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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: New Sustainable Processing Technologies to Produce Healthy, Value-Added Foods from Specialty Crops and Their Co-Products

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective 1: Develop vacuum forming and casting technologies that can be implemented to increase utilization and consumption of specialty crops and their co-products, while improving the health and safety of foods.

Objective 2: Develop sustainable infrared technologies that can be used for process- and energy-efficient blanching, dehydration, pasteurization, and peeling of specialty crops.

Objective 3: Develop sustainable microwave processing technologies, both alone and in combination with other processing methods, for specialty crops and their co-products.

Objective 4: Develop ultraviolet light processing technologies to enhance nutritional quality and add value to specialty crops and their co-products.

Objective 5: Develop solar, ultrasonic, and pulsed-electric field processing technologies to be used alone or in combination with other common processing methods to improve quality, add value, and ensure food safety to specialty crops and their co-products.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Research is needed to increase utilization and consumption of specialty crops and their coproducts. The development of new processing technologies can add value to specialty crops through the development of new foods containing up to 100% specialty crop based ingredients with enhanced healthfulness, convenience, and overall consumer appeal. Increased consumption of nutritious fruit, vegetable, nut and mushroom based foods will improve the American diet and reduce the prevalence of obesity in our nation. This research will also improve profitability for U.S. growers and processors by increasing demand for specialty crops and their coproducts and by developing new value added products with high potential for export. Development of sustainable processing technologies which result in energy and water savings is another benefit of this research. Food safety will also be improved. Forming, casting, infrared, microwave, ultraviolet, solar, ultrasonic and pulsed-electric field processing technologies will be explored, alone and in combination, to form novel value added food systems. Ultimately effects of processing on final product properties will be characterized and processing methodologies optimized to maximize final product quality, safety, and nutritional value. An extensive network of collaborators from universities, research institutes in other countries, commodity organizations, medical research labs and the food industry, as well as sizable grants from Federal and State agencies, will be used to support and insure a high degree of impact resulting from the research proposed in this project plan. Scientific impact will ultimately be achieved through scientific publications, patents, new mathematical models and transference of these technologies into commercialization.


3.Progress Report:
Excellent progress was made on all objectives and sub-objectives related to this project. Efforts to support previously developed and commercialized vacuum forming technologies continued through collaboration with Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and the development of a metabolic balance bar. The bar has been shown through human clinical trials to have significant positive effects on heart disease, obesity and asthma markers. A commercial partner is being pursued. The California Energy Commission, California League of Food Processors and California Department of Agriculture continue to support our efforts to transfer infrared processing technologies into commercialization. Using a large demonstration unit, we have begun to commercially demonstrate the infrared dry blanching and dehydration process and the infrared peeling process to various companies. Further studies on infrared pasteurization of nuts have continued and we are working to identify a commercial partner to adopt this technology. Microwave extraction of healthy compounds from pomaces has been an active area of research. Bioavailability of these antioxidants produced through ultraviolet treatment of carrots are being tested using tissue culture experiments. Our solar thermal processing of foods program has continued and we optimized design of a solar cabinet. Ultrasonic extraction studies continue and our pulsed electric field processing of various fruits and vegetables are progressing. A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) studying new applications for olive mill waste water is ongoing and a new CRADA on development of a novel tea is underway.


4.Accomplishments
1. Successful demonstration of novel sequential infrared dry blanching and dehydration (SIRDBD) process at large potato chip manufacturer. During the late fall/early winter we demonstrated for the first time, the use of SIRDBD to commercially produce fried potato and sweet potato chips at a national leader in processing vacuum fried chips. Through the support of a two year California Energy Commission grant, the novel SIRDBD process was tested using the USDA infrared demonstration unit. Results showed significant energy savings were achieved by infrared pre-drying potato and sweet potato slices prior to vacuum frying. The new process resulted in a 23.5% reduction in fat content of potato and sweet potato chips and improved the color and appearance of the chips. The patent on SIRDBD technology was filed several years ago and was licensed to Innovative Foods during the past year. The company is considering implementing this new process in their processing plants around the country to save energy and improve the quality and healthfulness of their products.


Review Publications
Shao, D., Atungulu, G.G., Pan, Z., Yue, T., Zhang, A. 2013. Characteristics of extraction and functionality of protein from tomato pomace produced with different industrial processing methods. Food and Bioprocess Technology. DOI: 10.1007/S11947-013-1057-0.

