Title:  Comprehensive molecular characterization of Beer: Unveiling a complex biochemical system.  

Speaker:  Dr Stefan A. Pieczonka, Technical University of Munich

Abstract: Foods and beverages can be viewed as intricate molecular systems, deriving their complexity from biological components (raw materials), chemistry (Maillard reaction), and biochemical processes (fermentation). With the ever-increasing scale and technical ramifications of food supply networks and the adaptation of our agrifood system to climate uncertainties, the profound understanding of our food and emerging novel foods is assuming increasingly greater significance.

Foodomics combines classical chromatographic separation with mass spectrometry, alongside invasive and non-invasive spectroscopic analyses to explore the chemodiversity of food. Yet, direct infusion ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS) remains a rarely employed technique. It possesses the capability to decompose the molecular complexity of foods and beverages, resolve thousands of metabolite signals and provide a direct link to their compositional map. Leveraging cutting-edge technologies, we can investigate molecular networks of previously unknown dark matter.

The analytical strategy utilizing complementary metabolomics tools will be demonstrated on the complex molecular composition we know as beer. The journey through the molecular word of beer begins at the Maillard chemistry, largely unexplored within genuine food systems and encompassing thousands of reaction products. It continues with unraveling molecular networks of secondary metabolites sourced from barley, wheat, corn, and rice, integral to the German Purity Law and leaving molecular imprints into the final beer. Lastly, we applied a forensic archeochemical approach to Germany's oldest bottled beer, allowing us to trace essential technological production steps from the brewing industrialization era.

About School research seminars

Seminars cover all aspects of chemistry and molecular biosciences and are delivered by visiting national and international academics. PhD completion seminars are also incorporated into the program.

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