Food structure and biomaterials

Material properties of food determine texture and flow behaviour, how food is perceived in the mouth and digested in the gastrointestinal tract. We investigate the nature of ingredients, probe physicochemical changes during processing, and establish the structure of food products. This knowledge broadens ingredient choice, drives innovation, and helps engineer healthier, more sustainable food.

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 Our wide ranging programme of fundamental research and applied science, in collaboration with government, national and international academic and industry partners, delivers interdisciplinary solutions to global food challenges - as well as biomaterials in other fields, including sustainable packaging, water-repellent biomimetics, and oral care.

 

 

 

 

Research themes

Sustainable food processing: Dr Jo Gould and her team explore ways of incorporating sustainable sources of protein into food microstructures, by understanding the relationship between processing, functionality and safety of ingredients. Read more about this work here.

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Natural multicomponent ingredients and nutrients:  Dr David Gray's team research novel, bio-innovative approaches of incorporating lipid-rich organelles (oleosomes and chloroplasts) into the diet to improve health, and to reduce the impact on the environment. Read more about this work here.  

David's group work

Soft matter biomaterials and biointerfaces: Dr Gleb Yakubov's research group focuses on rheology, lubrication, material science and biointerfaces. Read more about this work here.

Gleb group

Microstructure design and engineering: Dr Vincenzo di Bari's research  focuses on understanding the self- and engineered assembly of established, emerging and underutilised biomaterials to enable microstructure design and manufacture of ingredients and food products. 

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Research facilities and expertise

The Food Structure and Biomaterials Group is leading innovation in:

  • Food formulation and processing through increased understanding of the material properties of ingredients, their interplay, and the microstructure of foods
  • Mechanisms underpinning oral processing and providing applied approaches for analysing the structure-oral processing-sensory perception links.
  • Ingredient analysis, identification, structuring, and probing molecular and microstructural interactions.
  • Instrumental characterisation techniques to enable multi-scale analysis of materials, including during dynamic processing.

Our extensive research facilities and material characterisation capabilities enable us to achieve detailed multi-scale analysis of foods and biomaterials, from molecules to the macro-scale, and to validate new manufacturing approaches in our pilot-plant facilities. 
 
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Contact Us

Get in touch with us via the email links above to talk about our research and potential collaborations. To find out more about how we work with business, please contact Mita Lad, Senior Executive in our Corporate Partnerships team - mita.lad@nottingham.ac.uk

Research leaders

Our team encompasses 40 researchers working across four key themes, each led by an experienced academic:

Jo Gould centred 208x110white

Dr Jo Gould completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Nottingham, before becoming an Assistant Professor in the Food, Nutrition and Dietetics team in 2017. 
joanne.gould@nottingham.ac.uk
orcid.org/0000-0002-7702-9771


David Gray centred 208x110

Dr David Gray completed a PhD in plant lipid biochemistry at the University of Birmingham before joining Nottingham in 1993. He plays a key role in both teaching and research work at the University.
david.gray@nottingham.ac.uk
orcid.org/0000-0001-7621-3473

Gleb 208x111 centred white

Dr Gleb Yakubov worked extensively in industry and then the University of Queensland before joining the University of Nottingham in 2019.
gleb.yakubov@nottingham.ac.uk
orcid.org/0000-0001-5420-9422

 Vincenzo centred 208x110

Dr Vincenzo Di Bari joined the University of Nottingham in 2019 after a PhD at the School of Chemical Engineering in Birmingham. He was appointed a Senior Research Fellow in 2020.
vincenzo.dibari@nottingham.ac.uk
orcid.org/0000-0001-9333-9764 

 

Recent Papers

Read about our latest research in these recent publications:

Effect of steam sterilisation on lipophilic nutrient stability in a chloroplast-rich fraction (CRF) recovered from postharvest, pea vine field residue (haulm) - 2021 - Wattanakul, J. et al, Food Chemistry, 334, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.127589

Wood hemicelluloses exert distinct biomechanical contributions to cellulose fibrillar networks - 2020 - Berglund, J. et al, Nature Communications 11 (4692), https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-18390-z

Structural Insights into the Mechanism of Heat‐Set Gel Formation of Polyisocyanopeptide Polymers - 2020- Gavrilov, M. et al, Macromolecular Rapid Communications https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/marc.20
2070041

Assessment of rapeseed oil body (oleosome) lipolytic activity as an effective predictor of emulsion purity and stability - 2020 - De Chirico, S. et al, Food Chemistry, 316, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.126355

The digestion of galactolipids and its ubiquitous function in Nature for the uptake of the essential α-linolenic acid - 2020 - Sahaka, M. et al, Food and Function 11 (8) 6710-6744 
https://doi.org/10.1039/d0fo01040e

 

 

Food Structure and Biomaterials

The University of Nottingham
Food Sciences, Sutton Bonington Campus
Loughborough, LE12 5RD


telephone: 0115 951 6147
email:david.gray@nottingham.ac.uk