Preservation mechanisms for space foods

Nutrition and flavour preservation mechanisms for microwave assisted thermal sterilised foods to enable extreme shelf-life for space, emergency and defence feeding

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

29 October 2021

Campus

Launceston

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilisation (MATS) is a new technology to enable the production of high-quality shelf stable foods for added value exports.  While commercial retail products typically need 1 year of shelf life, foods for Defence need a 2- year shelf life and projected space applications like the “Moon to Mars” missions need a 5-year shelf life in the presence of ionizing space radiation.  Flavour and related nutrient degradation, however, occurs over time due to oxygen radical and ionizing radiation catalysed damage, and chemical changes such as Maillard reactions due to carbohydrate content. This research project will look at  new ways to counter the reactions to maintain good flavour, colour and nutrient profiles in processed foods under the extreme storage conditions that may be encountered in exports to tropical countries or specialised foods for long shelf-life space and defence applications. The research will examine the shelf life of novel antioxidant combinations to determine and model the changes in food quality over extended/accelerated shelf-life assessment systems set up with Defence Science and Technology, Scottsdale  and space radiation simulation with ANSTO using an external ion beam.  The efficacy of hydrogen to quench high energy radicals and natural polyphenols to trap reactive intermediates of the Maillard reaction will be assessed for changes in colour by photometry, changes in volatile compositions by GC-MS, changes in taste by electronic tongue, changes in vitamin content by biochemical assay. Experimental design will apply response surface methodology to map the impacts of storage variables time, temperature and humidity on product shelf life deriving predictive models with Q10-values using the Arrhenius equation. Results will be applied to the development of technology to make extreme shelf-life foods to enable applications in space and extended food storage in hot environment.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Roger Stanley

Funding

Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Eligibility

The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Degree in food science or related discipline

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Able to seek basic level security clearance
  • Demonstrated capability in experimental design and data analysis
  • Experience or training in advanced instrumental analysis of biochemicals or biologics
  • Experience or training in food new product development, packaging and safety

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Prof Roger Stanley, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

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