WG1. Recovery, characterization and selection of autochthonous conventional & nonconventional (pseudo)cereal seeds

STSM 1 - Analysis of rutin and quercetin in different fractions of amaranth flour through HPLC method. Possible testing of different temperatures for the tranfsformation of rutin to quercetin in amaranth dough.
STSM 2 - Diversity analysis of spelt genotypes for processing quality traits, protein or bioactive components (fibers, tocols etc). And their usability in sourdough making in comparison to wheat
STSM 3 - Investigation of rheological properties and characterisation of final product of Gluten Free materials
STSM 4 - Assessing the technological role of sourdoughs or enzymes in cereals based products” February 2020 (1 month)

WG2. Screening and characterization cereal flours and sourdough microbiota

STSM 1 - Genotype and functional characterization of sourdough lactic acid bacteria
STSM 2 - Sequencing, assembly, annotation and functional analysis of bacterial genomes
STSM 3 - Interactions between lactic acid bacteria and yeast during sourdough fermentation

WG3. Design and development sourdough starter cultures for breadmaking and other agri-food products

STSM 1 - Technological properties of novel yeast hybrids for bread and wine fermentations
STSM 2 - Novel starter cultures for sourdough fermentations and bread making
STSM 3 - Novel starter cultures for sourdough fermentations and bread making

WG4. Production, extraction and purification functional sourdough metabolites

TS 1 - Characterization of cellular and molecular mechanisms of cell death in response to environmental stress in yeast

WG5. Enzymatic processes based on cereals and sourdough technology

STSM 1 - Endogenous enzymatic activity in different types of sourdough: natural fermentation, backslopping and starter culture initiated sourdough
  • Isabel García Izquierdo, Institute of Functional Biology and Genomics (IBFG) in Salamanca, Spain

    09 / April / 2020 - Puratos in Groot-Bijgaarden, Belgium

    My STSM took place at Puratos, Belgium. It lasted from 1st to 29th of February 2020, so I stayed in Belfium for one whole month, together with other Macedonian student, Mishela Temkov, who was working with me in the same lab. We worked under the supervisión of Dra Fabienne Verté, our host, and we work too with Elien Verguldt.

    The area of my research is the new yeast hybrids for the optimization and improvement in oenology and bakery proceses. Also, I isolate micoorganisms to the wild systems like sourdoughs, grapes, etc. For make the new hybrids I need to characterised firstly the parent yeast and I need to comprobe the new hybrids and their final characterst in wine, sourdoughs... to comprobe the final product. For all of these reasons, I saw this open call as an excellent opportunity to broaden my knowledge in this research field.

    The main goal of work done at sourdoughs and doughs was the study of the proteolitic activity with some new bacteria and withouth these. We needed to make new sourdoughs and doughs with a lot of new conditions (with agitation, different temperatures, etc.) to studied the proteolitic activity, the TTA, the pH, the gluten proteins, etc. for comprobe all the variations.

    The team included Ever Verguldt and Ena Surdiacourt between others who also helped us a lot by selflessly sharing their knowledge and experience with us. Undoubtedly I learned a lot of new things that we aren't carried out at my Institute and also some basic procedures and tricks that will surely help me in further work. Also, I could view the work at a factory that this can help me when I will need to choose my future job. A lot of the analyses were performed on HPLC, so I improved my abilities related to this instrument. Dra. Fabienne and her team have tremendous experience in proteolitic activity and sourdoughs and doughs, and there is no doubt that these experience will be beneficial for my PhD thesis and also for my future scientific career. People at the Institute with whom we did not work directly were also friendly, and all of them made our stay truly pleasant. I am deeply grateful for this amazing opportunity and once in a lifetime experience.

    Of course, during my stay in Belgium, I was free on weekends, so I managed to explore Belgium and its beautiful nature in the surrounding. I could visit the magic cities Brugges and Gent. Brussels is a little city that has a lot to offer to the tourists. I enjoyed wandering the city by foot and I could ate the waffles too! Also, during the week after
    work, all the students went to Brussels for take a drink and we could made a lot of new friends.

