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Samantha Sawyer

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Samantha Sawyer

Lecturer/Research Fellow in Food Science
Centre for Food Safety and Innovation

Room S318 , Building S

0413 234 495 (phone)

samantha.sawyer@utas.edu.au

Dr Samantha Sawyer is a Lecturer and Research Fellow in Food Science. Her research focuses on areas around digitalization of food quality, value adding to agricultural seconds, and Industry 4.0 concepts.

Biography

Samantha completed her PhD in Industry Biotechnology (Biocatalysis) at the University of Sydney in 2016. As well as gaining a Grad. Cert (Innovation & Enterprise), she also worked as a business development intern at a MedTech commercialisation company during her PhD. In 2016, she moved to Tasmania and worked as a Scientist (Biotechnologist) in Agricultural R&D at Tasmanian Alkaloids for two years. After starting up a consultancy in sustainable agriculture and quality assurance with a business partner, she started working at TIA in 2019 as a Research Fellow in Oenology to better understand compositional and sensory characteristics of sparkling wine and ways to manipulate production. In 2021, she started working with Prof. Roger Stanley on optimizing and maintaining quality of microwave assisted thermally sterilised shelf-stable foods (in collaboration with the Defense Science and Technology Group) and fermented beverages.

Career summary

Qualifications

Degree Thesis titleUniversityCountry Date awarded
PhD Improving epoxide production of the ethene monooxygenase from Mycobacterium rhodesiae JS60 University of Sydney Australia 2016
GradCert (Innovation & Enterprise) Government policy and diffusion of biocatalysis and industrial biotechnology into the Australian chemical industry (capstone project) University of Sydney Australia 2013
BSc (Advanced) (1st class honours)   University of Sydney Australia 2009

Administrative expertise

Before joining UTAS, Samantha was working in industry managing multiple commercial research projects in the narcotics industry and as an independent consultant.

View more on Dr Samantha Sawyer in WARP

Expertise

Her research focuses on areas around objective measures of sensory quality, value adding to agricultural seconds, and Industry 4.0 concepts.

  • Areas of research expertise include:
  • Food and beverage quality
  • Secondary metabolite production
  • Chemistry and sensory science
  • Industrial biotechnology
  • Microbiology

Fields of Research

  • Food chemistry and food sensory science (300602)
  • Beverage chemistry and beverage sensory science (300601)
  • Food packaging, preservation and processing (300604)
  • Food sustainability (300606)
  • Food safety, traceability, certification and authenticity (300605)
  • Oenology and viticulture (300805)

Research objectives

  • Alcoholic beverages (241301)
  • Non-alcoholic beverages (241306)
  • Processed fruit and vegetables (241311)
  • Processed meat products (241312)
  • Processed fish and seafood products (241310)
  • Nutraceuticals and functional foods (241308)
  • Climate change adaptation measures (190101)

Awards

2022 Science and Innovation Award (Wine Australia)

Fields of Research

  • Oenology and viticulture (300805)
  • Beverage chemistry and beverage sensory science (300601)
  • Endocrinology (320208)
  • Horticultural crop protection (incl. pests, diseases and weeds) (300804)
  • Food packaging, preservation and processing (300604)
  • Post harvest horticultural technologies (incl. transportation and storage) (300806)
  • Food technology (300607)
  • Food safety, traceability, certification and authenticity (300605)
  • Sensor technology (incl. chemical aspects) (340108)
  • Horticultural production (300899)
  • Environmental management (410499)

Research Objectives

  • Alcoholic beverages (241301)
  • Wine grapes (260608)
  • Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem) (190101)
  • Berry fruit (excl. kiwifruit) (260503)
  • Processed food products and beverages (excl. dairy products) (241399)
  • Clinical health (200199)
  • Processed fruit and vegetable products (incl. juices) (241311)
  • Air quality (180101)
  • Natural hazards (190499)
  • Horticultural crops (260599)
  • Non-dairy milk (241307)

