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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO PROCESS VALUE-ADDED, HEALTHY FOODS FROM FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

2010 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 bulkprocessed 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.


3.Progress Report
Considerable progress has been made on this project by researchers in the Processed Foods Research unit, Albany, CA. 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. Furthermore through a project funded by the Mushroom Council and supported by Monterey Mushrooms, human clinical trials are now underway at the USDA, ARS, Western Human Nutrition Research Center testing the bioavailability of vitamin D in the processed mushrooms. In addition a large grant from USDA, NIFA was received 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 and recently received a large demonstration grant from the California Energy Commission to demonstrate the energy and water savings achieved through using this process on specialty crops. California Energy Commission and California League of Food Processors provided support for an infrared dry peeling study on tomatoes. A commercial cooperator provided funding for a study comparing infrared and microwave peeling of pears and peaches to save water and energy. All of these projects are in an effort to improve sustainability of food processing operations in the United States and support American growers, as well as consumer health.


4.Accomplishments
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 Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, 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. Through a new project funded by the Mushroom Council and supported by Monterey Mushrooms, human clinical trials are now underway at the USDA, ARS, Western Human Nutrition Research Center testing the bioavailability of vitamin D in the processed mushrooms. This research will help meet American nutritional needs while adding value to mushrooms.

2. Sustainable Processing of Specialty Crops. New sustainable processing methods are needed for California specialty crop producers to compete in the global economy. The California Energy Commission approved two large grants on sustainable processing of specialty crops which support research in the Processed Foods Research Unit in Albany, CA. The grants entitled “Demonstration of New, Efficient Drying and Blanching Technologies for Fruits and Vegetables” and “Development of Sustainable Tomato Peeling System by using Infrared Radiation Heating” seek to improve sustainability of food processing through energy and water savings. New infrared demonstration processing lines have been built and preliminary results show significant energy and water savings in a variety of specialty crop processes.

3. Ultraviolet Light Boosts Carrots Antioxidant Value. Exposing sliced carrots to a form of ultraviolet light known as UV-B, like that in sunshine, boosts the antioxidant activity of the colorful vegetable. The Processed Foods Research Unit in Albany, California received a grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and found the energy efficient dose of UV light that treats the carrots in a manner that does not significantly heat or dry the crunchy, colorful vegetables. A moderate, 25 second dose of UV-B light was shown to boost fresh, sliced carrots’ antioxidant capacity by about 3.5 fold. Discussions are underway with major carrot producers regarding implementation of this new technology.


Review Publications
Azevedo, H.M., Mattoso, L.H., Avena-Bustillos, R.J., Filho, G.C., Munford, M.L., Wood, D.F., Mchugh, T.H. 2010. Nanocellulose reinforced chitosan composite films as affected by nanofiller loading and plasticizer content. Journal of Food Science. 75(1):N1-N7.

Qu, W., Pan, Z., Ma, H. 2010. Extraction modeling and activities of antioxidants from pomegranate marc. Journal of Food Engineering. 99(1):16-23.

Zheng, Y., Pan, Z., Zhang, R., Wang, D. 2009. Enzymatic saccharization of dilute acid pretreated saline crops for fermentable sugar production. Applied Energy. 86(11):2459-2465.

Zhu, Y., Pan, Z. 2009. Processing and quality characteristics of apple slices under simultaneous infrared dry-blanching and dehydration with continuous heating.. Journal of Food Engineering. 90(4):441-452.

Picciani, P., Medeiros, E., Pan, Z., Orts, W.J., Mattoso, L., Soares, B. 2009. Development of Conducting Polyaniline/ Poly(Lactic Acid) Nanofibers by Electrospinning. Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 112(2):744-751.

Aouada, F.A., Pan, Z., Orts, W.J., Mattoso, L.H. 2009. Removal of paraquat pesticide from aqueous solutions using a novel adsorbent material based on polyacrylamide and methylcellulose hydrogels. Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 114(4):2139-2148.

Lin, Y., Li, S., Zhu, Y., Bingol, G., Pan, Z., Mc Hugh, T.H. 2009. Heat and Mass Transfer Modeling of Apple Slice under Simultaneous Infrared Dry-Blanching and Dehydration Process. Drying Technology. 27:1051-1059.

Zheng, Y., Pan, Z., Zhang, R. 2009. Biomass pretreatment for cellulosic ethanol production. International Journal of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. 2(3):1-18.

Qu, W., Ma, H., Pan, Z., Luo, L., Wang, Z., He, R. 2010. Preparation and antihypertensive activity of peptides from Porphyra yezoensis. Food Chemistry. 123:14-20.

Picciani, P., Medeiros, E., Pan, Z., Wood, D.F., Orts, W.J., Mattoso, L., Soares, B. 2010. Structural, electrical, mechanical and thermal properties of electrospun fibers of poly(lactic acid)/polyaniline blend.. Macromolecular Materials and Engineering. 295:618-627.

Yang, J., Bingol, G., Pan, Z., Brandl, M., Mc Hugh, T.H., Wang, H. 2010. Infrared heating for dry-roasting and pasteurization of almonds. Journal of Food Engineering. doi:10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2010.07.007

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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