Monday, March 14, 2022

Spotlight on Greta Canelli, recipient of the 2022 Processing Division Student Award

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Greta Canelli is the recipient of the 2022 Processing Division Student Award. This award recognizes graduate students presenting an outstanding oral or poster presentation within the Processing technical program at the AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo.

About Greta Canelli

Greta Canelli

Dr. Greta Canelli completed her master's degree in food technology at Wageningen University (Netherlands) and her doctoral studies at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich in the Laboratory of Sustainable Food Processing. Her research focuses on microalgae upstream and downstream processing for the enhancement of omega-3 fatty acids bioaccessibility and oxidative stability in the whole biomass.

Can you tell us about your current research?

I am currently researching microalgae as source of high-value compounds, particularly omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3- PUFAs). New challenges in the bio-based industry, caused by a growing population, have created the need for sustainable solutions, to increase productivity with available resources. Microalgae provide promising opportunities to tackle these challenges. Within this project, we assess the bioaccessibility of nutrients from microalgae, as well as the oxidative stability of the whole biomass, to widen their applications in the bio-based, food and pharmaceutical industries. These factors are key to providing a nutritional and stable alternative source of ω3-PUFAs. 

In the course of this work, we studied the development of bioaccessibility and stability of microalgae over their growth phase, to identify the most favorable harvesting point. Using these experiments, we showed that ω3-PUFAs bioaccessibility in microalgae is very limited. Therefore, we are currently working on gentle and targeted disruption technologies, such as pulsed electric field treatment, to increase lipid bioaccessibility while keeping an acceptable oxidative stability.

What was your reaction when you learned you had won the award?

I am very honored to have been awarded with such a prestigious award, which is well recognized within the scientific community.

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