Our research focuses on fundamental understanding of the molecular structure and functional properties of biopolymers with specific interesting in food proteins and polysaccharides from plant resources. This fundamental knowledge has led to a systematic approach to develop new protein and polysaccharide applications in food and non-food areas.
1) Protein network (hydrogels, films, nanofibers) formation and structure-function properties
This research focuses on a systematically investigation of protein interactions and conformational changes during network formation. This is then correlated to their network microstructure and bulk features (mechanical strengths, permeability, degradation, bioactivities etc.), enabling a better understanding of structure-function relationships of protein hydrogels, films and nanofibers. Such a fundamental approach has allowed creation of novel protein applications in food, personal care and biomedical areas.
2) Protein based nano/microparticles for controlled delivery of bioactive molecules
This research has been performed in light of the growing interest within the food industry to develop innovative functional foods that may have health benefits or reduce the risk of chronic diseases. This work has led to design of a series of novel edible micro-/nano-particles that are capable of protecting labile bioactive molecules during storage and delay their release in harsh stomach conditions, and then transferring and releasing them to the intestine where they are absorbed.
3) Biopolymer functionalities and bioactivities
This work has been focused on structures of biopolymers in relation to their biological activities (e.g antioxidant, antimicrobial) and new functionalities.