Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

2009 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. Evaluate the energy requirements of new food process technologies for fruits and vegetables - including UV-B, infrared, microwave, solar, ultrasonic, and pulsed-electric field - in order to improve overall sustainability of these operations.

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 project by researchers in the Processed Foods Research unit. A new ultraviolet-B processing technology was transferred into commercialization to add value to mushrooms and enhance human health. Vitamin D enhanced mushrooms treated by this new process are now available commercially nationwide. In addition we recently received a large grant from USDA, CSREES to further investigate application of this novel process to other specialty crops to enhance their nutritional value. Our infrared process research has been scaled up and we are demonstrating the energy savings associated with dehydration of specialty crops using infrared. We also worked on a dry pasteurization method for almonds and a dry peeling operation for tomatoes, both using infrared heating. All of these are in an effort to improve sustainability of food processing operations in the United States and support American growers, as well as consumer health.

1. Commercialization of Ultraviolet Process to Enhance the Vitamin D Content in Mushrooms. Approximately 60% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. There is a need for new foods that contain Vitamin D. Researchers in the Processed Foods Research Unit, Albany, CA through a CRADA, implemented and optimized a new process to produce Vitamin D in mushrooms. The process was scaled up and results showed that the sensory acceptability of the treated mushrooms was equivalent to that of the untreated mushrooms. One serving of the ultraviolet-B treated mushrooms contributes 100% of the RDA of Vitamin D and the mushrooms are in the marketplace nationwide (brown, white and Portobella) under the Sun Bella label. This research will help meet American nutritional needs while adding value to mushrooms.

2. Feasibility Study Using Infrared Heating for Almond Pasteurization and Roasting. The safety and quality of almonds 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 priority for the almond industry in California ever since Salmonella enteriditis was identified in raw almonds in 2001 and 2004. There is a need to develop a safe, non-chemical treatment method for disinfecting almonds while still producing a high quality product. The effectiveness of infrared heating for almond pasteurization and roasting was investigated by researchers in the Processed Foods Research Unit, Albany, CA, with the support of the Almond Board of California. Infrared was successful for pasteurizing almonds while improving final roasted product quality.

3. 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, all spice, clove and lemon grass into apple- and tomato-based films and coatings were found to be active against E. coli 0157:H7, Salmonella enterica and Listeria monocytogenes. 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 future commercialization of the technology.

6.Technology Transfer

Number of Active CRADAs6
Number of New Patent Applications Filed1
Number of New Commercial Licenses Executed1

Review Publications
Shi, J., Pan, Z., Mc Hugh, T.H., Wood, D.F., Hirschberg, E., Olson, D.A. 2008. Drying and Quality Characteristics of Fresh and Sugar-infused Blueberries Dried with Infrared Radiation Heating. Lebensmittel Wissenschaft und Technologie. 41:1962-1972.

De Moura, M.R., Aouada, F.A., Avena-Bustillos, R.D., Mc Hugh, T.H., Krochta, J.M., Mattoso, L.H. 2009. Improved barrier and mechanical properties of novel hydroxypropyl methylcellulose edible films with chitosan/tripolyphosphate nanoparticles. Journal of Food Engineering. 92:448-453.

Pan, Z., Shih, C., Mc Hugh, T.H., Hirschberg, E. 2008. Study of Banana Dehydration using Sequential Infrared Radiation Heating and Freeze-Drying. Lebensmittel Wissenschaft und Technologie. 41:1944-1951.

Azeredo, H.C., Mattoso, L.H., Wood, D.F., Williams, T.G., Avena-Bustillos, R.D., Mc Hugh, T.H. 2009. Nanocomposite Edible Films from Mango Puree Reinforced with Cellulose Nanofibers. Journal of Food Science. 74(5):N31-N35.

Shi, J., Pan, Z., Mc Hugh, T.H., Hirschberg, E. 2009. Effect of Infusion Method and Parameters on Mass Transfer in Blueberries. Food and Bioprocess Technology. 2:271-278.

De Moura, M.R., Avena-Bustillos, R.D., Mc Hugh, T.H., Krochta, J.M., Mattoso, L.H. 2008. Properties of Novel Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose Films Containing Chitosan Nanoparticles. Journal of Food Science. 73(7):31-36.

Shi, J., Pan, Z., Mc Hugh, T.H., Hirschberg, E. 2009. Effect of Infusion Method and Parameters on Mass Transfer in Blueberries. Food and Bioprocess Technology. 2:271-278.

Bingol, G., Pan, Z., Roberts, J.S., Devres, O., Balaban, M. 2008. Mathematical Modeling of Microwave-Assisted Convective Heating and Drying of Grapes. International Journal of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. 1(2):46-54.

Zheng, Y., Pan, Z., Zhang, R., El-Mashad, H., Pan, J., Jenkins, B. 2009. Anaerobic Digestion of Saline Creeping Wild Ryegrass for Biogas Production and Pretreatment of Particleboard Material. Bioresource Technology. 100(4):1582-1588.

Zheng, Y., Pan, Z., Zhang, R., Jenkins, B. 2009. Kinetic Modeling of Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Pretreated Creeping Wild Ryegrass. Biotechnology and Bioengineering. 102(6):1558-1569.

Li, B., Zheng, Y., Pan, Z., Hartsough, B. 2009. Improved Properties of Medium-Density Particleboard Manufactured from Saline Creeping Wild Rye and HDPE Plastic. Industrial Crops and Products. 30:65-71.

Brody, A.L., Bugusu, B., Han, J.H., Sand, C.K., Mc Hugh, T.H. 2008. IFT Scientific Status Summary 2008: Innovative Food Packaging Solutions. Journal of Food Science. 73(8):R107-R116.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page