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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

2008 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Investigate and develop new processing technologies that will permit year-round processing, by manufacturing value-added, convenient, healthy foods from bulk-processed fruits and vegetables and their coproducts.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The markets for fruits and vegetables are limited because traditional processing technologies are restricted to relatively few forms or styles. A variety of processing technologies will be investigated to form novel foods and ingredients. Emphasis will be placed on the development of novel shelf-stable, convenient foods. Extrusion, vacuum forming, casting and infrared blanching and dehydration will be explored to increase utilization and consumption of fruits, vegetables and their coproducts in a variety of nutritious, value-added forms. Development of novel processes and products using these technologies will result in improvements in the nutritional status of consumers through increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. It will also improve the economic viability of U.S. fruit and vegetable growers by providing new outlets for their crops and co-products, and increasing their ability to process year-round. Numerous collaborations with a variety of stakeholder organizations support this research program, as well as the ultimate transfer of these technologies into the marketplace. Formerly 5325-41000-038-00D (1/05).

3.Progress Report
Considerable progress has been made on this CRIS project by researchers in the Processed Foods Research Unit, Albany, CA. Progress is demonstrated through the numerous accomplishments listed below, as well as the eight active extramural agreements that currently support this important research program. This research supports NP 306, Component 2, "New Processes, New Uses, and Value-Added Foods".

1. Commercial Transfer of Fruit and Vegetable Edible Film Technology. New processing technologies are needed to increase utilization and consumption of fruits and vegetables by American consumers. In FY08, researchers in the Processed Foods Research Unit, Albany, CA, worked with an industrial CRADA partner to commercialize the patent-pending, fruit- and vegetable-based films in a variety of final food product applications. One of these applications is the use of the films as healthy, colorful alternatives to the seaweed wrap 'nori' in a novel line of Sunny California rolls on sale at Trader Joe’s supermarkets around the country. Films were also sold commercially to a wide variety of up-scale restaurants, as well as a healthy, flavorful glaze for hams and turkeys. Our CRADA partner received a large loan from the San Joaquin Valley Revolving Loan Fund to build the film manufacturing plant in Stockton, CA, an area of high unemployment and we worked together to begin production in this new location this year. This has resulted in the hiring of four full-time professionals, two of whom are minorities. This research contributed to NP306, Component 2, "New Processes, New Uses, and Value-Added Foods", Problem Statement a.

2. Enhancing the Vitamin D Content in Mushrooms through Novel UVB Processing. Approximately 60% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. A new CRADA with ARS scientists in the Processed Foods Research Unit in Albany, CA was entered into with a mushroom producer to implement and optimize processing conditions to naturally produce Vitamin D in mushrooms. The process has been scaled up and one serving of the mushrooms contributes 100% of the RDA of Vitamin D. Sensory results indicate that the acceptability of the treated mushrooms is equivalent to that of untreated mushrooms. The mushrooms are scheduled to be released in the marketplace nationwide in the next couple of months. This research will help meet American nutritional needs while adding value to mushrooms. This support of NP306, Component 2, "New Processes, New Uses and Value-Added Foods", Problem Statment c.

3. Infrared Dry Blanching and Dehydration of Fruits and Vegetables. New efficient processes for blanching and dehydrating fruits and vegetables are needed to expand markets and add value to these healthy foods. Novel infrared dry blanching and dehydration technologies which do not require addition of steam or water in the blanching process and have high drying rate were invented by researchers in the Processed Foods Research Unit at WRRC, Albany, CA. These technologies can be used to produce many kinds of value-added dried, refrigerated, frozen and dehydrofrozen fruit and vegetable products in an energy-efficient way, which preserves the nutrition and quality of the final products. An invention of sequential infrared and freeze-drying has been filed by the researchers and industry collaborators. Two CRADAs with industrial partners are ongoing to evaluate and demonstrate these technologies' potential by using a large scale of infrared equipment as alternatives to conventional blanching and freeze-drying for producing dehydrated and partially-dehydrated fruit and vegetable products as healthy snacks. A provisional patent application of using infrared heating for partial dehydration of fruits and then making whole fruit frozen bars was filed. Ultimately, these novel products can assist consumers in meeting the USDA dietary guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption. This supports NP 306, Component 2, Problem Statement C.

4. Development of Standard Rice Sample Preparation Procedures. There is a great need for developing appropriate standard rice sample milling and preparation procedures aimed at improving the consistency and accuracy of rice quality appraisal. With efforts of the past four years, the researchers in the Processed Foods Research Unit at WRRC, Albany, CA, worked with the collaborators at UC Davis, USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration (GIPSA) and the California Rice Research Board in the systematic investigation of the rice sample milling mechanism and the effect of milling parameters on the appraisal of rice milling quality. Based on the scientific knowledge and results obtained by the researchers, a new rice sample milling standard was implemented in October of 2007 by the USDA GIPSA. The adoption of the new rice sample milling procedure adds an estimated value of over $20 million each year to the rice industry in the United States. This supports the Component 2 objectives of NP 306, Problem Area c.

5. Feasibility Study of Using Infrared Heating for Almond Pasteurization with High Product Quality. The safety and quality of almonds, which are directly related to food safety and marketing potential, are important for almond producers and processors in California because California produces 80% of the world’s almonds. However, the development of effective almond pasteurization technologies has been a challenge for the almond industry in California ever since Salmonella Enteriditis was identified in raw almonds in 2001 and 2004, respectively, due to the consumption of raw almonds. There is a need to develop a non-chemical treatment method for the disinfection of almonds with high product quality, which is more desirable than chemical methods. To take the fast heating advantage of infrared, the effectiveness of infrared heating for almond disinfestation was investigated by ARS scientists in the Processed Foods Research Unit in Albany, CA with the support of the Almond Board of California. Infrared has successfully demonstrated its efficacy for disinfection of almonds without significant changes in the characteristics of raw almonds. This supports NP 306, Component 2, "New Processes, New Uses, and Value-Added Foods", Problem Statement c.

