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New recipes for food sustainability

12 October 2018
Research solutions for a better food industry
To celebrate World Food Day, we’re giving you a taste of just some of the food innovation and sustainability research on the menu in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.

Researchers in the Centre for Advanced Food Enginomics and the ARC Training Centre for the Australian Food Processing Industry in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering are working hard to find real solutions to ensure Australians are healthy and our food industries continue to compete globally.

They’re using enginomics to minimise food waste, produce high-quality food, secure supply for our growing and ageing populations, address the increase in chronic disease and advance food processing.

a pyramid containing food items that are the basis of research

Fish

Dr Dale McClure’s research shows that by encouraging the right type of microalgae to grow in fish-farming wastewater, polluting by-products can be metabolised by the algae while also producing key nutrients like Omega 3s. These nutrients encourage fish growth and provide health benefits for consumers.

Read more about this project.

Meat

Dr Sina Naficy is developing technology to print low-cost sensors onto food packaging. The sensors detect the gases produced by bacteria as the food deteriorates with the aim of reducing food waste.

Read more about this project.

Chicken

PhD researcher Andrea Talbot is fortifying chicken feed with natural Vitamin K1 to combat issues with chicken bone density and improve the overall animal welfare and commercial productivity of poultry farms. This will replace the synthetic supplement currently used that’s toxic to humans.

Read more about this project.

Grass

Professor Fariba Dehghani and Dr Naficy are researching ways to successfully process agricultural waste to produce biodegradable polymers for packaging food and other commodity products.

Read more about innovation in food chain supply research.

Peanuts

During her PhD, Maryam Farahani demonstrated ways to extract lignin, a naturally-occurring biopolymer, from plants like nut shells to enhance the hydrogels used in 3D printing.

Read more about innovation in food chain supply research.

Milk

Katherine Blackshaw’s PhD research is exploring ways to produce a transportable milk powder from donated breast milk while retaining the vital immunological components and minimising potential contamination by pathogens.

Read more about future food processing research.

Cereal

A new spray dryer developed by Professor Timothy Langrish can provide businesses a more efficient and cost-effective method for producing dry foods like cereal, powdered milk and instant coffee.

Read more about this project.

Mushrooms

Dr Peter Valtchev and his team are working on creating a new sports drink from mushrooms that tastes good while energising the body – all without the negative effects of sugar, sodium and caffeine.

Read more about this project.

Tomatoes

Marjan Arab’s PhD research developed a new extraction technology to create pharmaceutical-grade nutrient (nutraceutical) supplements from tomato leaves. Tomato leaves have a protein content of around 20% and comparable essential amino acids to broccoli and spinach.

Read more about innovation in food chain supply research.

Water

PhD researcher Mahshid Farzanehsa produced a fouling-resistant membrane, a technology which can be used to more effectively filter wastewater but also heat-sensitive products like juice and dairy products.

Read more about this project.

Citrus

Bala Shammugasamy, a PhD researcher is investigating the cancer preventative benefits of bioactive compounds found in citrus peel. The very strong ‘cytostatic effect’ of citrus peels may prevent cancer cells from multiplying.

Read more about this project.

Elderberries

PhD candidate Golnoosh Torabian has designed a process that minimises the negative effects of manufacturing processes on elderberries. The process optimises the production of nutraceutical drugs made from the fruits which can help fight influenza.


What is ‘enginomics’?

Enginomics is a relatively new term which recognises the multidisciplinary and innovative approach being undertaken in food engineering.

Enginomics integrates the human internal digestion and holistic health focus of certain bio-disciplines with the food processing and production focus of translational engineering.

This is all done within the context of sustainable and socially responsible model that encompasses general human health and environmental sensitivity. It incorporates:

  • food processing
  • health and wellness
  • food and product engineering
  • consumer safety and personalised food
  • security and sustainability in food chain
  • human digestion system.

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