Biotechnology and Microbial Physiology is one of several chairs held by Lubbert Dijkhuizen at the University of Groningen. Enzymatic modification of starch is one of his many research projects, in cooperation with AVEBE, a cooperation of potato farmers in the Northern provinces. In the human body, potato starch is quickly broken down into sugars, causing peak concentrations of glucose in the blood after meals. Goal of the research is to find and characterise new enzymes for modifying starch in such a way that it is less quickly broken down, thus enhancing the economic value of starch as soluble fibre.
Dijkhuizen also is the scientific director of the Carbohydrate Competence Centre (CCC). As yet, CCC is a Dutch cluster in which internationally operating companies participate. CCC’s next step will be internationalisation, says Dijkhuizen, e.g. into neighbouring Northern Germany. CCC is a stable organization with a proven cooperation model between industry and research centres, and is open to new participants and projects. Dijkhuizen welcomes the new Dutch innovation policy as a means to strengthen the role of innovative fundamental research and innovative SME’s.