Innovations in dairy foods showcased at CDR Research Forum

The Center for Dairy Research (CDR) hosted professionals from the dairy industry for the CDR Industry Team Research Forum, Nov. 7-8. This annual event provides an in-depth look at innovative research projects conducted by graduate students and researchers that are addressing challenges in the dairy industry. The Research Forum is open to members of the CDR Industry Team (CIT), which is composed of industry organizations and companies from all sectors of the dairy industry. CIT members support the work of CDR and receive early access to research and other resources from CDR.

“Our goal is to bring the latest cutting-edge research to the dairy/food industry as well as showcase our outstanding students and faculty,” says CDR Director John Lucey.

Over the course of two days, attendees heard 18 presentations from Universities of Wisconsin graduate students and researchers. Presentations covered three main tracks including cheese functionality, dairy co-products and dairy microbiology/safety.

Food science graduate students provided updates on research projects pertaining to cheese functionality, stability of dairy beverages and advances in analytical methods. These projects include work focusing on extending the shelf life of string cheese, the squeak of cheese curds, developing shelf stable natural cheese snacks, and controlling browning and blistering of cheese on pizzas.

Another exciting area of research taking place on the UW–Madison campus is investigating methods to utilize dairy co-products to sustainably produce higher value products. Among the five speakers in this series, Erica Majumder, assistant professor of bacteriology, shared her research on converting dairy residues or co-products into biodegradable bioplastics. Eric Agyeman-Duah, a food science graduate student, discussed research on repurposing dairy waste for the microbial production of propylene glycol.

UW System professors also shared innovations in the area of dairy microbiology and safety. Zifan Wan from UW-Platteville explained her research on cold plasma for the inactivation of pathogens in dairy products. Tu-Anh Huynh, an assistant professor of food science at UW-Madison, presented research on her lab’s discovery of natural antimicrobials and protective cultures from cheese boards and their microbiota.

In total, 10 UW–Madison graduate students and eight UW System faculty/researchers presented. Almost 90 dairy industry professionals attended the event and represented more than 40 companies and organizations. The event also included a reception where industry members had an opportunity to network with graduate students.

The Center for Dairy Research, located at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, College of Agricultural & Life Sciences, is dedicated to supporting the U.S. dairy industry through innovative research, technical support, training and education.