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Department of Food Science

Nanotechnology to Improve Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition

Plants are capable of producing a great diversity of relatively small organic chemicals that are called “secondary”, or, more recently, “specialized” metabolites, because they are not involved in central metabolism (Gang, 2005; Weng and Noel, 2012). Currently, well over 200,000 distinct molecules are known to be produced by plants and found to serve many important roles. As pigments, scents, and flavors they attract pollinators and seed dispersers (Gang, 2005).

Development of Food Grade Delivery Systems to Encapsulate, Protect and Release Bioactive Food Lipids

Some food oils, such as those containing omega-3 fatty acids, are nutritionally beneficial and yet largely under-consumed in the United States. These oils can be very unstable causing the formation of strong off-flavors that result in consumer rejection of omega-3 fortified food products. This project will develop new technologies that can stabilize omega-3 fatty acids so they can be incorporated into a wide variety of foods. Production of omega-3 fatty acids fortified foods could have significant consumer health benefits especially for heart and mental health.

Development of Real-time PCR Methodology for the Rapid Enumeration of Low numbers of Salmonella and E. coli 0157:H7 in Ground Beef and Raw Vegetables Without Enrichment

There is a critical need in the meat processing and raw vegetable processing industries for the development of a rapid method for detection of infectious bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 in such products well before shipping, so as to prevent infectious outbreaks and costly recalls.

Food Based Approach for Prevention of Childhood Obesity

Both adult-onset obesity and childhood obesity pose real health risks, with childhood obesity known to be associated with increased risk of chronic diseases. With current rising trends of overweight and obese children, there is great need to develop additional practical approaches to target the obesity epidemic. The objective of this proposed research is to develop a feasible and practical food-based approach to help reduce the incidence of childhood obesity and overweight children.

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