TESTING BACTERIA AND PROTEIN IN TUBES

Christa Smink

Some people are fascinated by the technical aspects of food. The chemical processes, the structure, the reactions with other substances… Christina Smink, Food Technology student, is one of those people.

Graduate research

For her graduate research she had the opportunity to test the effects of new lactic acids on certain dairy products. She did this research under the authority of CSK Food Enrichment in Leeuwarden, together with fellow student Christa Vogel.

Improvement

In the food industry they’re always searching for improvement of their products. As is the case with dairy products. Christa Smink explains: ‘Lactic acids are the bacteria you need to make (cream) cheese from milk. CSK provided us with some new lactic acids so we could test how they could be applied to Gouda cheese, feta and cream cheese. The tests meant that we examined if they created a good taste, the right texture and the right acidification.

New cultures need to be tested

The reason why this is done is because a lot of undefined bacterial cultures with completely unknown compositions are being used. The aim is to use more and more defined cultures with less strains. These new cultures need to be tested.’

Scientific research

Christa loves scientific research. ‘I’m particularly fond of the practical side of this study. The school offers a lot of opportunities and machines to do all kinds of tests. I think dairy is the most interesting product, so I chose subjects connected to the dairy business. There’s a lot of research in this department and it offers the opportunity for international jobs. I love it that the technology keeps evolving and new discoveries are made again and again.’

Work placement in Australia

The international aspect of the dairy industry is something Christa experienced in real life. She did a work placement in Australia, at the University of Queensland, where she researched the in vitro digestion of dairy proteins. At the moment Christa is working on her master in Dairy Science and Technology at Wageningen UR.

 

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