“Advancing science is a huge motivation”
The combination of concrete, applied research and freedom to push science forwards appeals to Carl Emil Aae Eskildsen, a postdoctoral researcher in Spectec.
This article is one in a series of four articles about Nofima´s strategic research projects Spectec og Peptek.
- Using modern, research-based processing technology and expertise, unused or left-over biomass (“residual raw materials”) can be transformed into new, marketable products.
- We coordinate, further develop and increase Nofima’s total expertise related to the future’s sustainable protein production.
- Over almost 40 years, Nofima has built up a strong scientific community in the field of spectroscopy – rapid and non-destructive measurements for process optimization.
- The institute possesses solid expertise within an international format and a modern instrument platform, which is unique in Norway and comparable to the best in Europe.
Carl Emil Aae Eskildsen has a master’s degree in process analytical technology (PAT) and a PhD in spectroscopy and chemometrics from the University of Copenhagen. He is now mainly based in Ås, but at Nofima he works in several departments on various projects and with research colleagues who need spectroscopy.
“It is difficult to find projects like this, where you can both do necessary applied research – and see concrete results of your work – while still having freedom to develop your own ideas and scientific work. Being involved in advancing science is a huge motivation for me and may influence the career path I choose in the future. As a young scientist, it is essential to feel that you are developing both yourself and your field,” says Carl Emil Aae Eskildsen.
One of the projects he is involved in aims to achieve better control of the cheese-making process. Solids content and fat content are important quality parameters of cheese. Being able to find out about these at a very early stage in the process saves resources. The work is being done in collaboration with process technology research colleagues in Stavanger and the industrial partner Tine.
“Using spectroscopic instruments we can ascertain the content before the cheese is pressed and without affecting it. If the quality is below par, we have the opportunity to correct it at an early stage. This saves both time and raw materials,” explains the postdoctoral researcher.
He also does basic research – to generate new knowledge not intended for any specific application or use, as opposed to applied research, which is primarily aimed at practical goals or practical use.
“Specifically, it is a matter of improving a measurement method. It has not yet been applied in a concrete context, but it is a method that is very well suited for application,” says the scientist.
He explains how measuring the light returned when a specimen is illuminated – fluorescence – can be used to measure important quality parameters, such as the amount of collagen or specific vitamins.
“This is a method with huge industrial potential, but it is not in use yet, because it has not yet been fully developed. Norway, Europe and the whole world will be able to apply this research once we are done,” he points out.