Dr. Freek Spitaels

Dr. Freek Spitaels's picture
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Acidic lambic beers are the product of a spontaneous fermentation that lasts for at least two years and which is hardly characterized. Until now, quality control still consists of the follow‑up of the organoleptic evaluation of appearance, smell and taste of several casks by the brewer: seeing, smelling and tasting. This organoleptic evaluation is very subjective, it does not allow controlled microbiological management and informs too late about the evolution of a cask. Therefore, there is a need for affordable, scientific objective data that can be correlated to the organoleptic properties of a cask. The complexity of the fermentation of lambic beers also requires a fast technology that ideally is capable of real-time control of the total microbial population to correlate aberrant properties or effects of adjustments to the production process with the microbial composition. This would enable fine-tuning of the production process.

The goal of this study is to design a mass spectrometric technology, starting from the obtained isolates, using MALDI-TOF MS, which enables real-time study of each stadium in the brewing process and correlation with the metabolites that are present in each stadium.

This study is funded by the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT).

Promotor(s): Prof. Dr. P. Vandamme, Prof. Dr. ir. L. De Vuyst (VUB) and Prof. Dr. A. Van Landschoot (HoGent)