Chr. Hansen’s Kirsten Kastberg Moeller receives Dutch dairy award for PhD thesis on salt reduction in cheese
Since 2011 the Dutch Pieter Walstra Award has been presented to “a person who has written an outstanding scientific publication related to dairy science”, demonstrating originality and innovative aspects.
This year the jury has selected, among seven submissions from six countries, Kirsten Kastberg Moeller, Development Scientist, Chr. Hansen for her PhD thesis on “Salt reduction in Cheddar cheese: Exploring the potential of lactic acid bacteria and coagulants in restoring flavor and texture”.
Considering the link between excessive salt consumption and high blood pressure, the World Health Organization (WHO) dietary guidelines recommend consuming less than 5 grams of salt per day.
“Scientific depth with practical applicability”
The thesis was chosen as the best international scientific publication on dairy research, and the jury praised the way the Danish researcher demonstrates scientific depth with practical applicability and relevance to society. Her research has been published in six scientific journals.
“This is indeed a wonderful recognition, but also a bit overwhelming with all the attention after having worked so hard all by myself writing my thesis,” says Kirsten Kastberg Moeller, who received the award in Holland in mid-April. Only in November 2013 the product developed on her research, SaltLiteTM, received the Dairy Innovation of the Year Excellence Award at Food Ingredients Europe.
Reducing salt by 50%
In her PhD work, Kastberg Moeller explored the potential of adapting the existing cheese-making technology, by modifying process parameters and extending the functionalities of added lactic acid bacteria and coagulant, to improve the flavor and texture of Cheddar cheese with up to 50% reduced salt level.
The jury found that her publication “contributed to the scientific field and to the advancement of dairy science and technology.” Moreover, it contained “valorization and application possibilities for dairy science and technology.”
Video: SaltLite™ and Reduced-Sodium Cheese
Kirsten Kastberg Moeller: "It is truly rewarding to have contributed to the development of such a relevant innovation, which supports Chr. Hansen's vision of 'Improving food & health' so well, and I am very honored to have received the Pieter Walstra Award.”
Pieter Walstra Award
The Dutch Pieter Walstra Award was installed in 2011 by the Dutch Dairy Organisation (NZO) to honor the late Prof. dr. Pieter Walstra. His scientific knowledge was inspired by practical problems and directed towards practical applications, which has substantially contributed to the development of the Dutch dairy industry.
- Prof. dr. ir. M.A.J.S. van Boekel, chairman (Wageningen University, representing academia)
- Prof. dr. ir. G.J. Hiddink (representing NZO)
- Ms. B. Folkertsma, MSc (DSM Food Specialties, also representing the board of the Society for the
Advancement of Dairy Science)
Chr. Hansen is a global bioscience company that develops natural ingredient solutions for the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. The products include cultures, enzymes, probiotics and natural colors, and all solutions are based on strong research and development competencies coupled with significant technology investments. Revenue in the 2013/14 financial year was EUR 756 million. The company holds a leading market position in all its divisions: Cultures & Enzymes, Health & Nutrition and Natural Colors. It has more than 2,500 dedicated employees in over 30 countries and main production facilities in Denmark, France, USA and Germany. Chr. Hansen was founded in 1874 and is listed on NASDAQ OMX Copenhagen.