Sliced oranges and kiwi on wooden table

Food industry transformation

Designing sustainable processes for future foods
We aim to revolutionise food production techniques and enhance their sustainability while ensuring the creation of products with appealing flavors, textures and improved nutritional profiles.

By pioneering innovation in processing methodologies and packaging solutions, we are actively tackling the significant obstacles posed by limited food supplies and food wastage, all aimed at fostering human health and overall well-being.

Our research

Sustainable food processing

Our experts: Professor Tim Langrish,  Professor PJ Cullen, Associate Professor John Kavanagh,  Adjunct Professor Roman Buckow, Dr Yi Shen and Dr Peter Valtchev.

Our primary emphasis lies in innovating food processing methods to enhance sustainability while ensuring high quality, safety, and nutritional value. Our objective is to create innovative and scalable techniques for processes like fermentation and downstream processing, including advanced membrane technology, extraction, drying and pasteurization, all aimed at improving the quality and nutritional content of food, while simultaneously minimising waste.

We explore strategies to recover essential nutritional components like proteins, oligosaccharides, flavonoids, and fats from various plant sources such as legumes, mushrooms, algae, and seaweeds. Our focus extends to underutilised agricultural resources, with the goal of enhancing protein digestibility and functionality through scalable processes. 

We are committed to maximising the efficiency of raw ingredient usage and formulating optimised processing conditions for fractionation and texturisation while minimising the impact on their nutritional value. We employ technologies like spray drying, fluidized bed drying, extrusion, 3D printing, and high shear forces to craft appealing textures in food products.

Development of nutritional foods

Our experts: Associate Professor John Kavanagh, Prof Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh, Dr Peter Valtchev, Professor Fariba Dehghani, Dr Yi Shen, Dr Sepehr Talebian.

Our mission revolves around creating and designing the next generation of foods that combat the rising occurrence of lifestyle diseases, nutrient deficiencies in underserved communities, and the health requirements of aging populations. As an illustration, our efforts involve the creation of foods enriched with probiotics, and prebiotics, as well as possessing antiviral, anticancer, and immunological properties, all contributing to the prevention of chronic conditions, also promoting gut microbiome in the intestine that play a key role in the prevention of many diseases including lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

Although plant-based proteins are more environmentally friendly to produce, their digestibility is limited, and they lack certain essential amino acids. Furthermore, their processing necessitates using additional resources. A significant aspect of our research centres on harnessing diverse raw ingredients and refining processing methods to amplify the digestibility and improve the nutritional and sensory attributes of these proteins, all accomplished in a resource-efficient and ecologically conscious manner.

Enhancing food safety and quality

Our experts: Professor PJ Cullen, Professor Fariba Dehghani, Dr Anne Mai Prochnow, Dr Sina Naficy, Dr Syamak Farajikhah, Dr Farshad Oveissi.

Our primary focus revolves around innovating the food supply chain to enhance both safety and quality. This encompasses several areas:

(a) Developing miniaturised sensors capable of identifying contaminants in food products and creating smart and active packaging solutions; 

(b) Devising sanitisation methods such as cold plasma that eliminate the need for additional reagents in the sanitation/disinfection process across the supply chain and prevent biofilm formation; 

(c) Crafting sustainable active and/or smart packaging materials suitable for a variety of food storage conditions to minimise both food waste and the environmental impact of plastics consumption.

Our efforts are dedicated to ensuring that consumers receive food products that are not only safe for consumption but also meet desired standards of quality in terms of sensory characteristics and nutritional content.