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Simple and Rapid Optical Detection of Bacteria Using a Mobile Device
This invention provides cost-effective substrates and a rapid method for detection of bacteria in food, water or other materials, or on material surfaces using a mobile device, such as a smartphone attached to an inexpensive smartphone microscope.
Published: 5/17/2018   |   Inventor(s): Lili He, Brooke Pearson
Category(s): Food technology & plant science, Nanotechnology, Research tools, Devices & sensors
Food-Grade Antioxidants and Methods of Preparation Thereof
Oils are susceptible to lipid oxidation that causes the formation of off flavors and potentially toxic compounds. Lipid oxidation is the limiting factor for the shelf-life of oils and thus results in food waste. This invention provides natural, food-grade antioxidants that can be used as food additives to extend the shelf life of a wide variety of lipid-containing foods as well as oils used in food preparation, cooking and flavoring.
Published: 5/15/2018   |   Inventor(s): Eric Decker
Category(s): Food technology & plant science
Curcumin Stable Formulations
The spice, turmeric, has many beneficial properties and is widely touted as a treatment for many conditions, e.g. cancer, inflammation, digestive problems. However, the health-boosting component of turmeric, curcumin, degrades rapidly at physiological pH, making it difficult to

develop curcumin-based therapeutics.


The invention concerns methods and formulations of curcumin that enhance its stability and bioactivity. Specifically, a series of antioxidants with diverse chemical structures, including gallic acid, ascorbate (vitamin C),tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ), coffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, and Trolox (a water-soluble analog of vitamin E), dramatically increase curcumin stability in phosphate buffer. Moreover, the antioxidants significantly increased stability and anti-cancer effects of curcumin in cultured cancer cells and animal models. These practical strategies could be emplyed to increase the stability and bioactivity of curcumin and other dietary phenolic compounds.

Published: 12/14/2017   |   Inventor(s): Guodong Zhang, Eric Decker, Yoshiki Nimiya
Category(s): Food technology & plant science, Healthcare
Baterial Detection Platform
This invention invention is a bacterial detection platform integrating sensitive surface-enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) capabilities and advanced mapping technique that generates detailed chemical images based on a sample’s Raman spectrum. The identification is based on the fingerprint of the bacterial SERS spectra.  The quantification of the cells will be based on the mapping technique
Published: 9/13/2016   |   Inventor(s): Lili He
Category(s): Diagnostic technology, Food technology & plant science, Environmental, Healthcare, Nanotechnology
Food Grade, GRAS Antimicrobial Nanoemulsions for Use as a Food Disinfectant/Sanitizer
This invention provides a food grade, GRAS disinfectant/sanitizer that can be applied to various food systems. Such disinfectant/sanitizer comprises an acidified antimicrobial nanoemulsion assembled spontaneously in the presence of an organic phase and an aqueous phase comprising an organic acid and an essential oil. The essential oil functions to permeabilize and depolarize the cytoplasmic membrane of foodborne pathogens while the organic acid has a direct impact on the intracellular pH of the pathogens. This combination has been proven to be effective with significant log reductions of various pathogens on both food and non-food surfaces. The utilization of spontaneous emulsification allows for minimal equipment, nominal training, and low energy by employing the stored chemical energy of the system.
Published: 10/27/2015   |   Inventor(s): David julian Mcclements, Lynne Mclandsborough, Kyle Landry
Category(s): Food technology & plant science
Ion Sequestering Active Packaging Materials
In food and other consumer products, metal ions lead to a degradative reactions like oxidation, which can negatively impact consumer goods, leading to shortened shelf life, loss of color intensity, generation of unpleasant flavors and odors, nutritent loss. Moreover, oxidation reactions can compromise bioactive ingredients in cosmetic products. To address this problem, multiple approaches are used: synthetic and natural additives, free radical scavengers in packaging materials, and oxygen absorbing sachets. However, each approach has drawbacks. For example, metal chelators and synthetic antioxidants as food additives prohibit “all natural” package labelling, while natural free radical scavengers as food additives can be expensive and unstable. Bulk material properties can be adversely impacted with embedded free radical scavengers, and oxygen absorbing sachets require complex packaging equipment and are ill-suited for liquids.


