Dott.ssa Mag. Hannah Innerbichler, BSc


Thesis title: "Identification of Biomarkers for the Authentication of Alpine Cheeses"

Thesis outline: The European Union (EU) protects the names of traditional foods by registering their product specifications and granting them a geographical indication (GI) quality label. The EU labels eligible foods either a protected designation of origin (PDO) or a protected geographical indication (PGI) label depending on the extent of connection between food and specified area. EU quality schemes add value to traditional foods, which translates to preserving long-established food and feed production techniques, sustaining rural areas, creating identity, and making EU’s food products competitive on a global market. EU’s quality labels improve the visibility of traditional foods and aid consumers in making more sustainable food choices. GI labeled foods are premium foods and thus targets to food fraud that causes financial damage to genuine producers, ruins consumers’ trust and may put consumers’ health at risk.

This doctoral project supports the EU’s fundamentals in ensuring food safety and integrity of foods. The project aims at identifying biomarkers for the authentication of protected alpine cheeses from Austria, Germany and Italy. The project’s approach is to collect chemical, microbiological, rheological, sensory, thermophysical, and non-published historical data of alpine cheeses with and without protected status. This database will form the foundation for detecting intrinsic characteristics of distinct alpine cheeses that will apply as potential biomarkers. Potential biomarkers will then be validated using alpine cheeses and non-alpine cheeses. Biomarkers proven effective will unequivocally link protected alpine cheeses to their production specification that regulates permitted raw materials, the processing method, and the geographical area of production.

Funding: This doctoral project is funded by MCI Management Center Innsbruck, Internationale Hochschule GmbH

Supervisors: Jürgen KönigKatrin Bach (Management Center Innsbruck)