Northern Lights on Food Masterclass

Event Dates: 2020-08-31 to 2020-09-04   

Northern Lights on Food Masterclass

X-rays & neutrons in the discovery of food structures

Understanding food structure that controls storage qualities, uptake and nutritional value, as well as texture and perception, is the key challenge for food scientist and product developers in academia and food industry. Structural properties of food are multidimensional and we, therefore, need to understand their structure at various length and time scales. The quality and availability of the product are also subject to consumer demands and choices made by plant breeder and food producer. We, therefore, need to consider the whole production, from a raw material quality, starting with seed quality and plant breeding, to food processing and the final product. The latter also includes packaging and how the food interacts with packaging during storage and consumer handling.

Techniques available at Large-Scale Research Infrastructure MAX IV Laboratory and the European Spallation Source, ESS, include spectroscopic and scattering techniques based on either X-rays or neutrons. These techniques allow us to obtain detailed compositional maps of food materials and obtain structural information ranging from the atomic, nano- to the micrometre scale. The high brilliance at such facilities also enables fast in situ experiments that can help us understand how to control structure formation at different developmental stages of food products.

With this one-week course, you will acquire basic knowledge of selected techniques accessed in large scale facilities, and how to design experiments with particular attention to the complexity of food systems. You will be provided with the entry point to these exciting new tools, including developing your own project proposal for beamtime at large scale research infrastructures. Collaborative work between participants will enable you to share experience and knowledge of how these powerful techniques could complement lab-based advanced chemical and physical techniques routinely used in food research, such as microscopy, light scattering, rheology and processing simulations.


When: 31 August – 4 September 2020
Who: All scientists new to X-ray and neutron methods

Registration opening soon on the LINXS web site!


The lectures will cover the following areas and techniques:

  • Elemental mapping/obtaining chemical information in soft and biological tissues (X-ray absorption spectroscopy)
  • 4D imaging of foodstuffs at high resolution (X-ray and neutron tomography)
  • Structural information on the atomic scale (X-ray and neutron diffraction)
  • Structural information of disordered or partially ordered materials in the nanometer to micrometre range (small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering, SAXS and SANS)
  • Structural information of surface properties of materials (grazing incidence SAXS and SANS and neutron reflectometry)
  • Complimentary techniques including rheology and microscopy

The course will focus on methods, available experimental environments, data evaluation tools and modelling approaches as well as limitations of the techniques. You will also perform practical exercises in both small-angle scattering and tomographic imaging of foodstuffs and analyze the acquired data.

List of lecturers:

– Prof. Brent S. Murray – University of Leeds, United Kingdom

– Prof. Bill Williams – Massey University, New Zealand

– Prof. Jan Skov Pedersen – Aarhus University, Denmark

– Dr. Richard Campbell – University of Manchester, United Kingdom

– Dr. Jesper Harholt – Carlsberg Research Laboratory, Denmark

– Ass. Prof. Stephen Hall – Lunds Tekniska Högskola, Sweden

– Dr. Ann Terry – MAX IV Laboratory, Sweden

– Prof. Niklas Lorén – RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Sweden

– Dr. Kajsa Sigfridsson Clauss – MAX IV Laboratory, Sweden

– Dr. Judith Houston – European Spallation Source, ESS, Sweden

– Dr. Emanuel Larsson – RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Sweden

– Assist. Prof. Mads Ry Jørgensen – Aarhus University/MAX IV Laboratory

– Prof. Tommy Nylander – Lund University, Sweden