German Institute of Food Technologies

German Institute of Food Technologies
German Institute of Food Technologies(DIL)
Abbreviated name of the German Institute of Food Technologies, DIL in forrest-green colour with the microcellular graphic in two green colours and the official name of the DIL in black letters (below).
Official logo of the German Institute of Food Technologies
Abbreviation DIL
Motto Knowledge for superior foods
Formation 1983 [1]
Type Institution
Legal status Registered association
Purpose/focus Research & Development
Headquarters Quakenbrück, Germany
Location Lower Saxony, Germany
Region served Germany, Worldwide
Official languages German, English
Director Dr.-Ing.Volker Heinz [2]
Staff approx. 117 [1]

The German Institute of Food Technologies (ger. Deutsches Institut für Lebensmitteltechnik e.V. - DIL) is a non-governmental and self-financing research institute supported by more than 120 members from fields of food production, mechanical engineering, process engineering and metrology. The DIL was founded in 1983 and is situated in the county of Osnabrück, one of the regions with the highest numbers of full-time employees and highest density of food industry enterprises in Germany.[3]

The research focus of the DIL is to develop innovative methods for food production, quality assurance and process optimization. Beneficiaries of new insights in food technology are small and medium-sized enterprises. Stated as main objective is the improvement of efficiency and increase of competitiveness of companies from the food industry.

According to own sources, the institute finances itself by 90% through external funds, out of which 55% are used to cooperate directly with members of the DIL.[4]



Former Minister-President of Lower Saxony Christian Wulff and director of the DIL Dr.-Ing. Volker Heinz.
Graphic of the prospective new buildings of the DIL

On 17 May 1983 the Support Association for Promoting the Establishment of the German Institute of Food Technologies was founded as the legal status of a membership cooperation in Quakenbrück, Lower Saxony.

In May 1985 a new building was planned for the DIL in the Professor-von-Klitzing Street, where the foundation stone was laid on September 1985 by Birgit Breuel, who was Secretary of Commerce then. The Minister-President of Lower Saxony at that time, Ernst Albrecht, inaugurated the new building at the turn of the year 1986/1987.

In 1988 the institute was renamed into its present name "German Institute of Food Technologies" and its legal form was change from membership cooperation to registered association.[5]

As part of DIL's agenda for 2015 the current building had to be expanded. The state of Lower Saxony had agreed to support the Artland municipality with a subsidy of € 15 million to enable local agribusinessess and food production companies to develop their international competitiveness.[5]

On 20 Mai 2009 the foundation stone for the expansion of the DIL building was laid by Friedrich-Otto Ripke, the Secretary of State for agriculture, nutrition and consumer protection. The former Minister-President of Lower Saxony Christian Wulff and Hans-Heinrich Ehlen were thanked for their personal contribution to the grant which enables the German Institute of Food Technologies to cooperate and link itself with further research institutes in the county.[5][6]

Business Fields

Product Development

New trends in markets and direct orders from companies serve as drive and guideline to develop appealing, healthy food products for all market segments: confectionery, baked goods, dairy and meat products, snacks and convenience products. The development process is also governed by a comprehensive analytical characterization of the structure of ingredients. Physical analysis in thermal, rheological and physiochemical tests enable possibilities to identify and characterize microstructures such as foams, emulsions and suspensions.[7]

Process Development

The focus of this business field is set to investigate in more efficient methods to process food production. Main goals include energy reduction, automation of technical processes and the use of new technologies to transform materials. The following areas are highlights of the process development:

Food Safety

Products are tested upon their safety to avoid unforeseen incidents such as contamination of food. Raw material but also final products are being tested according to legal requirements and regulations in order to be safe for the consumer. Main areas of focus are quality management, chemical- and microbiological analysis. Although the food producer alone carries the responsibility for the production of safe food and the implementation of the necessary measures, the DIL can support food producers through quality controls and seminars about hygiene management.[9]


All business fields of the DIL are offered externally and as well as internally for research groups and projects. The range of services include among others mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, seminars and integration into networks.[10]


Structure & Functionality

The quality of food is determined by their structure. Therefore, an optimization of food structures leads an improvement of long-term quality of food. Based on test on structure generation and the interdependency with the quality of food the DIL tries to increase the shelf-life of products.[11]


Research on the suitability of ingredient applications, such as probiotics and prebiotics, for industrially processed food in order to support the defense mechanism of the body and human health. Addition or multiplication of useful microorganisms but also inhibition or reduction of undesired microorganisms is being tested. Other points of focus are insights to specific properties of yeats and research on white and blue biotechnology.[12]


New application areas for robotics are being researched, far away from the traditional image of robotics where robots are mostly used for packing processes. Safe and hygienic handling of unpacked and packed food products are main highlight in this field. Through cooperation with food producers, robotics engineers and manufacturers the DIL establishes new functions for robotics.[13]



Official logo of the Lower Saxonian competency center for the food industry (NieKE).