    In the end, I want to thank the COST Action for providing such opportunities to young scientists. I highly recommend STSM’s to all young researches doubting whether to sign up, both personally and professionally. Of course, I am thankful to my director at home institution Mercedes Tamame; without her I wouldn’t have a chance to go there. I would also like to thank Fabienne Verté and the whole team in Puratos who made our visit even better. If I get a chance again, I will apply for the STSM grant for sure!


  • Mishela Temkov, Department of Food Technology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, University of “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”, Skopje, North Macedonia

    11 / May / 2020 - Puratos Group, Industrialaan 25 Zone Maalbeek, B-1702 , Belgium

    My STSM within the COST Action Sourdomics 18101 was realized in the Innovation Center in Puratos Group, Brussels, Belgium. It was executed over 1 month starting from February the 01st. On the proposed project, which was supervised by Dr. Fabienne Verte, I was working with a wonderful colleague from Salamanca, Spain, also a STSM applicant- Isabel García Izquierdo.

    The purpose of this short term scientific stay was to analyze the enzymatic activities in different types of sourdough, fermented naturally or with different strains of starter culture, at different conditions and to make correlations between the structure and the chemical composition of the dough containing different types of sourdough compared with the blank bread (without sourdough). It is of great importance to explore the insights of the sourdough influence on the dough relaxation and the modification of the soluble and insoluble proteins. To avoid protein enzymatic degradation caused by the strains of the sourdough, researching the conditions where the enzymes are active and make an effect on the structure of the dough is essential. A correlation between the organic acids produced by the sourdough and the organic acids that are in the final product was also part of the aim of the project.

    The area of my research is the enzyme kinetics and biological active compounds including proteins and this project was a great opportunity to see how the research is done in an innovation center where the knowledge is directly applied for creation of new products with enhanced functionality. There is no better place to learn new skills and to accumulated knowledge than from well trained, highly skillful– the employees in this Research and Development Center led by creative minds – the heads of the Research Groups.

    The team composed of Elien Verguldt and Ena Surdiacourt was very welcoming and helpful in explanation of the methods and procedures used for the research. Most of the analyses were performed on HPLC, and this experience was helpful to improve my abilities in working with this instrument. But the experience that I am most grateful and that I cannot acquire in any other lab is the mastering of bread making.

    Puratos Group has large number of international interns which make the place joyful and interesting. All people that I met during my stay made the experience

    Except the working experience, Brussels is a city that has a lot to offer, including: museums and art, culture, great food and unique beer experience. If somebody asks me what I will remember from this city, I would answer “the smell of the city on waffles and chocolate”

    In the end, I want to thank the COST Action Sourdomics 18101 for giving me the opportunity to have this tremendous experience. I highly recommend COST short term missions to all researchers who want to develop and gain different skills.

    I would like to thank the team of Fabienne Verte that made this experience to happen and also the COST team in my home institution Elena Velickova and


STSM 2 - Proteomics on Sourdough culture or extracts
  • Sbatie Lama, Swedish university of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden

    11 / May / 2020 - Wageningen UR, Plant Sciences Group, BU Bioscience, Netherlands, Netherlands

    I am a PhD student and currently I am on my 2 effect of environmental variability on the composition and quality of wheat proteins with the emphasis on breadmaking quality. I have been using different tools such as SE-HPLC (Size exclusion – high performance liquid chromatography), NIT (near-infrared transmission) and Rheomix to quantify proteins from wheat genotypes grown in different environmental conditions and years. From the beginning of my PhD I was very interested to use tools of proteomics in the project and to gain better understanding in this subject area. This is when a colleague of mine informed me about the STSM calls on proteomics.

    My overall purpose in STSM was to learn proteomic analysis of gluten proteins. Proteomics analysis had been done on Liquid Chromatography – Mass spectrometry (LC-MS). During my STSM I have learned preparing samples for LC-MS. I obtained general understanding of LC-MS, data base searching and data analysis using Perseus. I brought few protein samples from Sweden. I learned preparing my samples suitable for LC/MS analysis. More experiments were conducted on protein extractions using 4 different buffers. Proteins were extracted from bread, sourdough and flour samples provided in Wageningen.

