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This 900 square feet facility in Heritage Hall is managed by the Food and Nutrition Department and is designed as a model manufacturing facility focused on applying food engineering, food processing, and food preservation methodologies in a hands-on and practical use environment.The pilot plant is split into wet/dry areas and for processing cereal, powders as well as commodities with high moisture contents. Capital equipment in the facility include a batch thermal processing retort, a steam/hot water blanching system, a steam kettle, a cook-chill unit, drying, freeze drying and dehydration equipment, a single screw extruder, and walk in refrigerator/freezer.The pilot plant operation primarily supports classroom, research, and industry collaboration activities.
Three laboratories, each with an area of 1400 square feet are supported by a central inventory area for small equipment, glassware, chemicals and ingredients.One of these laboratories is used for set-up of experiments that use chemicals and reagents maintained in the Chemical inventory database of the university. The other two laboratories are used as test kitchens. Each of these laboratories can accommodate 24 students in single laboratory session.The laboratories are used to teach FN 240 (Food Science), FN 438 (Experimental Foods), and FN 465 (Food Product Development).
FN 350 (Food Processing) is taught out of this laboratory with capacity to conduct teaching and research in areas of material characterization, rheology, chromatography and spectroscopy.This 1200 sq. feet space along with the food processing pilot-plant also serves as the teaching areas for FN 400 (Food Quality) and FN 450 (Food Engineering).
The courses FN 312/512 utilize the Nutrition Assessment Lab. The Nutrition Assessment Lab allows Dietetic students the opportunity for experiential learning in a variety of nutritional assessment situations. The lab enables students to develop practical skills and to apply the tools and techniques used in the assessment of nutritional status such as anthropometrics, laboratory, clinical and dietary assessments. The Nutritional Assessment Lab also serves as a research lab for master level students and faculty.
The 600 square feet sensory evaluation center serves the teaching needs for FN 442 (Basic Sensory Evaluation).This facility is supported by the two test kitchens and has a set-up/serving area for the serving of test samples during consumer tests.Adjacent to the set-up/serving area are seven individual testing booths equipped with serving windows and controlled lighting. All booths have computers for ballot presentation and data collection using Compusense® software.
The classroom seats 30 students and is used to teach FN 410 (Food Law) and other food science classes lecture sessions.This 1400 square feet classroom is also used as a meeting room for descriptive panel training and to host departmental seminars and guest speakers. In addition to the above facilities, the Department also operates the human performance and nutrition assessment laboratories that are available for teaching and research investigations for faculty and students in the BS-FST program.
Food Science laboratory equipment in the Heritage Hall complex housing the Food and Nutrition Department is typical of that found in a Food Science teaching laboratory.Faculty and students in the Department also use the laboratories and equipment to conduct research.
Multiple units of small equipment supporting student workstations include pH meters, water activity meters, refractometers, microbalances, desiccators, microcentrifuges, stomachers, orbital shakers, vortex mixers, ultrasonic cleaning water baths, microscopes, and gel electrophoresis units.The workstations are also supported by a central glassware area managed by the laboratory technician.Larger laboratory-scale durable equipment available for teaching also include controlled environmental chambers (temperature, humidity, light, with data logging capability), circulating water baths and convection ovens.The following is the list of durable equipment specifically available in Heritage Hall to teach major studies courses in food science and food processing.
The cook/chill insulated cooker is used in the Food Processing and Food Quality curriculum with learning emphasis on product development, product quality, heat-transfer, and refrigeration concepts.
The Lab-Volt Model 3400 Refrigeration System Demonstrator is an integrated training system for demonstration and experimentation in the fundamental principles and components of refrigerant stages, refrigeration systems, and heat pumps.
The vacuum oven is used for drying food samples for moisture determination and for sample preparation for proximate analysis of the nutrients.The oven has a dial-in temperature of up to 500°F and maintain 30 in.Hg (762mm) vacuum to assist with low temperature drying of food/biomaterial samples.
The extruder is used in the Department to teach and conduct research on the extrusion of food products and for pre-processing agricultural substrates used in bioenergy applications.
The Hobart mixer is used for batch preparation of dough.
The Instron texture analyzer is used for food texture analysis studies where compression at less than 5 kN (1,100 lbf) is needed to study material behavior. The equipment has been in recent use to study the properties of cookie dough and Gouda cheese.
The Benchtop Muffle Furnace is used to ash food and beverage samples and is used primarily in the food analysis lab for component/nutrient estimation studies.
The Accelerated Solvent Extraction System (ASE®) uses the principle of solvent-based extraction of compounds/components based on affinity to the continuous phase (solvent).By using conventional liquid solvents at elevated temperatures and pressures, ASE increases the efficiency of the extraction process.The equipment is used in a variety of research and teaching settings involving mass transfer and food engineering concepts and applications.
The Taylor batch freezer is used in the Food Science major studies coursework to teach freezing as a unit operation and also in the commodity processing of dairy products. The freezer is used for the production demonstration of soft serve dessert variations.
The retort is used in the Food Microbiology, Food Processing and Food Engineering classes to address curricular learning objectives in commercial sterilization and thermal processing.The unit is registered for a working pressure of 40 psi.The can steamer is used for hermetically double seaming metal tops onto open cans that undergo thermal processing in the retort sterilization unit.
The steam blancher-cooler is used in material handling, and enzyme kinetics studies. This unit is also used as a pre-processing step when products are prepared for canning or freezing operations.To operate, fruit/vegetable products are spread evenly without bruising or crushing in the smooth flatbed perforated trays for uniform steam blanching.
The tumbling unit is used in the muscle foods processing modules of the Food Processing curriculum.The unit is also used by students on student product development and independent study projects.
Viscosity is a measure of a fluid's resistance to flow.The Brookfield Viscometer measures viscosity of fluids at given shear rates.The equipment has been in recent use to study the properties of water thickened with food hydrocolloids for use by patients with dysphagia.
The High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) system is used in the food analysis curriculum for learning modules in chromatography.
The Gas Chromatograph is used in the Food Analysis curriculum and also for faculty-led research projects in ingredient, flavor and bioactive component characterization studies. The equipment allows for separating and analyzing compounds that can be vaporized without decomposition. Typical uses of GC include testing the purity of a particular substance, or separating the different components of a mixture.
The vacuum/gas flush packaging unit is used for lab-scale preparation of packaged foods using flexible packaging material (polyethylene/nylon) for use in shelf-life, food safety and food quality studies.
The jacketed steam kettle is used for rapid and uniform heating and cooling of food materials using steam as the heating medium.
The laboratory scale freeze dryer is used for preparation of food samples for analytical and proximate analysis studies. The unit is preferred for product and sample drying due to its minimal effect of product quality due to the low-heat drying at reduced atmospheric pressure.
The colorimeter uses a light source of a particular wavelength to determine the concentration of a particular substance, or the hue and saturation metrics associated with the color spectrum. The instrument in used in the curriculum to measure the color associated with food and beverage products and the changes in color associated with the application of various processing operations.
Nutrition Assessment Lab (427 Heritage Hall)
Human Performance Lab (423 Heritage Hall)