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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory » Research » Research Project #445356

Research Project: Farm to Table Factors: Impact of Production, Processing, and Preparation on Food Composition

Location: Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory

Project Number: 8040-10700-004-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Feb 20, 2024
End Date: Feb 19, 2029

Objective 1: Determine the impact of post-harvest processing (freezing, canning, and storage), industrial processing, and cooking (boiling, steaming, and microwaving) on carbohydrates (sugars, oligomers, starch, and fiber) in foods and bioaccessibility in the GI tract. Sub-objective 1: Determine the effects of post-Approach:harvest handling, industrial processing, and cooking on carbohydrates and evaluate the impact of analysis methodologies. Sub-objective 2: Evaluate the impact of industrial food processing and home cooking on the bioaccessibility of carbohydrates using the INFOGEST digestion model with modifications. Sub-objective 3: Physical analysis of RS motifs and DF. Objective 2: Determine the effects of dietary interventions in dairy cattle on the composition of milk. Objective 3: Evaluate nutrient profiles of leafy vegetables grown under controlled environmental agriculture conditions (CEA). Sub-objective 1: Modulation of growth conditions (light, water, nutrient delivery) to increase production and nutrient quality. Sub-objective 2: Research staple foods grown under different saline environments to identify salt-tolerant cultivars with similar or better nutritional traits.

The concentration and variability of conventional and emerging nutrients impacted by genetics, environment and production, processing, and preparation in food and agriculture systems are integral to research in human nutrition. Targeted research on production, processing, and preparation and emerging analytical methodology will provide crucial information on compounds of public health importance, significantly expanding our understanding of food composition. Carbohydrates are critical in shaping microbiome and immune system health, but components can be altered by processing and preparation and dramatically change functionality. New analytical methods and biomimetic digestion systems are needed to cross-validate classic analytical methods and investigate the impact of the 3Ps on digestion and bioaccessibility assessed from a whole food/meal perspective. In addition to carbohydrates, the impact of production practices on milk lipids will be investigated with respect to forage, soil health, milk volume, and bovine microbiome. The effect of covering crops that promote soil and animal health and productivity and methane-reducing seaweed forage on milk lipid quality will be investigated. The impact of management and environmental factors (drought, soil salinity, radiation) on the nutritional quality and marketability of leafy greens from controlled environment agriculture (CEA) using variable nutrient delivery systems will be studied. Nutrient and phytochemical analyses will assist in the selection of cultivars with improved nutritional traits and higher crop yields. Research on soil salinity, nutrient composition, and plant growth will support the identification of salt-tolerant cultivars for crop farmers in drought-affected/water-stressed croplands. This will support agricultural and human nutrition research, dietary guidance and consumer awareness.