    I have done my STSM under the supervision of Dr. Twan America at Wageningen UR, Netherlands. Twan has very deep understanding of proteomics and he is a great teacher. It was a great pleasure to work under his supervision and I am looking forward to continue my work with him. All the researchers in Twan’s group were very helpful and stuffs were friendly and welcoming. Whenever needed, everyone helped spontaneously. Furthermore, labs in Wageningen are well equipped with all the facilities to conduct all kinds of proteomics works. During my STSM I met Velitchka Gotcheva, another STSM candidate from Bulgaria, who became a very good friend in a short period of time.

    Due to corona pandemic I couldn’t stay as long as I was planning to stay at Wageningen. However, this short period of time was enough to get an overview of the proteomics world and to plan future work in the project.

    I have greatly enjoyed my staying at Wageningen. I lived in Wageningen city center which was 20-25 minutes walking distance from the university area. There was a farmers market on every Wednesday and Saturday in the city center. A lot of fresh vegetables, fishes and cheeses were available in this farmers market. A visit to this market is highly recommended.

    I am very thankful to COST Action network (CA18101 SOURDOMICS) for providing this opportunity to work at Wageningen. This mission not only provided me an overview of proteomics and LC/MS but it also gave me opportunity for future collaboration with Dr.

    Twan America. I would highly recommend COST Action STSM to all the PhD students and young researchers.

    I have attached here few photos of me working in the lab and data analysis room.


STSM 3 - Protein expression ( in microbes) and purification

WG6. Project design and development innovative prototypes of products and small-scale processing technologies

STSM 1 - Assessing the technological role of sourdoughs or enzymes in cereals based products
  • Adriana Skendi, International Hellenic University, Thessaloniki, Greece

    11 / May / 2020 - Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology, Valencia, Spain, Spain

    The STSM 1-WG6 when I was involved took place at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology, Valencia, Spain. I spent one month in the Prof Cristina Rosell’s lab. During the work performed in the institute to fulfil the aim of the present STSM, I had the opportunity to obtain extended knowledge about different techniques applied in cereal-based products. The Prof. Rosell’s team assisted me by sharing their knowledge and experience. In addition, people at the institute with whom I was not directly involved were friendly making my stay pleasant.

    During my staying, I had the opportunity of visiting the city, museums and sights as well as tasting unique local food. By the end of the STMS it was developed a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for the future cooperation. I strongly recommend STSM’s to all researches. It is worth to apply, both professionally and personally.


STSM 2 - New products development (bread, biscuits, beverages, functional emulsions, coatings etc.) by using fermentation technologies with pure lactic acid bacteria isolated from spontaneous fermented cereals – sourdough
STSM 3 - The development and preparation of suitable composite flours and their comprehensive technological assessment for bakery or other purposes (rheological parameters, experimental baking, related analysis ...)
  • Dana Carmen Chira, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, (USAMV), Cluj Napoca, Romania.

    30 / April / 2020 - Slovak University of Agriculture, Nitra, Slovakia , Slovakia

    My STSM took place at the Institution Slovak University of Agriculture, Nitra, Slovakia. It lasted from 03th to 17th February, 2020, so I stayed in Nitra for about two weeks. I must begin by saying for me it was a rare chance, speaking of the work that has been done, the things I've seen and learned, and also about the huge amount of kind people I have had the chance to meet, in a very short time. Sometimes, life is truly amazing! You'll find great chocolate in Slovakia. I'd say the chocolate making is rather like an art here, so tasty it is, take it in small pieces, or as hot chocolate, it's just great look and delicious taste!

    Speaking about this great experience, I will mention for the beginning that the “Slovak University of Agriculture” (SUA) from Nitra is the only agricultural university in Slovakia. That could explain also the huge investments you can see materialized alI over the University, and especially in all the Agrobiotech Center, where your eyes will be “immersed” in generous spaces and in fully equipped labs, in last generation equipment which you may have maybe once in a lifetime chance to see at work, like electronic nose or Rheofermentometer, etc.

