Foods contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and bioactive compounds, that influence their properties and functionality. Our research focuses on identifying and quantifying these compounds and determining how a food's structure and the food matrix affect their release and functionality. We are particularly interested in methods to improve the stability and functionality, kinetics and mechanism of enzyme activity related to these compounds. Different extraction, food processing and encapsulation techniques of bioactives are developed to maximize the delivery of health benefits.
Analytical equipment includes: HPLC facilities with DAD, fluorescence and ELSD detectors, auto sampler and fraction collector for carbohydrate and protein analysis; GC-FID and GC-MS for different sample preparations for compounds with low molecular weight and fatty acids profile and FPLC facility for protein/enzymes isolation and analysis. Multi-cuvette spectrophotometer and plate-reader are available respectively for enzyme activity measurement and high throughput analysis. Texture analyser, particle sizing and rheometry equipment is available. Equipment for regular food composition analysis such as total solid content, pH, ash, water activity, water content, conductivity, total protein content, total fat content etc is available. A state-of-the art microscopy facility is available at the Otago Centre for Electron Microscopy.
Current and previous food functionality related PhD and Master's research projects.