Axe 2 - Hydration and biological systems

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Topic 2: Water and functionality of biological systems

Supervisors: Prof. Dominique Champion,Dr Hélène Simonin, Dr Thomas Karbowiak

Interactions between water and biological matrices are at the heart of numerous food processing methods aimed at structuring, stabilising or even increasing the functionality of food products.

The aim of the studies undertaken within the context of this research topic is to understand the role of water and its properties in biological materials at various levels: from molecules to complex biological matrices, in order to control their functionality better during physical (change in temperature or pressure) or chemical (addition of plasticisers or effect of UV) processing as well as their preservation over time.

The aim of this topic is to study the relations between water and the functionalities of biological systems combining the cross-disciplinary skills of the JRC with various study objectives:

- Biopolymer matrices (powders, films, low-moisture composite materials)
- Microorganisms
- Mammal cells
- Components of viral entities

Water, when in limiting quantities, is an asset for the preservation of biological entities or food due to a decrease in molecular mobility and plays a key role in maintaining the structural integrity of the medium whether cellular or biopolymeric. The work undertaken within the context of topic 2, notably with techniques for exploring the molecular dynamics in diluted media and increasingly concentrated systems (fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, NMR...), facilitates the exchange of skills.