    The field of the research was amaranth. I've spent my time here working as a team with Svetlana Mykolenko, a highly skilled professional from Ukraine, under the kind and dedicated supervision of Dr. Tatiana Bojnanska, at the AgroBioTech Center, and also at the Department of Technology and Quality of Plant Products (FBFS), where we were guests, basically. These people (from the department) are great in making foreigners feel like at home. I will point the whole team starting with the Head of the Department and continuing with Ing. Eva Ivanisova, who I'd describe as the perfect host (we have used practically her lab), then Ing. Adriana Handzušová, always very kind, who also delighted us with rare applications of functional food “on the way”. The rest of the team was also very kind and really ready to help or give us a hand with our project. Dr. Vladimir Vietoris, a stunning intelligence, kindly explained us the applications of three rare instruments they have on the department, which are used for the sensorial analysis of food products: electronic eye, nose and tongue. The combination of these three equipments (from Alpha Mos) is to be found together in just 5 places in the world and the Department of Technology and Quality of Plant Products of SUA Nitra is one of them. I will describe them quickly for the further use of future applicants, even if these equipments were not directly part of the work we've done there, I gathered this interesting information as another huge PLUS of the Nitra experience!

    The first one, electronic eye, “Iris”, characterizes the visual aspect of food products, and provides also shapes analysis, colours analysis, basically it is an easy and fast-to-use tool which allows to get reliable, objective and detailed measurements, basically precious data to produce a positive perception of the visual quality among consumers, also useful for product development. Another equipment, the electronic tongue enables for example making products development easier by characterizing their taste. We have seen basically “at work“ “Heracles”, from the same company, Alpha Mos, which is the electronic nose, used to get objective and reliable measurements in smell testing. Its applications allow for example guaranteeing the quality and conformity of food products among consumers, or to detect fraud and counterfeiting .

    They are also to be mentioned, as great people I've met or known, Dr. Andrea Hricova, from the Institute of Plant Genetics and Biotechnology (Plant Science and Biodiversity Center). I must say meeting her was an experience in itself, she's absolutely one of the smartest persons I've ever met, and I'll also add two other special individuals I've met during this great life experience, Svetlana, on one hand, plus another great character, the smart, ambitious, and hard working PhD student, Ivona, from Serbia, from the Chemistry Department, I want just to mention her humanity and warm welcome and approach to us as visitors, and also her Supervisor's responsibility. The PhD student Patricia, from the department FBFS is another intuitive character, aimed by the consumers rights, who's working on double standards which we basically daily face in our lives, she was another great person we've encountered in our short Slovak stay.

    I applied for this STSM since I am interested in the use and behaviour of sourdough and in the development and preparation of suitable composite flours and their comprehensive technological assessment for bakery, and also in a further comprehension through research of all what means added nutritional value in the bakery products. The STSM purpose was research regarding amaranth, and it’s use to enrich the bread (rheological properties, nutritional and sensory properties), of dough enriched with amaranth, and also basic bakery test. As I have already mentioned, the work was coordinated and kindly supported by Dr. Tatiana Bojnanska, our host, and by her team. For me, it meant other added accomplishments, since I also had the opportunity to further approach other high nutritional added value ingredients which can be used in the bakery process: Sourdough traditional starters and broccoli germs.

    The grain amaranth (Amaranthus spp.), due to the unique seed composition, represents an interesting alternative material in cereal based composite flours for breadmaking purposes (Schnetzler and Breene, 1994; Berghofer and Schoenlechner, 2002; Bavec and Bavec, 2006). It became of great interest in the last decades for scientists, in Europe too. In comparison to cereal crops, Amaranth (Amaranthus sp.) grain features high nutrition value (Vavreinová, 1997; Jarošová et al., 1997). Also, seeds of amaranth plants contain high portion of amino essential acids - especially LYS (7.59 g.kg-1 of dry matter), but also GLX, ASX, LEU, ARG, GLY and SER. Amaranth protein digestibility reach about 80 % which is very high value when compared to other crops – maize (45 %), wheat (60 %), soya bean (68 %) and products - cow milk (72 %), (Vietmeyer,1982; Bressani,1992). According to Michalová (1999) amaranth protein composition is near to the ideal protein recommended by FAO / WHO / UNU (1973). Lysine content in amaranth wholemeal flour is app. trice higher compared to wheat flour (Buchtová et al.,1996). The amino acid content in Amaranth seeds (Amaranthus sp.) Jiří Peterka et al, Zemědělská fakulta, Studentská 13, 370 01 České Budějovice, Czech Republic,- at the 5th International Symposium of the European Amaranth Association, Nitra, 2008). From the last year’s initiatives in Europe, which involve also my country, Romania, I would like to mention for example the Protein2Foodproject, a Horizon 2020 project, which is basically gathering researchers, producers and other interested parties, being focused on amaranth and quinoa.

