Our research aims to resolve the challenges of sustainability, and healthy feeding practice of the growing future population in industrialised and developing nations through scientific and technological advancements.

Capabilities statement

View the Advanced Food Systems capabilities statement for a brief overview of our research focus, expertise, facilities and resources, track record, profile and contact information.

Areas of research

The Research Unit has developed an extensive range of research collaborations both within Victoria University and with external organisations, including the broader academic and industrial research groups, as well as corporations internationally and within Australia. Our research is aligned with three Australian national priorities:

  • environmentally sustainable Australia
  • promoting and maintaining good health
  • frontier technologies for building and transforming Australia.

Our researchers are involved in a number of themed projects.

  • Analytical systems
    Methods development and analysis of food components
  • Macromolecular systems
    Fundamental research on understanding physical and chemical interactions governing the properties of complex food macromolecules during various units of operation
  • Bioprocessing systems
    Fundamental and applied food biotechnology
  • Sustainable food systems
    Advanced approaches in the food industry to ensure innovative and sustainable utilisation of our natural resources
Thomas Yeager, VU reseacher, and student

Research expertise

The research program has expertise in several related areas.

  • Dairy processing technologies and techniques
  • Grains, fruits and vegetable processing
  • Separation and extraction processes
  • Advanced membrane technologies

  • Physiological properties of dietary proteins
  • Improvement of functional properties of animal and plant proteins
  • Specialised processing to preserve functional qualities of foods

  • Technologies and techniques for increasing shelf life
  • Novel methods for preservation of bioactive materials

  • Food rheology
  • Food property characterisation and modelling
  • Protein-protein and protein-polysaccharide interactions
  • Functional properties of dairy products

  • Indigenous animal and microbial enzymes and their application
  • Novel microbial applications in waste water treatment

  • Development and application of novel methods for analysis of allergic proteins
  • Novel bioassays for in vitro assessment of physiological bioactivity
  • Method development for identification of immunomodulatory compounds

Research facilities & equipment

The Unit's research activities are supported by a number of laboratories across the University.

Located at the Werribee campus, these laboratories houses the latest range of analytical equipment for compounds and materials characterisation and testing. These laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art Instruments, including:

  • infrared and fluorescence spectrophotometers
  • gas and liquid chromatographs (HPLC, GC/MS, LC/MS, FPLC)
  • elemental analysis (ICP, AAS)
  • nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).

This facility at the Werribee campus includes equipment for thermal analysis of materials (differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis); polymer molecular weight (high temperature gel permeation chromatography); compression moulding press; and programmable ovens.

In conjunction with a pilot plant in Werribee, the Food Material Science laboratory is equipped with food-related testing instrumentation, including:

  • rheometer
  • zetasizer
  • texture analyser
  • universal testing machine

Provides the latest equipment for imaging food systems including:

  • scanning electron microscope
  • confocal laser scanning microscope
  • luminescence and light microscopes

This laboratory operates at Werribee and Footscray Park campuses.

Research projects

  • Understanding the effects of cow genotype on the composition and quality of milk and dairy products, in collaboration with Teagasc, Ireland
  • The impact of protein-mineral interactions on milk protein stability, in collaboration with FrieslandCampina, the Netherlands
  • Diversifying use of plant proteins by functionality prediction and functionalization, in collaboration with Ward-McKenzie
  • Shelf-life extension of biscuits for lactating women, in collaboration with Boobie Brands
  • Impact of Smart Vacuum-Sealing Lid on the shelf life extension of infant formula, in collaboration with Real Technology Australia
  • Controlled digestion and absorption of whey proteins for improved muscular health, in collaboration with Ocean Dairy/Yili, New Zealand/China
  • Protein Characterisation to Address Seafood Substitution in the Australian Marketplace with the National Measurement Institute

Members of the Advanced Food Systems Research Unit continue to publish their work in a broad range of scholarly journals and in proceedings of international learned conferences.

Our recent publications are available.

Bogahawaththa, D., Vasiljevic, T. Shearing accelerates denaturation of β-lactoglobulin and α-lactalbumin in skim milk during heating (2020) International Dairy Journal, 105, art. no. 104674,

Faisal, M., Dargahi, N., Vasiljevic, T., Donkor, O.N. Immunomodulatory properties of selectively processed prawn protein fractions assessed using human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (2020) International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 55 (2), pp. 795-804.

Njume, C., McAinch, A.J., Donkor, O. Proximate and phenolic composition of selected native Australian food plants (2020) International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 55 (5), pp. 2060-2079.

