Oregon's artisan cheese industry ages well with OSU's help

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Depth of Field: Fermentation Sciences

Beer product shots. Oregon State University Fermentation Science Pilot Brewery.
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A flight of beer research

Photos Lynn Ketchum | Oregon's Agricultural Progress, Summer 2014

A Flight of Beer ResearchEvaluating beers made with hops from the Oregon State University hop breeding program

Swig-size samples of beer undergo the scrutiny of brewery science students at Oregon State University. Various malts and hops color the brews and lend delicate differences to their taste and aroma.

In 2013, Oregon lawmakers approved 1.2 million to enhance the College of Agricultural Sciences' Fermenation Sciences Program. The legislative funding supports university research in all aspects of the production of high-value beer, wine, cheese, and bread, all products of fermentation. The funding is also helping to establish a new research distillery, making OSU the first university in the nation with a working research winery, brewery, and distillery. This flight of research helps support Oregon's rapidly diversifying fermentation industries.

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OSU Turns Winemaking Waste into Food Supplements and Flowerpots

Muffins made from flour containing ground pomace

Story Daniel Robison | Photos Lynn Ketchum | College of Agricultural Services - Oregon Invests!

Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered how to turn the pulp from crushed wine grapes into a natural food preservative, biodegradable packaging materials and a nutritional enhancement for baked goods.Yanyun Zhao, a food scientist at Oregon State University, holds a muffin made with grape pomace

The United States wine industry creates a tremendous amount of waste from processing more than 4 million tons of grapes each year, mostly in the Pacific Northwest and California, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Wineries typically pay for the pulp to be hauled away, but a small percentage is used in low-value products such as fertilizer and cow feed.

"We now know pomace can be a sustainable source of material for a wide range of goods," said researcher Yanyun Zhao, a professor and value-added food products specialist with the OSU Extension Service. "We foresee wineries selling their pomace rather than paying others to dispose of it. One industry's trash can become another industry's treasure."

The pulp, which consists of stems, skins and seeds, is known as pomace and is packed with dietary fiber and phenolics, which have antioxidant effects. OSU researchers have dried and ground it to create edible and non-edible products.

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Extending the shelf life of blueberries

Closeup of Earliblue blueberry, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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OSU food scientist Yanyun Zhao has helped discover a substance in blueberry leaves that can be added to berry coatings, extending their shelf life while adding antioxidants

Story Daniel Robison | Photos Lynn Ketchum | Oregon State University Extension Service
CORVALLIS, Ore. – An Oregon State University researcher has helped discover a substance in blueberry leaves – which are usually wasted – that can be added to berry coatings, extending their shelf life while adding antioxidants.Bucket of Earliblue blueberries

Working with an international team of scientists in China, OSU food scientist Yanyun Zhao found that an edible coating containing blueberry leaf extracts helped delay decay and retain water, which slowed down their natural deterioration. The extra weight could also mean extra cash for growers, because blueberries are often sold by volume.

The natural coatings can allow fresh blueberries to be washed and prepared as ready-to-eat products. Most blueberries in stores are unwashed because rinsing them removes their natural waxy coating that preserves the fruit.

"Normally, blueberry leaves fall to the ground as waste," said Zhao, a food science and technology professor in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences. “We've discovered a use that can change how the berries are stored, sold, as well as increasing their nutritional value.”

Blueberry leaves, which have been used as an herbal remedy, contain high levels of antioxidant phenolics – chemical compounds with antimicrobial properties that protect against fungi and bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella.

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OSU Produces Mighty Fine Brew(ers)

Professor Tom Shellhammer and student Victoria Chaplin
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OSU-trained beer experts are a hot commodity in a booming industry

Story Kevin Miller | Photos Hannah O'Leary | Oregon Stater, Spring 2014Professor Tom Shellhammer and student Victoria Chaplin measure carbon dioxide and other gases in packaged beer
In the hallway outside Tom Shellhammer’s office in Wiegand Hall, clues abound that being a “beer major” at Oregon State might be a little tougher than it sounds.

The posters on the walls bear no resemblance to the imagery typically associated with promoting frothy alcoholic beverages.

Instead of bikini- and boardshorts-clad young people watching a sunset on a beach, there’s “Iron chelating properties and hydroxyl scavenging activities of hop acids.”

Instead of an ice climber digging a chilled bottle out of a glacier so he can magically pop out of a cooler and deliver a cold one to a tailgater, there’s “Foam Stabilizing Effects and Cling Formation Patterns of Iso-alpha-acids and Reduced Iso-alpha-acids in Lager Beer.”

And instead of an affable brewery owner inviting thrilled tourists to sample his latest brew, there’s the ever-popular “Impact of processing and hopping regimes on pro-oxidant metal content of pale lager beer.”

Shellhammer, professor of food science & technology, presides over a fermentation science program whose graduates are prized by beer makers large and small — in Oregon’s booming craft brewing industry and across the nation and overseas.

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Cover of Oregon Stater magazine, Spring 2014

ON THE COVER

OSU-trained fermentation scientists (left to right) Eryn Bottens, ’13, Annette Fritsch, ’07, and Jeb Hollabaugh, ’12, take a break in the tasting room at the Massachusetts headquarters of The Boston Beer Company, brewer of Samuel Adams and several other brands, and the larg­est and most successful American craft beer maker. Fritsch is Boston Beer’s top brewing scientist; Bottens operates the company’s small-scale test brewery and Hollabaugh works in the brewing laboratory. They and a growing group of well-trained food scien­tists with a passion for making the perfect brew are why beer-makers large and small, around the world, seek out Oregon State graduates.
Story on page 30 | Photo by Hannah O’Leary

'Terroir' matters in cheese, researcher finds

Professor and Dairy Specialist, Lisbeth Goddik
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Lisbeth Goddik of Oregon State University helps the dairy industry resolve problems in milk and cheese production

Mateusz Perkowski | Capital Press, September 29, 2014
Professor and Dairy Specialist Lisbeth Goddik standing next to wheels of Beaver Classic cheese in OSU creamery

Similar to wine, the flavor of cheese is influenced by “terroir,” the unique attributes associated with location, according to a food scientist.

While some may consider “terroir” an ambiguous French concept, Lisbeth Goddik has scientifically confirmed that cows in different areas produce milk containing different lactic acid bacteria.

These bacteria, in turn, affect the taste of cheese, she said. “It appears the further the distance, the more different the flavor.”

Her findings have implications for small, artisan cheese producers as well as major manufacturers.

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