    We have worked with four varieties of amaranth, originally from Ukraine, varieties which were kindly brought to Slovakia by the other participant in this STSM, Svetlana. I will describe the steps we've made in this team work. The determination of the rheological properties of dough with 15% of amaranth addition has been done, using Rheofermentometer and Mixolab equipment and we also did bakery test. We have prepared the various samples using Chopin Mill from Chopin Technologies. We have subsequently used in our work the Rheofermentometer, a last generation equipment which measures the characteristics of dough during proofing (the dough development, the production of gas due to yeast action, the porosity of the dough, the tolerance of the dough during proofing. In the literature, Chopin Rheofermentometer is described as the unique device which provides information about dough properties that traditionally have been obtained by employing several different tests, i.e. by combination of at least two analyses such are Maturograph and Fermentograph, allowing evaluation of flour fermentation capacity, yeast activity and indirectly indicates the quality of gluten complex proteins. Moreover, the results obtained, indirectly correlates with the Farinograph measurements.

    The Role of Empirical Rheology in Flour Quality Control, T. Dapcevic Hadnadev, M. Pojić, M. Hadnadev, A. M Torbica, in Wide Spectra of Quality Control, p.340 (2011) The Mixolab, on the other hand, is used to characterize the rheological behaviour of dough subjected to a dual mixing and temperature constraint, allowing study of rheological and enzymatic parameters: dough rheological characteristics (development time, hydration capacity, etc.), protein reduction, enzymatic activity, gelatinization and gelling of starch. Rheological properties of dough were monitored in our case by using Mixolab 2 (Chopin Tecnologies), applying the protocols “Chopin S” and “Chopin +”. The international standard ICC-Standard Method no. 173, a protocol for complete characterization of flours, was used, and a simplified graphic interpretation performed in our work.

    We prepared extracts for the determination of the biological activity of the amaranth, and determine dry matter content, crude protein content, ash content, and fat content in the amaranth samples, this part of the work being made at the Department of technology and quality of plant products. We continued the work by determining the antioxidant activity (using DPPH method), the total polyphenol and phenolic acid content in the amaranth extracts at the Department of Tecnology and AgroBioTech Research center). At the end of Rheofermentometer measurement, the dough was placed in the oven (MIWE Condo), using the baking mode P4 and the temperatures: 180 0 C-7', 200 0 C-20', and 160 0 C-13'. Subsequently, the experimental loaf was analyzed: weight, aw, moisture, photo, bread volume was measured using Volume meter Volscan Profiler (Stable Micro Systems, Surrey, England): analysis (volume, specific volume, volume-yield, etc, aspect ratio of middle slice, etc.

    Another step in our work was preparing extracts for the biological activity of amaranth, and also determination of the dry matter content, crude protein content, ash content, fat content, in the loafs, having 15% of amaranth addition, as well as the antioxidant activity (DPPH method), total polyphenol and phenolic acid content in loafs with 15% amaranth addition. The rest of the experience, the one of the eyes and of the heart, I will explain through pictures, which will better replace words, sometimes too poor to spell the beauty of images, or the kindness of people.

    A very special thank to the special people who kindly advised me, or gave me their support, from USAMV Cluj Napoca and from IATA, Valencia.

    I want to thank the SOURDOMICS network and to the magnificent Sourdomics team who was there, very human, present and proactive, every single time I needed them, and to the COST Action CA 18101 SOURDOMICS for providing such opportunities to young scientists. I highly recommend STSM’s to all young researches doubting whether to sign up, both personally and professionally. If I get a chance again, I will surely apply for the STSM grant, TS or for other activities!

STSM ? - Design innovative healthy breads by using sourdoughs and vegetable ingredients.
STSM ? Cancelled (covid-19) - New foods development by using sustainable substrates and fermentation technologies.

