School of Biosciences
 

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Ian Fisk

Professor of Flavour Science, Faculty of Science

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Biography

Professor Ian Fisk leads the Falvour Research group at the University of Nottingham and is Director of the International Flavour Research Center (read more here: IFRC). The Centre has physical laboratories at the University of Nottingham and the University of Adelaide.

He is Director of Research for the School of Biosciences and also runs FACTS, a commercial flavour and food chemistry analysis service for the food industry that offers dedicated quick response consultancy to support the food and biosciences industries when the needs are confidential and require a timely response.

Professor Fisk also leads the University of Nottingham - University of Adelaide Joint/ Dual PhD International Doctoral Training Programme which currently has 20 PhD students across both institutes.

Expertise Summary

Teaching Summary

I run a highly popular one week Food Flavour training course - ideal for scientists in the food, drink or flavour industry and for students wishing to broaden their experience before entering the… read more

Research Summary

Professor Fisk's research interests lie in flavour management (plant biology, agricultural techniques, food production through to consumption) and fundamental food chemistry to support novel… read more

Selected Publications

FACTS is a leading analytical and consultancy service for biosciences.

Our mission is to be a centre of excellence for university based analysis and consultancy in the biosciences arena, with a particular focus on food chemistry and flavour chemistry. FACTS is designed to complement the world leading research carried out within Biosciences at the University of Nottingham, but uniquely offers a fast turnaround analytical and consultancy service.

https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/facts/index.aspx

I run a highly popular one week Food Flavour training course - ideal for scientists in the food, drink or flavour industry and for students wishing to broaden their experience before entering the food industry.

The course can be attended face to face or entirely online and features a mix of live interactive classes and electures with leading academics, laboratory tours, equipment introductions and quizzes to check your understanding throughout the course.

Find out more about the 2022 course and sign up here.

Other modules that I run include:

Food Flavour and Advanced Sensory Science: This undergraduate module introduces the chemistry, physics and physiology of food flavour. Advanced sensory methods such as temporal and rapid techniques will be explored, along with advanced understanding of sensory perception through multisensory interaction and factors affecting human variation in sensory response. Advanced analytical techniques (APCI-MS, GC-MS, GC-O and HPLC-MS) will be introduced and how these tools can be used to explain flavour chemistry, dynamic flavour release and its role in eliciting flavour perception.

Food Flavour: This masters level module provides an in-depth study of flavour generation by biochemical and chemical means, how flavour is delivered to the sensors and perceived by humans and how flavour can be analysed both instrumentally and sensorially. The module covers: The biochemical origin of flavours; The key chemical pathways for thermal flavour generation; The release of flavours from foods during eating; The interaction of flavours with the sensors in the mouth and nose; Flavour legislation; Flavour analysis and flavour formulation

Food Factory Operations: An undergraduate level module that covers both the theory behind food factory design and safe food production in addition to practical NPD project.

Food Factory Designs and Operations: This module covers the theory behind food factory design, in addition to labelling legislation and automation in production.

Factory Design and Operations for Food Production: This masters level module that covers both the theory behind food factory design and safe food production in addition to practical NPD project, which culminates in a new product development showcase.

Current Research

Professor Fisk's research interests lie in flavour management (plant biology, agricultural techniques, food production through to consumption) and fundamental food chemistry to support novel processing technologies and commercial products. You may find more information about his research profile, publications and funding on his ORCID profile (https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8448-3123)

Flavour is a combination of the aroma and taste of a food, and when you interchange food ingredients, reduce fat, sugar or salt, increase fibre or replace meat proteins with plant proteins, there are a series of highly complex flavour questions that need to be answered. For example, how do you develop foods that have reduced salt/fat/sugar and increased fibre without compromising the consumer experience? How do you ensure that nutritious plant based meat alternatives generate an equally appealing flavour during cooking and how do you ensure that when part of a complete meal they are a viable alternative for those who regularly consume meat?

These are some of the active challenges:

Aroma development and release: Aroma forms through complex reactions between different ingredients. Optimising flavour generation pathways allows a previously unprecedented level of flavour control, offering commercial advantage and a mechanistic explanation of flavour release. Through the use of model and semi-model foods, we explain the impact of food structure, food chemistry, and processing on aroma generation and release kinetics. This is achieved in real-time using bespoke high speed MS-NOSE2 technology to track volatile aroma compounds during processing and mastication.

Product reformulation and targeted design: We are researching ways to increase fibre and reduce salt/sugar/fat by reformulating to enhance taste intensity, thereby enabling natural routes to increase the health credentials of foods.This must be done whilst retaining the structure and eating experience, reducing fat and increasing fibre content. This requires a fundamental understanding at a molecular level of how these compounds bind to and are released from foods. By optimising the physics and chemistry of sodium-food bolus interaction we have shown that we can redesign food materials to achieve this goal.

Ultra-rapid digitisation of foods and flavour. We have shown that cutting edge imaging and flavour profiling tools can predict composition, processability, flavour generation potential, authenticity and adulteration. When used in combination with advanced statistical tools such as machine learning, these techniques offer an unprecedented level of insight into food products.The unique range of techniques including E-Nose, E-tongue and hyperspectral imaging can classify samples at high speed and in a broad range of research and commercial environments.

School of Biosciences

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Nr Loughborough
LE12 5RD, UK

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