Food Biology applies molecular genetics, biochemistry, microbiology, and sensory science to the understanding of biological processes that affect food quality. Intelligent multiple hurdle food preservation techniques are designed, and understanding the synergy of the actions of bacteriocins with other antimicrobial substances are investigated. Novel mechanisms by which Escherichia coli O157:H7 transfers genetic material to other enteric pathogens, determination of the spatial location of foodborne pathogens in produce, and the occurrence of cross-resistance to preservatives, sanitizers, and antibiotics are investigated. Mathematical modeling is utilized to describe the behavior foodborne microorganisms. Molecular and biochemical mechanisms controlling phospholipid metabolism in response to nutrient supplementation and oxidative stress are examined in baker’s yeast. Sensory evaluation and consumer perception of foods are examined with respect to the influence of genetics, pregnancy, and disease on taste and food ingestion. Changes in micronutrients during processing and food preparation, and means of nutrification of foods with nutraceuticals are examined. Food and nutrition policy issues are also an area of interest.
Food Chemistry applies chemical techniques, concepts and laws to determine the kinds and amounts of molecules in foods, their physical properties, and their chemical transformations during manufacture and storage. Chemistry research at Rutgers Food Science covers a broad range from the analysis of food components to measurements of the molecular mobility of amorphous solids. Research in food analysis develops novel methods for the detection of both harmful (pesticide residues) and helpful (bioactive components, or nutraceuticals, that promote health) components in food. Additional nutraceuticals research seeks to identify and understand the mode of action of a wide range of bioactive ingredients in foods. Research on the chemical transformations of lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins, seeks to understand how these components are affected by specific processing techniques such as extrusion. Structure/function studies seek to understand the mechanism of action of antimicrobial or ice-nucleating proteins. And spectroscopic, mechanical, and thermal techniques are used to investigate how the physical properties of amorphous, non-crystalline, solids modulate their chemical and physical properties and thus their shelf-life and stability. All of this research is concerned with understanding the fundamental mechanisms operating to influence quality of food.
Food engineering involves food manufacturing, processing, packaging and preservation. In our department, research in food engineering spans over fundamental and applied areas. The fundamental research areas include fluid mechanics and mixing during extrusion, dough rheology, predicting diffusion of flavor compounds, understanding mechanism of expansion during extrusion, micro and macro structures of foods, baking and microwave processing, simultaneous heat and mass transfer during hybrid baking, and membrane-based technologies. Applied research areas include development of intelligent microwave oven, ice crystal size control during freezing, food processing during NASA's proposed mission to Mars, hot air jet impingement baking, health promotion through processed foods, food waste and by-product utilization, modified atmosphere packaging and smart packaging for microbial safety, novel food processing technologies including high pressure processing.