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Human Immune Cells React to Non-Nutritive Sweeteners
Freising, May 16, 2023
Diet drinks often contain a mix of non-nutritive sweeteners that also enter the bloodstream after consumption. As a new pilot study shows, even dietary intake levels of saccharin, acesulfame-K and cyclamate are enough to modulate the copy rate of various genes in white blood cells. "Our data suggest that this modulation sensitizes immune cells to certain immune stimuli," says Dietmar Krautwurst of the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich. He adds: “Likewise, they also suggest that taste receptors may act as sweetener sensors of the cellular immune system.”
Prof. Veronika Somoza Elected Deputy Section Spokesperson of the Leibniz Association
Freising, March 29, 2023
On March 16, 2023, the directors of Section C Life Sciences with a focus on biodiversity and health of the Leibniz Association elected Prof. Veronika Somoza as their deputy spokesperson for two years. The distinguished scientist is thus also a deputy member of the Leibniz Association's Presidential Board.
Veronika Somoza has been director of the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich since November 2019 and is the first woman to hold the office of deputy spokesperson for Section C. With 24 institutes, the latter is one of the largest of the five Leibniz Sections.
Pungent Ginger Compound Puts Immune Cells on Heightened Alert
Freising, February 14, 2023
Ginger has a reputation for stimulating the immune system. New results from the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (Leibniz-LSB@TUM) now support this thesis. In laboratory tests, small amounts of a pungent ginger constituent put white blood cells on heightened alert. The study also shows that this process involves a type of receptor that plays a role in the perception of painful heat stimuli and the sensation of spiciness in food.
Chicory, surrogate and roasted coffee provide new insights into mechanisms of taste perception
Freising, January 23, 2023
The composition of foodstuffs, but also the sequence of dishes, are important for the perfect taste experience of a menu. This insight, based on experience, is well known. The molecular causes of the pleasure-enhancing effects, on the other hand, are still poorly understood. Using the example of chicory, surrogate and roasted coffee, a study by the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (LSB) now explains for the first time why the order in which we eat food can be decisive for bitter taste perception and what role bitter taste receptors play in this process.
New biomarkers for coffee consumption
Freising, December 07, 2022
In search of new biomarkers for nutrition and health studies, a research team from the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (LSB) has identified and structurally characterized three metabolites that could be considered as specific markers for individual coffee consumption. These are degradation products of a group of substances that are formed in large quantities during coffee roasting but are otherwise rarely found in other foods. This and the fact that the potential biomarkers can be detected in very small amounts of urine make them interesting for future human studies.
Tracking down satiety mechanisms in the stomach
Bitter protein fragments stimulate gastric acid secretion
Freising, October 11, 2022
Casein makes up the majority of the proteins in cheese and quark. Although casein itself does not taste bitter, its digestion in the stomach also produces bitter-tasting protein fragments (peptides). This has been proven for the first time in a study led by the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (LSB). The study also suggests that the bitter peptides are able to stimulate acid secretion from gastric cells via their cellular bitter receptors. A mechanism that, according to the research team, could contribute to the long-known satiating effect of milk protein.
Combating malnutrition–Egg powder suitable as a food supplement?
Freising, September 15, 2022
Malnutrition is a key challenge not only in African countries. As an international study led by Veronika Somoza now shows, egg powder is a food with great potential to improve the nutritional situation of children in deprived areas. Compared to pasteurized whole egg, the powder contains lower amounts of essential fatty acids, but still provides many vitamins, indispensable amino acids and important trace elements. In addition, it has a long shelf life without additional preservatives, is easy to transport over long distances and is simple to prepare.
Odorant Analysis 2.0 – Technique for the Isolation of Volatile Food Compounds Optimized
Freising, July 29, 2022
A research team from the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (LSB) has succeeded in automating an established method for the gentle, artifact-avoiding isolation of volatile food ingredients. As the team's current comparative study now shows, automated solvent-assisted flavor evaporation (aSAFE) offers significant advantages over the manual process. It achieves higher yields on average and reduces the risk of contamination by nonvolatile substances.
Progress in bioanalytics: Production of RNA chips significantly simplified
RNA chips can contribute to the exploration of new methods to diagnose and treat diseases such as cancer
Vienna/Freising, July 26, 2022
Biochips (microarrays) are modern analytical tools that allow thousands of individual detections to be performed simultaneously in a small amount of sample material. A team led by Mark Somoza from the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna has now presented a new method in "Nature Communications". With this method, commercially available DNA chips can be quickly and easily converted into RNA chips, which are otherwise much more difficult to produce. Such RNA microarrays help to elucidate the still unknown functions of RNA molecules in cells - an important prerequisite for advancing the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer.
