SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Food & Beverage Development - North AmericaEU edition | Asian edition

News > R&D

Loading...
Dispatches from IFT

Food industry and NASA share mutual goals for enhanced food quality

By Stephen Daniells , 21-Jun-2011
Last updated on 21-Jun-2011 at 17:30 GMT

The food industry and NASA share mutual goals in producing higher quality, more nutritious foods, and lessons learned on both sides could ultimately help feed astronauts on missions to Mars and beyond, says a scientist working on NASA's advanced food technology project.

Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at the recent IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo in New Orleans, Dr Michele Perchonok, project scientist, Advanced Food Technology for NASA explained that, although the food industry is not interested in products with a five year shelf life, emerging technology can enhance the quality and nutritional content of their products.

"We're looking at new processing method - microwave sterilization, pressure-assisted thermal sterilization. We believe, based on what we're seeing in the development of these processes, that the quality of the food starts out much higher," said Dr Perchonok.

The flow of information could also be two-way, with potential for the food industry to work with NASA in achieving the goals of improved food quality, she said.

"If they [the food industry] can find methods to provide a higher quality, a more nutritious product, a healthier product, I think that we can work together in that respect."

So will we get there?

NASA is transitioning away from short-term shuttle flights to exploring the potential of longer duration missions, perhaps to Mars. But providing astronauts with food of sufficient quantity, quality, and variety is an enormous challenge for the agency's food scientists.

"I hope we get foods that last five years," said Dr Perchonok, an 11 year NASA food science veteran. "If we go to Mars it's a two and a half year mission, and already with a six month mission on the international space station our current variety of about 180 food items is about the right amount of variety.

"However we do know from crew members that have been on the international space station twice that they do get tired of those foods after about six weeks of their second mission, so we know we're going to need at least 180 items, they cannot be eating the same 20 items for two years, so we're going to have to find that five year shelf life," she added.

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter

Get FREE access to authoritative breaking news, videos, podcasts, webinars and white papers. SUBSCRIBE

Related products

Consumers say it’s natural if it comes from a plant: PureCircle

Consumers say it’s natural if it comes from a plant: PureCircle

Faith Son

vice president of global marketing and innovation, PureCircle

Cargill rides publicity wave with Trehalose functional ingredient

Cargill rides publicity wave with Trehalose functional ingredient

Cargill has weathered a potential media storm concerning its functional ingredient Trehalose.  The ingredient,...

Particulars of GRAS process leave it open to criticism, expert says

Particulars of GRAS process leave it open to criticism, expert says

The GRAS process as it stands in the United States is vulnerable to criticism...

Global ID: 'Demand for Non-GMO-Project verification doubled after Whole Foods put its GMO cards on the table...'

Global ID: 'Demand for Non-GMO-Project verification doubled after Whole Foods put its GMO cards on the table...'

The growth of the Non-GMO Project verification scheme has been nothing short of explosive...

Bread in terminal decline? 'We’re actually very positive about the future of grain-based foods,' says Ardent Mills

Bread in terminal decline? 'We’re actually very positive about the future of grain-based foods,' says Ardent Mills

Lackluster sales of packaged bread & ready-to-eat cereals might suggest that years of carb-bashing...

Snack trends 2014: Euromonitor says popcorn and thins

Euromonitor: Popcorn and thins epitomize ‘indulgence without the guilt’

Popcorn has exploded and thins have sliced into action in snacking – both riding...

InHarvest: Legumes, pulses steal spotlight from animal protein

At the 2014 Research Chefs Association Conference & Culinology Expo, FoodNavigator-USA caught up with...

SFA head: ‘A little term called class action suits’ is prompting GMO removal

SFA head: ‘A little term called class action suits’ is prompting GMO removal

Genetically modified organisms are safe and there is a need and place for them...

Could oats be the next gluten-free star?

Could oats be the next gluten-free star?

Oats, when the supply chain ensures no cross-contamination, are a gluten-free cereal grain. So...

Fed up: Probiotic research veteran issues global call to action

Fed up: Probiotic research veteran issues global call to action

Veteran probiotic researcher professor Gregor Reid is not a happy man. It’s time the...

GMO-free Cheerios: Did General Mills buckle to consumer pressure? Will the move backfire?

GMO-free Cheerios: Did General Mills buckle to consumer pressure? Will the move backfire?

General Mills’ move to go GMO-free on its flagship Cheerios brand has caused quite...

Irish firm offers (cheaper) heat resistant probiotics for infant formula

Irish firm offers (cheaper) heat resistant probiotics for infant formula

Sinéad Doherty, PhD

Founder, AnaBio Technologies

Conservative North American dairy more 'open to innovation': Chr Hansen

Conservative North American dairy more 'open to innovation': Chr Hansen

Roy Riley

Marketing Director Cultures and Enzymes, Chr Hansen

Unilever joins with Solidaridad to tackle sustainable sugar cane challenge

Unilever joins with Solidaridad to tackle sustainable sugar cane challenge

Dirk Jan de With

VP Procurement Ingredients & Sustainability, Unilever

Key Industry Events

 

Access all events listing

Our events, Events from partners...