Lau, M., Monis, P., Ryan, G., Salveson, A., Fontaine, N., Blackbeard, J., Gray, S., Sanciolo, P. Selection of surrogate pathogens and process indicator organisms for pasteurisation of municipal wastewater—A survey of literature data on heat inactivation of pathogens (2020) Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 133, pp. 301-314.

Cejudo-Bastante, M.J., Cejudo-Bastante, C., Cran, M.J., Heredia, F.J., Bigger, S.W. Optical, structural, mechanical and thermal characterization of antioxidant ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer films containing betalain-rich beetroot (2020) Food Packaging and Shelf Life, 24, art. no. 100502,

Sedayu, B.B., Cran, M.J., Bigger, S.W. Improving the moisture barrier and mechanical properties of semi-refined carrageenan films (2020) Journal of Applied Polymer Science.

Bogahawaththa, D., Chau, N.H.B., Trivedi, J., Dissanayake, M., Vasiljevic, T. Impact of controlled shearing on solubility and heat stability of pea protein isolate dispersed in solutions with adjusted ionic strength (2019) Food Research International, 125, art. no. 108522,

Faisal, M., Buckow, R., Vasiljevic, T., Donkor, O.N. Effect of simulated digestion on antigenicity of banana prawn (Fenneropenaeus merguiensis)after high pressure processing at different temperatures (2019) Food Control, 104, pp. 187-192.

Wijayasinghe, R., Bogahawaththa, D., Huppertz, T., Chandrapala, J., Vasiljevic, T. Influence of lactic, citric and phosphoric acids on the properties of concentrated lactose solutions (2019) Food Chemistry, 293, pp. 247-253.

Faisal, M., Vasiljevic, T., Donkor, O.N. A review on methodologies for extraction, identification and quantification of allergenic proteins in prawns (2019) Food Research International, 121, pp. 307-318.

Gut, A.M., Vasiljevic, T., Yeager, T., Donkor, O.N. Characterization of yeasts isolated from traditional kefir grains for potential probiotic properties (2019) Journal of Functional Foods, 58, pp. 56-66.

Ranadheera, C.S., Liyanaarachchi, W.S., Dissanayake, M., Chandrapala, J., Huppertz, T., Vasiljevic, T. Impact of shear and pH on properties of casein micelles in milk protein concentrate (2019) LWT, 108, pp. 370-376.

Bogahawaththa, D., Chandrapala, J., Vasiljevic, T. Thermal denaturation of bovine β-lactoglobulin in different protein mixtures in relation to antigenicity (2019) International Dairy Journal, 91, pp. 89-97.

Markoska, T., Huppertz, T., Grewal, M.K., Vasiljevic, T. FTIR analysis of physiochemical changes in raw skim milk upon concentration (2019) LWT, 102, pp. 64-70.

Bogahawaththa, D., Bao Chau, N.H., Trivedi, J., Dissanayake, M., Vasiljevic, T. Impact of selected process parameters on solubility and heat stability of pea protein isolate (2019) LWT, 102, pp. 246-253.

Markoska, T., Huppertz, T., Grewal, M.K., Vasiljevic, T. Structural changes of milk proteins during heating of concentrated skim milk determined using FTIR (2019) International Dairy Journal, 89, pp. 21-30.

Golkar, A., Milani, J.M., Vasiljevic, T. Altering allergenicity of cow's milk by food processing for applications in infant formula (2019) Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 59 (1), pp. 159-172.

Faisal, M., Vasiljevic, T., Donkor, O.N. Effects of selected processing treatments on antigenicity of banana prawn (Fenneropenaeus merguiensis) tropomyosin (2019) International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 54 (1), pp. 183-193.

Dargahi, N., Johnson, J., Donkor, O., Vasiljevic, T., Apostolopoulos, V. Immunomodulatory effects of probiotics: Can they be used to treat allergies and autoimmune diseases? (2019) Maturitas, 119, pp. 25-38.

Ranadheera, C.S., Evans, C.A., Baines, S.K., Balthazar, C.F., Cruz, A.G., Esmerino, E.A., Freitas, M.Q., Pimentel, T.C., Wittwer, A.E., Naumovski, N., Graça, J.S., Sant'Ana, A.S., Ajlouni, S., Vasiljevic, T. Probiotics in Goat Milk Products: Delivery Capacity and Ability to Improve Sensory Attributes (2019) Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety.

Njume, C., Donkor, O., McAinch, A.J. Predisposing factors of type 2 diabetes mellitus and the potential protective role of native plants with functional properties (2019) Journal of Functional Foods, 53, pp. 115-124.

