Section I: Biofunctional Systems Chemistry

Under the leadership of Professor Dr. Thomas Hofmann, Research Section I focuses on Biosystems Chemistry & Metabolism (Professor Dr. Thomas Hofmann), Sensory Systems Chemistry (PD Dr. Martin Steinhaus), and Functional Biopolymer Chemistry (Dr. Katharina Scherf):

  • Development of methods to identify and quantify functional effector systems for the objective evaluation of the sensory and nutritional quality and safety of food.
  • Elucidation of structure-dose-function-relationships in molecular effector systems in plant and animal-derived food for the objective assessment of the influence of raw materials (breeding, growing, feeding and availability of alternative raw materials), processing conditions, and storage on the sensory and nutritional food quality (e. g. aroma, taste, bioactive micro-nutrients) as well as on the safety for consumers [e.g. celiac disease].
  • Discovery of molecular reaction cascades, which transform functional effector systems during processing and storage of food and impact the sensory and nutritional quality as well as safety of food.
  • Development and application of methods to elucidate metabolic transformations and biological functions of effector systems after their intake.

The research program provides valuable insights into the structure-dose-function-relationships of functional effector systems in food and contributes significantly to the quality assurance and safety of food.

Selected Publications:

Schalk K, Koehler P, Scherf KA (2018) PLoS ONE 13(2): e0192804. Targeted liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry to quantitate wheat gluten using well-defined reference proteins. 

Lexhaller B, Tompos C, Scherf KA (2017) Food Chemistry 237: 320-330. Fundamental study on reactivities of gluten protein types from wheat, rye and barley with five sandwich ELISA test kits.

Reglitz K, Steinhaus M (2017) J Agric Food Chem 65: 2364-2372. Quantitation of 4-methyl-4-sulfanylpentan-2-one (4MSP) in hops by a stable isotope dilution assay in combination with GC×GCTOFMS: method development and application to study the influence of variety, provenance, harvest year, and processing on 4MSP concentrations.

Steinhaus M (2015) J Agric Food Chem 63: 4060‐4067. Characterization of the major odor‐ active compounds in the leaves of the curry tree Bergera koenigii L. by aroma extract dilution analysis.

Dunkel A, Steinhaus M, Kotthoff M, Nowak B; Krautwurst D, Schieberle P, Hofmann T (2014) Angew Chem Int Ed 53: 7124‐7143. Nature's chemical signatures in human olfaction: a foodborne perspective for future biotechnology.

Hillmann H, Mattes J, Brockhoff B, Dunkel A, Meyerhof W, Hofmann T (2012)  J Agric Food Chem 60: 9974–9990. Sensomics analysis of taste compounds in balsamic vinegar and discovery of 5-acetoxymethyl-2-furaldehyde as a novel sweet taste modulator.