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Research Themes, Teaching and Training and Research Opportunities

The Centre is involved in a number of themes, teaching and research opportunities.

Research Themes, Teaching and Training and Research Opportunities

The Centre is involved in a number of themes, teaching and research opportunities.

Research themes

The Centre for Food Research and Innovation is involved in the following key areas.

Food science

Food science is the understanding of the interactions of crop and animal production, food processing, process engineering, food chemistry, food biochemistry, human nutrition, sensory attributes and consumer choice. Our research focuses on understanding how by the manipulation of food chemical composition and processing we can deliver high quality value added foods to the consumer. By understanding the factors affecting food structure we can manipulate food functionality.

Food microbiology and safety

Industrial fermentation and production of safe foods are our core research activities in food microbiology and safety laboratory. Our research focuses on: understanding lactic acid bacteria that are involved in producing fermented foods as well as health-promoting impacts on consumers, and improving microbiological safety of foods including bacterial stress adaptive response, intervention and preservation technologies, food safety management and molecular based rapid detection methods.

Food processing and engineering

Fresh foods need to be processed in order to preserve them for long term storage. Heat processing technologies such as sterilisation and pasteurisation, drying and vacuum frying can be used to achieve this purpose. After processing, food products must be properly packaged to maintain its quality and safety until consumption. Understanding the engineering principles behind each technology would enable the efficient processing of these foods.

Research opportunities

Following are the projects available for potential research students (PhD, Masters and Honours) at the Centre for Food Research and Innovation. You are welcome to contact staff members to get further information.

Food science

* Protein – carbohydrate polymers – are they important in food structure development? 
* Do dietary fibres affect the glycaemic response of consumers?
* Barley, Malt and Beer – what role does genetics play?
* Do we need to chew our foods?
* How can we innovate meat and legume proteins?
For more information contact Professor Charles Brennan. 

Food microbiology and safety

* Use of functional starter cultures to improve food quality, safety and healthiness
* Stress responses in lactic acid bacteria
* Proteomics analysis of Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter
* Study the physiological characteristics of food microbes
* Microbiological risk assessment of foods
* Effectiveness of food safety management systems
For more information contact Associate Professor Stephen On.

Food security

* Prevention of food-borne outbreaks with emphasises on food security related issues
* Studying food risks assuring its safety and establishing links with food security
* Develop novel bio-markers to detect silver nanoparticles in the food chain
* Develop novel bio-markers to detect dioxin like chemicals, cadmium and mercury in the food chain.
For more information contact Professor Ravi Gooneratne or Associate Professor Stephen On

Food toxicology

* Detect and monitor dioxin like chemicals, cadmium and mercury in agricultural land and water reservoirs.
* Develop remediation techniques to clean-up toxic chemicals from contaminated sites.
For more information contact Associate Professor Ravi Gooneratne. 

Food process engineering

* Effect of drying conditions on the drying characteristics and physiochemical qualities of foods
* Vacuum impregnation of fruits using blackcurrant and other nutritious fruit syrup
* Packaging and shelf life testing of foods
* Effect of vacuum frying conditions on the physiochemical qualities of foods
* Process engineering studies on vacuum frying of foods
* Process engineering studies on freezing and thawing of foods
For more information contact Professor Charles Brennan.

Food nutrition

* Deer milk- is it worth pursuing as a source of bio-active peptides?
* Does size matter? How does particle size influence health benefits?
* Can we use traditional New Zealand foods to enhance common foods?
* Does diet and /or management of dairy cows change the composition of individual proteins in milk?
* How do consumers use Date stamp information from food packaging?
For more information contact Dr Sue Mason


* The role of calpains in the ageing of meat
* The effect of cooking on lamb proteomics
* The effect of pasture composition on the lipid profile of lamb
For more information contact Associate Professor Jim Morton. 

Food biochemistry

* Stability of oils and fatty acids in nuts and extracted nut oil
* Stability of fatty acid components in processed meat products
* Oxalate contents of New Zealand and imported foods
* Identification of flavour components of feijoa
* Effect of Asian cooking on antinutritive factors in food
* Manufacture of novel food products from fruits and vegetables
For more information contact Associate Professor Geoffrey Savage.

Teaching and training

The Food Science major combines courses in food biochemistry, food microbiology, food engineering and food processing, food quality, food law, and farm production, to provide a professional training for students interested in careers in the food industry ranging from major food processors through to retail chains and regulatory agencies. The emphasis in this unique major is on quality issues ‘from paddock to plate’. CFRI offers Bachelor, Masters and PhD courses in food science.

* Bachelor of Science (Food Science Major)
* Master of Science in Food Innovation
* PhD - Find out more about our research opportunities

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