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Innovation Resources

Virginia Tech’s Food Science & Technology Department

Virginia Tech’s Food Science & Technology Department is the lead research institution for food products in Virginia. Research emphasis is in the areas of:

  • Food Safety and Health
  • Food Processing and Packaging (including both developmental and application research)
  • Food Chemistry, Sensory Analysis and Food Quality
  • Muscle Foods (Fish and Shellfish)

Research Facilities

Food Analysis Laboratories 

Facilities for enzyme research, flavor analysis, and protein, lipid, and carbohydrate research are available. A supercritical fluid extraction system for separation technology and computer-interfaced analytical instrumentation is available, encompassing separation techniques with gas, paper, and liquid chromatography, GC, and HPLC. UV spectrophotometers, refractometers, mass spectrometers, infrared spectrometers, and spectrofluorometers are available as detection devices. Fraction collectors and high speed refrigerated centrifuges are used for physical separations. Color difference meters and viscometers are utilized to quantitate physical characteristics of samples.

Microbiology Laboratories 

Food microbiology research and teaching facilities include five well-equipped laboratories. Rapid analytical equipment includes a Bactometer Microbial Monitoring System, luminator, Epifluorescent microscope, Phase contrast, and light and dark field microscopes. Cultures are grown in programmable, constant temperature incubators.

Packaging and Processing Pilot Plant 

Packaging in both rigid and flexible materials and modified atmosphere and vacuum is available. Facilities include a 5,000-square-foot pilot plant with processing equipment for thermal processing, retort sterilization, size reduction, spray drying, freeze-drying, dehydration, and pasteurization. Equipment is available for aseptic processing by UHT and for supercritical fluid extraction. 

Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Food Innovations Program

The Food Innovations Program provides assistance to Virginia’s food processing industry in order to produce high quality, safe, and innovative food products. This extension resource offers food product testing, technical guidance, guidance for starting-up food entrepreneurs, and educational programs, such as Better Process Control School, Food Product Recall, and Juice HACCP.  

Genedge Alliance

The GenEdge Alliance is a statewide consulting resource, based in Martinsville, to assist Virginia businesses with innovation, competitive markets and business growth. Consulting fees are subsidized by 60% via a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Standards & Technology Branch. Services to industry focus on optimizing manufacturing processes, supply chain optimization, and sustainability, and customized to address the particular company’s issues.