Research and Industry

The School performs research in its areas of expertise to the highest possible standard and is of relevance to a national and global audience. The School is also committed to providing high quality postgraduate and postdoctoral research training; supporting innovation in the food industry and consumer health protection; engaging in the transfer of new knowledge to end-users and stake-holders, including industry, regulatory authorities and policy makers.

 

Research Themes
Food Science and Technology Nutrition and Human Health
Food Science and Technology Nutrition and Human Health

 

 

 

Cereal and Bakery Technology

Pilot scale bakery facility

Convection oven, Deck oven prover; Dough sheeter;

Blast freezer, Moulder; Mixers (5 types large and small scale);

Incubation units; Biscuit processing equipment;

Extruder for pasta processing‌

Milling equipment

Three roller mills

Analytical equipment

Rapid Visco analyser; Texture analyser; Rheofermentometer,

Volume determination; Glutomatic; Moisture analyser;

Aw-meter; Farinograph; Extensiograph;

Rheological equipment-Bohlin rheometer; rapid visco analyser;

Image analysis; Standard microbiological analytical equipment

Microscopy

Confocal laser scanning microscopy; Scanning electron-microscopy

Cereal proteomics

Lab-on-a-Chip Bio-analyser; SDS gel electrophoresis; 2 D gel electrophoresis; HPLC

Product development

Fully equipped product development kitchen with sensory evaluation unit

Sensory evaluation

Computerised sensory evaluation facilities

Meat Technology and Expertise

Sausage/restructured meat

Mincer – for particle size reduction; Flaker – for premium restructured products;

Bowl choppers – stainless steel; Food former – with choice of shapes;

Vacuum filler – with integrated linker and portion control

Fermented meats

Ripening chambers – programmable humidity and temperature control;

Drying chambers – programmable humidity and temperature control

Cured meats

Multi-needle injector – injection and mechanical tenderising;

Vacuum tumblers – microprocessor controlled

Food extrusion

Twin screw co-rotating extrusion cooker

High shear mixing

Stephan vacuum mixers –with temperature and vacuum control;

Limitech mixer – with temperature and vacuum control

Rheology

Texture analyser – compression, penetration, shearing and texture profile analysis;

Rheometer – for use on wide range of food samples

Smoking technology

Wood chip smoking; Friction smoking; Liquid smoking

Cooking equipment

Multi-stage cooking technology; Delta cooking; Deep-fat frying

Food packaging

Vacuum packaging – programmable; Modified atmosphere packaging

– with integrated gas mixing and gas analysis; Heat sealing; Canning

Packaging testing

Materials physical strength – including tensile tear and puncture tests;

Water vapour transmission rate – computer controlled;

Pack integrity testing – including burst leak and creep tests;

Gas composition in head space

Shelf life analysis

Environmental chambers with HACCP and GLP accreditation;

Environmental room laboratory – controlled temperature and humidity;

Laminar workstation – for microbiological assessment;

Microbiological laboratory; Retail display units – controlled temperature and lighting conditions

Analytical analysis

HPLC; GCMC; Leco; CEM fat/moisture; FT-NIR/FT-MIR ‌

Food coating equipment

Battering/breading unit; Tempura batter unit; Flash frying

Chilling and freezing

Blast freezing; Chilling and freezing with HACCP and GLP accredited data logging

 Dairy Science and Technology

Dairy Processing Facilities

Off-line separation unit for production of skimmed milk and cream; Batch pasteurisation vessel for up to 80L; Continuous pasteurisation system for up to 600L/hour; Standard and high pressure homogenisation facilities; Microthermics UHT system with on-line homogenisation and clean-fill hood; Fermentation vessel and separator for harvesting of bacterial cultures; Stephan and Limitech vacuum cookers; Large lab-scale evaporator; Lab and pilot scale spray dryers; Batch and continuous scraped surface ice cream freezers.

Cheese Production Equipment

Pilot cheese production facilities for multiple vats at 20L and 100L scale; Laboratory-scale facilities for cheese manufacture (200 mL – 5 L); Range of ripening rooms for maturing cheeses.

Novel Non-Thermal Processing Facilities

High pressure processing unit for pressures up to 800mPa.

Instrumental Texture and Colour Analysis

Compression and tension measurements of foods and packaging; Flow and oscillatory rheology to predict flow properties and mouth-feel; Viscosity analyser; Minolta colour analyser for measuring colour change

Biochemical and Physicochemical Analysis

One- and two-dimensional electrophoresis, e.g., urea-PAGE, SDS-PAGE and IEF;

Assays for principal milk enzymes; Gel image analysis; Particle size measurement; Powder property characterisation; Differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) for studying the phase transitions of foods, such as melting, glass transitions and exothermic decompositions; Dynamic mechanical analyser (DMA) for characterisation of powders; Light microscope fitted with cold/hot stage and digital imaging system for studying freezing and melting characteristics of foods

Chemical Analysis

Full suite of macronutrient analyses; Fluorofoss analyser for confirmation of pasteurisation effect; Milkoscan FT120 for rapid analysis of milk composition; GC and GC/MS; HPLC for separation, identification and quantification of micronutrients and flavour compounds; CEM for rapid determination of lipid and moisture fractions; Particle size analysis and surface charge determination; FPLC and other chromatographic techniques for protein separation.

