Evolution and Flavour

Thursday November 15th

19:45 live music by Katrin Ebbert
20:15 speakers
Café Loburg

We all have a particular preference for some foods and beverages; a preference that is determined by various factors such as taste, smell, colour and texture of the food product. Interesting, also psychological factors play a role in the perception of food. Clearly the food and drinks we consume today are quite different from those in our cave(wo)man days. This development is not just due to human efforts in processing foods, we did get some help of friendly microbes. These microbes create flavour by a process we call fermentation. But what is flavour? How does it evolve? And how do we really decide on which food items we like and which not? These questions (and more) will be addressed in this Science cafe. Our two speakers, Prof. Eddy Smid and Dr. Garmt Dijksterhuis, will discuss how microbes evolved to create specific flavours and how we as humans perceive flavours.

Prof. Eddy Smid is professor in Food Microbiology at Wageningen University. He is specialised in food fermentation and focuses on the microbial ecology of food fermentations with the aim to steer the functionality of fermented food products. To do so he applies biodiversity mining and adaptive evolution strategies. In his lecture, he will focus on the role of yeast in aroma formation during beer making and the domestication of beer yeast.

Dr. Garmt Dijksterhuis is Expertise Leader/Senior Scientist in Consumer Science at the Food & BioBased Research Institute of Wageningen University and Research. He is a psychological scientist focussing on multisensory perception, consumer (food) choice, and sensometrics. He is one of the founders of the Sensometric society which brings together statisticians, psychologists, sensory scientists and market researchers, with a shared interest in the design and analysis of studies focused on responses to the sensorial properties of products.

PREVIOUS SESSION: Fuels of the Future

Thursday October 18th

19:45 live music by Radiant Wood
20:15 speakers
Café Loburg

Our society was and is still propelled by fuels. It started with burning wood, which allowed our ancestors to rise to the top of the food chain, fuelling the evolution humankind. Many millennia later, it was the coal fired steam engine that fuelled the industrial revolution, followed by the rapid adoption of many other so-called fossil fuels that our current society has come to depend on. Those fossil fuels are non-renewable and are used on such a scale that they are causing the Earth’s average surface temperature to rise, due to the accumulation of greenhouse gasses, with potentially catastrophic consequences. Therefore, it is important that we find new fuels again, that are renewable. Our two invited speakers, Samira Farahani, and Rene Wijffels will discuss two of those potential fuels of the future: hydrogen and algae.

Dr. Samira Farahani works jointly at Energy & Industry Section and Process & Energy department at Delft University of Technology. She is an expert on the use of hydrogen as energy carrier.

Prof. Rene Wijffels is chair holder of the Bioprocess Engineering group at Wageningen University. He is an expert on the use of microalgae in biotechnology.

Exploring and discussing science with professionals, funky music and a drink.