6. Fruit-Based Obesity Prevention Bar. American citizens are becoming increasingly obese and there is a great need to develop healthy food products that can combat this growing trend. Researchers in the Processed Foods Research Unit, Albany, CA, in collaboration through a CRADA with a world renowned non-profit research institute and hospital are developing the first obesity prevention bar. The bar is fortified with a wide range of nutrients, fibers, fats, proteins and other health-promoting components. Processing and formulation research has been completed and Phase II human clinical trials have begun. This research supports NP 306, Component 2 "New Processes, New Uses, and Value-Added Foods", Problem Statement a.

7. Apple- and Tomato-Based Natural Antimicrobial Containing Edible Films. American citizens are increasingly concerned over the safety of their foods. Researchers in the Processed Foods Research Unit, Albany, CA, through a USDA, CSREES-funded NRI grant are developing novel natural antimicrobial-containing films from apples and tomatoes. Incorporation of natural essential oils from oregano, thyme, cinnamon and lemon grass into apple- and tomato-based films and coatings were found to be active against E. coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella enterica. Films have been applied to hams and chicken, and their effectiveness has been verified on these foods. In addition, tests are underway to test the effectiveness of films against E. coli 0157:H7 in spinach. Concurrent sensory evaluations of films on foods are being performed to confirm sensory acceptability of these novel films. Continuous production methods have been developed to support commercialization of the technology. This research supports NP 306, Component 2. "New Processes, New Uses, and Value-Added Foods", Problem Statement a.

5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
The first accomplishments in 4 had an impact on rural employment in that this manufacturing facility operates in an area of high unemployment. Four full-time jobs have been created, two of which are minority filled, as a result of the support ARS provided in building the technology to support this small business. All of these accomplishments also impact children's nutritional status by providing alternatives to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables.

6.Technology Transfer

Number of New CRADAS1
Number of Active CRADAs5
Number of Invention Disclosures Submitted2
Number of New Patent Applications Filed1

Review Publications
Roberts, J.S., Teichert, A., Mc Hugh, T.H. 2008. Vitamin D2 Formation from Post-Harvest UV-B Treatment of Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) and Retention during Storage. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 56:4541-4544.

Mc Hugh, T.H. 2008. The World of Food Science. Food Nanotechnology - Food Packaging Applications. V4:1-3.

Zhu, Y., Pan, Z., Mc Hugh, T.H. 2007. Effect of Dipping Treatments on Color Stabilization and Texture of Apple Cubes for Infrared Dry-Blanching Process. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation. 31:632-648.

Shih, C., Pan, Z., Mc Hugh, T.H., Wood, D.F., Hirschberg, E. 2008. Sequential Infrared Radiation and Freeze-Drying Method for Producing Crispy Strawberries. Transactions of the ASABE. 51(1):205-216.

Imam, S.H., Chiou, B., Wood, D.F., Shey, J., Glenn, G.M., Orts, W.J., Narayan, R.R., Avena Bustillos, R.D. 2008. Starch/pulp-fiber based packaging foams and cast films containing alaskan fish by-products (waste). BioResources. 3(3):758-773.

Shi, J., Pan, Z., Mc Hugh, T.H., Wood, D.F., Zhu, Y., Avena-Bustillos, R.D., Hirschberg, E. 2008. Effect of Berry Size and Sodium Hydroxide Pretreatment on the Drying Characteristics of Blueberries under Infrared Radiation Heating. Journal of Food Science. 73(6):E259-E265.

Du, W., Olsen, C.W., Avena-Bustillos, R.D., Mc Hugh, T.H., Levin, C.E., Friedman, M. 2008. Storage Stability and Antibacterial Activity against Echerichia coli O157:H7 of Carvacrol in Edible Apple Films made by Two Different Casting Methods. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 56:3082-2088.

Du, W., Olsen, C.W., Avena-Bustillos, R., Mc Hugh, T.H., Levin, C.E., Friedman, M. 2008. Antibacterial Activity against E. coli O157:H7, Physical Properties, and Storage Stability of Novel Carvacrol-Containing Edible Tomato Films. Journal of Food Science. 73(7):M378-383.

Brandl, M., Pan, Z., Huynh, S., Zhu, Y., Mc Hugh, T.H. 2008. Reduction of Salmonella Enteritidis Population Sizes on Almond Kernels with Infrared Heat. Journal of Food Protection. 71(5)-897-902

Srikiatden, J., Roberts, J.S. 2007. Moisture Transfer in Solid Food Materials: A Review of Mechanisms, Models, and Measurements. International Journal of Food Properties. 10:4, 739-777

Pan, Z., Zheng, Y., Zhang, R., Jenkins, B.M. 2007. Physical Properties of Medium-Density Particleboard Made From Saline Eucalyptus. Industrial Crops and Products. 26(2):185-194.

Zheng, Y., Pan, Z., Zhang, R., Wang, D., Jenkins, B. 2007. Non-ionic Surfactants and Non-catalytic Protein Treatment on Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Pretreated Creeping Wild Ryegrass. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology. DOI 10.1007/s12010-007-8035-9.

Ma, H., Pan, Z., Gao, M., Luo, L. 2008. Efficacy in Microbial Sterilization of Pulsed Magnetic Field Treatment. International Journal of Food Engineering. 4(4):1-14.

Zheng, X., Jiang, Y., Pan, Z. 2007. Drying and Quality Characteristics of Different Components of Alfalfa. Transactions of the CSAE.23(2)97-101.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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