This technology is a novel ion sequestering active packaging material to prevent degradative reactions in foods, beverages and other consumer products. Specifically, chelating moieties are covalently attached to polymer materials (e.g. films, sheets) to impart chelating functionality.

These grafted polymers are part of the packaging material, thereby keeping synthetic additives out of food and consumer products and allowing manufacturers to make “all natural” product claims.

Published: 11/19/2014   |   Inventor(s): Julie Goddard, Eric andrew Decker
Category(s): Food technology & plant science
Encapsulation of Oils Using Three-Layered Interfacial Membranes Produced from Emulsifiers and Biopolymers
An improvement over other previously developed fat substitutes, this technology would produce food products containing traditional edible oils, but oil droplets are encapsulated in inedible membranes which render them indigestible by humans and certain animals. Droplets stabilized by three (or more) layers are formed using a multiple-stage process.  The interfacial membrane may be comprised of dietary fiber alone, or in conjunction with other emulsifiers and biopolymers (such as food-grade phospholipids, surfactants, fatty acids, proteins, polysaccharides).
Published: 11/18/2014   |   Inventor(s): David julian Mcclements, Eric andrew Decker
Category(s): Food technology & plant science
Oxidatively Stable Lipid Delivery Systems
This system makes oil-in-water emulsions containing 25-40% lipids. This system utilizes antioxidant technologies in the lipid, lipid-water interface and water phases. The emulsion contains very little non-lipid materials and is easy to incorporate into foods while maintaining antioxidant protection systems.
Published: 11/18/2014   |   Inventor(s): Eric andrew Decker, David julian Mcclements
Category(s): Food technology & plant science
Enzymatically Cross-linked Biopolymer Interfacial Complexes for Improved Lipid Particle Stability
The utilization of many natural emulsifiers has led to millions of dollars per year in product losses. A novel interfacial engineering technology in combination with a novel enzyme treatment, has been developed to improve emulsion stability by creating stable interfacial membranes consisting of natural edible ingredients. This approach covalently cross-links the charged biopolymer complex onto the oppositely charged adsorbed lipid droplets, thereby avoiding the tendency for the adsorbed layers to become detached when solution conditions are changed.
Published: 11/17/2014   |   Inventor(s): David julian Mcclements, Eric andrew Decker
Category(s): Food technology & plant science
Natural-Polymer Nanofiber Mats with Enhanced Antimicrobial Properties
This technology features flexible and porous nanofiber mats that deliver “green” active agents. The current antibacterial fibers are composed of a natural polymer derived from crab shells and a cinnamon extract. These materials can conform to any surface and are desirable in biomedical, environmental, and industrial applications. UMass Amherst researchers utilize the electrospinning process to generate novel non-woven chitosan- poly(ethylene oxide) nanofiber mats that deliver active agents. In the first instance, cinnamaldehyde, a non-toxic, antimicrobial, and anticorrosive agent derived from cinnamon bark has been attached to chitosan. Chitosan, an abundant biopolymer found primarily in crustascean shells provides hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and hemostatic properties. The U.S. and Europe has already approved of chitosan for use in commercial bandages. Materials composed of chitosan-cinnamaldehyde conjugates have already been proven effective against the gram negative bacteria, Escherichi coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These promising results suggest these nanofibers may have utility in wound care products and other flexible materials for biomedical applications. Moreover, this platform technology can be employed to generate materials with a range of antimicrobial or other beneficial properties by conjugating other essential oils (e.g. vanillin, thymol, eugenol) or small molecules (e.g. sugars, fragrances, vitamins).
Published: 11/4/2014   |   Inventor(s): Jessica Schiffman, Katrina Rieger
Category(s): Food technology & plant science, Therapeutics & prevention
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