Hans Konrad Biesalski

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Hans Konrad Biesalski (* 14 April 1949 in Marburg) is a German physician and professor of biological chemistry and nutritional medicine at the University of Hohenheim.

Hans Konrad Biesalski
Bild Hans Konrad Biesalski.jpg
Residence Germany
Nationality German
Fields Nutritional medicine
Institutions University of Hohenheim
Known for Hidden hunger


Hans Konrad Biesalski studied medicine at the universities of Mainz und Bonn. In 1979 he was licensed physician. From 1979 until 1982 Biesalski worked as a research assistant at the Department of Physiology, Division of Biophysics at the University of Mainz. In 1981 he earned his doctorate. From 1984 until 1993 he worked at the Department of Physiology at the University of Mainz, in 1992 he held a position as a nutritional physician there. In 1993 he was appointed professor for biological chemistry and nutritional medicine at the University of Hohenheim. Actually he is working as the director of this institute. Biesalski is also director of the Food Science Center of the same university. In 2007 he received a call as a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.

Scientific contributions[edit]

Biesalski worked on the importance of vitamin A for the development and function of the inner ear and for lung function (maturing and mucous barrier).[1][2] Especially the first-time description of the storage possibility of vitamin A (retinyl ester) in organs and tissues outside the liver were new findings for the research of the vitamin A metabolism.[3][4] In 1995 he succeeded in demonstrating, that an alternative metabolism pathway over circulating retinyl ester exists. This pathway was only known at carnivores before. It was seen as a new alternative to the classical distribution method of vitamin A from the liver as retinol bound to a retinol binding protein (RBP). A pair of siblings was carrying a mutation of the gene for RBP and therefore showed an unmeasurable retinol blood level. Apart from minor changes of their skin and night blindness the siblings showed no significant anomaly typical for vitamin A deficiency.[5][6] Actually the siblings had the distribution method of the carnivores.

Later Biesalski focused on questions of capture and treatment of hidden hunger (micronutrient deficiency)[7][8] and food security. He also dealt with the therapy of micronutrient deficiency, mainly vitamin C at intensive care patients.[9] A further experimental field is nutritargeting, which was described by him first. Nutritarging is the development of galenical formulations, allowing a targeted supply of organs with nutrients.[10]

Biesalski´s most recent scientific work reflects analyses of the retinol metabolism and studies on the importance of vitamins for human health. He manages and is involved in research projects of the German Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) concerning the subject of malnutration and food quality. Biesalski edited 14 books and published 280 articles. In 2013 his book Hidden Hunger , Springer, was published. In 2015 his book Importance of micronutrients for human evolution, Springer, was published.


  • Gutenberg Scholarship
  • Hermes Vitamin Award
  • Wörwag Nutrition Award
  • Elected member of the Institute of Advanced Studies Berlin 2007

Editorial boards[edit]

  • Editor Nutrition and Metabolism in Oncology
  • European Editor Nutrition
  • European Editor Nutrition and Metabolism
  • Section Editor Micronutrients Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition
  • Advisory Board:
    • European Journal of Nutrition
    • International Journal for Vitamins and Nutrition Research
    • Current Opinion in Immunology
    • Food Security


  • Director of the Food Security Center at the University of Hohenheim
  • Member of the WHO/FAO Expert Group Application of Nanotechnologies in the Food and Agriculture Sectors: Potential Food Safety Implications
  • Member of the High Level Panel of Expert Group of the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition
  • Head of the Commission Nutrition and Cancer at the German Cancer Foundation
  • Head of the Commission Metabolism in Cancer of the German Society for Haematooncology
  • Member of the Executive Board of the German Society of Nutrition Medicine
  • Scientific Advisory Board of the US Pharmacopeia Bioavailability Section
  • Editor of the Curriculum Nutritional Medicine for Physicians
  • Consultant for Nutritional Medicine at the Federation of Physicians
  • Speaker and scientific co-ordinator of the Research Group Functional Food
  • Speaker and organiser of the Network of Molecular Nutrition (special interdisciplinary research group funded by the Ministry of Science)

Publications (books)[edit]

  • Hans Konrad Biesalski Hidden Hunger. London/New York: Springer, 2013
  • Pocket Atlas Nutrition 6Th Edition Thieme, 2015
  • Nutrition Medicine 5th Edition Thieme, 2016
  • Hidden Hunger - the 1000 day window, Karger, 2016
  • Vitamine und Minerale - Indikation, Diagnose, Therapie, Thieme 2016
  • M. Eggersdorfer, K. Kraemer, M. Ruel, M. Van Ameringen, H.K. Biesalski, M. Bloem, J. Chen, A. Lateef, V. Mannar (Eds.) The Road to Good Nutrition. Basel: S.Karger, 2013
  • Hans Konrad Biesalski, Peter Grimm Pocket Atlas of Nutrition. New York: Thieme Medical Publishers, 2005

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Biesalski HK, Wellner U, Weiser H. Vitamin A deficiency increases noise susceptibility in guinea pigs. J Nutr. 1990 Jul;120(7):726-37
  2. ^ Biesalski HK, Weiser H.Sensitive analysis of retinyl esters by isocratic adsorption chromatography. J Clin Chem Clin Biochem. 1989 Feb;27(2):65-74
  3. ^ Biesalski HK. Aspects of vitamin A metabolism in sensory epithelia (inner ear, olfactory bulbus, pineal gland).Int J Vitam Nutr Res Suppl. 1985;27:225-45
  4. ^ Biesalski HK, Nohr D New aspects in vitamin a metabolism: the role of retinyl esters as systemic and local sources for retinol in mucous epithelia. J Nutr. 2004 Dec;134(12 Suppl):3453S-3457S
  5. ^ Biesalski HK, Frank J, Beck SC, Heinrich F, Illek B, Reifen R, Gollnick H, Seeliger MW, Wissinger B, Zrenner E. Biochemical but not clinical vitamin A deficiency results from mutations in the gene for retinol binding protein. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 May;69(5):931-6. Erratum in: Am J Clin Nutr 2000 Apr;71(4):1010
  6. ^ Seeliger MW, Biesalski HK, Wissinger B, Gollnick H, Gielen S, Frank J, Beck S, Zrenner E. Phenotype in retinol deficiency due to a hereditary defect in retinol binding protein synthesis. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1999
  7. ^ Jati IR, Vadivel V, Nohr D, Biesalski HK. Nutrient density score of typical Indonesian foods and dietary formulation using linear programming. Public Health Nutr. 2012 Dec;15(12):2185-92
  8. ^ Inayati DA, Scherbaum V, Purwestri RC, Wirawan NN, Suryantan J, Hartono S, Bloem MA, Pangaribuan RV, Biesalski HK, Hoffmann V, Bellows AC. Combined intensive nutrition education and micronutrient powder supplementation improved nutritional status of mildly wasted children on Nias Island, Indonesia.Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2012;21(3):361-73
  9. ^ Biesalski HK. Parenteral ascorbic acid as a key for regulating microcirculation in critically ill. Crit Care Med. 2008 Aug;36(8):2466-8
  10. ^ Biesalski HK, Tinz J. Nutritargeting. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2008;54:179-217