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Title: R&D Needs and Opportunities in Food Science and Technology

item Onwulata, Charles
item Flora, Lewis
item Kramer, Wendy

Submitted to: Food Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/3/2008
Publication Date: 11/1/2008
Citation: Onwulata, C.I., Flora, L.F., Kramer, W.H. 2008. R&D needs and opportunities in food science and technology. Food Technology. 62(11):41-47.

Interpretive Summary: This review shows some of the needs and opportunities in the foods research area that scientist in the ARS Quality and Utilization of Agricultural Products program should pay attention to. Competition from overseas, from countries like, China, Brazil, and India, and rising fuel energy cost, and old equipment are affecting agricultural productivity in the U.S. Scientists need to research ways to increase the amount of foods, and improve the health benefits of processed foods. They should help farmers find new feeds for farm animals. Researchers should work together to solve these big agriculture problems.

Technical Abstract: This is an analysis of the relevant trends, market economics, science and technology needs of the Agricultural Research Service National Program on Quality and Utilization of Agricultural Products (NP 306), specifically issues that impact on the foods aspects of the program. It provides information on appropriate program directions based on current and future agricultural research needs in the United States, accounting for the huge influence on U.S. agriculture from emerging economies around the world. The economic outlook for most commodities is prolonged shortages due to the merging of agriculture, bio-ethanol and crude oil economies, and climatic changes, resulting in increasing food scarcity and growing worldwide demand, and rising prices for food. The food processing technologies in use presently are 40 to 60 years old, and cannot adequately handle current and future challenges. This report recommends development of new processing technologies that deliver increases in quality and quantity of foods across several commodities; development of new environmentally benign efficient extraction technologies and processes to increase the quantity of feed and fiber. It also emphasizes research in superior value-added, high quality foods; health promoting, minimally processed multi-functional foods; organic processes and products, quality enhancement and maintenance. As programs are developed to address NP 306 needs for the next 5-7 years (2009 to 2014), projects should be evaluated on their strong cross functional multi-disciplinary team approach and/or on projected enhanced value-added impacts. Research project teams should include more scientists, be scientifically broad and diverse, and have in-depth knowledge from basic to applied science, to adequately respond to current and future realities.