FH Upper AustriaResearch & Development

Lebensmitteltechnologie und Ernährung Center of Excellence

Persons

FH-Prof. Dr. Julian Weghuber

Group leader and PI
Phone: +43 5 0804 44403
Email: julian.weghuber@fh-wels.at

Julian Weghuber is leading the center of excellence for food technology and nutrition at the FH OÖ, campus Wels. Emphases are placed on basic as well as applied science projects in the food and feed areas. Weghuber is responsible for several R&D projects with national and international partners from science and industry. He is the operative leader of the project activities of the K1-center FFoQSI (Austrian Competence Center for Feed, Food, Quality, Safety and Innovation) at the hub Wels. 

FH-Prof. Dr. Otmar Höglinger

Head of Department (Food Technology and Nutrition)
Phone: +43 5 0804 44060
Email: otmar.hoeglinger@fh-wels.at

Otmar Höglinger is head of the study degree program Food Technology and Nutrition. In this program students learn the technologies of food production and the related required quality assurance. They learn about the many substances food consists of and their effects on health. The combination in this degree program of food production and investigation, nutrition, law and quality management is unique.

Dr. Peter Lanzerstorfer

Project leader, Postdoc
Phone: +43 5 0804 44402
Email: peter.lanzerstorfer@fh-wels.at

Research projects

LipoDrop – project leader
Identification of phytogenic substances for reduction of intracellular storage of fatty acids in lipid droplets. For detailed information see projects of Renate Haselgrübler. 

Impact of phytochemicals on disease-related regulatory signaling hubs – project coordinationEstablishment and validation of novel cell culture models and assays for live-cell fluorescence microscopy investigations.

Spatiotemporal interaction analysis of signal transduction proteins with various major drug cell surface receptors on micro-patterned surfaces
The micro-patterning assay is based on the identification and quantitation of interactions between a membrane protein (bait) and a fluorescently labeled interaction partner (prey, membrane-bound or cytosolic) in living cells using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy. This method is particularly suitable also for the analysis of weak, transient interactions that are not easily accessible with other methods. Principally, one interaction partner (bait) is restricted to specific regions (typically regular micro-patterns) in the live cell plasma membrane and the lateral distribution of a fluorescently labeled interaction partner (prey) is monitored. By use of this assay we are currently investigating important downstream signaling properties of different major drug targets such as the EGF-, IGF-, insulin- and β2-adrenergic receptor in a live-cell context.

Cytosolic micro-patterning: Establishment of a live-cell equivalent of immunoprecipitation for investigating cytosolic protein-protein interactions 
The current micro-patterning approach is limited to the investigations of protein-protein interactions occurring between a membrane-anchored protein and a cytosolic interaction partner. To get more insight into the regulatory mechanisms of cytosolic downstream complexes we are currently extending the assay for cytosolic micro-patterning, which enables to create a protein array inside living cells by use of artificial transmembrane receptors.

Priv.-Doz. Mag. Clemens Röhrl PhD

Senior-Postdoc (JRC for Phytogenic Drug Research)
Tel.: +43 5 0804 44180
E-Mail: clemens.roehrl@fh-wels.at

Research Projects

The identification and characterization of phytogenic substances with the potential to positively influence the metabolic syndrome is the focus of Clemens Röhrl's research projects. The emphasis is on human cholesterol metabolism and the search for bioactive plants and their specific components that can lower cholesterol levels - especially the unfavourable LDL cholesterol. In addition, Clemens Röhrl is interested in the characterization of bioenhancers that increase the bioavailability of other plant constituents and can thus act synergistically against selected symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Clemens Röhrl cooperates with the Johannes Kepler University Linz (Bioinformatics Institute), the Medical University Vienna (Department for Medical Chemistry) and the ETH Zurich (Institute for Molecular Health Sciences) in his projects.

Dr. Bettina Schwarzinger

Postdoc (FFoQSI & JRC for Phytogenic Drug Research)
Phone: +43 5 0804 44170
Email: bettina.schwarzinger@ffoqsi.at

Research projects

Focus is on the development of extracts from different natural materials and vegetable raw materials. It is of great interest to find the ideal conditions for different materials such as fruits and seeds but also blossoms, roots and leaves. The type of extraction has an essential influence on the results achieved. This can be heating under reflux (Soxhlet), maceration or ultrasonic treatment. Additionally, the choice of extracting solvent, time, temperature, and the storage conditions are of importance. The quality of the starting materials also plays a major role e.g. if the material is already dry or still in its native condition, or the degree of aging. The obtained extracts are analyzed and prepared for further in-vitro and in-vivo studies.

