Department of Food & Nutritional Sciences

Research Areas

NUTRACEUTICALS
Globally, nutraceuticals are garnering prominence and becoming part of an average consumer's daily diet. The key reasons for this noticeable shift in consumer preference are an increased incidence of lifestyle diseases world over, increase in life expectancy and inadequate nutrition due to current lifestyle choices of people. The term nutraceutical is used to describe any food, or part of a food supplement, that offers a medical or health benefit beyond simple nutrition. Such benefits may include the prevention or recurrence of disease. These products range from proteins, vitamins, minerals, pure and natural compounds used in capsules, tablets to foods that contain fortified bioactive ingredients.
RESEARCH SUMMARY
  • The research in the area is being directed towards screening of a variety of conventional and unconventional sources such as aniseeds, fenugreek and sesame seeds for a wide spectrum of phytochemicals viz., total polyphenols, flavonoids (rutin and quercetin), terpenoids, alkaloids, phytosterols, anthocyannins, phenolic acids, glycosides, saponins, tannins, vitamin C, β-carotene and fiber components. The identified food materials as well as their isolates exhibited bioefficacy as anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-cancer, anti-hypertensive and anti-inflammatory agents in the in vitro models.
MAJOR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
Research Projects
  • Effect of bio-elicitors on the quality and health functionality of fenugreek sprouts
  • A comparative study on the physicochemical and nutraceutical properties of extracted and commercial aniseed (Pimpinella anisum L.) oils
  • Studies on phytochemical and therapeutic potentials of sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) seeds
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BIOPRESERVATION
Amplified demands of consumers for high quality, extended shelf life and ready to eat foods have initiated the formulation of various innovative techniques to keep their natural and fresh appearance as long as possible and render them safe at the same time. Biopreservation technologies involve the use of natural compounds to preserve and extend the shelf life of perishable foods. Edible coating is emerging as an eco-friendly biopreservation technology particularly for extending shelf life of horticultural produce. These films are thin layers of edible material which provide a barrier to moisture, oxygen and solute movement.
RESEARCH SUMMARY
  • Natural biopolymer from Aloe vera gel is being explored as a novel edible coating. The study has investigated and identified Aloe vera edible coating as a simple low cost environment-friendly postharvest technology for reducing postharvest losses in fresh cut fenugreek microgreens. The gel coating enhanced the nutritional and therapeutic properties of the fresh cut greens. The developed technology would be explored for shelf life extension of other micro greens.
MAJOR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
Research Projects
  • Nutritional and phytochemical composition of fresh–cut fenugreek leaves and microgreens: Impact of edible coating on postharvest quality.
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DESIGNER FOODS
Designer foods is an evolving concept wherein normal foods are fortified or enhanced with health beneficial ingredients. Food ingredients used to formulate these foods are known to modulate human health and cure or prevent diseases. They are known by various names such as medical foods, fortified foods, nutritional foods, nutraceutical foods, pharmaceutical foods, health foods and functional foods. Drinks enhanced with herbs such as ginseng and guarana, enriched breads, fortified juices and foods for special dietary use are some of the examples which fall into the category of designer foods.
RESEARCH SUMMARY
  • The research work in this area covers the development of wide variety of designer foods with emphasis on convenience foods, which are designed using pre-preparation processing and require minimum preparation by the consumer. The work in the current year was directed for formulation of prebiotic and papaya-enriched frozen dairy desserts; anthocyanins-enriched confectionaries such as jellies and icings; flax seed-incorporated products viz., cakes, muffins, cookies and garden cress-enriched soup powders.
MAJOR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
Research Activities
  • Development and evaluation of hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.) based novel foods
  • Formulation and quality evaluation of multifunctional frozen dairy dessert
  • Physical, sensory and storage quality of flax seed flour incorporated products
  • Formulation of products incorporating garden cress seeds (Lepedium sativum L.)
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PUBLIC HEALTH AWARENESS
Nutrition education is combination of educational strategies, accompanied by environmental supports, designed to facilitate voluntary adoption of food choices and other food and nutrition related behaviors conducive to health and well-being. The overall goal is to enable nutrition educators to develop effective strategies that support the achievement of improved health for all.
RESEARCH SUMMARY
  • The study centered on imparting awareness among the women regarding health benefits of prebiotics and probiotics. Nutrition components were successfully integrated in to the awareness program towards improving respondents knowledge, attitude and practice.
MAJOR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
Research Projects
  • Impact of nutrition education on the beneficial effects of prebiotics and probiotics among women: A KAP study
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