The scientific studies of the department aim at providing the population with high-quality food from cereals, potatoes, oilseeds and other oil plants, pseudocereals and legumes, which present no health hazards. The safety and quality aspects concern raw material properties, production, harvest, storage, processing and marketing.
Specifically, the components enhancing the raw materials’ nutritional value, e.g. dietary fibres or essential fatty acids, as well as undesirable, naturally occurring substances (e.g. mycotoxins, heavy metals) or product- and environment-related substances (e.g. pesticides) are recorded. Another aspect for the characterization of the quality of raw materials is the processing suitability.
An important research topic is the optimization of the storage and processing technology in the production of resource-specific food. The aim is to obtain nutritional, quality-enhancing components or encourage their formation, and to minimize unwanted ingredients (Maillard products, refining artifacts, contaminants) or to completely avoid them. Lipid research deals, among other things, with the application of enzymes of vegetable, animal and microbial origin as biocatalysts.
The scientists of the department work on the optimization, isolation and/or enrichment of nutritionally relevant ingredients and - in cooperation with research partners - on the characterization of their health-promoting and/or illness-avoiding effects. Sensory examinations belong to the department’s activity, as well as the development and standardization of analysis techniques (DIN, CEN, ISO, ICC, AACC, ASU § 64 LFGB (German Food and Feed Law)).
A special task of the Department of Safety and Quality of Cereals is the annual assessment of the processing quality and of the content of mycotoxins, heavy metals and plant treatment residues in German bread cereals within the framework of the „Besondere Ernte- und Qualitätsermittlung“ (specific determination of crop and quality - BEE) based on the Agricultural Statistics Act. Also the so-called value analysis, i.e. the examination of the processing suitability of cereal and potato strains in the legal licensing procedure of new varieties by the Federal Office of Plant Varieties, is carried out annually at the location in Detmold.