Food Proteins 

Our research vision is to enhance food quality by understanding complex chemical interactions between food components in sustainable food production, and to implement this knowledge in rational and healthy food design.

Picture of rape seeds
Photo: Claus Boesen

We aim to develop an in-depth mechanistic understanding of complex interactions of food components, which will make it possible to predict, control, and modulate the chemical reactions taking place in food and beverages during production and storage. We have special emphasis on protein quality and protein modifications induced by Maillard reactions (i.e. protein glycation), oxidation, and reactions with polyphenols, and how these reactions affect flavour, protein structure and functionality, nutritional value and health.

Read more about the food chemistry research at the University of Copenhagen, UCPH FOOD.

Visit the Chemometrics Group of Copenhagen's website here.


  • Understand how processing and storage affect protein quality and induce protein modifications, including protein oxidation, Maillard reactions (protein glycation) and reactions with polyphenols (reactions between oxidized phenolics (i.e. quinones) and nucleophilic amino acid residues).

  • Develop and use state-of-the-art analytical methods to identify and quantify reactants, intermediates and products of protein modifications and other food components, both by chromatography-based methods and spectroscopy.

  • Obtain and use quantitative data and reaction kinetics to understand reaction mechanisms, determine major reaction routes and most significant modifications of food components.

  • Apply multivariate data analysis to understand the complex relationship between processing, storage and chemical reactions in foods and beverages.

  • Develop advanced chemometric tools to unravel information otherwise hidden in the large amount of data collected from our analytical methods.

  • Exploit the established chemical mechanisms to predict, control and modulate changes in food quality and functionality during production and storage.

  • In collaboration with our partners, determine absorption and uptake of the major modifications of food components occurring during production and storage in both cellular systems and animal models.

  • In collaboration with our partners, establish immunogenic and inflammatory responses in both cellular systems and animal models based on metabolic degradation of food components.




  • (Ultra) High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC/UHPLC) equipment with ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis)/fluorescence detection

  • Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)

  • Spectrophotometry (UV-Vis), including dark room for illumination experiments

  • Fluorescence spectroscopy, including time-resolved fluorescence and polarization

  • Microwave synthesis oven for protein hydrolysis

  • Gas chromatography with flame ionization detector (GC-FID)


SEEDFOOD: Functional and palatable plant seed storage proteins for sustainable foods
Challenge project. PI: Prof. Marianne N. Lund, partners: Assoc. prof. Mahesha M. Poojary and Assoc. prof. Åsmund Rinnan. Funding agency: Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF). Jan 2022-Dec 2027.

PROFERMENT: Solid-state fermentations for protein transformations and palatability of plant-based foods.
Challenge project (PI: Prof. Dennis Nielsen). Partners: Prof. Marianne N. Lund and Assoc. prof. Mahesha M. Poojary. Funding agency: The Novo Nordisk Foundation. Jan 2022- Dec 2027.

HyCheese: Sustainable, tasty, appealing and affordable cheeses based on Nordic ingredients.
Research project (PI: Prof. Lilia Arhné). Co-PI: Assoc. prof. Åsmund Rinnan. Funding agency: AgriFoodTure. Jan 2024 – Dec 2027.

Processing-structure function-interrelations of novel protein ingredients in complex foods.
Tenure Track Start Package. PI: Norbert Raak. Funding agency: The Novo Nordisk Foundation. Jun 2024 – Jun 2028.

INSITUQUANT: In situ quantification of protein modifications in foods 
Sapere Aude research leader grant. PI: Prof. Marianne N. Lund, co-PI: Assoc. Prof. Åsmund Rinnan. Funding agency: Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF). Jan 2018-Dec 2024.

ICOM: Inhibition and control of Maillard reactions in dairy foods by plant polyphenols 
Research project 2. PI: Prof. Marianne N. Lund. Funding agency: Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF). Jan 2018-Dec 2024.

Two-in-One: Valorising dairy wastewater to produce food ingredients using microalgae.
Research project 1. PI: Assoc. prof. Mahesha M. Poojary. Funding Agency: Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF). Apr 2022-Mar 2025.

PROPLASMA: Uncovering the effects of cold plasma on oxidation of grain proteins.
Research project 1: PI: Assoc. prof. Mahesha M. Poojary, co-PI: Prof. Marianne N. Lund. Funding agency: Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF). Jul 2022-Nov 2025.

QualityWine: Wine quality assessment using fluorescence spectroscopy and chemometric analysis.
Industrial PhD project: PhD student Helene F.F. Halberg, supervisor Assoc. prof. Åsmund Rinnan. Funding Agency: Innovation Fund Denmark and Foss. 2022-2025.



Food Proteins group in the media: 


P1 - morgen (Danish morning radio: it's about the coffee with milk anti-inflammatory effect study) 

KU FOOD-professor Marianne Nissen Lund og kolleger har udgivet et nyt studie, som tyder på, at kaffe med mælk kan have en anti-inflammatorisk effekt. Hun har fortalt om forskningsgruppens fund i P1 - lyt til indslaget som varer fra 28:28 til 34.25 via dette link (slettet)

News articles: 

Coffee with milk may have an anti inflammatory effect

Recipient-of-the-Nils-Foss talent prize 2022 makes microalgae more edible

Researchers want to convert rapeseed proteins from feed to food

Glem sort kaffe: Mælk i kaffen kan være sundere - VoresPuls

Sådan bliver din morgenkaffe endnu sundere - i Form

Polyphenols from plants improve the quality of long-life milk


24 spørgsmål til professoren, March 25, 2024 (in Danish)

Marianne Nissen Lund participated in the widely recognized science podcast, 24 spørgsmål til professoren (24 questions for the professor), for an in-depth discussion on the fascinating world of chemical interactions between food components.

Titel: Jorden kalder. Listen to Podcast Here (Danish)

Titel: MadLibitum #2 – Ristning: Kaffe og Maillard. Listen to Podcast Here (Danish)



Group members:

Name Title Phone E-mail
Search in Name Search in Title Search in Phone
Ahlmann, Eva Garne Research Assistant   E-mail
Bayati, Mohammad PhD Fellow +4535337843 E-mail
Danielsen, Bente Pia Laboratory Technician +4535333198 E-mail
Engholm-Keller, Kasper Assistant Professor +4535326287 E-mail
Gotzmann, Lisa Anita Research Assistant +4535334228 E-mail
Halberg, Helene Fog Froriep Industrial PhD   E-mail
Karalia, Shivani PhD Fellow +4535329022 E-mail
Lihme, Peter Fog Research Assistant +4535326847 E-mail
Liu, Jingyuan Postdoc +4535334825 E-mail
Lund, Marianne Nissen Professor +4535333547 E-mail
Poojary, Mahesha Manjunatha Associate Professor +4535326404 E-mail
Raak, Norbert Assistant Professor - Tenure Track +4535330521 E-mail
Rehlund, Anne-Sofie Gottschalck PhD Fellow   E-mail
Rinnan, Åsmund Associate Professor +4535333542 E-mail
Sørensen, John Greany Project Coordinator +4593565766 E-mail
Özcelik Yilmaz, Duygu PhD Fellow +4535323556 E-mail

Contact the research group leader:

UCPH FOOD section: Ingredient and Dairy

Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen (UCPH FOOD)
Rolighedsvej 26, room number C308
1958 Frederiksberg C
Phone +45 35 33 35 47

The research project: SEEDFOOD

Most of the rapeseed grown in Europe is used for industrial oil production and animal feed. The SEEDFOOD project aims to change this by creating new fundamental knowledge, so the proteins instead can be applied in new food types for human consumption. Read more about SEEDFOOD.