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Proceedings Paper

Peering into the secrets of food and agricultural co-products
Author(s): Delilah Wood; Tina Williams; Gregory Glenn; Zhongli Pan; William Orts; Tara McHugh
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Paper Abstract

Scanning electron microscopy is a useful tool for understanding food contamination and directing product development of food and industrial products. The current trend in food research is to produce foods that are fast to prepare and/or ready to eat. At the same time, these processed foods must be safe, high quality and maintain all or most of the nutritional value of the original whole foods. Minimally processed foods, is the phrase used to characterize these "new" foods. New techniques are needed which take advantage of minimal processing or processing which enhances the fresh properties and characteristics of whole foods while spending less time on food preparation. The added benefit coupled to less cooking time in an individual kitchen translates to an overall energy savings and reduces the carbon emissions to the environment. Food processing changes the microstructure, and therefore, the quality, texture and flavor, of the resulting food product. Additionally, there is the need to reduce waste, transportation costs and product loss during transportation and storage. Unlike food processing, structural changes are desirable in co-products as function follows form for food packaging films and boxes as well as for building materials and other industrial products. Thus, the standard materials testing procedures are coupled with SEM to provide direction in the development of products from agricultural residues or what would otherwise be considered waste materials. The use of agricultural residues reduces waste and adds value to a currently underutilized or unutilized product. The product might be biodegradable or compostable, thus reducing landfill requirements. Manufacturing industrial and packaging products from biological materials also reduces the amount of petroleum products currently standard in the industry.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 June 2010
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7729, Scanning Microscopy 2010, 772903 (15 June 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.861953
Show Author Affiliations
Delilah Wood, USDA Agricultural Research Service (United States)
Tina Williams, USDA Agricultural Research Service (United States)
Gregory Glenn, USDA Agricultural Research Service (United States)
Zhongli Pan, USDA Agricultural Research Service (United States)
William Orts, USDA Agricultural Research Service (United States)
Tara McHugh, USDA Agricultural Research Service (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7729:
Scanning Microscopy 2010
Michael T. Postek; Dale E. Newbury; S. Frank Platek; David C. Joy, Editor(s)

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