PhD student profile, Begum Akgun

PhD Student: Begum Akgun


Tutor: Prof. Sara Limbo, Dipartimento di Scienze per gli Alimenti, la Nutrizione e l’Ambiente

Dean: Prof. Diego Mora

Research area: Food Science and Nutrition

PhD title achieved on: 1st March 2022


Research topic

Cellulose nanoparticles (nanocrystals and nanofibrils) in food systems: novel food packaging materials; safety of nanomaterial used in food packaging; nanostructured matrixes for advanced packaging materials to extend the shelf life of food products.


Project Synopsis

Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) are bio-based nanomaterials attracting increasing interest for industrial applications. Since their use in food packaging field is in its nascent stage, further investigation is required to understand their potentialities and pitfalls. The aims of this PhD project are: i) To investigate the potential migration into foods, setting up suitable analytical tests and identifying useful conditions which can be directly addressed to the safety evaluation of CNCs since legal requirements demand a risk assessment of nanomaterials when they are used as food contact materials. ii) To develop optically active films exploiting CNCs morphology and spatial distribution. The exposure of food products packaged in transparent films to artificial lights is the main cause of food failure, due to the detrimental effect of photodegradation. CNCs-based materials that can be selective towards most harmful wavelengths will help in maintaining a good level of transparency offering the right protection to the sensitive foods.


Project keywords

Cellulose nanocrystals, bio-based materials in food packaging, shelf life extension, light scattering technique, iridescent materials, safety of nanomaterials in food packaging


Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences, DeFENS

Food Packaging Lab, PackLab, Università degli Studi di Milano

Via Celoria 2, 20133, Milan/ Italy





Fellowship sponsor: Università degli Studi di Milano



Piergiovanni, L., Fotie, G., Amoroso, L., Akgun, B., & Limbo, S. (2019). Are cellulose nanocrystals “alien particles” to human experience? Packaging Technology and Science, 32(12), 637–640.


Conference full papers:

Akgun, B., “Potential and Pitfalls of Cellulose Nanocrystals in Advanced Packaging Materials: their Role in Food Safety”, First Virtual Workshop on the Developments in the Italian PhD Research on Food Science, Technology and Biotechnology. Palermo, Italy, September, 14-15, 2021.

Akgun, B., Korel, F., Limbo, S., & Piergiovanni, L. “Effect of Layer-by-Layer Assembly of Thin Film Incorporating Green Tea Extract on Quality of Fresh-cut Peaches”. 2nd International conference on food, nutrition and dietetics, gastronomy research. Marmaris, Turkey – April 25-29, 2019.

Korel, F., Akgun, B., Konuk, D., “Antioxidant effects of natural sources on poultry and poultry products: A review”. The XXII World’s Poultry Congress. Beijing, China – September 5-9, 2016.



Akgun, B. “Potential and pitfalls of cellulose nanocrystals in advanced packaging materials: their role in food safety and protection”. XXIV Workshop on the developments in the Italian PhD research on food science technology and biotechnology. Florence, Italy, September 11-13, 2019.

Amoroso, L., Akgun, B., Maran, C., and Piergiovanni, L. “Enhancement of biomasses and by-products for the production of microfibrillated cellulose”. SLIM, 9° Shelf Life International Meeting. Naples, Italy, June 17-20, 2019.

Akgun, B., Limbo, S., Piva, G., Fracassetti, D., Rollini, M., Piergiovanni, L., “Rilascio controllato di sostanze antossidanti e antimicrobiche naturali su frutta di IV gamma da un dispositivo attivo layer-by-layer”. Incontro Nazionale sul Food Packaging. Milan, Italy, October 25, 2017.

Korel, F., Akgun, B., Konuk, D., Bagdas H., “Effect of pasteurized and unpasteurized eggs on quality characteristics of pancakes” The XXII World’s Poultry Congress. Beijing, China, September 5-9, 2016.



Training experiences:

Participation in the training in Physic Department, Unimi – “Experimental methods for the investigation of systems at the nanoscale”. Milan, Italy, May- October, 2019.

Participation in the CS-ThAnMa – Short cycle Course on Thermal Analysis. Rome, Italy, September 2-6, 2019.

Participation in the “International Course of Italian Language and Culture (Corsi Internazionali di Lingua e Cultura Italiana)” with scholarship. Gargnano, Italy, July-August 2020.



Member of the ADI – Associazione Dottorandi e Dottori di Ricerca in Italia (2019).

Member of GSICA (Gruppo Scientifico Italiano Confezionamento Alimentare).


Background information:

MSc in Food Engineering, Izmir Institute of Technology, Izmir, Turkey.

M.Sc. Thesis dissertation: “Development of a novel active packaging system based on layer-by-layer deposition of natural antioxidants and antimicrobials to extend food products’ shelf life”. Izmir, Turkey, June, 2017.

BSc in Food Engineering, Celal Bayar University, Manisa, Turkey.


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