Gastric puppet

Project

Coupling nutrition to sustainable process development

Due to the scarcity of resources and the growth of population, food processes are being evaluated, improved and compared, by using exergy analysis, in terms of food-chain efficiency (F. Zisopoulos, Exergetic analysis in the food industry). While this methodology can integrate the different resources and is able to measure the efficiency of the process chain in terms of exergy loses, the quality of the product and its final use within the human body is not included. As processing eases digestion but can also degrade some of the components present in the food, we believe there should be an optimal degree of processing finding the best compromise between bioaccessibility, bioavailability and absorption. Therefore there is a link to be made between nutrition and process engineering to couple the whole food chain with a cradle to grave approach.

Aim
Develop a criterion for the nutritional quality of the product that is analogous to the exergy for the efficiency of the food chain. Incorporate this criterion within the sustainable process assessment.

Approach

The proof-of-concept for this new framework will be done by integration of data on metabolism and bioavailability of nutrients. This will be done first by literature search on different products obtained via different processing routes, and secondly by experiments on bioavailability from different food products when found necessary. Finally, a comparison of different routes will be done based on the efficiency of the different routes looking at the whole chain.

Figure 1: Processing may make the digestion process easier, and thus allow better use of ingredients. Left: a minimal processed food requires extensive metabolic work; right: a food that is processed further will require less metabolic work
Figure 1: Processing may make the digestion process easier, and thus allow better use of ingredients. Left: a minimal processed food requires extensive metabolic work; right: a food that is processed further will require less metabolic work


BSc/MSc theses – what to do?
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