Center for Advanced Processing and Packaging Studies (CAPPS)
Novel food processing and packaging research will lead to improved product quality and safety while enhancing the nutritive value of food
Center Mission and Rationale
The Center employs an interdisciplinary approach that relies on engineering, microbiology, and chemistry to meet these objectives. Engineering studies focus on properties, kinetics, process evaluation, validation, modeling, and design. The opportunities for two-phase (solid-liquid) processing present special challenges. The slowest heating point in the fastest moving particle dictates the minimum thermal treatment. Factors that influence temperature in the particle include: carrier fluid flow rate and properties; particle population, properties and size; type and rate of heat transfer; and particle/fluid residence time distributions. CAPPS has developed new techniques to measure thermal properties of fluids and particles at high process temperatures and techniques to measure residence-time distributions. Ongoing research uses Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and other techniques to measure the temperature history of a particle's interior as it moves through a thermal system. The engineering challenge of developing rapid, non-chemical, cost-effective methods for on-line package sterilization continues as well. Other packaging research areas include leak detection, rapid sealing, and rapid nondestructive testing of seals.
CAPPS supports microbiology projects that aim to achieve and maintain product and package sterility and to document sterility in order to validate packaging machinery sterilization. The goal is to ensure the microbiological integrity of the finished products. Other projects include production, recovery, and documentation of the resistance of biological indicators (bacterial spores) and the mechanisms of spore inactivation. The Center's microbiologists and engineers have collaborated on projects to develop and evaluate alternative procedures to sterilize packaging materials and equipment, to understand inactivation kinetics and mechanisms in continuous thermal processes, and to develop methodologies for sterilization validation of surfaces and particulate matter.
Aseptic technology poses chemical challenges prior to and during processing. Fundamental investigations are necessary to ensure that the applied result is attractive and of high quality. CAPPS supports projects that deal with product quality considerations relating to color, texture, flavor, particulate integrity, and nutritional attributes. Reaction chemistry at high temperatures, high pressures, and/or high electrical frequencies and kinetic studies to predict properties are also under active investigation. Related projects range from investigations on colloidal stability of aseptic or extended shelf-life products, including shelf-life prediction studies, to enzyme stability and inactivation under high-temperature, short-time processing conditions. Interactions of packaging materials with critical quality constituents are also part of this effort. Studies on physical attributes include texture, thermal characteristics of particulates, and techniques to measure the physical properties of fluids at high temperatures. CAPPS projects also deal with generic issues expected to improve the quality of these novel processed and packaged products.
Center Research Facilities
In addition to the facilities at these CAPPS sites, research is conducted at many other U.S. universities. Since the inception of the center, projects have been funded at Michigan State University, North Carolina A&T, Indiana University, Purdue University at Fort Wayne Campus, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Rochester Medical Center, and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The scientific knowledge and laboratory facilities of these academic institutions extend and enhance the overall program of CAPPS.
Managing Director and NCSU Site Director: Dr. Kenneth R. Swartzel
Communications Specialist: Ms. Paula Pharr
UCD Site Director: Dr. Sharon Shoemaker
OSU Site Co-Director: Dr. Sudhir K. Sastry
OSU Site Co-Director: Dr. Steven J. Schwartz
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