Meet FEMS Microbiology Letters Poster Prize Winner Marina Jovanović

We send our congratulations to Marina Jovanović, who won one of the Poster Prizes at MiFFI, sponsored by FEMS Microbiology Letters.

The 2nd International Conference of Microbial Food and Feed Ingredients (MiFFI) took place in Copenhagen, Denmark between the 16-18 November 2021. The FEMS team was present at this meeting and was able to congratulate Marina in person and ask her some questions relating to her reserach and future goals.

Read our interview with Marina about her research below:

 

What is your current position, and what was your scientific journey to get there?

I am currently a research associate at the Institute of General and Physical Chemistry, Belgrade, Serbia. I earned my PhD from the Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade. Some of the activities available at the faculty, for which I am especially grateful, include construction of probiotics, studying the antimicrobial effect of edible weed extracts on food pathogens, and conducting workshops related to the fermentation of beer and dairy products.”

 

Could you describe the research your poster covered?

At the 2nd International Conference on Microbial Food and Feed Ingredients, I presented research in line with the trend of sustainable development, which deals with functional food. More specifically, I presented the bioactivity and palatability of probiotics yogurt enriched with apple pomace flour. Apple pomace (AP) was chosen for yogurt enrichment since it is characterized by high dietary fiber content, a moderate caloric value and a significant amount of antioxidants. It contains pectin, which favors viability of probiotic bacteria. AP has been collected from juice processing industry after juice extraction. Also, AP is a waste, a by-product, if disposed in a landfill, it is considered an environmental hazard. Thus, finding its re-use and getting it back into the food chain was our aim. Functionality and acceptable palatability were described and discussed.”

 

What do you hope to focus your research on in the future?

Researching the introduction of edible by-products in combination with various fermented foods into human nutrition is the research I am focused on. Moreover, as the concept of sharing food with pets has received increasing attention, the team and I try to introduce and adjust such products in regular feeding plan of companion animals as well. In the future, the introduction of adequate psychobiotics into such a product is a concept I strive for. In that way, we would have affordable products intended as functional beverages for modern consumers, adjunctive treatment for depression and anxiety, and adequate functional treats for companion animals. To understand the motivation behind this concept of research, it is important to know that humans and canines share most of the causative factors and the mental/physical epidemiology (inadequate weight, aggressive behavior, which  could be prescribed to depression etc.).

Currently, we are using different fruits and vegetable pomace as immobilizing material for lactic acid bacteria starter cultures to conceptualize an affordable DIY formula. Such formula would be used for obtaining fresh fermented dairy beverages fortified with natural dietary fiber and antioxidants intended for humans and dogs. So that’s a start.

On behalf of the whole team, I encourage you to spread the culture of ’zero waste’, ’waste into good taste’, and ’waste to wealth’.”

 

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