Publications

Total publications

7

Journal Article

(2 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2020Longo R, Carew A, Sawyer S, Kemp B, Kerslake FL, 'A review on the aroma composition of Vitis vinifera L. Pinot noir wines: origins and influencing factors', Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition pp. 1-16. ISSN 1040-8398 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2020.1762535 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 16Web of Science - 15

Co-authors: Longo R; Carew A; Kerslake FL

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2017Premilovac D, Gasperini RJ, Sawyer S, West A, Keske M, et al., 'A New Method for Targeted and Sustained Induction of Type 2 Diabetes in Rodents', Scientific Reports, 7 Article 14158. ISSN 2045-2322 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-14114-4 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 16Web of Science - 15

Co-authors: Premilovac D; Gasperini RJ; West A; Keske M; Taylor BV; Foa L

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Conference Publication

(5 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2020Kerslake F, Longo R, Pearson W, Sawyer S, Merry A, et al., 'Understanding regionality and terroir in Australian Pinot noir', 13th International Terroir Congress, 17-18 November 2020, Virtual Conference, Online (Adelaide, Australia) (2020) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Kerslake F; Longo R; Merry A; Westmore H; Dambergs R

2019Kerslake F, Gnoinski G, Sawyer S, Longo R, Dambergs R, et al., 'Manipulating maturation in sparkling wines and 'autolytic character'' (2019) [Keynote Presentation]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Kerslake F; Gnoinski G; Longo R; Dambergs R; Close D; Westmore H; Merry A

2019Sawyer S, Longo R, Solomon M, Nicolotti L, Westmore H, et al., 'Is it the age or the autolysis? Pulling apart where sparkling wine character comes from', 17th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference (AWITC), 21 - 24 July, Adelaide, Australia, pp. 11. (2019) [Plenary Presentation]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Longo R; Westmore H; Merry A; Gnoinski G; Dambergs R; Kerslake F

2019Sawyer S, Longo R, Solomon M, Nicolotti L, Westmore H, et al., 'Is it the age or the autolysis? Pulling apart where sparkling wine character comes from', 17th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference Proceedings, 21-24 July 2019, Adelaide, Australia, pp. 52-55. ISSN 0811-0743 (2019) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Longo R; Westmore H; Merry A; Gnoinski G; Dambergs R; Kerslake F

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2019Sawyer S, Longo R, Solomon M, Nicolotti L, Westmore H, et al., 'Is it the age or the autolysis? Pulling apart where sparling wine character comes from', Proceedings of the 17th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference, 21-24 July 2019, Adelaide, South Australia, pp. 55-59. (2019) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Longo R; Westmore H; Merry A; Gnoinski G; Dambergs R; Kerslake F

