Prof. Stefan Salentinig – Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Fribourg, & Head of the Biocolloids Lab – presents per video "Bioinspired materials for functional foods".
Abstract: Fluid-like colloidal structures including liquid crystals are key components in nature’s own functional materials and important for a wide range of applications. Recently, the self-assembly of nature’s own complete diet, milk, into diverse liquid crystalline structures was discovered during its digestion. This was possible by the use of in situ time-resolved X-ray scattering and diffraction techniques at synchrotron sources, combined with an advanced in vitro digestion model that simulates the conditions in the human digestive tract. The discovered prototypical natural nanomaterials have implications for the design of novel adaptive materials including functional foods. They were blue-printed, for instance, to nano-architect delivery matrices for poorly water soluble bioactives and novel antimicrobials. This material design was guided by highly contemporary experimental methods including time-resolved (grazing incidence) small angle X-ray scattering and diffraction, imaging ellipsometry, confocal Raman microscopy as well as cryogenic electron microscopy and NMR techniques. Additional biological assays were used to bridge the boundaries from the molecular and structural to the cellular level. The detailed insights into the dynamic self-assembly of biomolecules to functional supramolecular structures provide essential knowledge for the comprehensive design of advanced food materials.