1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The overall goal is to support the rural U.S. agricultural economy and provide health-related benefits to the American consumer by developing bioactive food ingredients and biobased products from fruit and vegetable processing residues such as sugar beet pulp, citrus peel and cranberry pulp.
Additional objective (2011) Develop light weight-bearing materials with antimicrobial activity for use in the manufacture of food containers.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
A multidisciplinary biorefinery approach will be used to develop health-related and biobased co-products from plant cell wall polysaccharides in fruit and vegetable processing residues. Plant cell wall polysaccharides will be converted into biomedical materials for human tissue regeneration, cosmetic personal care products, carriers of bioactive substances for colon-specific delivery and to produce synbiotics, in which probiotic bacteria are encapsulated in a prebiotic. Plant cell wall oligosaccharide-based prebiotics will be isolated from agricultural processing residues rich in pectins and hemicelluloses. The hypothesis that prebiotics can selectively promote the growth of gut bacteria associated with lean tissue growth to potentially control obesity will be tested. Plant cell wall oligosaccharides will also be screened for biological activity such as preventing the adhesion of pathogenic bacteria to intestinal epithelial cells, immunomodulation, and induction of cancer cell apoptosis. Bioplastic composites will be designed with bacteriocins for control of food-borne pathogens with active packaging. Weight-bearing, light weight bioplastic composites will also be produced with construction and consumer product applications in mind.
Update 2011: The light weight-bearing materials will be prepared from a group of biomass-oriented thermoplastics. Antimicrobials will be loaded by laminating a layer of polymer carrying antimicrobial actives onto the surface.
The collaboration with Rutgers University has resulted in 4 research papers published in peer-reviewed journals in the fiscal year 2012-2013. These papers represent the frontiers of research in packaging materials and packaging technologies. We have incorporated bioactives into green packaging materials and allowed them to release into the headspaces and/or the surfaces of packaged foods in a pre-programmed manner. Four ERRC scientists participated in the collaboration, 11 graduate school students came to ERRC to receive training and conduct research for their master’s degree thesis or Ph.D. dissertation. Two ERRC scientists (they are also adjunct professors at Rutgers University) visited the university frequently to advise students on their research.