Mengjin Liu, who works at FrieslandCampina Research in Deventer (Netherlands), obtained her doctorate 10 June 2010 on the creation of flavour by means of lactic acid bacteria. She carried out her doctoral research in conjunction with the Centre for Molecular and Biomolecular Informatics (Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands).
‘Most of the milk used by FrieslandCampina is fermented by lactic acid bacteria. They convert the milk proteins, fat and sugar and give the fermented products their typical texture and flavour. Until recently, we could only determine important flavours, but did not have a clue how they were created’, says Mengjin Liu. ‘I tried to track the enzymatic steps performed by the bacteria towards the flavour compounds. You might compare it to a navigation system; we are now able to visualize the route leading to a certain flavour.’
Mengjin Liu: ‘Branded products must always offer the same quality. For fermented products this implies that the micro-organisms we use should always ‘behave’ the same. The acquired knowledge can make our fermentation processes more stable and even better.’