Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit
Dr. Peggy Tomasula, Research Leader
Bernadette DiAndrea, Program Support Assistant
Voice: (215) 233-6703
Fax: (215) 233-6795
In the Spotlight
Michael Tunick Elected American Chemical Society Fellow
The Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit is pleased to announce that Dr. Michael Tunick has been selected as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society's Division of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The AGFD Fellows program began in 1988 to recognize outstanding scientific contributions to the field of agricultural and food chemistry, with a significant portion of the research reported in ACS journals and books and/or at Divisional symposia. Marshall Fishman and John Cherry are the other AGFD Fellows from ERRC.
Mike was honored for his outstanding research that led to the development of low-fat Mozzarella for the National School Lunch Program and that determined the mechanism of casein submicelle rearrangement in aging cheese. He also devised methods for detecting mislabeled cheese upon a request by AMS and US Customs; used thermal techniques to determine the effects of cold shocking and heat stress on Listeria and Clostridium, and is an internationally recognized expert in the rheology of cheese and whey proteins. He is the author or co-author of 100 scientific publications and has made over 80 presentations at international, national, regional, and local scientific meetings.
Mike was also honored for his service to AGFD. He serves as Secretary and was the 2001 Chair of the Division. He was the co-chair of 16 symposia at ACS National Meetings and co-editor of five books based on these meetings. He is also a Member of the ACS Speaker Service, presenting talks at 31 Local Sections and a webinar to the membership in May 2011. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. He is also the originator and coordinator of ERRC Future Scientists Day. Over 30 of the students who have attended since 1991 have been hired as summer or part-time help.
2012 ADSA Award of Honor
The Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit is pleased to announce that Dr. George Somkuti, Lead Scientist, was the recipient of the 2012 Award of Honor at the Annual Meeting of the American Dairy Science Association, July 16-19, in Phoenix, AX. George was recognized for his outstanding service to the dairy industry and the ADSA.
Congratulations to Dr. Somkuti!
This isn't your Aunt Martha's Jello:
Chemist LinShu Liu and his colleagues at our ARS Dairy and Functional Foods Unit in Wyndmoor, Pa., have been studying the potential of biomolecules to replace synthetic polymers in a variety of composite film applications, and they say new biopolymers made from gelatin and pectin could play a role someday in high-performance "natural" biomedical and pharmaceutical applications, such as bio-adhesives for wound dressings, contact lenses, capsules for oral ingestion, and more. (1/23)
Helping Bossie and Her Barn-Mates Do Their Bit:
Research leader Peggy Tomasula at our ARS Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit in Wyndmoor, Pa., has a plan for lowering greenhouse gas emissions all along the path of U.S. fluid milk production, from the barn to the dairy case, and you can read all about it in the chapter she's co-authored with a university colleague in a new book called "Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, Volume 62," from Academic Press. (12/21) http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/noi/111221.htm
ARS Scientific Mentoring Reaps Multiple Awards
ARS scientific mentoring reaps multiple awards, as demonstrated by mentee Autumn Rose Greenfield, of San Antonio, TX. Research Leader Peggy Tomasula, ARS Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit, Wyndmoor, PA, guided Autumn Rose on her research creating PLA (polylactic acid) films—used in food packaging—to protect foods against bacteria. Her research garnered her the Junior Academy of Texas 4th Grand Prize in Microbiology (qualified for State competition at Texas A&M University); the Alamo Regional Science & Engineering Fair 1st place in Microbiology; State competition at Texas A&M University 1st place in Microbiology; and the I-SWEEEP (International Sustainable World Energy, Engineering & Environmental Project Olympiad), an international science fair held in Houston, TX, Bronze award (3rd place and $400 cash). Autumn Rose notes, "Not only did I place in the above competitions, but the knowledge and experience is priceless." She expressed sincere thanks and gratitude for Tomasula’s help.
Feeding the World Through Food Technology Excellence
Charles Onwulata, supervisory research food technologist. (D2263-1)
Scientists at the Agricultural Research Service's Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC) in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, conduct research on a wide spectrum of agricultural commidities. Their scientific discoveries are transferred to industry stakeholders and clients with the help of the ARS Office of Technology Transfer. Private-sector partners then further develop and launch new commercial products.
ERRC scientists have been developing technologies and food-preparation processes since 1940. These discoveries have led to industry partners’ developing new food products that help feed the world. These food-science innovations benefit not only the producers of agricultural commodities, but also the processors and handlers of food products. The story "Fully Cooked Emergency Aid Food" in this month's issue highlights ERRC’s food science equipment, technologies, and processes that lead to the development of value-added new products.
In 2005, ERRC consolidated its industry-scale equipment, which is used to research modern food processes, and created the Center of Excellence in Extrusion and Polymer Rheology (CEEPR). The center is focused on improving and testing technologies, processes, and equipment that will eventually lead to new foods and food ingredients with value-added health and functional attributes.
Read all about it in the August 2011 Agricultural Research Magazine!
Fully Cooked Emergency Aid Food
Thanks to the cooperative efforts of ARS, USAID, and USDA's Farm Service Agency, the children of Haiti may soon benefit from an instant corn-soy blend food aid developed by an ARS scientist at Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania.
