Department of Food Science
The Department of Food Science has a strong research focus and conducts research into specific themes.
- Projects in the
food microbiology theme include the detection and characterisation of spoilage and potential pathogens present in food products. The diversity of microbial populations in various food products, including fruit juices, dairy environments, infant and fermented products, is also studied. The theme has a strong focus on the growth and decay characteristics of spoilage organisms especially those that survive heat intensive processes. One of the newer research aspects in this theme is the evaluation of ultrasound (a rapid, effective and economically viable replacement for pasteurisation and sterilisation processes).
environmental theme in the food industry focuses on the use of anaerobic digestion technology, the use of ozonation and other pre-treatment techniques to improve the efficiency of the water treatment system, as well as reducing water usage in the general food processing environment.
food safety theme specifically researches the levels and types of microbes present in polluted rivers that are utilised for irrigation. Microbial source tracking and carry over kinetics is the core of the research done. The linking of the potential pathogens in the irrigation water to produce that is consumed raw or after minimal processing is important for consumer health and prevention of food borne diseases.
spectroscopy theme focuses on the evaluation of bulk near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy as well as NIR hyperspectral imaging for quantification, qualification, authentication and determination of irregularities in various food and agricultural products. Models, to be applied during quality control, are developed.
cereal quality theme investigates and develops methods essential for efficient breeding, production, processing and evaluation of various cereals. The texture of cereal endosperm and the role played by the composition of the proteins within the respective grains are also investigated.
- Within the
sensometric theme research projects are usually multi-disciplinary in nature: chemical, sensory and physical attributes of food products or new prototypes are correlated; furthermore advanced statistical techniques are applied to determine the drivers of liking of specific consumer segments.