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Food Bioscience Research

Current Research Areas

Food microbiology

Recent PhD graduate Sara Burgess studying thermophilic bacilli from the dairy industry Food microbiology has a strong research group studying biofilm development and control with a focus on the dairy industry.  Fundamental studies include an understanding the role of ions in biofilm development, the genomic comparison of thermophilic bacteria and their relationship to biofilm structure and spore formation and the formation and control of highly heat resistant spores. A food safety programme focuses on biofilm development and control of foodborne pathogens. The group has expertise in food fermentation for product development involving dairy components and food waste. Food preservation using novel technologies such as HPP (high pressure processing), UV (ultra-violet), MAP(modified atmospheric packaging), thermal processing and natural preservatives is an important research focus with both fundamental understanding and practical application.

Picture is Recent PhD graduate Sara Burgess studying thermophilic bacilli from the dairy industry

Contact person: Steve Flint

Food chemistry

Food Chemistry Food chemistry research focuses on the chemistry and nutrition of food carbohydrates and proteins, food and feed evaluation and functional foods.  This group has a research programme focussing on starch structure and digestability with an emphasis on rice and potato starches.  Research interests are in the fields of carbohydrate chemistry and nutrition, polysaccharides and biodegradation, food and feed evaluation, functional foods, product development utilizing herbs and spices, under-explored plant species as functional ingredients in various food systems and evaluation of their functionality, overall quality and health benefits.  Engineering cereals and legumes through extrusion technology and assessment of nutritional and functional benefits links with work on the Food Structure team. An internationally recognised research programme on the biochemistry of meat is an important research area for this team.

Picture is Beef muscle ultrastructure

Contact person: Rana Ravindran

Sensory science

Sensory science specialises in cross-cultural sensory studies, development of cutting-edge sensory methods to maximize product satisfaction and expectation, and expertise in analytical techniques to support the food industry.  This group has a recent focus on modelling oral processing in conjunction with engineers in the School of Engineering and Advanced technology. This research programme has strong links with the product development group.

Contact person: Wannita Jirangrat

Product development

Product Development Product development expertise covers all aspects of food product development with specific research interests in developing value added food and ingredients with functional properties from by-products of the meat industry.  This group has a particular interest in the advanced processing of meat with a focus on adding value from by-products. Improving the flavour, polypeptide profile and amino acid balance of a range of hydrolysates from meat and meat by products is a key objective. Quantifying the effect of work on the physico-chemical properties of different muscles and their influence on meat and meat products is a novel programme for this group.  Subsidiary research interests are in improving the product development process and predicting consumers’ intentions to purchase new food products from their attitudes and beliefs.

Picture is Kefir grains – developing a sheep milk kefir

Contact person: Wannita Jirangrat

Dairy technology

Cheese structure Dairy technology is strong in the structure of dairy products with specific interests in cheese and casein.  A research focus is fundamental studies on the internal structure of casein micelles in collaboration with industry and academic partners. This group has a programme understanding the mobility of components in Mozzarella and Cheddar cheeses and studies on hydrolysis of β-casein. Recent studies are focussing on understanding sheep milk and the potential to develop a variety of sheep milk products.

Picture is Cheese structure – a confocal microscope image (green = protein, red = fat)

 Contact: Alistair Carr

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