We’ve all seen the images on television from disasters overseas: Large white sacks of meal are unloaded from trucks as hungry families line up and await rations. The U.S. flag and the words “Gift of the United States of America” are prominently displayed in bright red and blue ink. These humanitarian efforts are the result of collaborations involving multiple national and international government managers, aid agency officials, and policy administrators.
Agricultural Research Service scientists have been working with collaborators to bring enhanced features to food rations—corn-soy blends that supplement meals, particularly for young children. A new, fully cooked food-aid product has been developed as a result of this team effort. The work was led by food technologist Charles Onwulata in the Dairy Processing and Products Research Unit at the ARS Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC), in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania.
Read all about it in the August 2011 Agricultural Research Magazine!
From Snacks to Saving Lives
Food technologist Charles Onwulata in our ARS Dairy Processing and Products Research Unit at Wyndmoor, Pa., has used the same kind of machinery used to make crunchy cheese-puff snacks and cereals to produce a fully cooked corn-soy food aid product that can be crushed, milled into a powder and later mixed with clean water to provide vital nutrition in overseas mass-feeding of young children and others in need. (8/4)
Michael Tunick Elected American Chemical Society Fellow
The Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit is pleased to announce that Dr. Michael Tunick has been selected as a member of the 2011 class of the Fellows of the American Chemical Society. The Fellows program was approved in 2008 by the ACS Board of Directors to honor members who have demonstrated excellence in their contributions to the chemical sciences and in service to the ACS and the chemistry community.
Mike was honored for his outstanding research that led to the development of low-fat Mozzarella for the National School Lunch Program and that determined the mechanism of casein submicelle rearrangement in aging cheese. He also devised methods for detecting mislabeled cheese upon a request by AMS and US Customs; used thermal techniques to determine the effects of cold shocking and heat stress on Listeria and Clostridium, and is an internationally recognized expert in the rheology of cheese and whey proteins. He is the author or co-author of 92 scientific publications and has made over 80 presentations at international, national, regional, and local scientific meetings.
Mike was also honored for his service to the ACS. He serves as Secretary and was the 2001 Chair of the ACS Division of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. He was the co-chair of 14 ACS Symposia at ACS National Meetings and co-editor of four books based on these meetings. He is also a member of the ACS Speaker Service, presenting talks at 31 Local Sections and a webinar to the membership in May. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. He is also the Originator and coordinator of ERRC Future Scientists Day. Over 30 of the students who have attended since 1991 have been hired as summer or part-time help.
The Chemistry of Cheese and Why We Love It
|| Tunick measures the stretchability of lite- Mozzarella cheese on commercial pizza. |
Research Chemist Michael H. Tunick, ARS Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit, Wyndmoor, PA, will present a webinar for the American Chemical Society (ACS) on May 26 titled "The Chemistry of Cheese and Why We Love It." His presentation will cover the chemistry behind cheese manufacturing, the differences among cheese varieties, and more. He was part of the team that developed the lite-Mozzarella cheese, which is now being used in USDA’s National School Lunch Program. His webinar is part of ACS’ Food Chemistry Series. To learn more, visit http://acswebinars.org/tunick.
Women in Chemistry 2011: Celebrating the Past, Creating the Future
On April 26, 2011, Research Chemist Moushumi Paul, ARS Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit, Wyndmoor, PA, participated in a panel discussion as part of the "Women in Chemistry 2011: Celebrating the Past, Creating the Future" conference at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, PA. The conference provides a forum that fosters conversation about participants’ trials and tribulations, as well as potential avenues to success to inspire high school students to pursue the field and encourage college students to remain in the field. Paul discussed her educational background, the path that brought her to ARS, and her current research.
||Research Leader Peggy Tomasula, ARS Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit, Wyndmoor, PA, was in Yangling, China, on February 20-26, to attend the Eighth Annual Joint Working Group Meeting between USDA and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of the People's Republic of China. Tomasual will be briefing REE Under Secretary Cathie Woteki on the ongoing relationship between ARS and MOST as it relates to dairy production and processing. Further, Under Secretary Woteki and the Vice Minister of MOST will be signing an Annex to the Protocol for Dairy Production and Processing Research that will engage MOST and ARS in collaborative research for the next several years.|
Celebrating 15 Years of a Healthy School Lunch Option
How about cheesy pepperoni, Hawaiian pineapple and ham, or vegetarian pizza, all piping hot and ready to enjoy? These pizzas are made with reduced-fat mozzarella cheese and are offered at the Crossroads Café—the food-service installation at Camas High School in Camas, Washington.
One technology for making tasty-but-healthy cheese was invented by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at the Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania. It became available to schools in 1995 and is used to provide a low-fat alternative to high-fat cheese when making pizzas. The ARS team included chemists Michael Tunick, Edyth Malin, and James Shieh, physical science technician Brien Sullivan, and Peter Cooke (no longer with ARS). Other team members, Virginia Holsinger and Phil Smith, are deceased.
Click here to read all about it in the October 2010 Agricultural Research Magazine!
