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SCI Seligman Fellowship Report - Jatindra Kumar Sahu

24 September 2007

It is my great pleasure to express gratitude to the Management Committee of the Seligman Trust, UK, for deciding to give me its most prestigious Young Scientist APV Seligman Award for the year 2007. I am given to understand that I am the fourth Indian recipient of this award.

As the part of the Fellowship, I landed on London on 17th July 2007 and joined as an academic visitor in the School of Food Biosciences, University of Reading. During my stay at the university, I was closely associated with Professor Keshavan Niranjan until my premature departure to India on grounds of poor health.

Research Project

Reduction in oil absorption in snack foods is a key concern for food processors as well as consumers. Deep fat fried potato slices (called crisps in UK and chips in US) are one of the most popular consumer snack foods preferred for their pleasant taste and flavour throughout the world. In response to consumer demand for the presence of lower fat, there is a need to develop techniques for reducing oil uptake during frying.

High Pressure Processing (HPP) of foods is being increasingly researched in recent years. HPP involves subjecting the food to pressures, normally, in the range of 4000 to 9000 atm. HPP has been used for the inactivation of micro-organisms and certain enzymes with a view to extend the keeping quality of foods. Some applications of the high pressure technology include the inactivation of spores, modification of the texture and sensory properties of foods, tenderisation of pre-rigor beef, gelation of surimi, manufacture of food purees, jams and jellies from strawberries, marmalade from oranges and shelf-life extension of milk. During my stay at the University of Reading, I was associated with a research project on the use of HPP for reducing oil uptake during frying. The project was supervised by Professor Keshavan Niranjan, and I joined Mr PK Nema who initiated the experimental work. I have completed a number of experiments at Reading. I am analysing the results with Mr Nema, and with help from Professor Niranjan, we intend to write a detailed paper very soon. 

Visits

During my stay at Reading, I have visited a number of universities and research institutions in the UK. These visits were excellently organised by Monica Iglesias (SCI Awards Coordinator). Our hosts made all of the visits very enjoyable.

I have visited following universities, industries and research institutions.

  • Graham Byars, Weetabix Foods Co., Kettering
  • Steven Grace, Invensys APV, Gatwick
  • Simon Kienor, Project Management Specialities, Rugby
  • Andrew Stapley, Department of Chemical Engineering, Loughborough University
  • Coventry University
  • Oxford University
  • Philip Effingham, Marshalls, Boston
  • Tony Gerrad, Institute of Horticulture, Cambridge
  • Rozer White, Westhorpe, Flowers and Plants Ltd., Boston

 

About

Jatindra Sahu received his Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech) degree from Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, India in July 2001. He then joined the department of Agricultural and Food Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur in the specialisation of Dairy and Food Engineering for his Master degree (M. Tech) through Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) Fellowship sponsored by the Government of India. After successful completion of his Master degree in January 2003, he worked as Junior Project Officer in the same institute. He joined as an Institute Research Scholar in January 2004 for his PhD programme in the same institute through the Institute Research Fellowship sponsored by the Government of India. He joined as lecturer in the department of Agricultural Engineering, Assam University, Silchar, India in July 2006.

Jatindra’s area of the research is milk and milk products. The fellow has two Indian Patents and one bulletin in his credits and has published and communicated many research papers to journal of national and international reputes.

He is a life member of Association of Food Scientists and Technologist (India), Indian Dairy Association, Dairy Technology Society of India, Indian Association of Agricultural Engineers and Indian Society of Technical Education.

Achievements

The Award gave me an excellent opportunity to visit different universities and organisations in the UK. It provided me ample scope to explore new ideas outside India. It was an excellent platform for me to interact with distinguished personalities working in food engineering and allied subjects in UK.

Even though I had to return to India prematurely, I am continuing to interact with Professor Niranjan with a view to complete the following publications:

  • Effect of high pressure treatment on quality attributes viz., oil uptake, moisture content, colour, and hardness of deep fried potato chips.
  • Optimization of applied pressure, pressurization time and frying time for obtaining the potato chip quality.
  • Effect of high pressure on thermal conductivity of deep fried potato chips.
  • Effect of high pressure treatment on heat and mass transfer coefficients during the frying of potato chips.

 

Also, in collaboration with Professor H Das, Agricultural and Food Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, I was able to complete a research paper entitled ‘Rheological parameters of chhana-sugar mixture during sandesh preparation’ and submit it to the Indian Journal of Dairy Science during my stay at the University of Reading.

One of the basic objectives of my visit to the UK through the Seligman Fellowship was to establish links between Indian and UK universities. India is the largest producer of milk in the world with an estimated annual milk production of milk production of 100 million tonnes at an annual rate of growth 5 to 6%, and it contributes about 15% to the world milk production. The pattern of milk consumption indicates that about 6% of milk produced in the country is coagulated for production of chhana. Non-thermal processing like high pressure treatment, pulse electric field of sterilization, power ultra-sonic, plasma processing etc. now-a-days have taken intense research in the field of food processing industry. Therefore, I have written a research proposal on ‘High Pressure Processing (HPP) and Preparation of Chhana-an Indian Dairy Product’. I am going to work on this project in collaboration with of one of the Indian or foreign Universities or R&D Organizations soon. The outcome of the research, I am sure, will bring a tremendous change in preparation of chhana and chhana based products in Indian dairy industry, replacing the traditional method of thermal processing of milk.

In addition, I am co-authoring a chapter ‘Gas-liquid mixing’ for a book ‘Food Mixing: Principles and Applications’ in association with Professor Keshavan Niranjan. The chapter is under preparation.

I have returned to India with enriched knowledge and experience, and made contacts with a number of scientists working in various universities and R&D institutes, consultants, which, I am sure, will prove to be helpful in future.

Acknowledgements

As mentioned earlier, due to poor health, I had to fly to India on 31 August and missed visits to the Universities of Cambridge, Bristol, Birmingham, Nottingham and CCFRA Chipping Campden Institute. But it was a great pleasure for me to get associated with some of the UK universities and great personalities in the field of food and chemical engineering. For this I feel deeply indebted to the Seligman Trust. I would like to thank SCI for managing the whole fellowship programme so wonderfully and efficiently. I thank all of the staff at SCI for giving me such a great opportunity. Special thanks go to Andrew Ladds (Chief Executive), Graham Byars (Seligman Trust Panel Chairman), and last but not the least, Monica Iglesias (Award Coordinator), for their care and personal attention extended during my stay in the UK. I am also thankful to Professor Keshavan Niranjan (University of Reading), who not only supported and encouraged me with his able technical guidance, but also for his personal efforts in making my stay fruitful in the UK. Above all I would like to thank Professor H Das (Agricultural and Food Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India) for his inspiration to succeed in this fellowship. I am thankful to the Assam University, Silchar, India for availing me the leave in time for my visit to the UK in order to receive this prestigious Seligman APV Award. Lastly, I would like to thank one and all who have directly or indirectly brought me to this stage.

Jatindra Kumar Sahu
Assam University

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