Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Rebekka Thøgersen

PhD Student

Rebekka Thøgersen


PhD project: Metabolomics to disentangle food matrix effects

University: Aarhus University

Department: Department of Food Science

Supervisor: Hanne Christine S. Bertram, Professor

Project supervisor:

Project term: 1 October 2016 – 30 September 2019

Master’s degree: MSc in Molecular Nutrition and Food Technology, Aarhus University



The composition and physical attributes of a given complex food matrix is thought to influence the endogenous response upon ingestion. One such food matrix is red and processed meat which, according to epidemiological studies, have shown a potential association with increased risk of colorectal cancer. However, meat and meat products also contribute with positive components such as proteins and minerals and constitute an important part of our diet. Therefore, it is of interest to investigate how the composition of meat products influence the endogenous response upon ingestion and also the potential of developing an optimized food matrix with a reduced potential harmful effect on colon health. For this purpose, metabolomics can be a useful tool to gain insight into the endogenous metabolic and gut microbial-derived response following ingestion of a food matrix.


Aim of the project

The overall aim is to elucidate the use of metabolomics approaches in the investigation of endogenous and gut microbial-derived responses followed by intake of complex food matrices thereby elucidating the potential of developing meat products modified to reduce possible harmful effects on colon heath.


Research outline

The project will make use of animal models and intervention studies for investigation of the effect of complex food matrices and modification of these. At first, a rat intervention study will be conducted investigating the effect of enrichment of a meat product with inulin. This is based on earlier studies indicating a protective role of dietary fibers in the development of colorectal cancer. Metabolomics analysis, mainly proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), will be used to analyze a series of samples including bio fluids, feces and tissues. In addition, immunohistochemical analysis will be used to investigate the formation of pro-mutagenic DNA adducts following ingestion as well as gut microbiome analysis.


Partners of collaboration

Prof. Axel Kornerup Hansen, University of Copenhagen

Assoc. Prof. Dennis Sandris Nielsen, University of Copenhagen

View all (12) »

View all (4) »

ID: 90709873