Carbohydrate research at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research
Lambertus A.M. van den Broek, Frits van der Klis and Maurice K.H Essers
Wageningen Food & Biobased Research (WFBR), part of Wageningen University and Research (WUR) in the Netherlands, is a contract research organisation that develops insights and technologies that support industries, governments and consumers to make the right choices and to innovate responsibly and effectively. Our in-depth knowledge of the entire chain, from raw materials through processing to end product, drives our approach. We partner in the creation and production of healthy and tasty foods, of truly-sustainable food chains, and in developing chemicals and materials that use biomass instead of fossil resources. Driven by a perceptive, knowledge-based curiosity, our multidisciplinary researchers, from diverse yet complementary backgrounds, approach problems with scientific rigor and creativity. Working closely together, we solve complex questions through a combination of intelligent analysis and pragmatic invention. Grounded in science and business, our researchers bring a no-nonsense attitude to their work.
WFBR has been actively involved in EPNOE. Both Jan van Dam and Carmen Boeriu have played an important role in EPNOE and also in our carbohydrate research till their retirement. Research on carbohydrates is one of the key drivers for WFBR in collaboration with their clients. Topics range from applications of carbohydrates in food to materials. Some examples of projects (all multidisciplinary public-private partnership (PPP) projects), running at WFBR are:
The project SPRINT (AF18042) aims to achieve breakthroughs in developing sustainable, multifunctional, clean label ingredients for food and pet food manufacturers from available co-products within the agri-food industry. The co-products within SPRINT includes potato pulp, peels, protein and fibre, oat flour and oat hull, and dairy coproducts.
PROSPEC (AF-18030) is a project about enzymatic modification of pectin & chitosan from side streams into home / personal care and other ingredients. This also includes laboratory scale production and optimisation of uncommon, not commercially available carbohydrate modifying enzymes.
The project functionalized carbohydrates for replacement fossil-based ingredients (LWV20.015) studies the total use concept of sugar beet (pulp). The aim of this project is the valorisation and application of the low cost pectin rich side stream from sugar beet pulp. To enlarge the application of this stream it will be modified to meet the desired properties by the (end)users (e.g. replacement of fossil based ingredients). This will enlarge new applications in areas such as personal care, leather chemicals and automatic dish-washing applications.
The goal of Innovative Difunctional Biopolymers with Enhanced Performance from Agro Feedstocks (IDEA; LWV20.023) is to develop new, anionic functional products based on abundantly available biopolymers such as cellulose, inulin, and starch. The improved biodegradability of end products for home and personal care will prevent the emission of persistent micro-plastics to the environment.
In the project carbohydrate-based foam as sustainable thick packaging material (AF17037), the partners aim to develop a (process to make) light thick-walled starch based packaging material suitable for heavy products such as housekeeping appliances.
The aim of the project green routes for starch modification (LWV19132) is to develop new technologies to modify starch and to develop new starch- based food ingredients. The utilization of reactive extrusion and enzymes is studied to enable starch modifications.
The biorefinery of polysaccharides from seaweed was studied in the EU-projects MIRACLES and MACROFUELS.
Next to PPS-project WFBR works on bilateral project with their clients. WFBR is fully equipped for the biorefinery of carbohydrate rich biomass in their Innovation Plant. In addition it is very well equipped for the analysis of carbohydrates (e.g. NMR, HPLC, HPAEC, HPSEC-MALLS, FT-IR, Malditof-MS, X-ray diffraction, TGA).