The Interuniversity Programme in Food Technology (IUPFOOD) focuses on two technological dimensions of prime and crucial importance in food processing and preservation:
These two concerns are directly translated in the focus points of the IUPFOOD programme.
The InterUniversity Programme in Food Technology (IUPFOOD) is jointly organised by KU Leuven and Ghent University (UGent). The programme builds on KU Leuven’s and UGent’s combined expertise in research and education in the field of food technology.
The Master of Science in Food Technology (120 ECTS) consists of four major segments:
In the first year of the Master's programme, students will spend the first semester in Ghent and the second semester in Leuven. The second stage courses of the majors 'Postharvest and Food Preservation Engineering' and 'Food Science and Technology' are taught respectively at KU Leuven and UGent; at both universities, optional courses and thesis research topics are offered.
1. Has profound and detailed scientific knowledge and understanding of the (bio)chemical processes in biological raw materials during postharvest storage and their transformation into food products.
2. Has profound and detailed scientific knowledge and understanding of engineering principles of unit operations and their use in the transformation of raw materials into food products as a basis for qualitative and quantitative design, evaluation and optimization of food process and preservation unit operations.
3. Has profound and detailed scientific knowledge and understanding of ecology, physiology, detection, use and combat microorganisms in food systems.
4. Has profound and detailed scientific knowledge and understanding of (bio)-chemical, physical and microbiological methods for analysis of raw materials and foods including the skills to identify and use such methods in the context of research, process and product design and optimization and food control.
5. Has profound and detailed scientific knowledge in different fields of product technology such as vegetable products, dairy products, meat products, fish products, cereal derived products and fermented products including aspects of product development in relation to consumer behavior.
6. Can critically evaluate the functionality and safety of foods in the context of human health including the relation with raw materials and their processing into foods based on analytical data and scientific literature data.
7. Masters the skills and has acquired the problem solving capacity to analyze problems of food quality and safety along the food chain and to elaborate interdisciplinary and integrated qualitative and quantitative approaches and solutions (including implementation) appreciating the complexity of food systems and the processes used while taking into account technical limitations and socio-economic aspects such as feasibility, risks, and sustainability.
8. Has acquired a broad perspective to problems of food security, related to postharvest and food processing, in low income developing countries.
9. Can investigate and understand interaction with other relevant science domains and integrate them within the context of more advanced ideas and practical applications and problem solving.
10. Can demonstrate critical consideration of and reflection on known and new theories, models or interpretation within the broad field of food technology.
11. Can identify and apply appropriate research methods and techniques to design, plan and execute targeted experiments or simulations independently and critically evaluate and interpret the collected data.
12. Can develop and execute independently original scientific research and/or apply innovative ideas within research environments to create new and/or improved insights and/or solutions for complex (multi)disciplinary research questions respecting the results of other researchers.
13. Can convincingly and professionally communicate personal research, thoughts, ideas, and opinions of proposals, both written and oral, to different actors and stakeholders from peers to a general public.
14. Has acquired project management skills to act independently and in a multidisciplinary team as team member or team leader in international and intercultural settings.
IUPFOOD's objective is to offer a programme that takes the specific needs and approaches of developing countries into account. The IUPFOOD programme prepares graduates for various tasks, including teaching and research. IUPFOOD alumni are mainly active in the following sectors:
IT Tralee is currently seeking to recruit ahigh calibre and suitably qualified science graduate to undertake this Master by Research programme in the Department of Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences at IT Tralee. Graduates holding a relevant Level 8 Honours Degree (second class honours or higher) are invited to submit an application. The successful applicants will be awarded a stipend of €700 per month for a maximum period of 18 months and the Institute will waive full fees for this funding period. Postgraduate students are expected to complete their studies full-time at the Institute.
Mr Quille received his Degree in Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds from University College Cork in 2007. He has since completed an M.Sc in Biotechnology in the Shannon ABC laboratories at IT Tralee on a project entitled: The preparation of an alginate with a hydrophobic moiety that retains its biocompatibility and immunosuppressive properties while remaining suitable for cellular encapsulation. He has previously worked in Astellas as a Process Technician and in Shannon ABC as a Biochemical Technician. He currently holds the role of Research Scientist with Shannon ABC. Previous projects include developing a commercial focus to the use of bioassays in the assessment of different components of seaweed and the impact of seasonality. He has worked on the FP7 funded project NatuCrop where he oversaw extensive tomato growth room, glasshouse and field trials. Results of his work have been presented at a number of conferences all over Europe and in Brazil. He is currently working on a Horizon 2020 project.
Crop productivity relies heavily on nitrogen fertilisation which in itself requires huge amounts of energy to produce. Also excess applications of nitrogen to the land is detrimental to the environment therefore increasing plant nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) is essential in the promotion of sustainable agriculture. The use of seaweed and seaweed extracts in agriculture is well documented. The most popular and well researched type of seaweed extract commercially available is an Ascophyllum Nodosum extract (ANE). Ascophyllum is a brown seaweed that is native to the waters of Ireland as it grows best in the North Atlantic basin. Seaweed extracts have been described to enhance seed germination and establishment, improve plant growth, yield, flower set and fruit production, increase resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, and improve postharvest shelf life. Previously a seaweed extract when combined with a fertiliser regime increased the productivity and oil content and accelerated maturation (colour and firmness) of the olive fruits from olive trees. Oil-Seed Rape (OSR; Brassica napus) is a member of the Brassicaceae family that is grown for its oil content. It requires extensive nitrogen fertilisation, however it has a poor N-harvest index meaning a lot of nitrogen is lost in the straw rather than transported to the pod. The aim or our study is to apply 4 commercially available ANE’s to winter and spring crops of OSR (different varieties) in a controlled growth room and glasshouse and finally in a field setting under different fertiliser regimes. Treatments will be assessed by comparing fresh weight, dry weight, and seed/oil yield and oil quality. Plant tissue will also be saved in order to assess other parameters such as flavonol accumulation, nitrate reductase, gene expression (NRT2) and photosynthetic parameters.
600,000 Ha of OSR is planted in the UK and Ireland alone every year, recommended input of nitrogen is 200 kg (0.2 tonnes) per Ha meaning 120,000 tonnes of nitrogen every year. As OSR only has an N-harvest index of 0.6, representing 48,000 tonnes lost, which is a massive financial loss as well as potentially environmentally detrimental. In determining the effect of ANE’s on NUE current research focuses on the outcome, i.e. is yield increased, rather than investigate the method by which the yield has increased. This research is aimed a filling some void of knowledge here by linking phenotypic differences to biochemical and genetic data of treated plants in order to assign a potential mode of action.
While ANE’s have been shown to increase nitrogen assimilation, extensive growth trials, especially in economically important crops (such as OSR) which investigate their role in affecting NUE are scarce and are only seemingly becoming popular in recent years. However considering the increased price of nitrogen, the additional interest in biostimulants (ANE’s in particular), the need to feed a growing population and coupled to the environmental damage of excess nitrogen this can be considered a ‘hot topic’. Plant (glasshouse and field setting) trials will be conducted and analysed for phenotypic data (photosynthetic measurements, yield). Materials from these plant trials must then be harvested, extracted and saved for biochemical and genetic determination. Lab-based techniques employed include protein extraction, western blotting and spectrophotometry, RT-PCR and HPLC. This 3 pronged approach from assessing phenotype to the biochemical level and finally to the gene level will provide evidence on mode of action of the ANE’s potential impact on NUE in OSR.