Spinning edible fibres from plant polysaccharides

Topic  25
Main supervisor C.Garvey (christopher.garvey@tum.de)
MLZ institution TUM
Local supervisor 1 Isabel Fernandez
Institution Heura Foods
Local supervisor 2 Margarita Kruteva
Institution FZJ
Local supervisor 3 Johannes Hunger
Institution MPI Polymers, Mainz
Local supervisor 4
Title Spinning edible fibres from plant polysaccharides
Description Solvent properties are well known as a means to modulate the conformation of polymers in solution. Such effects have long been used in materials science to manipulate the rheology and self-assembled structure in extensional flow to produce fibres. We look to a defining a unique processing window in food science. The project aims to provide understanding in the role of hydration in conformational extension of polysaccharide polymer chains. For aqueous solutions such as food products the solvent choices are limited but potentially controlling the hydration with small non-toxic molecules such as glycerol is a possibility to fully enable this methodology in food science.

The instrumentation at the MLZ offers an ideal opportunity to probe this problem. Small angle scattering has provided important links between the local average conformation of polymer and the extension of the polymer chain, neutron spectroscopy over varying timescales provides useful quantitative perspectives on polymer chain dynamics from the very local segmental to the overall diffusional dynamics. Hydration may be qualitatively examined with NMR spectroscopy and high frequency dielectric spectroscopy. Neutron spectroscopy provides a much more quantitative perspective on the hydration. It is expected that the Fellowship will offer the successful candidate the opportunity to explore existing collaborations with Margarita Kruteva (JCNS) with NMR and Johannes Hunger (MPI, Mainz), GHz frequency dielectric spectroscopy and Professor Christina Pappadakis (TUM) using dynamic light scattering to studying translation diffusion. This project will also benefit from collaboration with Gleb Yakubov from the Food Structure and Biomaterial group at the University of Nottingham. An important aspect of this project will be an industrial secondment with Heura Foods (Spain) to explore the role of polysaccharides in structuring plant-based meat analogue and novelty food products.