Research

Advanced food systems


Food testing instrumentation

Food testing instrumentation

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.

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.

Food bacteria

Food bacteria

  • 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.

Research expertise

Food processing

Solutions in technology

Food Processing

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

Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals

  • Physiological properties of dietary proteins
  • Improvement of functional properties of whey proteins
  • Improvement of physiological functionality of whole grains
  • Specialised processing to preserve functional qualities of foods

Enhancement of Shelf Life

  • Technologies and techniques for increasing shelf life
  • Novel methods for preservation of bioactive materials
  • Impact of food preservation technologies on functional properties
  • Food safety and security
  • Risk assessment of the supply chain

Physical Chemistry of Foods

  • Food rheology
  • Food property characterisation and modelling
  • Impact of hydrostatic and hydrodynamic pressure on proteins
  • Protein-protein and protein-polysaccharide interactions
  • Functional properties of dairy products
Dairy research products

Dairy research products

Dairy Science and Technology

  • Value-added dairy products
  • Advanced processing technologies and techniques
  • Fermented dairy products (i.e. cheese and yoghurt)
  • Functional properties of milk
  • Advanced membrane technologies in dairy processing (novel ingredients, energy and water recovery)

Microbial and Enzyme Technology and Engineering

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

Analytical systems

  • 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

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.

Research collaborations

The Advanced Food Systems Research Unit has strong links with industry, and other University research institutes and groups.

Research facilities and equipment

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

Analytical Instrumentation Laboratories

Analytical instrumentation chromatography

Chromatography equipment

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).

Polymer Research Laboratory

Polymer research molecular model

Molecule model of polymer

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.

Food Material Science Laboratory

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

Imaging Research Laboratory

Laser microscope

Laser microscope

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

  • Technological and biological factors affecting sterols in Australian olive oils
  • Innovative zero-energy membrane technologies to reduce water consumption in the dairy industry
  • Improving cheese starter culture fermentation processes using novel membrane systems
  • Anammox Membrane Bioreactor for Treatment of High Ammonia Waste - Feasibility Test
  • Shelf Stability of Long Life Processed Seafood Products
  • The effect of dietary fish peptides on biomarkers of human health - the influence of processing conditions and the environment
  • Feeding Systems for Higher Value Milk
  • Relating macromolecular properties to developments in the pharmaceutical, dairy and water industries
  • Can probiotics regulate expression of T regulatory and helper 17 cells?
  • Crumbed, coated and frozen seafood product research
  • Protein mixtures under shear
  • Germinated grains – sources of bioactives
  • Milk Protein Concentrates with Enhanced Emulsifying Capacity
  • Shear induced protein/polysaccharide interactions
  • Development and application of orthogonal methods for analysis of shellfish allergic proteins

Our researchers

Name Phone and email Research interests
Professor Todor Vasiljevic,
Unit Leader
+61 3 9919 8062
todor.vasiljevic@vu.edu.au
Dairy Science and Technology; Food Rheology; Microbial and Enzyme Technology and Engineering; Physical Chemistry of Foods; Functional Foods.
Dr Thomas Yeager +61 3 9919 8103
thomas.yeager@vu.edu.au
Mammalian cell culture in both in adherent and suspension cultures, molecular biology and fermentation biology
Professor John Orbell +61 3 9919 8066
john.orbell@vu.edu.au
Water management; Environmental management and technology; Wildlife rehabilitation; Traditional medicines; Computational chemistry; Analytical chemistry.
Professor Stephen Bigger +61 3 9919 2959
stephen.bigger@vu.edu.au
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
mikel.duke@vu.edu.au
Water treatment; Desalination; Dairy processing; Materials engineering; Advanced sensor materials.
Professor Stephen Gray +61 3 9919 8097
stephen.gray@vu.edu.au
Water treatment technologies for sustainable urban water systems. Advanced membrane technologies for water treatment.
Dr Marlene Cran +61 3 9919 7642 marlene.cran@vu.edu.au Polymer science and materials, water treatment; and incorporation of natural antimicrobial additives in food packaging films.
Dr Osaana Donkor +61 3 919 8059
osaana.donkor@vu.edu.au
Analytical chemistry; tissue cell culture techniques and cell banking; immunostimulatory potentials of probiotic strains.
Dr Joshua Johnson +613 9919 8279
joshua.johnson@vu.edu.au
Plant molecular biology, gene isolation and characterisation.
Dr Sandra McKechnie +61 3 9919 8067
sandra.mckechnie@vu.edu.au
Therapeutic benefits of probiotics, Immune system modulation by food bioactive compounds, cancer biology.
Dr Lawrence Ngeh +61 3 9919 8102
lawrence.ngeh@vu.edu.au
The development of magnetic particle technology for application to environmental remediation: Analyses of pesticides and trace metals in soil, water, food and herbs.
Dr Lata Ramchandran +61 3 9919 7684
lata.ramchandran@vu.edu.au
Food and dairy chemistry and microbiology.
Dr Peter Sanciolo +61 3 9919 8053
peter.sanciolo@vu.edu.au
Novel approaches to water treatment, Innovative integrated MF-NF-RO processes.
Dr Vijay Mishra +61 3 9919 8130
vijay.mishra@vu.edu.au
Processing aspects of cereal grains, fruits, vegetables, Functional foods and nutraceuticals, design and development of separation processes, minimal processing of foods.
Dr Senaka Ranadheera +61 3 9919 8175
senaka.ranadheera@vu.edu.au
Dairy science and technology, dairy proteins, probiotics and prebiotics, functional foods, food quality and safety

