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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Healthy Processed Foods Research » Research » Research Project #426403

Research Project: Development of Sustainable Processing Technologies for Improving the Healthiness, Quality and Safety of Speciality Crops and their Waste Products

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

Project Number: 2030-41000-064-05-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 1, 2014
End Date: Apr 30, 2019

The ultimate goal of this project is to create new and alternative technologies to produce healthy, safe and improved quality food and agricultural products or value-added products from specialty crops and their waste products with reduced cost through various processing technologies, such as blanching, drying, peeling, infusion, coating, extrusion, nano, infrared, ultraviolet (UV), ultrasound, fermentation and their combinations or related processing technologies. The developed products may be used for cereals, snacks and other food and non-food applications.

Fresh, dried, and/or frozen fruits and vegetables, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetable purees and byproducts from fruits and vegetable processing will be used for this research. The new processing methods may include infrared heating, freeze drying, freezing, air drying, peeling, dipping, fermentation, extrusion, grinding, ultrasonic treatment, UV, infusion and/or coating or combinations of some of the processing methods. The effect of different processing methods on the related characteristics of healthiness, safety and quality of specific products and energy consumption, as well as environmental benefits will be tested and evaluated. The focuses of the project are to develop fundamental knowledge and new processing technologies/products and commercialize the developed technologies and products. To achieve the goals, the new processing technologies will be studied by evaluating their effectiveness on improving the product quality (sensory quality, shelf-life, texture), safety (microbial content), and value and sustainability, such as reduced energy and water uses. The processing and energy efficiencies will be determined for various processing regimes. The effects of the operation and design parameters on product quality and energy efficiency will also be studied. To develop nutritional bars, novel formulation and processing techniques will be developed and the effectiveness on reduced obesity and improved health will be studied. To develop sustainable peeling methods for fruits and vegetables by using infrared heating, new infrared heating methods, and equipment will be developed and tested. The improved product quality will be measured and the energy and water savings will be quantified. To further develop the infrared drying technology for tree nut drying for improved product quality and safety and reduced energy use, and produce fruits and vegetables based healthy snacks with reduced energy, the energy consumption, product quality and microbial loads will be measured and optimal processing conditions will be determined.