Lydia’s current research is focused on improvement of functional properties of food proteins such as whey, egg and pulse proteins. She holds a PhD in Biochemistry and has extensive industrial R&D experience gained with Nestlé in Germany, Switzerland and South Africa.
In addition, she is the founding director of NANDI Proteins Ltd (www.nandiproteins.com), a spin-out from Heriot -Watt University. The company has developed and licensed the production of a whey protein based fat replacer that is commercially applied in low fat milk drinks, yoghurts and cheese.
Lydia’s main research interests are directed at improving functional properties of food proteins and proteins derived from food waste.
There is a demand in the food industry for protein-based fat replacers as well as replacement of costly dairy-based protein ingredients by low cost plant-based proteins. Lydia is in involved in modifying functional properties such as solubility, binding, foaming, thickening and gelling properties by heat-induced denaturation and/or glycation with sugars and oligosaccharides via the Maillard reaction. Nano-particles are generated by denaturation and polymerisation/aggregation and particle size is controlled by technology based on monitoring of light scattering. Soluble fibres (oligosaccharides) extracted from pulses, dates and seeds are extracted and characterised by HPLC and protein-fiber conjugates are formed by controlled denaturation and glycation. The physicochemical properties of the compounds are studied using proteomic techniques such as SDS PAGE and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, particle size analysis by zeta-sizer and confocal microscopy. Functional properties in food systems are measured by rheological, textural and viscometric techniques.
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