Keywords

feeding humanity; sustainable food production and waste reduction or valorization; food, health and well-being; communication and representations of food and feeding, education in food sciences and technology

Description

This Lab addresses major societal challenges relating to food, food production, feeding and health, reflecting current and future trends in human activity and their relationship to the environment. The first major challenge concerns our collective capacity to feed 10 billion humans in 2050, in a context of climate change, soil alteration and biodiversity erosion (especially in agricultural landscapes) that compromises ecosystem services. In addition, the world is currently experiencing increasing migratory flows both internationally and between rural and urban areas. To address this, we need to adapt agricultural production to find more sustainable energy- and water-efficient production processes with reduced impacts on biodiversity. This includes reducing waste throughout the cycle from field to fork, including better production, harvesting, storage, transport, transformation, consumption and end-of-life treatment processes. At the same time, we must educate citizens in order to accompany these evolutions in terms of food availability and eating habits, in relation to changing societal and culture-based representations of food and feeding.

The second major challenge concerns the links between well-being, health and food habits. Food and eating habits are commonly associated with various public health issues, including malnutrition, obesity and related disorders, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other serious illnesses. Differences in lifestyle and level of income can often be linked to these conditions, necessitating socially differentiated actions aimed at promoting healthy eating habits, aimed at practices both within and outside the home. This further implies more socially responsible marketing and packaging practices, using consumer science to educate rather than to maximise consumption. Developing healthy and sustainable eating and living practices should also be a key target for education policy in all countries and parts of the world, encouraging children and their families to adapt their nutritional habits and physical activities to their lifestyle, in order to remain fit and healthy. This implies a better understanding of communication procedures between experts and consumers with a particular focus on the new role played by social media and so-called influencers in disseminating sensory knowledge. It also highlights the evaluative and emotional dimensions of food discourses.

Research areas

The Food Science FORTHEM Lab aims to foster multidisciplinary approaches spanning research in the human and social sciences (economics, education science, sociology, marketing, consumer science, communication, cognition sciences, semantics…), agro-food sciences, food processing and technology, health and sports sciences, etc., while raising awareness of these societal challenges within and beyond academia. The lead partner in this Lab has currently developed research in the following specific areas, which will be expanded on through the contributions of the partner universities:

  1. Valorising vegetal protein as a substitute for animal protein
  2. Developing sustainable packaging to reduce chemical and oil-based inputs
  3. Developing innovative bioactive foods or food supplements targeted towards prevention/treatment of diseases related to nutritional disorders
  4. Studying the ways in which agricultural production systems affect biodiversity, productivity and quality of produced resources (from a health point of view).
  5. Developing authentic multilingual resources to improve communication from experts to consumers
  6. Implementing cross-disciplinary methodologies to structure professional food-related terminologies and ontologies
  7. Modelling the circulation of food-related discourse across social networking sites
  8. Biotechnologies for improvement of food functional quality and functional food production
  9. Eating habits and physical activity impact on health

Following the kick-off meeting held in Dijon, the Alliance has identified 5 areas of work broken down into sub-areas on which several partners of the Alliance would like to collaborate. These areas are:

Sustainable agronomy/crop production (linked with Climate and Resources Lab)

  • -Microbial community and crops
  • -Soil bio-properties
  • -Composting from agronomy and wine productions

Food transformation/food quality

  • -Natural compounds having bioactivity
  • -Functional/nutrition foods
  • -Wine processing/oenology
  • -Sustainable packaging, waste valorization as polymers

Biotechnology and microbiology for food

  • -Microbes interactions for crops
  • -Biotechnology/microbiology for food production
  • -Prebiotics/probiotics
  • -Food contaminants from microbes (mycotoxins, etc..)