WG7. Valorization of by-products, residues and food wastes throughout the entire value chain

TS 1 - New foods development by using sustainable substrates and fermentation technologies

WG8. Food safety, health promoting, sensorial perception and consumers’ behaviour

STSM 1 - The role of rural women /organizations in rural areas in the promotion of sourdough bread
STSM 2 - Sensorial analysis of bread and bakery products and comparison with instrumental methods
STSM 3 - Synthesis, characterization and application of edible films onto bread and bakery products and shelf-life evaluation

WG9. Economic feasibility, environmental sustainability, and business case development and team qualification

TS 1 - Team qualification: tools and skills to encourage actions to support business creation and entrepreneurship actions
  • Dr. Velitchka Gotcheva, University of Food Technologies, Bulgaria

    15 / May / 2020 - ACIBTM / Incubo – Associação Centro de Incubação de Base Tecnológica do Minho, Portugal, Portugal

    Training school “Team qualification: tools and skills to encourage actions to support business creation and entrepreneurship actions” offered under the activities of WG9 of COST Action 18101 SOURDOMICS was organised by the Association for Technology Incubation Center of Minho (ACIBTM / Incubo) and took place in Arcos de Valdevez, Portugal from 2nd to 4th March, 2020. My interest in this training school was related to the very limited availability of courses or vocational trainings on entrepreneurship in Bulgaria. So it was an excellent opportunity to learn from successful projects, to generate ideas on linking research with business applications, and to establish new contacts.

    The TS was very well organised and took place at the new Technology Incubation Centre of Minho in Arcos de Valdevez. Our host organiser Jorge Miranda had done a great job of making a very interesting programme including lectures, practical case solving and a field trip day with visits of several small successful businesses.

    Our lecturers – Jorge Miranda, Adriano Fidalgo and Alexandre Nuno Vaz Baptista de Vieira e Brito were very dedicated in transferring their knowledge and experience to the TS participants. During the training, we were introduced to the macroeconomic context of business establishment – how to build a marketing strategy, and to the microeconomic context – making market analysis. We learned about the principles of building marketing strategies and conducting marketing analysis, the basic skills for strategic positioning, models for planning and evaluating the effectiveness and sustainability of entrepreneurial initiatives, as well as the personal qualities needed for entrepreneurship and success, such as motivation and leadership skills. We learned how to design and implement a sales plan, the strategic importance of internal and external information for a company’s strategic positioning and the different phases of implementation of a business idea. We also worked in groups on practical cases based on “the 5 corners model” in which we tried to implement the theoretical steps from scientific research results to development of a successful business plan (which proved to be a very challenging task!).

    The local stories of successful entrepreneurship started with introduction of ACIBTM /Incubo and its objectives and activities. On the second day, we had a trip to the National Park of Peneda Gerês, where we visited the beautiful village of Pitões das Júnias, which is with preserved traditional architecture and unique Portuguese atmosphere. First stop was at the small family bakery “Pitões das Júnias”, making various types of artisanal breads, where we saw the production process and talked with the family about their business. The second visited business was of a livestock producer, where we were able to see cattle production in extensive and sustainable regime. And of course, we could not miss the museum of Pitões das Júnias to get to know more about the local culture. The third stop was at “Montalegre” Wines. The vineyard is located at the highest altitude in Portugal and the combination of specific geographical conditions, local vine varieties and good entrepreneurship skills ensures a very successful current business. Our wine tasting experience was fantastic, and several bottles of the very special “green wine” travelled to different EU destinations two days later.

    During the training, we also made an “out of programme” evening trip to Piodão – a small historical village with mountain slopes turned into terraced fields which present a breath-taking view from a high point in the mountain opposite. We had dinner with the mayor of the village who told us about the different initiatives and projects of the mayor’s administration which are focusing on preserving and reviving the village by making it a tourist destination. Even with our short time in this unique place, walking the stone streets and trying delicious food - local corn bread, tender steaks and cookies made of a local bean variety, we already wished to come back again.

    Our host organizer and all people involved in the TS at INCUBO made it an unforgettable experience. We gained new knowledge on how to turn research results or an idea into a starting business and the factors which are crucial for its sustainability. We had an opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with our lectures and the other participants in the TS, and last, but not least – we discovered Portugal in a very different way, not only as the famous along-the-coast tourist destination, but as a unique culture, live economy, a country of creativity and with a strong and successful entrepreneurial spirit – a lot to learn from it!

    Thank you, COST SOURDOMICS, and thank you Jorge!


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