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Food Science

The profile of dietary lipids in humans has changed dramatically as agricultural practices have advanced. This change has resulted in major changes in the consumption of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Our ancestors ingested concentrations of these two classes of fatty acids in a 7:1 ratio (comparing dietary omega-6 to omega-3). In Western cultures, the ratio in currently 25:1. This change in dietary lipids is problematic since humans are not able to interconvert (convert from one to the other) omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

Dietary factors are important predictors of long term health and the incidence of chronic disease. Laboratory methods will be employed, primarily in vitro models, such as in vitro digestion and tissue cultures, which will be used to evaluate the bioactivity of nutrients and other food bioactives to understand the mechanisms. The investigator will seek to advance the science of defining the role of bioactive dietary constituents for optimal human health. This will provide fertile grounds for ongoing collaborations and future collaborative research and grant proposal development.

The development of shared-use processing spaces has created new opportunities for small and emerging food businesses to develop and create new products. However, this audience has historically had challenges navigating food safety regulation and compliance, and there is a strong lack of educational materials and training to support them.

The safety of the food supply is a continuing issue for agriculture, with an estimated 81 million instances of foodborne illnesses in the USA annually, with an estimated cost of $152 billion dollars per year to the US economy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 46% of these illnesses were due to produce - thus food safety is very much an agricultural issue.


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