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New appointments to strengthen research on sustainable packaging

The Department of Food Science at Aarhus University strengthens its strategic focus on research on innovative, sustainable packaging solutions with the appointment of two new tenure tracks, who are highly specialized in this area.

2020.05.12 | Lise Bundgaard

Photo: Colourbox

This spring, the Department of Food Science has appointed two new and highly specialized tenure tracks, Mario M. Martinez and Ilke Uysal Unalan, who - with several years of international experience from leading research institutions - will contribute to strengthen the research in innovative, sustainable packaging.

They will both be part of the Science Team Food Chemistry and Technology, which covers research on changes in quality of raw materials in relation to production and further related to processing, packaging and storage of foods.

- We have a strategic focus on research on innovative packaging solutions that can reduce food waste and contribute to a sustainable development in the food industry. With the appointment of Mario M. Martinez and Ilke Uysal Unalan we will have an even stronger research environment in this area, says Lars Wiking, who is head of the Science Team Food Chemistry and Technology.

Specialists in sustainable solutions

Mario M. Martinez and Ilke Uysal Unalan both joined the Department of Food Science at Aarhus University in April 2020 - and both in the role as tenure track Assistant Professors.

Mario M. Martinez comes from a tenure track position as Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph in Canada, while Ilke Uysal Unalan comes from a postdoc position at Laboratory of Food and Soft Materials at ETH Zurich (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich).

The research of Mario M. Martinez focuses on the characterization of carbohydrate polymers and their modification through process-intensifying technologies.

- In the future bioeconomy, we will minimize our dependence on fossil fuels in favour of plant carbohydrates and green technologies. My research is essentially about transforming food and agricultural waste into bio-polymeric raw materials, which can be used for creating sustainable packaging solutions for new food products, Mario M. Martinez says.

Ilke Uysal Unalan`s main scientific interest concerns developing green sustainable packaging strategies using nanotechnological routes and/or active packaging with the aim of shelf life extension of different food products. Another area of her immediate research interest is biodegradability/compostability of polymers, and fundamental understanding of release mechanism from (bio)polymer matrix by direct and indirect techniques.

- There is a demand for more sustainable food packaging that is flexible, transparent and multifunctional and that can secure a long shelf-life. My research aspires to meet these demands, especially by strengthening the science base in food packaging that has to do with sustainability of packaging materials, Ilke Uysal Unalan says.

Interdisciplinary innovation

Even though Mario M. Martinez and Ilke Uysal Unalan are part of the Science Team Food Chemistry and Technology, they will work across the five research groups of the institute:

- Our packaging research at the Department of Food Science encompasses food quality parameters within sensory perception, microbiology and oxidation, while taking into consideration the societal demands for healthy and convenient food solutions. There are many scientific aspects of packaging, and it is critical to cooperate across the different research groups in order to reach the best solutions, says Lars Wiking.


 

Contact

Associate Professor Lars Wiking
Science Leader, Food Chemistry and Technology
lars.wiking@food.au.dk
Phone: +45 22124179

Food, DCA