Analysis can be performed on an HPLC system equipped with various detectors. Thus the type and concentration of polyphenols can be determined, which are very often secondary plant compounds. With GC-MS it is additionally possible to detect and identify volatile components. Complementary determinations can be carried out photometrically.

Dr. Nicole Ollinger

Postdoc (FFoQSI)
Phone: +43 5 0804 44110
Email: nicole.ollinger@ffoqsi.at

Research projects

Development of customized methods for food and feed bioanalytics
The need for sustainable, healthy food is stronger than ever before. More and more people want to exclude additives in their diet and choose therefore healthy and untreated food. Those are more often affected by spoilage than treated ones. Therefore it is of special importance to identify the cause of spoilage, to characterize it and design strategies to prolong the beginning of decay naturally without stabilizers. We currently deal with the following issues

  • Analysis of spoiling substances in food and feed: Some substances in food/feed tend more to spoilage than others. To prolong the beginning of decay as long as possible, substances have to be identified and a strategy is set up to elongate the durability.
  • Enzyme analytics: Enzymes have a strong positive or negative influence on the stability of food and feed, respectively. Therefore, the enzyme concentration needs to be determined and the destructive enzymes inhibited.
  • Development of functional tests: To be able to predict the durability of food and feed, tests are developed, that are optimized for the corresponding food/feed.

Mold in bakery products
Due to the need to reduce chemical stabilizers in food, bakeries have often the problem of growing mold. I am developing protocols to identify the mold species to be able to design custom strategies to avoid and prevent mold.

Bernhard Blank-Landeshammer MSc

PostDoc (FFoQSI)
Phone: +43 5 0804 ...
Email: bernhard.blank-landeshammer@ffoqsi.at

Research projects

starting January 2020

Johannes Pitsch MSc

PhD Student (FFoQSI)
E-Mail: Johannes.Pitsch@fh-wels.at
Phone: +43 5 0804 48830

Research projects

FODMAPs - Structural elucidation and quantification of food and feed ingredients (PhD grant of the FH OÖ)

Many people are affected by food intolerances and food allergies. In addition, the need for healthy nutrition and improving health through targeted prevention of food ingredients is increasing. However, without exact knowledge of food ingredients it is impossible to detect any incompatibilities and deliberately avoid certain substances. In order to gain verifiable knowledge, a classification and structure elucidation of the individual substances has to be conducted in order to specifically test individual compounds.

Using preparative thin-layer chromatography, HPLC-UV/VIS and GC-MS spectroscopy as well as microbiological analysis, analytical methods for detection and quantification of food and feed ingredients are to be established.

The field of work includes chemical and microbiological analytics as well as biotechnological basic research.

Georg Sandner MSc

PhD Student (JRC for Phytogenic Drug Research)
Phone: +43 5 0804 44413
Email: georg.sandner@fh-wels.at

Research projects

Phytogenics - Molecular biological characterization of phytogenic substances (PhD grant of the FH OÖ)

Selected, phytogenic substances are tested in various model-systems (CaCo2, C. elegans, broiler) by using gene expression analysis and cytotoxicity assays in order to evaluate their positive effects. Phytogenic substances are mainly herbs, spices as well as plants and their extracts or essential oils. In the context of antibiotic resistances as well as health problems of farm animals due to global warming, phytogenic substances play (besides pre- and probiotics) a major role in preservation of animal health. The genes of interest are mostly heat shock proteins, inflammation parameters, anti-oxidative enzymes and tight junction markers. Relevant molecular biological methods like sample homogenization, RNA extraction from cell and tissue samples, primer design, quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and methods for molecular cell physiology are established as well.

Utilizing C. elegans as model organism

Caenorhabditis elegans is a transparent nematode which is about 1 mm in length. It is utilized as a sensitive and reliable in-vivo high-throughput system for the characterization of phytogenic substances. Different methods like toxicity assays, life-span assays, quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) or fluorescent gene reporters are currently available.

DI Roland Hager BSc

PhD student (JRC for Phytogenic Drug Research)
Phone: +43 5 0804 48805
Email: roland.hager@fh-wels.at


Research Projects 

Quantitative drug search based on the analysis of cytosolic protein-protein interactions

The identification, characterisation and, above all, quantification of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) in living cells is still a major challenge. Based on the already established micropatterning platform, a protein array will be developed to investigate relevant protein-protein interactions (PPIs). The analysis of PPIs on living cells (either in the cell membrane or in the cytoplasm) will be performed by different methods of fluorescence microscopy (e.g. TIRFM, FRET). In the course of this project, phytogenic components and active substances in particular are investigated with regard to significant interactions with different cells. Phytogenic substances are mainly natural extracts and plant substances, which are also quantitatively recorded.

