The university has appointed Jeroen Hugenholtz, to the chair of 'Industrial Molecular Microbiology'. Hugenholtz remains the principal scientist of food fermentation at Nizo, a private food research company based in the Netherlands.
"This new link between contract research and academia strengthens the understanding of food fermentations leading to new innovations and industrial application," Nizo stated in a press release.
Hugenholtz works on genomics and the system biology of food fermentations, focussing on lactic acid bacteria, an important group of bacteria in food industry.
His area of research and teaching will focus on the development of mathematical models to more accurately describe and predict current and novel food fermentations.
The models generated by the research will be used to improve control of existing fermentations such as in situ natural enrichment of fermented foods with microbially produced essential vitamins and low-calorie sugars, Nizo stated in a press release.
The research will also focus on the control of fermentations with complex mixed cultures, the increased survival of probiotic bacteria in the human intestine and on designing new fermented foods based on novel ingredient bases such as soy, cereals and fruits and vegetables.
Hugenholtz is also scientific director of the Kluyver Centre for Industrial Fermentation (www.kluyvercentre.nl).
"In combination with the strong flavour and health groups and the recently set-up food application centre at Nizo food research, a whole range of novel food processes and food products will be developed for industry," Nizo stated.
Nizo food research is an independent research company, with a staff of 180 in Europe. It works to develop and test technologies and methods for improving food and ingredient flavour, texture, processing, health, and food safety.
Fermentation methods are used in the wine and beer sectors and for the preservation of foods.