Jul. 1, 2008 - Jun. 30, 2013Award Number
USDA - CSREESInvestigator
Paul L. Dawson, Ph.D.
The proposed research will address the safety and quality of food. This not only includes preventing food deterioration but also enhancing the composition of food during storage through "enhancer coatings." Specific strategies will include 1. active packaging (antimicrobial, antioxidant, bioactive), 2. novel processing (non-thermal plasma, thermal (heat and cold) in combination with biocides), 3. evaluate variables of foods, films, antimicrobials and surfaces affecting transfer and/or survival of bacteria through an undergraduate creative inquiry research team. 1.Two main research tracts will be taken toward furthering active packaging of food. The use of natural antimicrobials and antioxidants to extend the shelf life of meat products will be used primarily focusing on bio-based films and coatings. These coatings include. lactic acid carriers that modify the metabolic pathway of bacteria. Another research area for active packaging will be the use of coatings carrying natural phenolic compounds to both extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables while also enhancing the production and preservation of natural phenolic antioxidants produced in the stored fruit or vegetable during storage. 2.Surface inactivation of pathogenic and spoilage bacteria will be accomplished using novel methods and combination of traditional methods. One method will be non-thermal plasmas which will minimize food quality changes while inactivating target bacterial. Using heat and cold as processing treatments and combining these with biocides in a hurdle concept will be tested and include statistical modeling of these techniques. 3.Creative Inquiry undergraduate teams will investigate various food safety topics that focus on food surfaces. These include practical topics such as food contact transfer of bacteria on various surfaces including food surfaces, elimination of bacteria from food and other surfaces using commercial household treatments, and the effects of common practices on bacterial transfer.