Research Projects

Research Projects

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.

Food Ingredients Research Themes

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


Research Project 

Project Detail

 Lactoferring for infant nutrition

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 - UCC Image

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

Dairydry UCC 


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

Funder: DAFM

Key words:  High-protein Dairy powders, rehydration

Project duration: 2016 -2021


Separation Technology UCC 

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

Prempro UCC 

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

Enriched Beverage UCC 

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 UCC


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 Foundation

Project duration: 2019-2023


Plant based infant formula

 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

 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 partner

Project duration: 2017-2021

School of Food and Nutritional Sciences

School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, Room 240 Food Science Building, University College, Cork