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants

4

Total funding

$1,401,388

Projects

Sniffing smoke taint- sensing phenols in the vineyard and the winery (2022)$18,052
Description
Smoke-affected fruit is a significant cost to the wine industry that deters investors and industry expansion, and also risks the reputation of Australian wine. Negative sensory outcomes after fermentation and ageing means significant financial outlay has already been invested with little to no chance for financial return. Early warning of high smoke taint levels would be advantageous but conventional smoke detectors are inadequate as they do not distinguish concentrations of damaging smoke-taint phenols which are higher in 'young' than 'old' smoke. This project seeks to develop affordable, on-site smoke detection and measurement to provide growers and winemakers with an immediate measure of smoke-borne phenols exposure enabling a stop/go point for investment in fruit and processing. Proof of principle prototypes from two different approaches (colorimetric and resistance-based sensors) will be developed and assessed for their ability to measure smoke-borne phenols released from small-lot fermentations initially and then in-field.
Funding
Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment ($18,052)
Scheme
Grant - Scientific
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Sawyer S
Year
2022
Beating smoke taint with sparkling wine : Climate Change Adaptation for the Tasmanian wine industry (2021 - 2024)$217,434
Description
Smoke-affected fruit is a significant cost to the wine grape industry and significant risk that deters investors and industry expansion. Negative sensory outcomes, not apparent in fruit but manifesting after fermentation and wine making, means significant financial outlay has already been invested with little to no chance for financial return. For vineyards and wineries, this could also include years of sunk investment into ageing of fine wines. Current options for remediation have focussed on removing smoke-taint compounds using activated carbon but these methods have also stripped out important flavour and aroma compounds. Thus, alternative approaches for adaptation to the ever-increasing risk and reality of smoke taint from bushfires without adversely affecting wine flavour and aroma is considered critical for the Tasmanian wine industry where the value-proposition is premium quality.Wine Tasmania, via its Technical Committee, has identified smoke taint as its number one R&D priority and propose that this be investigated in relation to sparkling wine production, given that this is the biggest segment of Tasmanian wine production (Wine Tas Vintage Report 2020/21). Wine Tasmania and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture propose to jointly investigate the following research questions:*Is producing a premium sparkling wine from low levels of smoke taint-affected wine grapes a viable alternative to producing still wines?*What are the thresholds of volatile phenols created by smoke that are able to be tolerated in sparkling winemaking methods?*What are the short-term effects of smoke taint on bottle-aged sparkling (18 months)?*What are the long-term effects of smoke taint on bottle-aged sparkling (3-10 years)?Proposed activitiesPart 1 - mitigation and remediation of smoke taintInvestigate if:1)making sparkling wine from smoke-affected wine grapes is a viable alternative to still wine 2)activated carbon (identified by AWRI as a method for mitigating smoke taint) and/or glycosidase treatment can reduce the levels of smoke taint compounds in sparkling winesThe intention is to conduct this over three successive seasons and to refine the research questions and approach in response to industry collaboration and input. Proposed analysis for grapes, juice, and wine:-Free and bound smoke taint compounds (commercial service provider - consistent with industry practice and interpretation)-Pivot sensory analysis with minimum 10 winemakers (only for wine)-Compositional analysis of volatile compounds-Wine matrix data including pH, sugar levels (Brix), titratable acidity, alcohol content, and total phenolics.Part 2 - Sparkling wines and smoke taint over timeSparkling wine will be made from grapes exposed to no, low, and high levels of fresh smoke on the vine and aged on lees in a winery's storage facility to replicate commercial conditions. The wines will be analysed at bottling, and at various timepoints after bottling for ten years. The wines will be stored for analyses in the hope of sourcing additional funding beyond the 3-years of the ADF. Proposed analysis for wine is the same as for Part 1.Part 3 - Agile bushfire responseA provision of funds will be set aside to conduct experiments with actual bushfire smoked grapes. For example, if a region of Tasmania is unfortunate enough to experience smoke taint via a bushfire, a smaller trial of Part 2 will be conducted. By the end of the second year, if Tasmanian wine-growing regions have been spared, these funds will be diverted to investigation of other remediation options.
Funding
Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania ($217,434)
Scheme
Agricultural Development Fund
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Sawyer S; Close DC; Swarts ND
Period
2021 - 2024
Fermented beverage quality analysis (2021)$4,375
Funding
University of Tasmania ($4,375)
Scheme
null
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Wilson MD; Sawyer S; Tran SN
Year
2021
Building and measuring the quality of fine Australian sparkling wines, through identification of the impact compounds responsible for autolytic character in sparkling wine, and novel winemaking tech (2016 - 2020)$1,161,527
Description
This project will contribute to impact compound identification for desirable flavours, mouthfeel and texture of fine Australian sparkling wines. A novel objective measure of sparkling juice and wine quality will be further developed which has the capacity to be adapted to in-line sensing with the potential to automate press fraction cut-offs, providing significant cost-savings to industry. Novel technologies to hasten the autolysis of yeast and therefore produce higher quality sparkling wines in a shorter amount of time will also be investigated.
Funding
Wine Australia ($1,161,527)
Scheme
Grant-R&D Projects
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Kerslake FL; Close DC; Dambergs R; Merry AM; Wilkinson K; Smith P; Goemann K; Rodemann T; Longo R; Carew ALJ; Sawyer S; Latham R
Period
2016 - 2020

Research Supervision

Current

2

Current

DegreeTitleCommenced
MastersMaking sense from Images with Deep Learning2021
PhDRapid Bacteria Detection2022