Current Projects

Humans are continuously surrounded by wood in their daily lives. Thereby, wood emits an odour, which is usually perceived as very pleasant and can have physiological effects on humans. Different species of wood, however, vary in grain, colour and hardness, and
they also emit different odours. The specific odour of each wood type is composed of a variety of volatile compounds leading to different overall odour impressions. The odour-active molecules will be identified and quantified in the different wood species, through application of human sensory evaluation in combination with odorant-analytical methods.

Development, or aging, is accompanied by a range of processes which impact physiology, behavior, and cognition. Recent evidence shows that humans are able to extract information about another person’s age from body odors. This project aims to elucidate the sensory and chemical changes in body odors related to human development.

The C-PlaNeT Marie Sklodowska International Training Network has been approved. C-PlaNeT will create a European Joint Doctorate with 15 young PhD researchers on circular plastics economy. The C-PlaNet consortium is very multidisciplinary and consists of polymer chemists, process technologists, LCA-practicioners, social scientists and economists. The researchers will, next to their PhD research also attend a joint training programme.

Academic partners include Ghent University (Bel), KU Leuven (Bel), Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Ger), TU Berlin (Ger), University of Thessaloniki (Gr), Montanuniversität Leoben (Au) and Denmark Technical University (Dk). In addition, 23 other partners will be involved in the programme: 2 research institutes, 18 companies (including DOW, INEOS and Novo Nordisk), the City of Ghent, Plastics Europe and the Ellen McArthur Foundation.

The project will start in 2020, first researchers will start in Q3-Q4 2020.

Human body odor is important for interpersonal communication and can express one’s physiological and psychological status. The aim of this project is to establish sensory-analytical methods to investigate body odors and their relationship to the microbiome in health and disease. The results of this research will allow a better interpretation of the human (health) status using the body odor as a diagnostic tool.

Coordinator: Dr. Helene Loos

To understand olfaction, one needs to know the peripheral and central processes implicated in odour detection and perception. In this project, we will explore biochemical processes taking place in the nose, with the aim of gaining a comprehensive understanding of how aroma and odour perception is shaped by nasal metabolic products.

The transfer of chemosensorially active molecules and their metabolites from the mother’s diet into human milk is rarely studied systematically on a molecular level. The proposed project is designed to characterize and quantitate such transfer of food odorants and tastants into human milk. Therefore, an intervention study under most realistic conditions of consumption will be performed with a curry flavored dish. It will be investigated whether additional chemosensorially active metabolites formed upon biotransformation are generated in vivo and transferred into human milk and urine.

The terpenoid and sesquiterpenoid fraction of food plant materials may undergo dramatic structural changes during their gastro-intestinal passage that have not been regarded to date when aiming at elucidating neurotropic effects of food constituents and odorants. The aims of the study are the characterization of potential biotransformation processes as well as the psychological potential of sesquiterpenoid compounds.

The project ErdEis II aims for realizing a so-called ‘Erdeisspeicher’ as a novel, emission-free, regenerative, near-surface geothermal energy source. Currently, it is not feasible to run the ‘Erdeisspeicher’ technology with pure water, but instead a water-glycol mixture is being used. Hence, the systems cannot be set up in water conservation areas. Therefore, a variety of investigations has to be conducted to guarantee the tightness of the system. Additionally, in case of a water-glycol leakage, potential effects on the environment and the subsequent degradation processes in different soil types have to be tested. For this purpose, the distribution of the potentially leaking fluids and their derivatives are tested in distinct model systems.

Project partners include Geozentrum Nordbayern, Schleswiger Stadtwerke, Energie Plus Concept GmbH, TU Dresden and RWTH Aachen.

There is increasing evidence that olfaction plays a hitherto neglected role in the social behaviour of songbirds, including parent-offspring interaction. This project aims at identifying and characterizing behaviourally active compounds in songbird chemical communication.

Coordinator: Dr. Helene Loos