Food Metabolomics in Practice

Apr 27, 2014

Dr Sastia Prama Putri of Osaka University, Japan, spoke to Kate Mosford of The Column about advances in metabolomics, the need for authentication of high value food products, and the important role of gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) in food analysis.

Q: How did you become involved in metabolomics?


Sastia Prama Putri
A. My research focus was initially on the discovery of novel bioactive compounds from various natural products. I joined a metabolomics laboratory in early 2011, and have since been involved in several research projects on metabolomics applications in food science and metabolic engineering fields.

Q: What is the role of your laboratory in food metabolomics?


Photo Credit: Ilona Nagy/Getty Images
A. The Laboratory of Bioresource Engineering, Osaka University (also known as Fukusaki laboratory) has been involved in food metabolomics research since 2007. One of the first food metabolomics demonstrations performed at the laboratory predicted the sensory attributes contributing to quality of food, such as green tea and watermelon.

Recently, our laboratory also conducted soy sauce research in collaboration with Kikkoman company, cheese research in collaboration with Morinaga food company, and sake research in collaboration with Gekkekan (a renowned Japanese sake company), as well as specialty coffee research in collaboration with the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research company. Through this strong partnership with food companies and food research institutes, we have demonstrated the use of metabolomics technology for assisting in product development, authentication purposes, prediction of food sensory attributes, and the identification of metabolites responsible for flavour, aroma, and other characteristics of food.

Professor Eiichiro Fukusaki is responsible for driving all of the research activities in the laboratory. He is a Full Professor at the Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University. He has published more than 200 journal articles, book chapters, and reviews, and hold 17 domestic patents and eight international patents. His research collaborators include over 30 academic institutions and major companies from various fields, including electrical, pharmaceutical, and medical as well as the food industry. He received the Japan "Saito" Award from the Society of Biotechnology Japan in 2004.