Research Talent receives Nils Foss Talent Prize for 2021
The talented food scientist, Mario Martinez-Martinez from the Department of Food Science received this year's talent prize at the Food Analytics Conference 2021 held by the multinational FOSS Analytical.
FOSS Analytical is a world-wide company producing analytical instruments for the agricultural and food industries, as well as for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
AU food researcher Mario Martinez-Martinez was nominated because of his distinguished work within innovative analytical technologies on plant food biochemistry and plant food biophysics during our transition to a circular economy.
In recent years, Mario M. Martinez has focused on developing a research portfolio on polysaccharides and associated metabolites, where the development and application of analytical technology took central stage. Firstly, Mario Martinez´ team have developed and utilized analytical tools for deciphering the molecular structure of complex carbohydrates.
As an example, his work on starch fundamentals has provided a structure-digestion model of retrograded amylopectins that could explain the potential of some starches to become slowly digestible (or undigestible) after cooking, which has a reported potential to prevent the risk from suffering hyperglycaemia-related diseases. His team was also pioneer on reporting the creation of new higher energetic sites available at the surface of the starch granules, which will dictate their performance as food and pharmaceutical products.
FOSS awards the prize to a promising research talent who has made a significant research or innovation contribution to the application of analytical technology to improve the sustainable use of agricultural resources and/or ensuring food quality and safety. The award to Mario M. Martinez is in recognition of the innovative and strong interdisciplinary approach to underpin new functionalities that will revolutionize the quality of food ingredients and foods.
Another focal point for Mario M. Martinez has been the development of rapid and reliable techniques for the quantification of small metabolites, including small sugars and phenolic compounds. Lastly, his research on analytical technologies has unlocked the potential of precision processing; in other words, utilize scalable processing to manipulate the chemical structure of biopolymers.
"We are now in exciting times for food science and finding the crossover between nutrition and sustainability will critically dictate future food production and consumption. I’m very grateful to receive this Nils Foss Talent Prize 2021, and I’d like to thank the Committee, my research team, and my family," says Assistant Professor Mario M. Martinez.
The prize is EUR 15,000.