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Food Quality and Sensory Science

Research on Food Quality and Sensory Science focuses on meat science, cereal/bakery science, sensory science and flavour chemistry, with staff and facilities located at both Ashtown and Moorepark.

Research is conducted at both fundamental and applied levels, with the aim of delivering high science coupled with technology transfer activities to the food industry. The projects collectively cover the farm to fork processing with genomic approaches for improved meat quality through to healthier prepared consumer foods with optimal sensory and flavour characteristics.

Meat research focuses on:

  • Primary processing interventions for improved product quality.
  • Non-invasive predictive technologies for process efficiency, carcass classification and quality.
  • Investigating the structure, biochemistry and molecular basis for variation in meat quality.
  • Identifying value opportunities for components from meat co-products or side streams.
  • Generation of targeted food systems for consumer cohorts.
  • Hurdle approaches of ingredients and novel processing technologies to produce healthier processed meats of improved quality.

Sensory science and flavour chemistry research focuses on:

  • Combining sensory, instrumental and flavour chemistry data using advanced sensometric techniques to understand flavour and texture perception of foods, and food choice.
  • Applying descriptive and consumer assessment methodologies to investigate how ingredients, processing and shelf-life impact the sensory quality of foods.
  • Provide training aspects of sensory science and flavour chemistry.
  • Conducting cross cultural studies on the international sensory perception of food.
  • Identifying biomarkers for use in authentication, traceability and marketing.
  • Understanding the biochemical processes that impact on sensory perception.

Cereal and bakery research focuses on:

  • The development and transfer of enabling science and technology to support the bakery industry’s requirements for product quality and innovation.
  • Fundamental and applied research on the links between ingredient structures and interactions, and baked product functionality.
  • Novel processing of grains and legumes for targeted innovative products (e.g. ‘free-from’).
  • Investigation of staling kinetics, acoustic eating characteristics and mechanical properties.
  • Empirical and fundamental rheology of food formulations.

Food structure and spectroscopy focuses on:

  • Elucidation of complex internal food/ingredient structures using virtual & immersive technologies.
  • Imaging techniques, spectroscopy and genomics for Irish beef and sheep meat.