Partner Description

AU is a university with approximately 4000 students and 200 academic staff, with an ambition to be a centre of excellence for interdisciplinary research focusing on the delivery of practical solutions to business, society and government. The most recent UK Government review of our research (REF 2014) demonstrated we have the highest research intensity of any modern Scottish University.

Our Research and Knowledge Exchange strategy 2013-18, called R-LINCS (Research-Led Innovation Nodes for Contemporary Society), bridges conventional boundaries between research disciplines and devises innovative approaches to address societal challenges. R-LINCS integrates our research into a single Abertay-wide initiative designed to exploit the fact that Abertay is a compact and focused institution. Our size enables us to work effectively within and across departmental and discipline boundaries to create an innovative and sustainable environment for research, to drive development of new research areas, and to strengthen disciplines through cross-fertilisation.  R-LINCS focuses on innovative solutions to societal problems through four cross-University themes: Environment (which includes food science and innovation), Security, Society, and Creative Industries.

We are driving the development of industry-focused food and drink research in partnership with end-users, supported by national funding.  This includes: i) Increasing our capacity and deepening our core expertise in food & drink bioscience particularly in food product development; ii) Increasing the number of research active staff in this area; iii) Bringing together interdisciplinary teams to develop highly interactive mathematical modelling and visualization tools to improve analysis of complex interactions spanning fundamental to end-user applications (for example food pipeline, processing and sensory analysis).

We work closely with the food and drink industry.  We have made major capital investments (£3.5m summer 2016) in research facilities and the creation of a Consumer Experience laboratory to enhance the range of services that we can offer to the Scottish food and drink industry. We are rapidly increasing the number of UK Government funded food & drink Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, building upon our close links developed with a wide range of food and drink companies including multinationals and many SMEs.  We have also participated in international collaborations with centres of excellence in food technology, for example Vietnam’s Nha Trang University.  Members of the Division have also contributed to major European food research symposia, including: a) VI International Conference Postharvest Unlimited, Madrid, Spain, October 2017; b) 10th International Symposium of Antioxidants and Health ‘ Polyphenol Applications’, Porto, Portugal 2016; VIII International Postharvest Symposium: Enhancing Supply Chain and Consumer Benefits – Ethical and Technological Issues, Cartagena, Spain 2016.

Main tasks

Abertay University (AU) will be involved in the WP1, WP2, WP4 and WP5. Specifically, AU team will evaluate the effectiveness of the ultrasound (US) technique in order to produce safe and fresh-like quality juices, smoothies and minimally processed F&V.  In the WP1 AU will evaluate the effectiveness of the US technique (alone or in combination with plasma activated water) as an alternative of sanitising method during washing operation of F&V. For F&V based juices/smoothies, the AU team will evaluate the suitability of US technique (in combination or in substitution) to the traditional methods of pasteurization and sterilization. AU will examine the bioavailability of the bioactive compounds in the products during in vitro digestive system.

In the WP2 AU will apply US technique to improve and characterize the extraction of bioactive compounds from F&V by-products for reintroduction into juices\smoothies and for coatings of fresh-cut F&V (WP1). Characterization will be achieved using advanced separation techniques coupled to spectroscopic detectors (DAD, FLD and mass spectrometry). Preliminary antimicrobial activity of the extract will be performed.

In the WP4 AU will collaborate with SMEs for the implementation of US technique at pilot plant scale for the production of the F&V products. In the WP5 AU will analyze the chemical and nutritional profile of the F&V products.

AU will also contribute in terms of dissemination, knowledge transfer and training activities in WP7.