Duong, S., Strobel, N., Buddhadasa, S., Auldist, M.J., Wales, W.J., Moate, P.J., Cox, G., Orbell, J.D., Cran, M.J. Modification of the sterol profile in milk through feeding (2019) Journal of Dairy Science, 102 (7), pp. 5933-5944.

Sedayu, B.B., Cran, M.J., Bigger, S.W. A Review of Property Enhancement Techniques for Carrageenan-based Films and Coatings (2019) Carbohydrate Polymers, 216, pp. 287-302.

Garg, S., Cran, M.J., Mishra, V.K. Effect of heating and acidic pH on characteristics of wheat gluten suspension (2019) International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 54 (5), pp. 1892-1900.

Cejudo Bastante, C., Cran, M.J., Casas Cardoso, L., Mantell Serrano, C., Martínez de la Ossa, E.J., Bigger, S.W. Effect of supercritical CO2 and olive leaf extract on the structural, thermal and mechanical properties of an impregnated food packaging film (2019) Journal of Supercritical Fluids, 145, pp. 181-191.


Staff & students

Name Phone and email Research interests
Professor Todor Vasiljevic,
Unit Leader
+61 3 9919 8062
[email protected]
Dairy Science and Technology; Food Rheology; Microbial and Enzyme Technology and Engineering; Physical Chemistry of Foods; Functional Foods.
Dr Thomas Yeager
Deputy Leader
+61 3 9919 8103
[email protected]
Mammalian cell culture in both in adherent and suspension cultures, Probiotics, Molecular biology and Fermentation biology
Professor John Orbell +61 3 9919 8066
[email protected]
Water management; Environmental management and technology; Wildlife rehabilitation; Traditional medicines; Computational chemistry; Analytical chemistry.
Professor Stephen Bigger +61 3 9919 2959
[email protected]
Stability of plastics; Novel antimicrobial packaging materials; Non-isothermal chemical kinetics and its industrial applications; Low odour packaging materials.
Assoc Professor Mikel Duke +61 3 9919 7682
[email protected]
Water treatment; Desalination; Dairy processing; Materials engineering; Advanced sensor materials.
Professor Stephen Gray +61 3 9919 8097
[email protected]
Water treatment technologies for sustainable urban water systems. Advanced membrane technologies for water treatment.
Dr Marlene Cran +61 3 9919 7642 [email protected] Polymer science and materials, water treatment; and incorporation of natural antimicrobial additives in food packaging films.
Dr Osaana Donkor +61 3 919 8059
[email protected]
Analytical chemistry; tissue cell culture techniques and cell banking; immunostimulatory potentials of probiotic strains.
Dr Joshua Johnson +613 9919 8279
[email protected]
Plant molecular biology, gene isolation and characterisation.
Dr Lawrence Ngeh +61 3 9919 8102
[email protected]
The development of magnetic particle technology for application to environmental remediation: Analyses of pesticides and trace metals in soil, water, food and herbs.
Dr Peter Sanciolo +61 3 9919 8053
[email protected]
Novel approaches to water treatment, Innovative integrated MF-NF-RO processes.


Name Thesis title
Collise Njume Bioactive Components of Australian native plant species and their application in the prevention of type 2 Diabetes mellitus within the Indigenous community.
Surjit Kaur Dairy protein hydrolysis by proteases of plant origin
Dean Clarke Application of Orthogonal Methods for Analysis of Food Allergen Proteins.
Kayihura Joseph Flambeau Casein interactions in milk gel drive partitioning of constituents and gel properties.
Jamie Linsdell Protein Characterisation to Address Seafood Substitution in the Australian Marketplace
Tatijana Markoska Structural changes of milk proteins established by NMR
Abraham Majak Gut Applications of probiotic microorganisms for the prevention and treatment of enteropathogenic bacteria infections
Hemanth Yenigalla Factors dictating casein retention during membrane processing
Davor Daniloski Understanding the effects of cow genotype on the composition and quality of milk and dairy products
Elaheh Ahmadi The impact of protein-mineral interactions on milk protein stability, in collaboration with FrieslandCampina, the Netherlands
Derrick D’Souza Molecular basis of savoury flavour

Contact us

Professor Todor Vasiljevic
Unit Leader, Advanced Food Systems Research Unit
Phone: +61 3 9919 8062
Email: [email protected]

Dr Thomas Yeager
Deputy Unit Leader, Advanced Food Systems Research Unit
Phone: +61 3 9919 8103
Email: [email protected]