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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Welcome to theProcessed Foods Research Unit home. The missionof the unit is to enhance the marketability and healthfulness of agricultural commodities and processed products.  Cereal grains, legumes, and fruits and vegetables are the focus of this research.  Both fundamental and applied research approaches are to be used to solve problems and develop new value-added products which will benefit the consumer, producer, economy and environment.  Fundamental food properties, nutritional attributes, and consumer preferences are important considerations.  Research approaches are multidisciplinary.

Research Highlight

Improving Citrus Nutritional Properties and Quality to Benefit Human Health and Enhance Citrus Utilization

Andrew P. Breksa III



The primary goals of this research project are to establish the role of naturally occurring biologically active citrus phytochemicals, in particular citrus limonoids, in human health and nutrition, to enhance citrus co-product utilization, and to utilize molecular level methods to improve citrus quality and optimize important biologically active phytochemicals in new citrus varieties. 

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New Technologies to Process Value-Added, Healthy Foods from Fruits and Vegetables

Tara H. McHugh, Zhongli Pan



The primary goal of this research project is to develop novel processing technologies to increase utilization and consumption of fruits and vegetables. The investigation and development of new and improved processing technologies will permit year-round processing for manufacturing value-added, convenient and healthful foods from bulk-processed fruits and vegetables and their coproducts.  Extrusion, vacuum forming, casting, and infrared blanching and dehydration will be explored to form novel foods and ingredients. 

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Processing and Biotechnological Improvement of Foods to Prevent Obesity Related and Degenerative Diseases

The goalof this project is to assess the potential of dietary components, particularly soluble dietary fibers, to reduce insulin resistance in an animal model.  In the next five years we will determine the physico-chemical properties of fiber necessary to reduce insulin resistance and to process food ingredients in order to concentrate or to improve the bioavailability of fiber and other phytochemicals that reduce risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers.  

Characterization  and Control of Nutritional and Sensory Properties of Raw and Processed Grains, Legumes and Vegetables


Objective 1 - Isolate and characterize biologically active constituents in grains, legumes, nuts and vegetables and their co-products. Optimize processing and storage conditions to enhance flavor and health promoting phytonutrients. Objective 2 - Add value to grains, legumes, and/or vegetables by extrusion technology using processing parameters and texture modifying ingredients to control or enhance nutritional, textural and sensory properties.



  Contact Information

         Dr. Tara McHugh

         Processed Foods Research Unit
         USDA-ARS WRRC
         800 Buchanan St. 
         Allbany, CA 94710
         Phone: 510-559-5864, Fax: 510-559-5851

 Location Map

Last Modified: 8/13/2016
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