Safer Food End Product of New Processing Center

PULLMAN, Wash. — Gustavo Barbosa-Canovas, on the faculty of Washington State University’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering for seven years, has helped develop a center for nonthermal methods of food preservation, such as high-voltage pulsed electric field, ultra-high pressure, oscillating magnetic fields, and combined methods.
Formally approved in March, the center will conduct research to produce better quality foods at a reasonable cost, with minimal damage from heat. Current projects are non-conventional pasteurization through pulsed electric fields to process fruit juices, milk, and liquid eggs. Other work involves high pressure processing of asparagus and imitation seafood to maintain more of their protein and quality flavors.
Barbosa-Canovas has been a driving force in the center’s creation, and for his productivity, received the College of Engineering and Architecture’s Researcher of the Year Award. He and his team helped attract $2.5 million in extramural support from such companies as Nalley’s, Treetop, Snokist, Gerber’s and governmental agencies.
Barbosa-Canovas chairs a committee to develop a master’s program in food engineering, chairs the 1997 Conference on Food Engineering in Los Angeles, has written five books on the topics, applied for three patents through WSU research foundation, and attracts international interest and participation in his work. His scholarship is outstanding both in quantity and quality, according to his peers.
A refereed article about the inactivation of foodborne pathogens by pulsed electric fields and controlled temperature won him a 1995 outstanding paper award by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.