The DIL cooperate in a network of universities and other research institutes; among them are the Technical University of Berlin, the University of Jena, the Max Rubner-Institute and the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover.[14]

The Lower Saxonian competency center for the food industry (NieKE) is a network of cooperation between the German Institute of Food Technologies, The Institute of Spatial Analysis and Planning in Areas of Intensive Agriculture (ISPA) of the University of Vechta, DIALOG - The Center for Transfer of Information and Technology at the University of Oldenburg, the Competency Center Functional Food (KKF) and The Research and Technology Contact Center (unitransfer) at the University of Hanover. The aims of this cooperative network are knowledge sharing between the members and the support of small and medium-sized enterprises.[14][15]

In May 2009 the University of Applied Sciences in Osnabrück and the DIL signed an agreement for a long-term cooperation for future research and education. As result of this cooperation a state-wide new academic course was established for the fall semester 2008; the Bachelor of Engineering “Food Production Engineering and Business”. The German Institute of Food Technologies functions as one of the main coordinating bodies.[16]


Along with the University of Groningen, the Netherlands and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), the DIL founded the ICCF (International Competence Center Food and Research Development) as research collaboration. This project was established to link closer cooperation and integration between the German and Dutch parts of the Ems Dollart Region.[14] The German Institute of Food Technologies operates worldwide with customers from Japan, China, India, Australia and the USA. Among DIL's customers are global players such as Mars, General Mills and Barilla.[14]

HighTech Europe

Official logo of HighTech Europe

HighTech Europe is an initiative of European research organizations, industrial associations and enterprises with the goal of setting up a European Institute of Food Technology in order to share competences and knowledge of research available in Europe.

The network is coordinated by the DIL and sponsored by the EU research sponsoring. Common goals are latest findings in biotechnology, nanotechnology as well as information and communication technology for innovative strategies in food production to strengthen the resident industry for global competition. Currently, the network counts 22 members, 21 being from Europe and one from Oceania. [17]


Official logo the new ELCRACK system.

The systems are high voltage generators used in the food industry for degermination or for improvement of extraction processes. In 1980 Krupp Maschinentechnik made first attempts to use this technology commercially; Through ultrafiltration oil was extracted from fish in Norway. However, the attempt to commercialize the use of pulsed electric fields among the food technology.[18]

Illustration with features & functions of the ELCRACK.

In 1988/89 the DIL reserved the rights to use the Elcrack brand, established by Krupp Maschinentechnik GmbH, for an easier market launch.[19]

The newly developed ELCRACK relies consistently on the use of cost-efficient and highly reliable components in the field of pulsed energy supply. The electrodes’ systems were completely redesigned by DIL with an improved standard in terms of stability and ease of maintenance.

ELCRACK systems are available in the performance ranges of 5 kW and 30 kW.[20]

The name of the system stands for electrical cracking of cells and relates to the process of the Electroporation, where externally applied electrical fields are used on animal and plant cells to make their membrans permeable. A treatment with pulsed elecric fields also supports the inactivation of microorganisms.[21]

Next to the inactivation of microorganisms, faster removal of moisture, for example from meat, is one of the functions of the system. By drying the meat through the ELCRACK it gains a longer shelf life and thus it is more suitable for mass transport. Another important function is the enhanced extraction from juice out fruits; after the electroporation the cell membranes have a higher permeability and thus more juices can be extracted from the fruits.[21]


  1. ^ a b DIL: About DIL. Accessed on 21 June 2010.
  2. ^ DIL: Contact partner. Accessed on 21 June 2010.
  3. ^ DIL Business Statistics Accessed on 22 June 2010.
  4. ^ DIL Introduction Accessed on 22 June 2010
  5. ^ a b c CDL Lower Saxony Scientific Commission of Lower Saxony about the DIL Accessed on 22 June 2010.
  6. ^ DIL Investment - € 15 million investment for Artland municipality Accessed on 22 June 2010.
  7. ^ DIL Business Business Fields Product development Accessed on 23 June 2010.
  8. ^ DIL Business Business Fields Process development Accessed on 23 June 2010.
  9. ^ DIL Business Fields Business Fields Food safety Accessed on 23 June 2010.
  10. ^ DIL Business Field Service Service Options Accessed on 23 June 2010.
  11. ^ DIL Research Structure & Functionality Accessed on 23 June 2010.
  12. ^ DIL Research Biotechnology Accessed on 23 June 2010.
  13. ^ DIL Research Robotics Accessed on 23 June 2010.
  14. ^ a b c d DIL Brochure About DIL Accessed on 23 June 2010.
  15. ^ NieKE About NieKE Accessed on 24 June 2010.
  16. ^ University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück New cooperation with DIL Accessed on 24 June 2010
  17. ^ HighTech Europe HighTech Europe Network. Accessed on 24 June 2010.
  18. ^ Higgins T. K.Electric pulses keep beating Accessed on 24 June 2010.
  19. ^ Rahman, S., M. (2007). Pulsed Electric Fields in Food Preservation. In: Vega-Mercado, H. et al Handbook of food preservation. 2nd ed. Boca Raton, US: CRC Press. p792
  20. ^ ELCRACK Treatment Costs Accessed on 24 June 2010.
  21. ^ a b ELCRACK The Process Accessed on 24 June 2010.

External links

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