PakistanCountry of destination:
Dietary fiber is mainly composed of plant cell walls, for which degradation is performed by a set of carbohydrate-active enzymes working in synergy with auxiliary enzymes. Such enzymes are used in many cereal-based productions, to improve processing and final product quality. However, we still have a poor understanding of how enzymes act in the cell wall deconstruction, particularly at high-solids loading (>15% w/w), which is confronted in routine food/feed processing and carries several advantages. My project aims at deciphering the mechanistic of enzymatic (xylanases and glucanases) degradation of cereals cell wall polysaccharides in different food matrices for better industrial usage of cereals. The action of xylanases will also be assessed in conjunction with arabinofuranosidases and β-glucanases on the different models under different conditions, including highly hydrated and low hydrated media. The reaction products i.e. mono- di- and oligopolysaccharides solubilized by enzymes and the residual materials will be characterized using biochemical and imaging technics, respectively. Comparison of the results obtained in lowly and highly hydrated media will teach us how enzymes behave under the different conditions. The outcome of the project will help us to understand the enzymatic action on cereal cell wall polysaccharides in different food matrices and under different parameters of enzyme synergies, water or molecular mobility and viscosity. Furthermore, we will be able to assess the role of structural heterogeneity of carbohydrate polymers during enzymatic degradation. The longterm outcome of the project will lead to the modulation of physiological benefits associated with these polymers through controlled enzymatic hydrolysis.
I did my graduation from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan with research focus on cereal’s nutritional aspects. I continued my passion for cereal research with dietary fiber as a key area during doctoral degree at Sweden. Characterization of different cereals for their dietary fiber content and molecular weight distribution was targeted. The processing effects on the molecular weight distribution of major dietary fiber components, mainly arabinoxylan, beta-glucan and fructan were also enthralling aspects for my research. During my PhD, I participated in multiple courses, seminars and symposia.. Currently, I am working as Assistant Professor under Tenure Track System at National Institute of Food Science & Technology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan. I have produced 3 PhD and 24 master students. The academic assignments I am entrusted with include chair of graduate group in Nutrition and Food Security, convener of various committees and running of small scale units in the institute. I have been involved in different research projects as a leader or team member and have active collaborations.
Arslan M, Rakha A, Khan M.R, Zou X, 2017. Complementing the dietary fiber and antioxidant potential of gluten free bread with guava pulp powder. Food Measure. Doi: 10.1007/s11694-017-9578-2.
Israr T, Rakha A, Rashid S, Shahzad A, Ahmed W, Sohail M, 2016. Effect of basil seed gum on physico-chemical and rheological properties of bread. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation. Doi:10.1111/jfpp.13128.
Khan M.A, Nadeem, M, Rakha A, Shakoor S, Shahzad A, Khan M.R, 2016. Structural Characterization of oat bran (1→3), (1→4)-β-D-glucans by lichenase hydrolysis through HPAEC-PAD. International Journal of Food Properties. 19: 929-935.
Rashid S, Rakha A, Anjum F.M, Ahmed W, Sohail M, 2015. Effects of extrusion cooking on the dietary fibre content and water solubility index of wheat bran extrudates. International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 50: 1533-1537.
Rakha A, Åman P, Andersson R. 2013. Rheological characterisation of aqueous extracts of triticale grains and its relation to dietary fibre characteristics. Journal of Cereal Science 57:230-236.