Simone Schill MSc

PhD student (FFoQSI)
Phone: +43 5 0804 48805
E-Mail: simone.schill@ffoqsi.at


Research Projects

Monitoring of safety and quality of King Oyster production

A growing demand for edible mushrooms in general has been observed worldwide. Especially King Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus eryngii) belong to the most important commercially cultivated and consumed edible mushrooms as a result of their excellent taste, favourable composition of nutrients and potential health-promoting effects. However, mushrooms are highly perishable products that can lose their sensory quality very easily due to certain factors, such as a high microbial load, suboptimal cultivation- and storage temperature and inadequate packaging. Microbiological analysis and the identification of collected isolates using 16S rDNA sequencing provide information about the microbial profile of P. eryngii, spoilage bacteria and potential fungal- and human pathogens. In addition, optimal storage conditions for fungi and the preservation of their nutrients and phytochemicals, throughout a defined storage period, are determined in order to increase safety and shelf life thus achieving a constant good product quality.

Verena Stadlbauer MSc

Research associate (FFoQSI)
Phone: +43 5 0804 44403
Email: verena.stadlbauer@ffoqsi.at

Research projects

Assay development for the quantitation of negative impacts of UV-radiation on human cells

UV-radiation of the sun has particularly harmful effects on eyes and skin. Besides the well-known carcinogenic properties on skin, UV-radiation triggers many eye injuries like photokeratitis, clouding of the lens (cataract) or destruction of the tear fluid. Various cell lines are exposed to defined UVA- or UVB-radiation energies via the Vilber Lourmat Bio-Sun UV-radiation system. Subsequently, the harmful effect can be determined by bioanalytic methods to measure the oxidative stress level and cell viability. With this assay substances should be identified which have a positive effect regarding the reduction of oxidative stress and hence protect the cells from UV-radiation.

Screening of various natural substances with regard to their impact on the gene expression in human and animal cell models
Different cell systems are treated with herbal substances and subsequently the expression levels of certain genes are determined via quantitative RT-PCR. Especially genes involved in antioxidant or anti-inflammatory processes are of high interest. Hence constitutional food- or feed additives are characterized.

Physico-chemical characterization of apple ingredients
Long-term study for the characterization and quantitation of ingredients from different apple varieties. The aims of the project are on the one hand to characterize the potentially healthiest apple variety and on the other hand to compare the composition of the varieties for several years. Various apple cultivars are harvested over several years in the same region and different parameters were analytically analyzed. Total phenolic content, antioxidant potential, cation concentration, single polyphenols and ripeness parameters like the sugar and acid content were determined.

Screening method for the cellular localization of nutrient transporters by fluorescence microscopy
Various glucose and peptide transporters must be transported from the cytosol to the cell membrane and integrated into it in order to carry out their function. Localization has a strong influence on the uptake of nutrients into the cell and their degradation and conversion into energy and thus also on the health and growth of humans and animals. Using TIRF microscopy in living or fixed cells, these transporters can be visualized and quantified.

Flora Stübl MSc

Research associate (JRC for Phytogenic Drug Research)
Phone: +43 5 0804 44405
Email: flora.stuebl@fh-wels.at

Research projects

HET-CAM
Due to the progressive lifestyle of modern times, the number of people suffering from type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is increasing every year. In addition to well-known treatment methods such as the injection of insulin, the research sector is increasingly looking for plant substances that, like synthetic substances, lower the glucose level in the blood. These insulin mimetics are characterized using the Gluc-HET model. This is an in-ovo test which represents a bridge between cell culture systems and animal experiments and is therefore an excellent model for the investigation of phytogenic substances.

TeaSTAR development of pharmaceutical tea products with health-promoting effects
Bioavailability studies for the identification of substances with inhibitory effects on glucose transport by intestinal bacteria.
Further information on these two projects can be obtained from Ulrike Müller.

Verena Lasinger MSc

Research associate (FFoQSI)
Phone: +43 5 08044 48805
Email: verena.lasinger@ffoqsi.at

https://youtu.be/tOd5p8fhA-E

Research projects 

Development of a plant extract 

Consumers demand from the food industry natural and high-quality products with a long shelf life. Most processed foods are currently preserved by the addition of chemical preservatives. More and more people want to eat sustainably and therefore avoid food with preservatives. Therefore, the aim is to replace artificial additives in processed foods (finished products) with natural extracts. Natural ingredients such as polyphenols are responsible for the preservative and antibacterial effect of such extracts.

Identification of microorganisms 

Another research project is the development of strategies for the identification of microorganisms based on their DNA.

Ulrike Müller BSc

Research associate
Phone: +43 5 0804 44405
Email: ulrike.mueller@fh-wels.at

Research Projects

TC BioScreen - Development of a novel multiwell-capable TIR reader for the high-throughput analysis of protein-protein interactions in living cells
Methods that allow the detection and quantification of medically relevant PPIs as well as the insertion (= translocation) of nutrient transporters in living cells at high should be developed through the combination of total internal reflection (TIR) and µ-patterning technology in a newly developed common readout unit.