Our research students

Name Thesis title
Aprianita Aprianita Effects of Carbon Emission Reducing Diet on Bovine Milk Properties.
Angela Hausmann Membrane Distillation in Dairy Processing.
Asalangika Warnakulasuriya Growth Inhibition of Dairy Starter Cultures.
Dean Clarke Application of Orthogonal Methods for Analysis of Food Allergen Proteins.
Dianawati Dianawati Survival of encapsulated probiotic bacteria during storage at low water activity at ambient temperature.
Danusha Nilakshi Kalinga Delivering B-Glucan Via Selected Bakery Systems: Cake
Fatima Suljagic Characterisation of Volatile Compounds in Dairy Systems-Ultrasound.
Fatah Bashir Ahtesh Anti-hypertensive (ACE-inhibitory) peptides released from milk proteins by proteolytic organisms and enzymes.
Khaled Elfahri Release of Bioactive Peptides from Milk Proteins by Lactobacillus Species.
Kuorwel Kuai Kuorwel Incorporation of Natural Antimicrobial Agents into Starch-Based Material for Food Packaging.
Liyana Arachchige Sanjeewani Rupika Herath Development and Evaluation of Low Density Polyethylene-Based Antimicrobial Food Packaging Films Containing Natural Agents.
Lata Ramchandran Physico-Chemical And Therapeutic Properties Of Low-Fat Yogurt As Influenced By Fat Replacers, Exopolysaccharides And Probiotics.
Matthew Stewart Computational and Experimental Investigations of Biologically Interesting Molecules.
Miloud Omar Abobaker Asarat Short Chain Fatty Acids as Immune Modulators in Inflammatory Disorders.
Nuwan Sulthanagoda Vithanage Biocontrol of Thermophilic and Thermoduric Bacteria using Bacteriophages in Dairy Lines.
Qomarudin Qomarudin Fundamental interactions between proteins and polysaccharides during shear induced flow.
Rabia Ashraf Molecular methods for enumeration of lactic acid bacteria and probiotics, their antibiotic resistance and immuno-stimulatory activity in dairy products.
Rahmi Nurdiani Potency of bioactive peptides derived from fish waste as human biomarkers.
Shruti Harnal Dantoft Improvement of the Oenological Properties of Saccharomyces cerevisiae using Adaptive Evolution and Chemical Mutagenesis.
Thilini Hettiarachchi Enrichment of B-glucan in foods in management of diabetes.
Vasambal Manikkam The physiological effects of dietary fish peptides on metabolic syndrome.
Winston Liyanaarachchi Shear induced conformational changes of biomolecules.
XiaoXia Lorna Luo Milk Protein Concentrates with Enhanced Functionality.
Zeinab Ahmed Sustainable use of marine resources - underutilised fish as a source of peptides modulating biomarkers of human health.

Research publications

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.

Contact us

Professor Todor Vasiljevic
Unit Leader, Advanced Food Systems Research Unit
Phone: +61 3 9919 8062
Email: todor.vasiljevic@vu.edu.au

Dr Thomas Yeager
Deputy Unit Leader, Advanced Food Systems Research Unit
Phone: +61 3 9919 8103
Email: thomas.yeager@vu.edu.au