Food Science Facilities at Ohio State 

The Department of Food Science and Technology at OSU is housed primarily in the Parker Food Science and Technology Building.  The 61,000 gross square foot, $17 million facility completed in 2002 features research and teaching laboratories in a unique interactive design.  The Parker Building also contains class and conference rooms, a retail dairy store, integrated pilot plants, and a direct connection to research laboratories and the Food Industries Center in Howlett Hall.


Department of Food Science & Technology Facilities 

 Our department combines expertise in protein, lipid, carbohydrate and pigment chemistry with a powerful program devoted to new technologies in food safety and processing, such as ohmic heating, high pressure processing, ozonation, and biopreservation. Selected facilities are highlighted below describing the tremendous strength of food science and technology at The Ohio State University.

Ultra High Pressure Processing Laboratory

OSU houses three high-pressure machines for conducting scientific research and product evaluation.

1. QFP-6 High Pressure Food Processor from Flow Autoclave Systems, Inc. and support equipment for investigating the effects of high pressure on food. The processor has a 2-liter capacity and is capable of pressures up to 130,500 psi, and temperatures from 5 to 70° C.

2. Mini high pressure tester custom fabricated by Avure Technologies for conducting microbial inactivation of bacterial spores and other relevant high pressure sterilization studies. This unit has 20 mL sample capacity and has operating pressure up to 100,000 psi and temperatures from 5°-130° C.

3. Custom made high pressure system for property studies, from Harwood Engineering. This unit is capable of pressures up to 150,000 psi and temperatures from 5° to 120°C. This equipment is a unique tool for estimating properties of food and biological materials under pressure.

Additional facilities include kitchen for freshly preparing food onsite, package sealing equipment, and analytical instrumentation for chemical, biochemical and microbiological analyses.


Food Microbiology Laboratories

The food microbiology laboratory facilities available for this project are housed in the Department of Food Science and Technology and located in both Parker and Howlett Halls. These facilities are certified for handling pathogens (Biosafety Level II). Facilities and equipment available include two high-performance liquid chromatographic system s (HPLC), two ozone generators (each 1 lb. ozone/day), two biological safety cabinets, four autoclaves, spiral plater, incubators, refrigerators, freezers, shaking and normal waterbath, microscopes, centrifuges, spectrophotometers, media dispensers, liquid nitrogen storage tanks and a culture collection.

  • Gas chromatograph (GC)
  • Two anaerobe chambers
  • Pulsed field gel electrophoresis unit (used for genetic typing)
  • Horizontal and vertical electrophoresis units (for DNA, RNA and protein separations)
  • Digital gel documentation system
  • Thermal cycler (for PCR)
  • Quantitative Real-time PCR
  • Bio-Rad IEF cell
  • Bio-Rad Protean II 2-dimentional proteomic gel electrophoresis system
  • Bio-Rad mini-Protean 3 cell
  • Bio-Rad Gel Doc 2000 Gel Documentation System  

Lipid and Flavor Chemistry Laboratory

Laboratory facilities are available for chemical and physical characterization of food compounds by the combination of isolation, separation and identification, reaction mechanisms. The laboratory instrumentations for the analyses of flavor and chemical compounds include:

  • Hewlett Packard HPLC (model 3396)
  • Agilent HPLC with autosamplers, variable wavelength (Model 1100)
  • Dynamic Headspace Analyzer LSC 2000 (Tekmar Inc.)
  • 7 units of Hewlett Packard Gas Chromatograph (Model 5990)
  • Beckman Infrared Spectrometer
  • Perkin Elmer UV and Visible spectrometers
  • Hewlett Packard Mass Spectrometer (Model 5971)
  • Specially designed light boxes for flavor stabilities studies
  • Several creatively designed flavor compounds isolation apparatus
  • Apparatus or temperature controlled storage ovens for specific flavor stability
  • Perkin Elmer UV and Visible spectrometers
  • Oxygen analyzer

The Campus Chemical Instrument Center at the Ohio State University provides nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry including QTOF instrumentation.  ​


Sensory Evaluation Laboratory

The sensory evaluation laboratory is located in Parker Hall 122 and 130, adjacent to the Parker Dairy Store. These facilities include:
  • A ten-booth sensory testing lab, with individual serving windows that can be reached from a common serving area. Each booth is equipped with a computer for on-line data collection. Lighting options include red illumination.
  • A preparatory room, with a convection/conventional oven, two microwaves, an industrial dishwasher, and a reach-in freezer and refrigerator.
  • The preparatory area is equipped with a server and printer. The serving area contains an extra monitor that displays the server information, aiding in proper sample delivery.
  • Compusense software is available for generating ballots, randomization, and on-line data collection. Collected data can be exported directly to Excel.
  • Data analysis is conducted with IF Programs, Statistica, and S-Plus

Physical Properties Laboratories

Primary instruments for determining the physical properties of food include the following:

