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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Healthy Processed Foods Research » Research » Research Project #416707

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

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

Project Number: 2030-41000-063-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jul 11, 2010
End Date: May 6, 2015

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.

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.