Summary of Awards to Date

Enzyme stabilization and rapid methods for citrus and fruit juice quality.

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Date

Jan. 1, 2009 - Dec. 31, 2013

Award Number

FLA-LAL-004841

Funding Agency

USDA - CSREES

Investigator

Jose I. Reyes De Corcuera, Ph.D.
University of Florida

Co-Investigator(s)

Goodrich-Schneider, R., Rouseff, R., Ehsani, M., Etxeberria, E., Brlanski, R., Wang, N., and Danyluk, M.

Summary

Assuring the production and quality of US agricultural commodities, processed foods and beverages is vital to the country's security and market competitiveness. Fresh and processed foods need to be safe as well as nutritious and good tasting. Maximizing sensory attributes and nutritional value while retaining fresh-like quality and ensuring safety are requirements for all food processors eager to conquer diverse emerging markets. The goals of this project are (I) to carry out exploratory research on stabilization and activation of citrus and other food enzymes and (II) to develop new and improved methods for plant and food pathogen detection, quality assurance of food and beverage products. Pectic enzymes are used for viscosity reduction and yield increase in the fruit juice industry. Lipases are used in the production of natural flavors. Stabilization and reuse of enzymes has the potential to decrease production costs and increase productivity. The effects of high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) on enzyme activity will be characterized by applying HHP to pectic enzymes and lipases at different temperatrues. Faster and more accurate and automated quality methods are required in the food industry. This research will focus on developing novel sensors, biosensors or rapid assays to replace the current assays for pectinesterase and oil content in juice. Physical, biochemical and electrochemical strategies will be used. We also expect to develop biosensors for indirect rapid detection of food pathogens. Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB)is one of the most threatening citrus diseases in the world and it is gravely affecting Florida's industry. Rapid in-field diagnosis of the disease can help reducing its spread. Knowing the changes in metabolites present in infected trees can help understanding the mechanisms of infection. In this research we will focus on identifying biomarkers for rapid detection of citrus HLB. Based on these biomarkers, we expect to develop portable sensors or biosensors for rapid, in-field diagnosis of HLB. Outcomes. a) Improved understanding of the effects of HHP on enzyme catalysis and structure. b) Incorporation of research findings into two graduate courses taught by Dr. Reyes De Corcuera: Citrus Processing Technology and Food Kinetics. c) Quality assurance laboratories are expected to save time and improve product quality by implementing a faster PME activity method for fruit juices. d) A faster and more sensitive method to determine oil in juice is expected to reduce processing costs to citrus juice and oil processors by reducing assay time and providing feed-back process control and more accurate quality control. e) In-field determination of titratable acidity that citrus growers can readily and inexpensively adopt at harvesting and increase crop value. f) Rapid methods for Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 detection in foods reduce assay time and minimize the likelyhood that contaminated or under processed foods reach the consumer, thus, minimizes foodborne disease outbreaks. g)In-field diagnosis of HLB is expected to help citrus growers mitigate the spread of this disease