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Senior Lecturer

PhD. (Monash), BSc. Hons (KNUST)
Dr Dominic Agyei staff photo

Contact

Tel 64 3 479 7545 Ext 7545
Email dominic.agyei@otago.ac.nz
Location Archway West 1.01

About

Dr Dominic Agyei holds a BSc degree in Food Science and Technology, from KNUST, Ghana; and a PhD in Chemical (Bioprocess) Engineering from Monash University, Australia. After his PhD, Dominic was as an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Deakin University, Australia, where he worked on the use of enzymes in the development of peptide-lipid bio-conjugates for food and pharmaceutical applications.

Dominic is passionate about research that transforms biological processes and materials into high value bioactive and nutritional products and ingredients that positively influence food quality, food functionality and human health. He also has an interest in food safety, as well as the nutritional and health impact of indigenous foods in mitigating malnutrition and food insecurity. He is keen on collaborating with individual researchers and industry partners on the development of high value bioactive and nutritional food products and ingredients, as well as in research involving indigenous foods.

University of Otago Research Theme / Centre involvement

Dominic is a member of Otago Global Health Institute (OGHI), a University of Otago Research Centre that “foster partnerships to help solve global health problems”. He is also a member of Microbiome Otago, a University of Otago Research Theme which studies the “microscopic inhabitants of the human body and their impact on health and disease”; and Food Waste Innovation, a University of Otago Research Theme which measures food waste, develops reduction strategies, applies innovative technology, and works to modify producer and consumer behaviour.

Current memberships

  • The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), USA, Premier Early Career Membership
  • New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology (NZIFT), Professional Member
  • International Society for Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods (ISNFF)
  • Bioprocessing Network Group, Australia
  • Society of Chemical Industry, UK, e-Member

Teaching

Course co-ordinator

Course contributor

Research

Major research interests

Bioprocess engineering

  • Enzyme-based transformation of biomolecules (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates) to improve their functional, biological and physicochemical properties
  • Design of bioprocesses for obtaining bioactive compounds following the valorisation of food wastes and by-products
  • Use of enzymes for the valorisation and treatment of food wastes

Alternative and indigenous foods

  • Nutritional composition and food security implications of edible insects
  • Role of indigenous foods in mitigating malnutrition and food insecurity
  • Chemical composition and potential utility of indigenous plants

Food informatics

  • Bioinformatics and in silico prediction, discovery and molecular docking assessment of bioactive compounds
  • Curation and development of an indigenous foods database (with collaborators in Fiji)

Current research projects

  • Investigations into the role of food materials in modulating dysbiosis
  • Valorisation of mushroom by-products
  • Value-addition to agricultural by-products: the case of New Zealand flaxseed
  • Production of dietary oligosaccharides from dairy industrial wastes
  • Nutritional composition and food security implications of edible insects
  • Discovery of novel probiotics and their assessment as sources of single cell proteins
  • Chemical composition and bioactive properties of New Zealand native plants
  • In silico discovery of bioactive peptides and molecular docking analysis of their bioactive properties

Inquiries are welcome from potential students interested in the topics above or related ones.

Postgraduate supervision

Current students

  • George Yang (PhD Candidate) – 3D printing of plant proteins to improve structure
  • Peter Hartono (PhD Candidate) – Functionalities of plant proteins post extraction
  • Nicholas Horlacher (PhD Candidate) – Fermentation of plant-based milks
  • Salome Dini (PhD Candidate) – Lipopeptides: production, characterization, and their antioxidant properties in food systems
  • Shuva Bhowmik (PhD Candidate)– Utilization of bioactive chitosan for sustainable active and intelligent food packaging
  • Priyanthi Chandravarnan (PhD Candidate) - Decontamination of Fungi and Mycotoxins in Red Rice by Sustainable Food Processing Technique
  • Ruchita Rao Kavle (PhD Candidate) - Proteomics, bioinformatics and functionalities of edible insect larvae proteins
  • Ari Hayati (PhD Candidate) - Characterisation and extraction of high value nutritional and bioactive compounds from fish by products
  • Neda Irvani (PhD Candidate) - Extraction and characterization of proteins from different species of algae
  • John Li (MSc Candidate) - Photobiology of Vitamin D in mushrooms
  • Patrick Nolan (BSc Honours Candidate) - Analysis of minor health-promoting components in edible insects
  • Sarah Morris (BSc Honours Candidate) - Research topic: Insight into the bioactive and flavour properties of endemic New Zealand plants: Horopito and kawakawa
  • Will Hii (BSc Honours Candidate) - Research topic: Understanding the generation of flavour volatiles and bioactive compounds during lactic acid bacteria fermentation of plant milks

