Athens Research Facilities
A wide variety of facilities are available at the UGA Athens campus for research, student teaching, and industry projects. This includes over 20,000 square feet of food processing laboratories, including equipment for drying, freezing, evaporation, freeze drying, retorting, pasteurization, particle reduction, smoking, marination, meat processing, fermentation, and dairy processing. In addition, equipment is available for advanced processing including high-pressure processing, supercritical fluid extraction, radiant energy processing, extrusion, and impingement drying/heating.
Laboratories include physical properties testing with instrumentation for rheological characterization, light scattering, particle sizing, color measurement, thermal properties measurement, zeta potential, water activity determination, water binding properties, and headspace analysis.
- The Food Process Research and Development Laboratory (FPRDL) in Athens, Georgia provides facilities and expertise for developing new products and for testing new processing technologies. Established in 1995 to promote innovation and competitiveness in the food industry, our labs have been instrumental in developing processing and product innovations by working with the food and allied industries through cooperative university-industry research. The newly renovated FPRDL is located in a 1,200 square foot facility across Cedar Street from the Food Science Building and houses an additional processing area as well as sensory and focus group testing facilities. The FPRDL director is Dr. William Kerr. The Food Science faculty with expertise in processing and product development as well as sensory and analytical techniques also make good use of the facilities with their industry partners.
- Lipid Biotechnology, Chemistry, and Phytochemicals Laboratory (LBCAP) team manages active research regarding characterization, stability, encapsulation, and food applications relevant to restructured lipids. We are also proficient isolating, characterizing, and assessing antioxidant capacities of phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables. Dr. Casimir Akoh directs the LBCAP.
- Two biohazard labs for pathogen challenge studies in a contained processing environment are also available.
The department also has a food preparation kitchen equipped with gas and electric stoves, humidity controlled baking ovens, microwaves, and refrigerated and frozen storage. In addition, there are facilities for consumer and trained panel sensory tests, attribute testing, difference testing, and consumer preference.
Our pilot plants are designed to simulate small scale, industrial food processing and research facilities. Currently, pilot plants for dehydrated products, thermally processed shelf stable and refrigerated products, processed meats, beverage concentration and heat processing are available. Danny Morris is responsible for the pilot plant facilities in the Food Science Building and Carl Ruiz is responsible for the pilot plant and sensory facilities in FPDRL.
Griffin Research Facilities
In 1888, the Georgia Experiment Station was established to carry out agricultural research for the University of Georgia. Located in Griffin, Georgia – 40 miles south of Atlanta – the University of Georgia-Griffin Campus now includes both graduate and undergraduate programs in agriculture and other areas of study.
The Department of Food Science and Technology at the Griffin campus is located in the Melton building – which houses offices and research labs for faculty in the Department of Food Science and Technology and the UGA Center for Food Safety.
Although students within the Department of Food Science and Technology complete their coursework at the Athens campus, exciting research opportunities exist in Griffin. For graduate students, coursework required for their degree is usually completed before their move to the Griffin campus. Once there, students can work on a wide array of research projects – including inactivation and contamination studies of foodborne pathogens, sensory evaluation, and the development of new technologies for food processing and product development.
- The UGA Center for Food Safety partners with leaders in the food industry to minimize the risk of pathogenic microorganisms and their toxins through detection and elimination.
- The Peanut Product Research and Development Laboratory works to increase the market competitiveness of peanuts and peanut products.
- FoodPIC, or the Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Program, works to guide companies through the creation of new food products – from the utilization of new processing technologies to consumer product testing and marketing.