 

Microscopy

Light microscope fitted with cold/hot stage and digital imaging system for studying freezing and melting characteristics of foods; Confocal laser scanning microscope

 

Sensory Analysis

Sensory laboratory with kitchen for sample preparation

 Food for Health and Nutrition

Databases of food composition and food consumption

The food composition database contains composition data for 41 nutrient factors for approximately 1000 foods, including manufactured products, composite dishes and nutritional supplements. Food consumption databases contain extensive information on food and nutrient intake, nutrient status, health indicators, lifestyle, and determinants of food choice in Irish population groups.

Human dietary intervention studies

Dedicated facility for subject recruitment, screening, taking dietary assessment, blood sampling, blood pressure assessment, body composition analysis. Supports human nutrition research studies.

Biochemical and nutritional analysis

Various types of spectroscopy (including mass spectroscopy), various types of chromatography (some linked to mass spectrometry), microscopy, radiation counting, ELISA, molecular biology.

Tissue culture unit and cell based assays

Cell based assays allow researchers to examine cellular processes at the molecular level, something that is not always possible in vivo. Cell based assays are an important indicator of toxicity and effectiveness of potential functional compounds. New developments in cell based assay technology allow researchers to more closely approximate in vivo conditions.

 

 

Bioassay platforms

Cell-based in vitro bioassays to screen potential functional components for activity relating to adiposity, satiety/glycaemia, muscle structure/function/ brain activity, infection and immune function.  

High-throughput robotics

Based on a Genetix QPIXII XT colony picking robot (4500 colonies/hour); MWG/Aviso Theonyx liquid handling robot; Cytomat incubator (mixed gas and Temp controlled); Synergy plate reader (GFP, mCherry)

Imaging and flow cytometry

Xenogen in vivo imaging system (IVIS) – 2D & 3D; Zeiss LSM5 Excite confocal microscope; BX51 fluorescent microscope; In cell analyser for high content analysis; Accuri C6 4-color bench-top flow cytometer

BIOIT

Various ‘omics’ analyses & associated bioinformatics; Global gene expression (transcriptomics, microarrays); Standardised microarray procedures (2x11k & 4x44k); Multispecies bifidobacterial arrays :Helicobacter pylori, Lactobacillus salivariu, Lactococcus lactis; Array-based techniques; Expression analysis; Genomic content (CGH); Genome sequencing; Assembly, annotation (ERGO platform) and comparative analysis; Identifying relevant biological processes (e.g. metabolic pathways); Statistics, clustering & visualisation.

Animal models

Animal models (including germ-free animals) targeted at obesity and metabolic syndrome, gut health, immunity and cognitive function.

GMP

State of the art GMP manufacturing facility with fermentation (300L), harvesting, concentration, freeze-drying and sterile packaging.

 Cereal and Brewing Technology

1000 L pilot-scale brewery

This modern brewing facility consists of a 2-roller mill, a 3 vessel brew-house (mash vessel, lauter tun, kettle), a biological acidification dosage unit, a whirlpool, a hot-water tank, yeast tubs for yeast propagation, 4 x 10 hl fermentation vessels, 1 x 10 hl bright beer tank, beer sterile filter, kieselguhr filter, a keg filling and bottle-filling plant. Furthermore, a water treatment plant as well as a glycol plant for cooling ensure a perfect operation of the brew house

50 L pilot-scale brewery

This small 50-litre brew house consists of a mashing, lauter and wort boiling kettle. The Whirlpool, cooler and the three 50 Litre fermenters ensure a standardised operation and performance in small half technical scale.

 Malt and beer analysis equipment

SCABA, Rapitec-Beer Analyser, Mashbath, Mills, Haze-analyser, Plansifter, NIBEM- Head-Retention, O2-Determination, pressure filtration unit, rheological equipment (Bohlin viscometer, Anton Paar rheometers, RVA). Equipment to carry out standard compositional and microbial analysis. Access to computerised sensory evaluation facilities as well as laser scanning microscopy and electron microscopy.

 

 

Malting equipment

8kg fully automatic and computer controlled Micromalting unit by Joe White Malting Systems. This plant allows to carry out different malting regimes under standardised conditions.

Malt and beer analysis equipment

SCABA, Rapitec-Beer Analyser, Mashbath, Mills, Haze-analyser, Plansifter, NIBEM- Head-Retention, O2-Determination, pressure filtration unit, rheological equipment (Bohlin viscometer, Anton Paar rheometers, RVA). Equipment to carry out standard compositional and microbial analysis. Access to computerised sensory evaluation facilities as well as laser scanning microscopy and electron microscopy.

 

Number of Publications (5 years) 600
Research Quality Review (2009) 4/5
Research Income (5 years) €23M

 

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