Fifty Years in Chemistry
On June 14, 2010, Dr. Edyth Malin, Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit, was honored as one of 27 Philadelphia area chemists who have been members of the American Chemical Society for 50 years. Dr. Malin retired in 2003 after 27 years at ERRC as a Research Chemist and Lead Scientist and continues as a collaborator with the DFF group. She headed the ERRC team that developed low-fat Mozzarella cheese for school-lunch pizza, at the request of USDA’s National School Lunch Program. Fifteen years after its introduction, low-fat Mozzarella is still favored as a pizza topping by American school children, and 500 million pounds of low-fat Mozzarella have been produced to date by several manufacturers. Dr. Malin also established a collaborative program with scientists at Moorepark, Fermoy, Ireland, to develop reduced fat Cheddar cheese. Her other research included molecular modeling of conformation changes in alpha-s1 casein peptides during cheese ripening and of the association of alpha-s1 casein chains to inititiate formation of casein micelles. In earlier work, she studied beta-lactoglobulin structure, nitrite deamination of lysine in proteins, and reversible thermal inactivation of alkaline phosphatase. Dr. Malin was an Honorary Research Fellow of the Hannah Research Institute, Ayr, Scotland, from 1996 until 2003.
Spreading the News about Environmentally-Friendly Dairy Protein Processing
The May 2010 issue of Prepared Foods magazine cited Research Leader Peggy Tomasula and Research Chemical Engineer Laetitia Bonnaillie, with the ARS, Eastern Regional Research Center's Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit in Wyndmoor, PA, for their innovative work on enriched protein fractions from cheese whey, produced with a supercritical carbon dioxide technology that uses less steps and less water than other fractionation technologies, to make ready-to-use protein products with valuable nutrition and health properties. The article is part of a special report by Dairy Management, Inc. on emerging opportunities for milk proteins, which will also be posted on their website and distributed at the upcoming annual meetings of the American Dairy Science Association and of the Institute of Food Technologists and all diary industry events throughout the year.
2010 Excellence in Government Awards Gold Medal Winners!
The team of Charles Onwulata, Audrey Thomas, Eric Tilman, Matthew Toht, and John Mulherin of the Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit and Jhanel Wilson of the SUPER group was awarded a Gold Medal in the Technical Accomplishment (Group) Category at the recent 2010 Excellence in Government Awards, sponsored by the Philadelphia FEB, for their project "Ready-to-Eat Meals for Emergency Feeding". The team created an Instant Corn Soy Blend (ICSB), a CSB powder that makes porridge without cooking. For the first time, the Foreign Agriculture Service and USAID issued a new product request for emergency feeding: Instant Corn Soy Blend.
Center of Excellence in Extrusion and Polymer Rheology (CEEPR)
in Agri-food Science & Technology
Innovation and R&D - critical to the complex agri-food industry-enhance economic competitiveness and foster new food technologies, food safety, and value-added, healthful foods.
Read all about it in the November 2008 issue of Food Technology or view the PDF
DPPRU Makes the News 2006
Ellison, B. 2006. USDA Studies More Marketable Cheeses. Video news clip on Hispanic-style cheese research. USDA OC. http://www.usda.gov/agency/oc/bmtc/vidnews.htm.
Wood, M, Suszkiw, J., Core, J., Peabody, E. 2006. Cooking up tempting, fat-fighting foods and ingredients. Agricultural Research. Vol. 54, no. 2, page 12-15. Article about low-fat foods created by ARS scientists included a segment on low-fat Mozzarella cheese research conducted by DPPRU scientists.
Cheese Market News. 2006. USDA researchers develop ingredients, methods to make dairy healthier. Cheese Market News. May 5, 2006, Vol. 26, No 14, page 6. Mentions M. Tunick and reduced-fat Mozzarella cheese research.
Cheese Reporter. 2006. Derivative of oats, barley could help make yogurt even healthier. Cheese Reporter. March 24, 2006. Mentions M. Tunick and reduced-fat Mozzarella cheese research.
Howie, M. 2006. Transgenic animals ahead? Feedstuffs. April 24, 2006. Mentions current research in using milk from transgenic animals in dairy products, research is being done by DPPRU.
Durbin, B. 2006. Ask FOODday: Mozzarella cheese. The Oregonian, April 26, 2006. Article about factors involved in stretching and stringing of heated mozzarella includes information from M. Tunick.
Berry, D. Research at the Dairy Processing and Products Research Unit, Institute of Food Technologists Dairy Division Newsletter, Jan 2006. Pg 3.
USDA’s Research Agency Develops new process that uses casein as edible, water resistant coating for various food products. Cheese Reporter, Jan 20, 2006.
Core, J., “Edible, water-resistant film from milk protein.” Article in Agricultural Research, USDA, ARS, November 2005. Pg 21
A continuous process to make biodegradable, edible film from milk protein. Chemical Engineering, Pg 16. December, 2005.
New Center develops products from cheese whey, other agricultural products. Cheese Market News, April 2005.
ARS targets waste reduction and biodegradability in food production. Food Production Daily.Com, March 2005.