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Institute for Food Science and Engineering

Morris, Justin
University of Arkansas
Start date
End date
  1. Develop a nationally recognized center of research leadership with an appropriate balance of fundamental and applied research that is critical to the food processing industry.
  2. Develop a nationally recognized industry outreach program. Develop an interrelated food safety program.
  3. Develop an interrelated human nutrition program.
More information
An Institute of Food Science will be established consisting of: Center for Food Processing and Engineering, Center for Food Safety and Quality and Center for Human Nutrition.

The Institute has been established. In partnership with industry, multidisciplinary approaches to problem solving have been applied to value-added research across a wide range of commodities.

PROGRESS: 2004/01 TO 2004/12
The Institute of Food Science and Engineering's (IFSE) Center for Food Processing and Engineering's primary objective is to facilitate research leading to value-added products and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the processing of agricultural products. IFSE has partnered with 118 different companies in 33 states and six foreign countries, resulting in 260 publications by affiliated scientists. A third year of research trials in California of the University of Arkansas's patented total vineyard mechanization has been completed. Labor inputs have been minimized, while maintaining or improving yield and fruit quality. The mechanization systems have been commercialized, and major industry players are supporting continued research and evaluation. The Rice Processing Program provides new understanding of factors that affect yield and quality of processed products in four main categories: drying/conditioning; storage; milling; and quality assessment. An IFSE research group seeks to increase pickled vegetable product value with significant industry support and performs an annual national evaluation of pickled vegetable products. Other projects include: a microfluids-based optical immunosensor; use of allyl isothiocyanate as a natural antimicrobial in meat and poultry products; spectral stress strain analysis to predict poultry texture; catabolism of adjunct chemical constituents in the brewing process; kinetics of bean softening and color degradation; evaluation of grape rootstocks; and value-added peptides, phenolics and phytic acid from rice protein/bran. A publication provides small farmers with knowledge about the production, development and marketing of value-added horticultural products, using as a model extensive investigations of muscadine grapes and their by-products. An active Rheology and Sensory Research Program includes complete sensory programs in descriptive, discriminative and affective analysis by professionally trained descriptive panels that precisely describe food products in terms of their appearance, aroma, flavor and texture. Consumer testing of commercial products is also carried out. Besides applied research projects assisting commercial food processors with thermal processing and quality programs, pilot plant facilities are used to mimic retorting operations to produce benchmark results in trial runs of new products or to improve existing products. Technical support was provided to 15 new food business entrepreneurs. Numerous presentations were made on food safety and GAP. Center for Food Safety and Quality researchers working in the Food Safety Consortium have sought ways to maintain or improve the safety of foods through the development of methods for rapid identification, elimination or control of pathogenic microorganisms and their toxins. Researchers in the Center for Human Nutrition concluded a four-year investigation into the evaluation, and enhancement, of important phytochemicals in fruits, southern vegetables, grains and legumes. Work continues in evaluating value-added functional foods with elevated levels of health promoting compounds. This work of Project 2022 is also reported as Project ARK01980.

IMPACT: 2004/01 TO 2004/12
The Institute of Food Science and Engineering has sponsored 87 research projects during the past eight years, partnering with 118 companies from 33 states and six foreign countries. Its Rice Processing Program research provides new understanding of factors that affect yield and quality of processed rice products. A single project promises an improvement in head rice yield that could increase industry returns by seven million dollars annually. Implementation of its vineyard mechanization systems will save grape growers millions of dollars annually. Other major program areas are processing of vegetables and fruits, wine and other grape products, pickled vegetables, rheology and sensory, functional foods, thermal processing of value-added poultry products, lipids and oils, and soy products. Completed projects in the area of vegetable processing provide industry with millions of dollars of increased returns annually. Value-added horticultural products from locally grown produce will provide additional markets to help preserve the small farm structure in Arkansas. Investigation into the evaluation and enhancement of important phytochemicals present in Southern fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes continues. UA resources developed or enhanced through Institute programs include a unique professionally-trained descriptive sensory panel for analysis of diverse food products, and thermal processing capabilities for product development and improvement. Joint efforts in food quality and safety seek to assure that imported products meet U. S. standards for quality and safety.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
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Project number
Accession number
Bacterial Pathogens
Food Defense and Integrity
Meat, Poultry, Game