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Welcome to the Food Ingredients Research Group – one of the largest, multi-award winning, globally-connected, research groups within Food at UCC. The research activities of our team are focused on four main platforms, namely, (1) ingredient development and functionality, (2) formulation science and technology, (3) powder technology and engineering, and (4) bio-functional food ingredients.
This cutting-edge scientific research is of practical and commercial relevance in the formulation, processing, development and optimisation of food ingredients for various applications, mainly in food, and especially in premium nutritional products, such as infant, clinical and medical nutrition, but also in cosmetics, therapeutics and pharmaceutical applications. While our research is focused heavily on fundamental science and technology, it does span all Technology Readiness Levels, ranging from food protein biochemistry, through industry-informed research, to industry-led technology transfer, commercialisation and consultancy. The outputs of our research are highly impactful across the international scientific community, as evidenced by invited conference contributions, collaboration invitations, requests for researcher hosting and research awards. Beyond academia, these research outputs and outcomes have major positive implications for human nutrition, health and wellness and industry end-users. People are at the centre of scientific excellence, and one of the aspects of my research programme I am most proud of, is the training, development, mentoring and coaching of the next generation of students and research staff.
Dr Seamus (James) A. O’Mahony
Principal Investigator, Food Ingredients Research Group
Lactoferrin for infant nutrition
A study of lactoferrin physical and biological chemistry- stability to thermal processing, interactions with other proteins, simulated infant digestion and biological function
Key words: Lactoferrin, infant nutrition, digestion
Researcher: David Goulding
Funder: Industry partner
Project duration: 2018-2022
DPTC 2 – The study of seasonality in the Irish pool
This project aims to establish an in-depth understanding of how raw bulk milk in Ireland changes in composition and processability across the lactation/season. Through the detailed assessment of milk composition, functional indicators and spectral analysis, the project aims to establish better predictors for functionality, allowing for more informed decision making by processors across the season.
Key words: Seasonality, functional indicators
Researchers: Eoin Finnegan, Tara Murphy
Funder: DPTC (Dairy processing technology centre)
Project duration: 2022-2024
The DAIRYDRY porject investigates the rehydration properties of high-protein dairy powders (micellar casein concentrate, milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate) that are manufactured with different formulation. This project aims to find appropriate formulation science for manufacturing readily soluble next generation high-protein dairy powders.
Key words: Dairy powders, Rehydration
Researcher: Jacob Guralnick, Dr. Ram Raj Panthi
Key words: High-protein Dairy powders, rehydration
Project duration: 2016 -2021
Develop new protein fractions prepared by innovative separation technology
The objectives of this project were to determine the effects of temperature and transmembrane pressure on protein, mineral and enzyme partitioning during the cold microfiltration of skim milk and to investigate the effect of fouling on the subsequent partitioning of proteins and plasmin during filtration.
Key words: Membrane filtration; b-casein; Plasmin
Researcher: Thomas France
Project duration: 2018- 2021
Development of super-premium membrane filtered milk protein ingredients with enhanced quality and functional properties for nutritional applications (PREMPRO)
The project focusses on the development of sustainable processes for the manufacture of novel dairy protein ingredients for premium applications like medical, clinical, and infant nutrition products. The research project aims to develop greater understanding of the impact of processing conditions on milk constituents during membrane filtration and quality and functionality of the fractions generated for applicability as ingredients in premium applications.
Key words: Membrane filtration, enzymes, protein ingredients, technology
Researcher: Ritika Puri
Funder: Marie Curie Action Horizon 2020, Enterprise Ireland, Industry partner
Project duration: 2019-2021
Development of functional high protein, polyphenol enriched dairy beverage for performance nutrition
In this project, we try to better understand the interaction between proteins and polyphenols. We will also develop a beverage with a high protein and polyphenol content, which can be made on a pilot plan scale, and will be used for a nutritional study.
Key words: Proteins, polyphenols, protein-protein interactions
Researcher: Tessa van de Langerijt
Collaborators: Teagasc Food Research Centre and Waterford Institute of Technology
Funder: Irish Government Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, under the Food for Health Research
Project duration: 2019- 2022
Formulation and processing of sustainable and nutritious plant-based dairy alternative products
The project aims to study plant protein ingredients and their applications in the development of sustainable, high quality and healthy alternatives to dairy products. This project will provide both industries and researchers with a better understanding of the inter-relationships between composition, structure and functionality of such products.
Key words: Plant-based ingredients, dairy alternatives, plant-protein
Researcher: Nadia Grasso
Funder: Lauritzson FoundationProject duration: 2019-2023
Development of a plant-based infant formula (Smart Protein)
As part of the Smart Protein European project, our aim is to produce a cost effective, resource efficient, and nutritious infant formula. Alternative protein sources such as lentils, pea or soy protein are used, and their nutritional and functional properties as well as the manufacture technologies are investigated to formulate an innovative product.
Key words: Plant protein, Infant formula, Powder technology and engineering
Researchers: Nicolas Malterre
Funder: Smart Protein EU project
Project duration: 2020-2024
Technological properties of lecithin ingredients
The main objective of this project was to investigate the chemical composition of lecithin ingredients from different botanical sources and develop a comprehensive new understanding of the relationships between chemical composition and technological performance of lecithin ingredients in selected food applications.
Key words: Lecithin, emulsions,
Researcher: Francesca Bot
Funder: Industry partnerProject duration: 2017-2021