SLU news

EFFoST advances production of sustainable healthy food for all in a changing world

Published: 09 November 2023
EFFoST conference delegates

The European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST) continuously creates opportunities for food scientists, technologists and other relevant stakeholders in the food and food-related areas, with the aim of connecting and facilitating knowledge exchange among food science professionals.

The 37th EFFoST International Conference was hosted by the University of Valencia and the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA-CSIC) and held in the city of Valencia, Spain from November 6th-8th, 2023 (click here for conference website). Approximately 900 delegates participated in the conference, with over 520 posters and more than 200 oral presentations in several parallel sessions, topics included: i) Food sustainability; ii) New food product development: from risk assessment to nutritional foods; iii) Food and microbes.

The Department of Molecular Sciences was represented by Professor Maud Langton, Professor Volkmar Passoth, Assoc. Professor Galia Zamaratskaia, and PhD students Shishanthi Jayarathna, Alejandra Castaneda and Sunera Nurmomade.

PhD student Shishanthi Jayarathna presented a poster on CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis of starch biosynthetic enzymes, which generates potato starch with potential interest as a healthy carbohydrate. This study is a collaborative project with the Department of Plant Breeding, SLU, Alnarp in the frame of the bigger project TC4F, which has focus on crops for the future. “Our results indicate that introducing mutations into the starch branching enzymes and granule bound starch synthase enzyme can alter the starch features and generate a more healthy starch type, which could be used as a healthy food component. However, further studies are required to assess the health benefits of this novel type of starch”, concluded Shishanthi.

PhD student Alejandra Castaneda presented the poster “Screening of microfungi for solid-state fermentation of faba beans”.  Alejandra showed very promising results, testing microbial consortia in solid-state fermentation for tempeh-like food products. This study is financially supported by HealthFerm, a European research project investigating innovative pulse and cereal-based food fermentations, and TC4F.

PhD student Sunera Nurmomade presented a poster on the effect of pre-treatment on the physicochemical properties and structures of pearl millet and cowpea. The results will be essential in the development of complementary porridge for undernourished children in Mozambique. This study is supported by grants from the Swedish International Development Cooperation.

Professor Volkmar Passoth presented the results on the conversion of inedible plant materials such as straw and wood residues into food. Volkmar explained how oleaginous yeasts, which accumulate up to 80% of their biomass as high-quality lipids, can produce lipids and carotenoids, which in turn can be used for food production. “And much more than only for food production! Residual products from forestry, such as straw and wood residues, can be converted into feeds, biofuels and biochemicals, thus supporting a sustainable circular system”, underlined Volkmar.

Prof Kati Katina from Helsinki University, who is also a guest professor at SLU and the leader of the work package “Fermentation technology for healthy, tasty, safe and sustainable plant-based foods” within the HealthFerm project ( explained during her presentation the importance of transition towards a more sustainable global food system. She also described her current research on the effects of processing on fibre- and protein degradation in plant-based yoghurt-like products.

“EFFoST is an important interdisciplinary platform for food science and technology experts to discuss recent findings, innovations and concerns. This platform provides an opportunity to work together to address the food issues within the Global Agenda 2030 and provide sustainable future food, which is tasty, safe and delicious”, said Maud Langton.

“Food science and the food industry are striving for the same point – to ensure sustainable healthy food for all in a changing world”, added Galia Zamaratskaia.

“Participating in the EFFoST gave us an incredible opportunity to connect with fellow food enthusiasts who share the same passion for food, health and the environment”, concluded Alejandra.