Otoni, C.G., Avena Bustillos, R.D., Chiou, B., Bilbao-Sainz, C., Bechtel, P.J., Mchugh, T.H. 2012. Ultraviolet-B radiation induced crosslinking improves physical properties of cold- and warm-water fish gelatin gels and films. Journal of Food Science. DOI:10.1111/j1750-3841.2012.02839.x.

Milczarek, R.R., Avena Bustillos, R.D., Greta, P., Mchugh, T.H. 2012. Optimization of microwave roasting of almond (Prunus dulcis). Journal of Food Processing and Preservation. DOI: 10.1111/jfpp.12046.

Atungulu, G.G., Prakash, B., Wang, X., Tianxin, W., Fu, R., Khir, R., Pan, Z. 2013. Determination of sockage for accurate rough rice quality assessment. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 29(2):253-261.

Shao, D., Atungulu, G.G., Pan, Z., Yue, T., Zhang, A., Chen, X. 2012. Separation methods and chemical and nutritional characteristics of tomato pomace. Transactions of the ASABE. 56(1):264-268.

Pan, Z., Khir, R., Thompson, J.F. 2013. Effect of milling temperature and post-milling cooling procedures on rice milling quality appraisals. Cereal Chemistry. 90(2):107-113.

Shao, D., Pan, Z., Yue, T., Atungulu, G.G., Zhang, A., Li, X. 2012. Study of optimal extraction conditions for achieving high yield and antioxidant activity of tomato seed oil. Journal of Food Science. 77(8):202-208.

Tian, H., Pan, Z., Zhu, Y., Mchugh, T.H., Ying, Y. 2012. Quality of frozen fruit bars manufactured through infrared pre-dehydration. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-4549.2012.00720.x.

Atungulu, G.G., Pan, Z. 2012. Decontamination of nuts and spices. In: Demirci, A., Mgadi, M.O., editors, Microbial decontamination in the food industry: Novel methods and applications. Cambridge, UK: Woodhead Publishing. p. 125-162

Du, W., Avena Bustillos, R.D., Woods, R.D., Breksa III, A.P., Mchugh, T.H., Friedman, M., Levin, C.E., Mandrell, R.E. 2012. Sensory evaluation of baked chicken wrapped with antimicrobial apple and tomato edible films formulated with Cinnamaldehyde and Carvacrol. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 60(32):7799-7804. DOI: 10.1021/jf301281a.

Chiou, B., Jafri, H.H., Avena Bustillos, R.D., Gregorski, K.S., Bechtel, P.J., Imam, S.H., Glenn, G.M., Orts, W.J. 2013. Properties of electrospun pollock gelatin/poly(vinyl alcohol) and pollock gelatin/poly(lactic acid) fibers. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 55:214-220.

Avena-Bustillos, R.J., Chiou, B., Olsen, C.W., Bechtel, P.J., Olson, D.A., Mchugh, T.H. 2011. Gelation, oxygen permeability and mechanical properties of mammalian and fish gelatin films. Journal of Food Science. 76(7):E519-E524. DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02312.x.

Chiou, B., Avena-Bustillos, R.J., Bechtel, P.J., Imam, S.H., Glenn, G.M., Mchugh, T.H., Orts, W.J. 2012. Fish gelatin: Material properties and applications. In: Fornasiero, P., Grazianai, M., editors. Renewable Resources and Renewable Energy: A Global Challenge, 2nd edition. New York, NY: CRC Press. p. 143-157.

Cordeiro De Azeredo, H.M., Mattoso, L.H., Mchugh, T.H. 2011. Nanocomposites in food packaging – A review. In: Reddy, B., editor. Advances in Diverse Industrial Applications of Nanocomposites. Shanghai, China: InTech. p. 1-22.

Avena-Bustillos, R.D., Mchugh, T.H. 2011. Role of edible film and coating additives. Edible Films and Coatings for Food and Other Applications. In: Baldwin, E.A., Hagenmaier, R.F., Bai, J., editors. Edible Coatings and Films to Improve Food Quality. 2nd edition. New York, NY: CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group. p. 157-184.

Mchugh, T.H., Avena-Bustillos, R.D. 2011. Applications of edible films and coatings to processed foods. In: Baldwin, E.A., Hagenmaier, R.F., Bai, J., editors. Edible Coatings and Films to Improve Food Quality. 2nd edition. New York, NY: CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group. p. 291-318.

Last Modified: 7/24/2014
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