Developing Probiotic Foods for Health Benefits

Team Mentor:

Dr. Felix Barron, Professor
Dept. Food Science and Human Nutrition


  • Explore development of various fermented food products containing beneficial bacteria (probiotics)
  • Test the variability of the probiotic bacteria after production and under selected storage conditions
  • Examine the effectiveness of the probiotic products using in vitro evaluation methods

Topic: Microbial Safety of Hamburger Cooked With a Combination Sous-Vide and Grilling Method

Student: Matt Eisenstat

Abstract: With the recent outbreaks of Esherichia Coli overseas and locally, public trust in processed foods, raw foods, and meat products has markedly decreased. While some amount of concern is founded, the fear of bacterial contamination often leads to overcooking and over-processing of food products to avoid outbreaks and possible litigation. The combination method of sous-vide and grilling for hamburger products is offered as a safe and alternative method to reduce microbial populations without increasing internal temperatures.

Topic: Probiotics Healthy Drink

Students: Rebecca Phifer, Alli Corvese, Julie Dean, Patrice Newsome, Danielle Beaumont

Abstract: Goal is to develop a healthy probiotics drink based on cactus juice. A cactus juice based drink was preliminarily developed and its nutritional value evaluated and compared to other juices in the market. The especial ingredients of interest in the cactus juice are the increased amount of dietary fiber and other micro nutrients. Further analysis is in progress regarding its health potential claims.


Topic: Creating a Learning Module for Production of Probiotic Juice Based Drinks and Other Medical Foods

Students: Matt Eisenstat, Kelly Merchant, Amanda Truesdale, Austin Abellana, Paul Lagarenne

Abstract: Medical foods are any food product with ingredients that have been indicated in the treatment of a medical disorder. Probiotics have quickly become one of the most popular and supported medical food ingredients currently in circulation. Probiotics are bacterial strains that are grown in food for consumption by humans in medical foods or supplements. They are transient colonizers of the human gut and have been indicated in several metabolic disorders. This investigation intends to create learning modules to teach the skills needed in creating, packaging, and analyzing medical foods.