Food & Drink (F&D) is one of three Divisions within the School of Science, Engineering and Technology. F&D has a research profile that is inter-disciplinary across its primary subject areas, all of which lie within two of the Abertay University’s research priority areas, Environment and Society.
There are currently three main research areas in F&D. The first theme is food science, and in particular (i) developing mitigation strategies for preventing acrylamide formation during food processing, (ii) developing novel extraction and processing methods, and (iii) food industry waste utilisation. The team consists of Dr Alberto Fiore, Dr Adilia Lemos, Dr Jon Wilkin, Dr Athina Tziboula- Clarke, Dr Boon-Seang Chu and Professor Costas Stathopoulos.
The second is consumer science, and the factors that affect consumer perception and acceptability of food and drink products. The team consists of Dr John Grigor, Professor Graeme Walker, and Dr Jon Wilkin.
All team members from across themes have a very close collaborative relationship with our Nutrition and Public Health specialists, Dr Karen Barton and Dr Sarah Cottin, working on the disciplinary interface.
Three of the climatically controlled booths designed for the sensory analysis of food in Abertay’s Consumer Experience laboratory.
Recent PhD graduates from F&D have undertaken research on the following topics: Bioconversion of Sorghum to fuel alcohol; cell surface characteristics of industrial yeasts; the application of sensory and consumer science in informing decision making in potato breeding programs; the role of sonication in bioconversion of distillers’ spent grain.
The research within F&D division is inclusive, dynamic, and oriented to nexus of the interface between industry, health and environment. For example, a recent project that involved members of F&D (Prof Stathopoulos & Dr Wilkin) and also researchers from Vietnam was sponsored by the Newton Fund. Its main focus area was the utilisation of shrimp processing waste for the recovery of valuable bioactive compounds.
During the project, the Abertay researchers worked in Vietnam for one month and subsequently hosted two researchers (Dr Hoa and Dr Nghia) in Scotland for a month. Work included development of green extraction methods; valorisation of extracts; micro- and nano-encapsulation of chitosan beads and their characterisation through Computerised Tomography.
Other projects currently underway explore the potential of faba beans in the brewing industry; examine the role of wood compounds in sensory acceptability of whiskey; evaluate the use of ultrasound on the recovery of bioactive compounds from a range of sources; and more.
Food Innovation @Abertay (FIA) is the commercial arm of the Division and is a practical innovation support service to food and drink businesses. FIA offers creative solutions to business challenges by the use of specialist staff, equipment and facilities. These solutions are tailored to specifically meet business needs and are delivered on schedule and in a cost-effective way. Through FIA, our academics and researchers have had the opportunity to work collaboratively with more than 100 industrial partners, addressing real-world problems and offering technically sound, and commercially viable solutions. Dr Wilkin was also a member of teams that received awards, twice, with Ivan Wood and Sons, for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership that won the Innovation of the Year and Building Skills awards categories at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2017.ts.