Why stored linseed oil tastes bitter − And what you could do about it
Freising, April 21, 2022
A team of scientists led by the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich, in cooperation with the Chair of Food Chemistry and Molecular Sensory Science at the Technical University of Munich, has now uncovered new molecular details relevant to the bitterness of stored linseed oil. The new findings should help to develop suitable technological processes or breeding strategies that preserve the good taste of the edible oil for longer.
The role of bitter receptors in cancer
Receptors as targets for chemotherapeutics
Freising / Vienna, December 03, 2021
Bitter taste receptors do not only support humans in tasting. They are also found on cancer cells. A team led by Veronika Somoza from the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna and the German Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich has investigated the role they play there. For this purpose, the scientists compiled and evaluated extensive scientific data. Their results suggest that bitter taste receptors should also be considered as additional targets for chemotherapeutic agents in the future and should be investigated in this regard. The systematic review recently appeared in the journal Cancers.
Leibniz Association funds olfactory and taste research with almost two million euros
Freising, November 25, 2021
The senses of smell and taste are crucial for the perception of food and thus for food selection, which in turn significantly influences our health. But how do odorants and flavors interact with our sense receptors to make food taste good? And what kind of molecular mechanisms ensure a good mouthfeel? In order to strengthen young talents in this field of research, the Leibniz Association is funding two female scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (LSB) for the next five years with a total of almost two million euros as part of the Leibniz Competition 2022.
Spicy substance from pepper gets into breast milk after eating
Spicy breast milk?
Freising, November 25, 2021
In part of a recent human study led by the Technical University of Munich (TUM), it was found that after eating a curry dish containing pepper, piperine - an alkaloid responsible for the pungency of pepper - was present in the milk of breastfeeding women. The findings help decipher mechanisms that shape our food preferences from infancy.
Michael Paul is the new head of administration at the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology
Freising, November 02, 2021
The Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (LSB) has strengthened its top management with Michael Paul. The state-certified business economist with a focus on business informatics and organization will take over the position of the head of administration on November 01, 2021. In the future, Prof. Dr. Veronika Somoza as Director of the LSB and Michael Paul will form the Leibniz Institute's Steering Board.
Gastric cells—Plant substance from wine influences acid secretion via a bitter receptor
Freising, October 27, 2021
Gallic acid is a secondary plant ingredient found in wine or green tea. An Austrian-German team of scientists led by Veronika Somoza, has now found evidence that gallic acid influences gastric acid release by activating a bitter receptor. The study results provide new insights into the still unknown functions of bitter receptors in interaction with taste-active food ingredients.
"Caramel receptor" identified—New insights from the world of chemical senses
Freising, October 12, 2021
Who doesn't like the smell of caramel? However, the olfactory receptor that contributes decisively to this sensory impression was unknown until now. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (LSB) have now solved the mystery of its existence and identified the "caramel receptor". The new knowledge contributes to a better understanding of the molecular coding of food flavors.
News on fine cocoa flavor
Quickly and precisely determining the flavor profile of cocoa samples
Freising, September 17, 2021
Because a plethora of flavor compounds contribute to the distinctive taste of cocoa, its composition is difficult to analyze. Now, scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Leibniz Institute of Food Systems Biology (LSB) have developed a new methodology that quickly, easily, and precisely quantifies the flavor profile of cocoa samples.
Progress in the functional characterization of human olfactory receptors
Freising, June 22, 2021
A team of scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich has now discovered that the odorant receptor OR5K1 is specialized to recognize pyrazines in both humans and domesticated animals. These are volatile substances that contribute to the typical odor of many vegetables or are formed when food is heated. In addition, pyrazines also play a role as signaling substances in intra- or interspecific communication. The new research results contribute to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the odor perception of food as well as olfactory communication.
Reliably detecting cocoa off-flavors–Relevant not only for chocolate fans
Freising, April 20, 2021
Musty, moldy, smoky or horse dung-like smelling cocoa is not suitable for chocolate production. As part of a larger research project, a team of scientists led by Martin Steinhaus from the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich has identified the odorants responsible for such off-flavors. The food industry can now use these results to objectively assess the sensory quality of fermented cocoa based on odorant concentrations. The research team published the data in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
What brings olfactory receptors to the cell surface − "Zip codes" for odor sensors identified
Freising, March 17, 2021
A team of scientists led by Dietmar Krautwurst from the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich has now identified address codes in odorant receptor proteins for the first time. Similar to zip codes, the codes ensure that the sensor proteins are targeted from inside the cell to the cell surface, where they begin their work as odorant detectors. The new findings could contribute to the development of novel test systems with which the odorant profiles of foods can be analyzed in a high-throughput process and thus could be better controlled.