Identification of substances with regulatory effects on glucose transport through the intestinal barrier
Transport studies using the Caco-2 cell model grown and differentiated on transwell inserts are carried out to determine the bioavailability of glucose. By using an intestinal cell line, conclusions about the glucose transport in the human intestine can be drawn. Extracts, which have a potentially regulatory influence on glucose transport through the intestinal barrier can be identified and tested for their exact mechanisms of action by means of further molecular biological methods and, if necessary, are verified in-vivo by means of animal experiments and clinical studies.

Spatiotemporal interaction analysis of signal transduction proteins with various major drug cell surface receptors on micro-patterned surfaces
Further information can be obtained from Dr. Peter Lanzerstorfer.

Cytosolic micro-patterning: Establishment of a live-cell equivalent of immunoprecipitation for investigating cytosolic protein-protein interactions
Further information can be obtained from Dr. Peter Lanzerstorfer.

Investigation of the influence of apple juice and apple extracts on EGF receptor activation and signaling pathways
The effect of apple juice and apple extract on the organism, especially on EGF receptor signaling, is investigated. Via HPLC analysis the polyphenol content in apple juices and extracts is identified and quantified. In addition to cytotoxicity studies, the influence of apple on the formation of hydrogen peroxide in the cell culture medium is evaluated and studies on the influence on EGFR internalization processes are carried out by means of TIRF microscopy on μ-structured surfaces as well as ELISA assays. The influence of apple juice and concentrate on the activation of the EGF receptor as well as the recruitment of downstream molecules (eg Grb2, SHC, Ras, Raf, MEK, PKC, PLC, ERK) by means of ELISA assays and TIRF microscopy on μ-structured surfaces should be determined.

TeaSTAR - Development of a health-promoting tea drink
Development of innovative tea products with health-promoting effects. For bioanalytical characterization of raw materials as well as tea products, HPLC analysis and further analytical methods are used. Furthermore, cell and molecular biological experiments are carried out in order to determine the actual influence of the individual components as well as product samples in-vitro (cytotoxicity studies, phosphorylation studies, micro-patterning experiments and bioavailability studies).

Aurelia Tschida MSc

Research associate
E-Mail: Aurelia.Tschida@fh-wels.at
Tel.: +43 5 0804 46932

Analytical focus

• Analysis of fats and oils
     o fatty acid composition using GC/MS
     o process contaminants 3-MCPD / Glycidol using GC/MS (in development)
     o standard quality parameters, e.g. peroxide number, acid number…
     o development of further analysis on request

• Plant extracts
     o Determination of antioxidative capacity using various in vitro assays

• Ion chromatography

Dr. Marion Dornmayr

Project coordinator F&E
Tel.: +43 5 0804 44409

E-Mail: Marion.Dornmayr@fh-wels.at

Kurt Petraschek

Technician

E-Mail: kurt.petraschek@fh-wels.at

Students

Cathrina Neuhauser BSc

Master student (JRC for Phytogenic Drug Research)
E-Mail: cathrina.neuhauser@fh-wels.at

Title of the master thesis: Identification and characterization of phytogenic substances with health beneficial properties.

Jakob Huemer BSc

Master student (FFoQSI)
E-Mail: jakob.huemer@fh-wels.at

Title of master thesis: Evalution of microbial FODMAP degradation in sourdough and bakery products via HPLC

Eva Roitinger BSc

Master student (JRC for Phytogenic Drug Research)
E-Mail: eva.roitinger@fh-wels.at

Title of master thesis: Identification of novel cholesterol lowering phytogenic compounds.

Alice Koenig BSc

Master student (JRC for Phytogenic Drug Research)
E-Mail: alice.koenig@fh-wels.at

Title of master thesis: ...

starting February 2020

Bianca Mascher BSc

Master student (JRC for Phytogenic Drug Research)
E-Mail: bianca.mascher@fh-wels.at

Title of master thesis: ...

starting February 2020

Stefanie Steinbauer BSc

Master student (FFoQSI)
E-Mail: stefanie.steinbauer@fh-wels.at

Title of master thesis: Comparison of in-vitro systems to detect the effects of inflammatory stress on intestinal barrier functionality.

starting February 2020

Maximilian Huemer

Undergraduate student (FFoQSI)


Title of the bachelor thesis: Characterization of microorganisms in austrian sourdough.

Exchange students

Ing. Ivana Kušnierová BSc

Exchange student from Slovakia (ERASMUS)

Ningya Yu

Exchange Student from Taiwan

starting January 2020

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