Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research2012 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 subobjectives 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 markers. Additional research on previously developed and commercialized film casting technologies have led to the introduction of a new commercial fruit and vegetable wraps by NewGem Foods. These wraps can be used as healthy, gluten free fruit and vegetable based alternatives to breads and tortillas. 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 to various companies. We also built a demonstration infrared peeling unit which we will test this summer in various fruit and vegetable processing facilities. 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. Further research on ultraviolet processing to enhance antioxidant content of vegetables has been completed using AFRI grant funding. Bioavailability of these antioxidants will be tested in the near future. A human study on bioavailability of vitamin D from mushrooms was completed this year. Our solar thermal processing of foods program has continued and we are now testing various construction materials for optimum design of solar cabinets. We are collaborating with UC Solar on this effort. Ultrasonic extraction studies continue and our pulsed electric field processing of various fruits and vegetables is a new area of research pursuit. We also completed our collaboration with the Washington State Potato Commission on un-fried, healthy French fries. A new CRADA was recently entered into to study new applications for olive mill waste water.
1. Novel metabolic balance bars. ARS scientists in the Processed Foods Research Unit in Albany, California, developed novel, healthy metabolic balance bars through a collaboration with Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute. Manuscript published in The FASEB Journal shows that these bars increase good cholesterol and decrease plasma homocysteine. Both these shifts are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, after just two weeks of eating two bars a day. A patent has been filed on this highly promising technology. Additional bars are currently under development for prevention of obesity, heart disease and asthma.
2. Novel, gluten-free fruit and vegetable wraps. ARS scientists in the Processed Foods Research Unit in Albany, California, developed and commercialized novel nutritious gluten-free fruit and vegetable wraps with former CRADA partner, NewGem Foods. The wraps provide consumers a new way to eat more fruits and vegetables. They are lower in calories and salt content than grain-based wraps (breads and tortillas). Patent was issued and is licensed. The wraps are being sold through Home Shopping Network and the NewGem Foods web site.
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