Food Quality & Processing
The focus of the theme is the development of technologies that will help to identify and incorporate bioactive ingredients into foods, as well as the use of process analytic tools and alternative processing technologies to enhance manufacturing efficiency and the quality of foods.
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Identifying foods with specific health benefits, or indeed components within those foods, is central to much of the work conducted within the Institute. At the core of this research is the Food for Health Ireland programme. Focusing on milk and in its second phase, this large multi-centered project seeks to look for ingredients that promote infant development, help to control weight and related health issues, boost immunity or support healthy ageing.
The initial phase of this project (2008-2013) identified bioactive peptides (short protein chains) that have specific health benefits. In this second phase due to continue until 2018, research will predominately focus on the incorporation of these bioactives into foods, their commercialisation and the exploration of new markets such as sports performance and foods for the elderly population. The project will also look at the challenges of eventually bringing these products to market by ensuring that all scientific and health claims made are fully substantiated and ensuring that they fulfill all legislative requirements.
- Kerry Group
- Carbery Milk Products
Scientists within the Institute are examining how diet and production systems can be manipulated to improve the sensory quality (colour, flavour, texture) of bull beef and older ram lamb, ensuring its acceptability to consumers.
Alternatives to traditional prime cuts of beef and lamb offer a good opportunity to use meats which are relatively cheaper and may otherwise go to waste. However, often these meats are not acceptable to consumers due to flavour changes brought about by husbandry methods such as castration, and the fact that they may often come from older animals.
Led by Prof Frank Monahan and a team of researchers at UCD, as well as researchers in Teagasc and the Agri-Food Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Northern Ireland, production and husbandry factors will be explored to see how these affect the quality and sensory attributes of bull beef and older ram lamb. They will look at production and dietary interventions to increase consumer acceptability while ensuring that the overall production systems remain economically viable.
Teagasc, Agri-Food Bioscience Institute (NI)