Seminar: Professor Imogen Foubert

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green Diatoms, a type of micro-algae, shown under a microscope

On Friday 7 February 2020, we hosted Professor Imogen Foubert from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven's Food & Lipids laboratory, for her seminar: Photoautotrophic microalgae: from green water to health conscious consumer.

Research overview

The Food & Lipids KU Leuven laboratory concentrates its research on the lipid (fat) fraction of food stuffs. On the one hand, lipids are often under pressure from a health conscious point of view but on the other hand they are essential for the sensory (e.g. taste), nutritional (e.g. essential fatty acids, fat soluble vitamins) and technological (e.g. spreadibility) properties of fat rich food products.

The mission of the laboratory is thus to conduct research facilitating the production of healthy/ier fat rich food products without compromising the taste or the technological functionality. One research line focuses on new sources of nutritionally interesting lipids. Within this research line a lot of work has been done on photoautrotrophic microalgae. An overview of this work will be given in this presentation. The research has been investigating the possibilities of microalgae (from a composition point of view) and how they can be applied in food stuffs and nutraceuticals (downstream processing). Special emphasis is on lipolytic and oxidative stability of the lipids.

About the presenter

Professor Imogen Foubert graduated from Ghent University, Belgium, as a bio-engineer specialized in food in June 1999. Her PhD, which dealt with modelling the crystallization of cocoa butter, was awarded in 2003 from the same university. From 2003 until 2007 she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University coordinating the research projects dealing with fat crystallization.

In October 2007 she was appointed professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium where she leads the research group Food & Lipids, situated at the satellite campus in Kulak, Kortrijk. The research group has two main research lines, one dealing with new sources of nutritionally interesting lipids, with a special focus on omega-3 fatty acids from microalgae and another research line dealing with fat crystallization.

Image: Kevin Dooley (CC BY-SA 2.0)