science to gain insight into food components at the molecular level.

The activities within this research area involves four overall topics: Sensing technologies; Formulation technologies; Characterisation of foods; Food protection. Read more about the activities below.

Further down you can find the group leaders involved in this research area.

Sensing technologies

Sensing technologies developed for food applications include plasmonic sensors (Sutherland) used e.g. for detection of small molecules’ interaction with saliva proteins to assess astringency in wine. Aptamer technology (Kjems) is currently under development for simultaneous sensing a wide variety of molecules, used in combination with machine learning to obtain an unbiased sensing tool that encompasses the complexity of human taste perception. Finally, a series of low-cost paper-based sensors are under development for quality control assessment of beverages (Städler).    

Formulation technologies

Formulation technologies for food science exploit the experience in nanoformulation from the drug delivery field.  Efforts in this area include nanoencapsulation of special food ingredients (Stadler), antimicrobials (Kjems, Meyer), and bioactive components released to, e.g. stimulate intestinal adsorption (Howard/Otzen). Novel formulation strategies are, e.g. being developed through controlled protein aggregation and formation of protein-fatty acid complexes (Otzen). Several in vitro models for intestinal mucus and epithelial cells are used to evaluate the interaction and absorbance of formulations as well as microbe-gut interactions.    

Characterisation of foods

Characterisation of foods includes nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods developed to study lipids, metabolites, and lipidomics (Vosegaard),  NMR spectroscopy integrated biophysics to study proteins and biological processes (Mulder), small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) to characterize protein-fatty acid complex formation in food ingredients or nanoformulations (Pedersen), and other use of iNANO facilities including mass spectrometry and microsocopy.    

Food protection

Food protection encompasses research in both food ingredients for food preservation and materials use in food processing, e.g. seeking to develop antifouling materials that prevent microbial contamination via food contact surfaces (Meyer/Daasbjerg).    

Group leaders within Nanofood

Ferapontova, Elena


Bioelectronics, Antifouling Surfaces, Electrocatalysis, Bioelectrocatalysis, Electroenzymatic Biotransformation, Biofuel Cells, Bioelectronic Sensing, Long-Range Electron Transfer, Biomedical Diagnostic Devices, Environmental Monitoring Sensors.

Howard, Ken


Biomolecular Assemblies, Protein Engineering, Cancer Immunotherapies, Drug Delivery, Nanomedicine, Surface Engineering, Polymers, RNA Interference, Inflammatory Diseases, Antibody optimisation, Nanoencapsulation.

Kjems, Jørgen


Non-Coding RNA, RNA Interference, Tissue Engineering, Drug Delivery, Bioimaging, Aptamers, Tissue Engineering, Stem cell therapy Tissue Engineering , Stem cell niches, Engineered exosomes for drug delivery and cell signaling, Designed immuno recognition, Bioconjugation of molecules and cells, Artificial tasting, Food biosensors, Encapsulation of food ingredients.

Meyer, Rikke Louise


Biofilms, Bacterial Adhesion,, Single-Cell Interactions,, Antimicrobial Compounds,, Antifouling Surfaces, Receptor-ligand interactions, Adhesive biomolecules, Antimicrobial formulations for food preservation.

Mulder, Frans


NMR Spectroscopy, Biophysics, Protein Dynamics, Protein Electrostatics, Structural Biology.

Nielsen, Niels Christian


Coming soon

Otzen, Daniel


Protein-Fatty Acid Complexes, Membrane Protein Folding, Protein-(bio)surfactant complexes, Molecular basis of functional and pathological protein self-assembly and aggregation, Stability and dynamics of membrane proteins, Biophysics of protein-surfactant interactions, Cryophilic enzymes, Novel uses for plant proteins and small metabolites, Self-assembly of functional amyloid.

Pedersen, Jan Skov


Synchtron small-angle X-ray scattering, Block copolymer self-assembly, Block copolymer coacervate micelles, Morphological changes in complex mixtures of surfactants, Protein Aggregation, Functional and Pathological Amyloid, Protein-Fatty Acid Complexes, Protein-Surfactant/Biosurfactant Interactions, Molecular Self-Assembly, Modification and stabilisation of enzymes, Milk proteins and protein-fatty acids complexes.

Sutherland, Duncan


NanoopticsPlasmonics, Optical metamaterials, Chirooptical materials, Thermal management materials, Biomaterials, Bio and chemical sensors, Protein coronas, Biointerfaces, Nanotoxicology, Cell Instructive Materials, Bacterial adhesion, Plasmons, 2D Materials, Stem Cells, Non-Fouling Surfaces, Astringency, Extra Cellular Matrix, Cell Adhesion Molecule.

Vosegaard, Thomas


Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy, Structure and Dynamics of Insoluble Proteins, Protein-Lipid Interactions, NMR Method Development, Materials characterisation, NMR rheology, Structural biology, Antimicrobial peptides, Lipids, Lipidomics.