Consumer sciences/eating habits and well-being/diseases  (linked with Lab resilience)

  • -Eating habits : well-being and/or diseases vs sports
  • -Consumer behaviour-sensory of food
  • -Consumer education/communication/marketing and gastronomy

Education in food sciences (linked with mobility WP)

  • -Summer schools
  • -Joint degree
  • -Good teaching practices

Lab contacts

Alliance level contact persons:

University level contact persons:

Associated partners contributing to the Lab

University of Burgundy, Dijon:

Dijon’s partners of uB involved : AgroSupDijon, INRAE, Dijon Métropole, BSB,

uB laboratories and institutes involved (UMR = Joint unit between Dijon’s partners research institutions):

  1. UMR Agroecology (with INRAE and AgrosupDijon)
  2. UMR PAM Food Processing and Microbiology (with AgrosupDijon)
  3. TIL Inter-Languages Center : Text, Image, Language
  4. CIMEOS Communications, Mediations, Organizations, Knowledge 
  5. UMR CSGA Centre for Taste and Feeding Behavior (with INRAE, AgrosupDijon and CNRS)
  6. IMVIA Image and Artificial Vision
  7. Biogeosciences (with CNRS)  
  8. UMR LNC Lipid Nutrition and Cancer (with INSERM, AgrosupDijon and EPHE)
  9. Institute of Wine and Vines IUVV

University of Latvia, Riga:

 Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology:

  1. Laboratroy of Bioconversation of Carbohydrates; Armands Vīgants, armands.vigants@lu.lv
  2. Laboratory of Cell Biology, Aleksandrs Rapoprts : rapoport@mail.eunet.lv,
  3. Laboratory of Yeast Nutritional Physiology ; Janis Liepins, janis.liepins@lu.lv,

Department of Human and Animal Physiology:

  1. Laboratory of Sport Science; Liga Plakane,  liga.plakane@lu.lv

Faculty of Chemistry:

  1. Laboratory Food Chemistry; Vanda Sargautiene, vandasarg@gmail.com  and  Ida Jakobsone, ida.jakobsone@lu.lv, Liga Ozolina-Moll, ligaozol@lu.lv; //Liga Plakane, liga.plakane@lu.lv // Vanda Sargautiene, vandasarg@gmail.com

Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz

  1. Institute for Labour, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Medical Center ; Pavel Dietz, pdietz@uni-mainz.de;
  2. Psychological Institute, Faculty 02: Social Sciences, Media, and Sports, Thomas Kubiak, kubiak@uni-mainz.de;
  3. Institute of Organismic and Molecular Evolution (iOME), Daniel Dreesmann, daniel.dreesmann@uni-mainz.de;
  4. Organic Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Geography and Geosciences, Sigfried Waldvogel, waldvogel@uni-mainz.de //Till Opatz, opatz@uni-mainz.de;
  5. Microbiology and Wine Research at the Institute of Molecular Physiology, Eckhard Thines, thines@uni-mainz.de // Ralf Heermann, heermann@uni-mainz.de // Gottfried Unden, unden@uni-mainz.de;
  6. Institute of Toxicology, University Medical Center, Markus Christmann, mchristm@uni-mainz.de;
  7. Institute of biotechnology and drug research (IBWF), Eckhard Thines, thines@ibwf.de
  8. Institute for Composite Materials (IVW), www.ivw.uni-kl.de

Planned outputs of the Lab and current work in progress

  • Summer School at JGU in Mainz, Eckhard Thines
  • Summer School at JYU in Jyväskylä, Jouni Välisaari
  • Joint Master Degree in Microbiology (uB-JGU), Eckhard Thines
  • Internal call at UB will be launched on September for the projects shared between Dijon’s researchers and Alliance partners that will be financed by our national budget
  • Digital Academy with the topic “Food Sciences” at the JGU, Eckhard Thines
  • Publication in the journal Beverages: special issue on “Fruit Juices: Technology, Chemistry, and Nutrition 2.0”, Antonio Cilla (University of València);
  • Publication in Foods: special issue on "Food Packaging Strategies", Ines Kuster (University of València);
  • Publication in Foods: special issue on "Flavour research in food fermentations"; Amparo Gamero (University of València)
  • Publication in Fermentations: special issue on "Non-Saccharomyces yeasts as aroma enhancers in fermented products", Amparo Gamero (University of València

Highlighted events of the Lab

Food Science Lab Alliance level kick-off in Dijon 12th – 14th January 2020: 3 days meeting hosted by the Alliance Level Contacts Persons in Dijon. This meeting aimed at getting to know each other and identify common topics. Three persons per partner university were present. After this meeting, each contact person spread the information in its university.

Working meeting of the Food Science Lab in Dijon, January 2020