Now published: Research Report 'Advancing Science for Food & Health'
Biennial report of the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich.
Freising, March 16, 2021
With this bilingual report (German/English) we not only provide exciting insights into our science and research, but also report on important events in 2018 and 2019.
Bitter receptor involved in anti-inflammatory effect of resveratrol?
Freising, March 02, 2021
Resveratrol is a plant compound found primarily in red grapes and Japanese knotweed. Its synthetic variant has been approved as a food ingredient in the EU since 2016. At least in cell-based test systems, the substance has anti-inflammatory properties. A recent collaborative study by the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich and the Department of Physiological Chemistry of the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna has now shown that the bitter receptor TAS2R50 is involved in this effect. The team of scientists led by Veronika Somoza published its results in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
From Coelacanths to Humans−What Evolution Reveals about the Function of Bitter Receptors
Freising, February 02, 2021
To evaluate the chemical composition of food from a physiological point of view, it is important to know the functions of the receptors that interact with food ingredients. These include receptors for bitter compounds, which first evolved during evolution in bony fishes such as the coelacanth. What 400 million years of evolutionary history reveal about the function of both fish and human bitter receptors was recently published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution by a team of researchers led by the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich and the University of Cologne.
Sweet taste reduces appetite?
Freising, November 10, 2020
To date, very little is known about how sweetness perception contributes to satiety. This study, conducted by an Austrian-German team led by chemists Veronika Somoza and Barbara Lieder, provides new insights into the relationship between the sweet taste of sugar, energy intake and the regulatory process of hunger and satiety. The study was published in the journal „Nutrients“.
Prof. Dr. Veronika Somoza has been awarded the AGFD Fellow Award 2020
Freising, September 7, 2020
The Agricultural and Food Chemistry Division (AGFD) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) has awarded Prof. Dr. Veronika Somoza with the AGFD Fellow Award, Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2020. The prize, which has been awarded to ACS members since 1988, honors outstanding scientific contributions in the field of agricultural and food chemistry.
Is modern wheat off the hook?
Gluten in wheat: What has changed during 120 years of breeding?
Freising, August 11, 2020
In recent years, the number of people affected by coeliac disease, wheat allergy or gluten or wheat sensitivity has risen sharply. But why is this the case? Could it be that modern wheat varieties contain more immunoreactive protein than in the past? Results from a study by the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research are helping to answer this question.
Chanterelle mushrooms as a taste enhancer
New method for quality control of chanterelle mushrooms
Freising, June 30, 2020
Chanterelles give savoury dishes a rich body and a unique complex flavour. Experts refer to this as the kokumi effect. A research team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology recently developed the first method to clearly quantify chanterelle-specific key substances that contribute to this effect. This method can also be used for quality control.
Latest findings on bitter substances in coffee
Why caffeine is not the sole contributor to bitterness
Freising, June 17, 2020
Coffee is very popular around the world despite or perhaps because of its bitter taste. Compounds contained in the coffee such as caffeine contribute to the bitterness to varying degrees. A recent study conducted by the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) provides new insights into the molecular interactions between bitter substances and bitter receptors. This is of relevance not only for taste perception.
Flavor research for consumer protection
Flavorings containing benzaldehyde can develop benzene under the influence of light
Freising, March 26, 2020
In 2013, the Stiftung Warentest found harmful benzene in drinks with cherry flavor. But how did the substance get into the drinks? Was the source benzaldehyde, an essential component of the cherry flavoring? And if so, how could the problem be solved? A new study by the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is now able to answer these questions.
First evidence of rare amino acid in plants–Discovering what makes durian stink
Freising, February 28, 2020
Researchers at the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (Leibniz-LSB@TUM) have confirmed the presence of the rare amino acid ethionine in a plant – or more precisely, in the fruit of the durian tree. Despite its pungent odor, durian is very popular in Southeast Asia. As the team of scientists has shown, the amino acid plays a key role in the formation of the characteristic durian odor.
Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich has a new director
Veronika Somoza succeeds Thomas F. Hofmann
Freising, October 24, 2019
Prof. Dr. Veronika Somoza will take on her new post as Director of the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (Leibniz-LSB@TUM) as of November 1, 2019. She succeeds Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann, who is leaving the Leibniz-Institute, located in Freising, for his new position as President of the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The position as Director also entails the Professorship for Nutritional Systems Biology at the TUM School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan's Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences.
Better food quality control‒
Food profilers develop new methodological approach for food analysis
Freising, July 30, 2019
Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology have developed a new methodology for the simultaneous analysis of odorants and tastants. It could simplify and accelerate the quality control of food in the future.
Pharmaconutrition‒Modern drug design for functional studies
Freising, July 1, 2019
Antonella Di Pizio and Maik Behrens of the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich, together with their cooperation partners, have developed highly effective activators for the bitter receptor TAS2R14 in a German-Israeli research project. The new substances are used to investigate the as yet unknown physiological functions of the receptor, for example, in the human immune system.
The team of scientists published their results in the journal Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences (Di Pizio et al., 2019; DOI: 10.1007/s00018-019-03194-2).
New findings on the effect of Epsom salt‒Epsom salt receptor identified
Freising, April 8, 2019
A team of scientists headed by Maik Behrens from the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich has identified the receptor responsible for the bitter taste of various salts. These include medically used Epsom salt. The discovery helps to elucidate the physiological mechanisms by which Epsom salt affects the heart or gut.
How rapeseed could be used as a protein source for human nutrition
Freising, January 31, 2019
Rapeseed doesn't just contain oil but high-quality protein, too. However, protein extracts from rapeseed have an intense, bitter off-taste. A team led by food chemist Thomas Hofmann has now identified the substance that is pivotal for the bitter taste. This is a first step towards developing rapeseed for the human protein supply.
Store craft beer in a cool place and consume it as fresh as possible
Freising, January 14, 2019
A new study by the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (Leibniz-LSB@TUM) shows that craft beer should be kept cool and consumed as fresh as possible. After three months, cold stored beer already loses more than one third of an important hop odorant which characterizes the typical aroma of many craft beers. Storage at room temperature causes the concentration of this substance to decrease even more significantly.
Martin Steinhaus and Klaas Reglitz from the Leibniz LSB@TUM recently published their findings in the journal BrewingScience, doi.org/10.23763/BRSC18-13STEINHAUS.
Making cheese & co. taste better – The hunt for flavor-giving fragments
Freising, November 6, 2018
Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology, and the University of Hohenheim have developed a new methodical approach. It allows for the faster identification of flavor-giving protein fragments in foods such as cheese or yogurt, thus optimizing production processes.
Thomas Hofmann elected as TUM’s new President
Freising October 17, 2018
The Board of Trustees of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has elected Prof. Thomas Hofmann (50) as the new President of TUM. The experienced university manager has held the position of Senior Vice President Research and Innovation at TUM since 2009. He made a significant contribution to TUM’s success in the Excellence Initiative, especially in developing the internationally acclaimed “TUM Faculty Tenure Track” recruitment and career system. Under his guidance, TUM also became Germany’s top university for the establishment of start-ups. The holder of the Chair of Food Chemistry and Molecular Sensory Science has received multiple awards for his research and teaching. On October 1, 2019, Hofmann will take over from Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann, whose far-reaching reforms in his 23-year tenure saw TUM rise to international top level.
Pungent tasting substance in ginger reduces bad breath – How food ingredients affect our taste perception
Freising July 30, 2018
The pungent compound 6-gingerol, a constituent of ginger, stimulates an enzyme contained in saliva ¬– an enzyme which breaks down foul-smelling substances. It thus ensures fresh breath and a better aftertaste. Citric acid, on the other hand, increases the sodium ion content of saliva, making salty foods taste less salty. To find out more about food components, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Leibniz- Institute for Food Systems Biology investigated the effects of food components on the molecules dissolved in saliva.
Flavoring substances stimulate immune defenses – More than just a good flavor
Freising June 18, 2018
Not only do citric acid and spicy 6-gingerol from ginger add special flavors to food and beverages; both substances also stimulate the molecular defenses in human saliva. That is the result of a human clinical trial by a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology.
Leibniz-Institute at Technical University of Munich celebrates 100th anniversary – Research for healthy and delicious nutrition
Freising June 15, 2018
It all began humbly in 1918 with the immediate goal of practically investigating how to improve nutrition in times of war-related food shortages. Today it is a major player in research on food and nutrition. The State of Bavaria has paved the way for this journey to the future: The Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a festive scientific symposium including high-ranking representatives from science, politics and the community.