The executive board of Wageningen University & Research has appointed Markus Stieger as Personal Professor in Food Oral Processing as of 1 February 2020. His chair is incorporated within the chair groups Food Quality and Design of Prof. Vincenzo Fogliano and Sensory Science and Eating Behaviour of Prof. Kees de Graaf.
Markus Stieger (Wiesbaden, Germany,1973) studied Chemistry at the University of Freiburg and graduated in 1999. He defended his PhD thesis in Physical Chemistry at the University of Kiel in 2004. Then he joined NIZO Food Research as a scientist and later as workgroup leader. In 2009, he joined Wageningen University & Research and started to teach, and lead a research group there. Markus Stieger is a project leader at WCFS and TiFN since 2007. He is appointed as visiting Professor at Zhejiang Gongshang University in Hangzhou, China, and is editor of the Journal of Texture Studies.
Avoiding food-based diseases
Food-based non‐communicable diseases are largely avoidable. They are often the result of poor food choices and poor dietary behaviours. If food does not taste good, it is not consumed and does not contribute to nutrition. It is therefore of utmost importance for public health to develop healthier, more sustainably produced and affordable foods with excellent sensory properties.
From oral processing to sensory perception
Prof. Stieger’s research group focuses on food oral processing. Unlike aroma and taste, where sensations are often associated with specific molecules, texture is a sensory property consumers assign to foods based on how the senses of vision, touch and hearing interact with the food. Texture can only be understood based on the interplay between physical and physiological properties that explain how food structures are transformed and sensed during food consumption. A comprehensive understanding of how food structures are perceived when eaten and how those structures contribute to pleasure and health is still lacking. Markus’s research group aims to identify how oral processing transforms food structures into sensory perception.
From animal to plant protein
His group envisions to contribute to the transition from animal to plant protein-based foods by developing novel foods from different ingredients that exhibit similar sensory properties as traditionally produced foods.
Novel food products
Oral processing behaviour of foods profoundly impacts food and energy intake. Subtle, small modifications of food properties such as texture or shape of foods are sufficient to influence oral processing behaviour and consequently regulate food intake without compromising food liking. Markus’s group explores how food products can be designed which affect oral processing behaviour and consequently regulate food and energy intake. This is a research area that his group envisions to extend since it has great potential for exciting, new and applicable discoveries.
Food oral processing and digestion
Food oral processing is the first stage of digestion during which food structures are broken down and enzymatic breakdown of macronutrients starts. Structure breakdown can lead to modified nutrient bio-accessibility. Prof. Stieger and his colleagues aim to comprehensively understand how food oral processing contributes to food digestion and metabolic responses to reveal how individual differences in oral processing behaviour of consumers contribute to individual differences in food digestion.