DK: Fiskeolieemulsion. Foto: DTU Fødevareinstituttet | UK: Fish oil emulsion. Photo: National Food Institute.

Medal for research that prevents food from going rancid

Food, fish and agriculture Food technology Food production Health-promoting compounds

DTU professor Charlotte Jacobsen has received the DGF Norman Medal for her many years of research into ways of preventing omega-3 fatty acids from going rancid.

The health-promoting properties of omega-3 fatty are well documented. However, using them as an ingredient in food can be a challenge, as the fatty acids tend to go rancid when exposed to oxygen.

For decades, Professor Charlotte Jacobsen from the DTU National Food Institute has conducted research aimed at understanding the process of rancidification (lipid oxidation) that  takes places in foods and consumer products. She has also developed methods that can stall this process.

For this work, Charlotte Jacobsen has now been awarded the DGF Norman Medal from the German Society for Fats Science (DGF).

Research leads to less food waste

While rancid fatty acids do not necessarily make foods unsafe to eat, consumers tend to discard the food because of the unwanted taste.

Charlotte Jacobsen’s work to develop methods that food producers can use to prevent rancidification is therefore helping to combat food waste. The research also helps preserve both the quality of the food and health-promoting properties of the fatty acids

In distinguished company

The award ceremony took place at the DGF annual meeting in Leipzig on 18 November—a year later than originally planned due to last year’s corona restrictions. Only one other Dane, namely the Nobel Prize winner Henrik Dam, has previously received the medal for his discovery of the fat-soluble vitamin K.

DK: Charlotte Jacobsen holder medalje og diplom fra DGF Normanprisen. Foto: DTU Fødevareinstituttet. | EN: Charlotte Jacobsen holds her diploma and medal. Photo: National Food Institute
Charlotte Jacobsen shows her diploma and medal. Photo: National Food Institute

It is the second time this year that Charlotte Jacobsen has been recognized for her research: In March she received the Stephen S. Chang Award from the American Oil Chemists’ Society, AOCS.

Read more 

Learn about Charlotte Jacobsen’s research by listening to a lecture on the role of antioxidants in slowing down the rancidification process that she gave at the AOCS award ceremony in March: Stabilization of omega-3 PUFA rich raw materials and foods against lipid oxidation.

The latest knowledge on ways to extract, produce and protect health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids is presented in a handbook published by Elsevier, which Charlotte Jacobsen has edited with a couple of colleagues from her research group. Read about the book, which came out in July 2021, in a news item from the National Food Institute: Handbook features the latest knowledge on omega-3 fatty acids.

Charlotte Jacobsen is head of the Research Group for Bioactives – Analysis and Application. The group produces knowledge aimed at improving the population's intake of healthy foods that are rich in vitamins, healthy lipids and proteins. The group's research is also used to develop ingredients from previously unused resources. Read about the group’s research on the institute’s website.