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Development of functional food products for space use


During space missions the human body undergoes extreme stress (e.g. radiation exposure, bone decalcification) that result in significant health hazards that affect also common people and, more significantly, in an aging population. In recent years there ha s been an increasing awareness of the role of food as a tool to improve people's well being and as a mean to prevent and counteract specific pathologies. Specific components of food products have been isolated and proven to have beneficial effect on the body (e.g. high antioxidant content, high calcium availability).

This project aims to the development of high quality, convenient, nutritionally dense functional food products (gel based snacks, unleavened-flat breads, lasagna-like entrée). Product composition will be designed to be reach in ingredients with functional properties and will include, among the others, legumes, soy, tomato, carrots, berries, grapes, etc. High Pressure Processing, an innovative stabilization technique, will be used in-addition-to/ instead-of common stabilization techniques and its effect on textural, microbial, nutritional properties of food items and their stability will be evaluated. Food product will be studied with a multi-analytical and multi-disciplinary approach centred on t he physico-chemical characterization of food matrices at macroscopic, structural and molecular levels.

This project has a strong interest in basic research that is directly applied to food items and the findings can be directly transferred to practical industrial applications. Collaborations with nutritionists, chemists, microbiologists, technologists in the University of Parma and other Italian and European research institutions will be established to create interdisciplinary research programs. The focus on the creation of functional foods for space use is based on the familiarity of the proposer with the NASA food program and the lack of a Space Food Program in the European Space Agency.

Call for proposal

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Parco Area Delle Scienze 181/A