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7 Jun 2016

The FooD-STA Webinar "Sugars…not only sweeteners" presented by Ass. Prof. Paola Pittia, University of Teramo, Italy, took place Jun 7, 2016 4:00 PM CEST.

The pdf-version of the presentation and a recording of the webinar can be found below.

Abstract: Sugars are sweet, water soluble, low molecular weigth carbohydrates largely present in foods by either nature or addition. They comprise a class of compounds with different chemical, physico-chemical and physical properties that have been recognised important for their role and functionality in food applications.
In addition to the peculiar taste properties mainly associated to the sweeteness, sugars are multifunctional compounds. Hygroscopicity, humectancy, osmotic and textural effects along with the reactivity and physical stability of the low molecular weight saccharides are affecting significantly the quality of food products upon processes and storage conditions. Their ability to inhibit degradative microbial and biochemical reactions is the basis of the ancient use of sugars and sugar-based ingredients (honey, plant syrups) for preservation purposes in intermediate moisture foods. Moreover, sugars could also indirectly affect also the perception of other sensory properties of food products like bitterness and aroma. From a nutritional point of view sugars are mostly contributing to the energetic value of foods. In the last decades their presence and concentration in formulated and processed products (e.g. soft drinks, confectionery) have been under a main debate due to their direct role on various diet-related metabolic diseases like diabetes, obesity, lactose intolerance and dental caries. The reduction of the content of sugar (in particular sucrose), and/or the use of alternatives sweeteness able to mimic the sensory properties of sugars is generally applied to meet the modern nutritional guidelines. However, these strategies do not consider the other technological functionalities that these saccharides exert in foods and thus the optimization of formulation and processing conditions is required in order to achieve high quality, low sugar and low calories foods. Aim of this webinar is to give an overview of the technological functionalities of sugars in foods underlying the related scientific basis and to provide some knowledge and information useful for the desig and, development of formulated, high quality and stable food products.

The presenter, Paola Pittia, is Associate Professor of Food Technology at the Faculty of Bioscience and Technology for Food Agriculture and Environment at the University of Teramo, Italy. Master Degree in Food Science (University of Udine, 1989) and PhD in nanotechnology (University of Triest, 2016). Since 2004 she is Associate Professor in Food Technology disciplines at the Faculty of Biosciences and Technology for Food, Agriculture and Environment (formerly Faculty of Agriculture), University of Teramo. From 2013 she has been appointed as of Deputy Rector for Internationalization and Joint study programs. The scientific activity of P. Pittia is focused on food processing, quality and technological functionality of ingredients and food components and on design of formulated food products. She has developed main expertise on of physico-chemical properties, physical and rheological properties of foods and their changes due to processing (conventional and innovative technologies) and storage conditions. She is/was scientific referent of several research projects, national and international carried out both with public institutes and in collaboration with food industries. Paola Pittia is co-author of over 85 papers published in scientific peer-reviewed international journals, 3 book chapters and more than 170 oral and posters presentations at national and international conferences. She acts as co-editor of two international journals (Italian Journal of Food Science and International Journal of Food Studies). She has been involved since 2005 as partner of Erasmus ISEKI_Food projects (ISEKI-Food2, ISEKI-Food3, Mundu, and Mundus 2) and she has coordinated the Erasmus Thematic Network ISEKI_Food 4 (2011-2014). She is currently president-dell'ISEKI Food Association.