Recent graduates

  • Dr Thirawat Tantamacharik (Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Microbial Proteases from Gelatin Production System for the Degradation of Keratin-Containing Materials
  • Dr Sheba Duque (Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Impact of Pulsed Electric Fields treatment on oat flour properties.
  • Dr Setya Abduh (Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Effect of Pulsed Electric Fields on Potato Chips Processing.
  • Neysa (Wendy) Setyadi, (Master of Science with Distinction in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Detection of adulteration in New Zealand high-value dairy products using NMR-based metabolomics: a chemometrics approach
  • Matthew Arand (Master of Science with Distinction in Bioengineering) – Thesis topic: Developing an effective biofiltration system for treating metal mearing effluents.
  • Dawei Ji (Master of Science with Credit in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Purification and characterization of β-galactosidase from Lactobacillus leichmannii 313.
  • Lawal Kehinde Ganiyat (Master of Science with Distinction in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Influence of feeding regime on composition and characteristics of larvae fat from two edible insects (Tenebrio molitor (Yellow mealworm) and Hermetia illucens (Black soldier fly)).
  • Ellena Pritchard (Bachelor of Science Honours First Class in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Functional properties of edible insect proteins from sago grubs.
  • Emily Stone (Bachelor of Science Honours First Class in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Effect of structural modification on the prebiotic properties of b-glucan.
  • Jade Bartlett (Bachelor of Science Honours First Class in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Single cell proteins derived from probiotic lactic acid bacteria.
  • Emily Fanning (Postgraduate Diploma in Science with Distinction in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Prebiotic potential of galacto-oligosaccharides derived from cheese by-products.
  • Maria Scott (Postgraduate Diploma in Science with Distinction in Food Science) – Thesis topic: The evolution of flavour volatiles and bioactive peptides during fermentation of goat milk and oat milk.
  • Ruchita Kavle (Postgraduate Diploma in Science with Distinction in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Production and characterization of antioxidant peptides generated from mealworms larvae (Tenebrio molitor) protein extract using two proteolytic enzymes, trypsin and papain.
  • Min Xu (Postgraduate Diploma in Science with Distinction in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Preparation and assessment of cross-linked enzyme aggregates from lactobacilli b-galactosidase.
  • Linakshi Weerakoon (Postgraduate Diploma in Science with Credit in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Production of single cell proteins from two Generally Recognized as Safe bacteria (GRAS) bacteria species using food waste as growth media.
  • Yanjun Zhang (Postgraduate Diploma in Science with Distinction in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Hemp protein from hempseed cakes: extraction and functionality.
  • Yongjin Deng (Postgraduate Diploma in Science with Distinction in Food Science) – Thesis topic: Production, optimization, and immobilization of β-galactosidase from lactobacilli for galacto-oligosaccharide prebiotic production.

Publications

Agyei, D., Bunt, C., & Kebede, B. (2023, August). In silico tools for predicting bioactive properties of compounds from indigenous New Zealand flora. Verbal presentation at the Kai mō Aotearoa Food Science Meeting [Queenstown Molecular Biology (QMB) Satellite], Queenstown, New Zealand.

Ahmmed, M. K., Bhowmik, S., Ahmmed, F., Giteru, S. G., Islam, S. S., Hachem, M., … Agyei, D., & Defoirdt, T. (2023). Utilisation of probiotics for disease management in giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii): Administration methods, antagonistic effects and immune response. Journal of Fish Diseases, 46, 1321-1336. doi: 10.1111/jfd.13850

Zhang, X., Wang, Q., Liu, Z., Zhi, L., Jiao, B., Hu, H., … Agyei, D., & Shi, A. (2023). Plant protein-based emulsifiers: Mechanisms, techniques for emulsification enhancement and applications. Food Hydrocolloids. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.foodhyd.2023.109008

Bhowmik, S., Agyei, D., & Ali, A. (2023). Application of nanochitosan in the preservation of fish and oil. In C. O. Adetunji, D. I. Hefft, J. Jeevanandam & M. K. Danquah (Eds.), Next generation nanochitosan: Applications in animal husbandry, aquaculture and food conservation. (pp. 447-474). London, UK: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-323-85593-8.00031-X

Bhowmik, S., Agyei, D., & Ali, A. (2023). Application of nanochitosan in the preservation of meat. In C. O. Adetunji, D. I. Hefft, J. Jeevanandam & M. K. Danquah (Eds.), Next generation nanochitosan: Applications in animal husbandry, aquaculture and food conservation. (pp. 529-560). London, UK: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-323-85593-8.00032-1

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