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US (LA): Jamaican students conduct food science research at LSU

Three graduate students from the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica, spent a month at LSU working in College of Agriculture food processing laboratories.

Ronamae Bradford, Tushane Taylor and Dellecia Roberts worked with Subramaniam Sathivel, a food processing and engineering professor, on research projects for their master’s theses.

Sathivel serves as an adjunct professor for the Food and Agro-Processing Technology program in the Department of Chemistry at the University of The West Indies. He teaches a food processing technologies class over several weekends there.


Ronamae Bradford and Dellecia Roberts, graduate students from the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica, spent a month at LSU working in Subramaniam Sathivel’s food science lab. The students are conducting research on probiotics. Photo by Tobie Blanchard

“This is a new degree program, which is designed to help the Jamaican food industry,” he said. “These students are pursuing master’s degrees in Food and Agro-Processing Technology while they work in the Jamaican Food Industry and the Bureau of Standards Jamaica.”

Bradford and Roberts are both working with the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum. Bradford is developing a milk powder with probiotics, while Roberts is adding probiotics to apple juice.

“I am using spray-drying technology and testing storage techniques of the milk powder,” Bradford said.

Bradford and Roberts are also testing what happens to the probiotics in gut conditions. A certain amount of live probiotics must reach the colon to have health benefits, Bradford said.

Taylor is creating a Jell-O-like product that contains an oral rehydration solution to help treat children with illnesses such as diarrhea that lead to dehydration.

“We put the solution of salt and sugar in the gelatin. It helps mask the flavor and makes it easier for children to consume,” Taylor said.


Tushane Taylor, a graduate student from the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica, works in Subramaniam Sathivel’s food science lab at LSU developing a gelatin product that contains an oral rehydration solution to help children suffering from dehydration. Photo by Tobie Blanchard

The students paid their way to come to LSU and conduct their research. The LSU AgCenter and College of Agriculture helped arrange their visit.

“This experience has been very fulfilling, and we appreciate the opportunity to come here and use the resources,” Bradford said. “Dr. Sathivel’s research background, his lab facilities and his trained graduate students have allowed us to complete our research in a month.”

The students said they made the most of their time at LSU. They passed on a trip to New Orleans and missed tailgating before an LSU game, even though they were on campus.

“We planned to tailgate,” Roberts said, and all three laughed. The group said they came to campus before the LSU-Mississippi State game, but by the time they finished their work in the lab, tailgaters had packed up and headed to the stadium or home.

Bradford said they didn’t regret missing out. “We really wanted to maximize our time in the lab and use it wisely.”

The students returned home on Sept. 24.

For more information:
www.lsuagcenter.com

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