Secil Yilmaz Turan, Biotechnology
Multifunctional carbohydrate-based soft materials from cereal by-products
In her dissertation, Secil Yilmaz Turan presents new materials developed from agricultural by-products.
What is your research about?
"My research is about developing new multifunctional materials from agricultural by-products such as wheat and corn bran. These side streams are currently not used to their full potential and are mostly used for animal feed. With this research, we valorize their valuable ingredients to make new materials for human consumption."
What applications could this lead to?
"We produced films and gels to be used for various applications. The films we developed from cereal bran have antioxidant properties and can be used as active food packaging films and coatings. These films can protect food products from oxidation, a process that causes food deterioration. The gels, on the other hand, can be used as gelling agents and thickeners in food and even in cosmetic products as renewable alternatives. In addition, they can be applied as functional food ingredients as they have prebiotic properties."
What impact could it make on society?
"We are experiencing a transition to a society that pays gradually increasing attention to health and sustainability. The materials we developed will help us increase the dietary fiber content in our diet and potentially improve gut health in the long term, and even substitute oil-based packaging materials."
How did you become interested in this subject?
"My Master’s thesis was about developing starch-based biodegradable food packaging materials. While I was working in that project, I started to think about using food by-products or waste for such materials instead of the food itself. I thought, in this way, we can make use of underutilized agricultural fractions, and contribute to the circular economy in the big picture."
Text: Sabina Fabrizi