Dr. Annette Häser
Field of work
As a food chemist, I am employed in the Institute of Botany, where I am specialized in the food microscopy. Food microscopy represents an old technique, about 200 years old, and has remained an important method for diagnostic of processed food such as starches, cereals, spices, herbs, tea, marmalades, vegetables, honey and impurities of food-like package materials, vermin, fungi and so on.
During the semester I teach practical courses in general plant anatomy and morphology for students of food chemistry with Bachelor’s degree and practical courses in microscopic methods of food analyses for students of food chemistry with Master’s degree.
My particular field of work is to investigate the morphology and anatomy of novel food plants. New trends in dining culture lead to import of novel foods. The verification of these are mostly difficult because of deficient availability of authenticated raw material and specialist literature with morphological and anatomical descriptions. To generate morphological and anatomical monographs, we provide authenticated plant material and cultivate them in the botanical garden. Also we include possible adulterants in our investigations.
To identify plant and animal fragments by microscopy shape, size and pattern of the different cell types, tissues and cell compounds (e. g. crystals, starch grains) of the particular plant organs are important. Impurities are also recognized by their specific structures. Different preparation techniques of the probe material help to find characteristic features for diagnosis. For the verification it is important to compare the result with authenticated raw material.