Project focus on the special properties of taro/poi as functional ingredients for both military and commercial foods. Extrusion is used on different starches and protein isolates to produce tasty breakfast cereals and cheese curls type product prototypes containing antioxidants. A 50% taro with soy protein was chosen the most acceptable. Scale up to begin in 2002. Several bacteria have been isolated from freeze-dried taro. Bacterial identification is underway. Taro containing specific bacteriocins will be incorporated into a military ration and their affect, as a food preservative will be determined.
This is a broad base research project using an integrated approach investigating both the development of novel Taro/Poi based products for immediate short-term payoffs into final consumable products and determining specific functionality of Taro/Poi for use in military/commercial products. A central piece of the research is to investigate the inherent functionality of taro/poi material and their potential application as functional ingredient into existing products. In particular, studies will be conducted to evaluate the antimicrobial potential of the fermented poi process and final product for organic acid and bacteriocin production. The project will track the production of organic acids and bacteriocins during the conversion of taro to poi and establish the antimicrobial effects of the product against specific pathogens. Taro will also be evaluated for its potential to support bacteriocin production by seeding with FDA approved bacterial starter cultures for addition to military food products. Lastly, the project will determine the feasibility of adding different levels of fermented taro to military eat-out-of-hand rations. Challenge studies will be conducted to determine the protective barrier against selective food pathogens.