  • Differential Scanning Calorimeter Q100 with refrigerated cooling system (TA Instruments, New Castle, DE).
  • Differential Scanning Calorimeter 2920 with refrigerated cooling system (TA Instruments, New Castle, DE).
  • Thermogravimetric Analyzer Q5000 (TA Instruments, New Castle, DE).
  • Thermogravimetric Analyzer 2950 (TA Instruments, New Castle, DE).
  • Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer Q800 with liquid nitrogen cooling system (TA Instruments, New Castle, DE).
  • Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer 2980 liquid nitrogen cooling system (TA Instruments, New Castle, DE).
  • Advanced Rheometer 2000ex (TA Instruments, New Castle, DE).
  • Decagon Aqualab water activity meter TE8255 (Pullman, WA).
  • Mettler-Toledo Moisture Analyzer LJ16 (Columbus, OH)
  • Fisher Isotemp® Vacuum Oven 281A w/ BIO-RAD Hydrotech Vacuum Pump
  • Brookfield viscometers (Middleboro, MA).
  • Fisher portable refractometers, medium- to high-solids (Pittsburg, PA).
  • TA.XT2 Texture Analyzer (TA Instruments, New Castle, DE).
  • Instron Universal Testing Machine 5542 (Instron Corp., Canton, MA

Note: All physical properties can be measured using the above instruments at temperatures as low as -80 o or -112 oF.


Food Packaging Laboratory

Equipment for measuring the physical, mechanical, and barrier properties of food packaging materials. Equipment includes a Mocon Permatran, model W6 for measuring water vapor permeability, a Mocon Oxtran, model 1050-5F5P for measuring oxygen permeability, a Model 1000 Instron Universal Testing machine for testing the mechanical properties of packaging materials and a Model 101 Oxysense tester for non destructive measuring of oxygen in sealed packages. 



Food Industries Center Pilot Plants

The Food Industries Center at OSU is an integral part of the Department of Food Science and Technology. Three distinct pilot plants are available for new product development, process evaluation, research, teaching and demonstration.  Equipment mobility permits rearrangement to desired product flow patterns. OSU has one of the few academic food pilot plants in the U.S. capable of complete end-to-end processing. Raw commodities can be processed to finished, packaged goods ready for consumption.

The pilot plants can be utilized one day as a teaching and demonstration area, utilizing current processing technologies and procedures, and the next day, with minor modifications, function as a research facility probing new concepts and procedures. 


Food Processing Pilot Plant (6,600 sq. ft., Howlett Hall)

This research and teaching facility was designed for processing of fruits, vegetables, fermented foods, snack foods, baked goods and formulated specialty products. Processing equipment includes:

  • Peeling equipment: caustic, abrasive, hot water and husking

  • Size reduction: cutting, slicing, dicing, grinding, pulping, and extracting

  • Blanching: steam and hot water

  • Heat exchange: tube-in-tube, steam jacketed kettles

  • Homogenization: homogenizer with 30 GPH capacity

  • Concentration: freeze drying, vacuum concentration and cabinet dehydration

  • Filling and closing: two and three piece metal cans, glass jars and flexible pouches

  • Thermal processing: static retort with overriding air capability, Steritort

  • Extrusion: twin screw extruder for general cereal grain extrusion

  • Frying: pilot model potato chip fryer, open fryers and pressurized deep fat fryer

  • Heat penetration: heat penetration equipment with computer data interpretation and process calculation

  • Powder coating: electrostatic

  • Ovens: convection, jet air (steam injection), deck oven and proofing cabinet

  • Storage: several walk-in temperature controlled cooler and freezer rooms.


Dairy Processing Pilot Plant (3,000 sq. ft., Parker Bldg.)

The dairy pilot plant is equipped to process and package dairy products including fluid milk, ice creams, cheeses and fermented dairy products. Major pieces of equipment include:

  • Heat treatment: 20, 50 and 100 gallon vat pasteurizer, HTST/UHT APV pasteurizer (35 GPH), Lab Micro Thermics Mod. 25HV Hybrid (1.0-3.0 L/min)

  • Homogenization: APV variable speed homogenizer (120 L/H)

  • Separation: Alfa Laval cream separator (300 GPH)

  • Cheese/Yogurt: 6 mini cheese vats (5G) and 2 CVR Zuiveltechnology B.V. 50 gallon cheese vats

  • Ice Cream:1 and 2.5 G Coldelite freezers, APV Crepaco continuous ice cream freezer (30-60 G/H), and a -40 hardening room

  • Mixing: Breddo Likwifier (18 and 25 G)

  • Packaging: NDS 3-stage ice cream cup filler

Refrigeration and Freezing Capabilities

Walk-in temperature controlled refrigeration and freezing systems are available in the pilot plants for temporal storage, shelf life, quality and preservation studies of food products.

  • Refrigeration: 4 oC ( 39 oF) and 10 oC (50 oF)

  • Freezing:  -10 oC (14 oF) and -40 oC (-40 oF)

360 picture of the dairy pilot plant


Advanced Technologies Pilot Plant (3,144 sq. ft., Parker Bldg.)

The advanced technologies pilot plant houses equipment for research, teaching and demonstration of new technologies in food safety and processing such as ohmic heating, pulsed electric fields, high pressure processing, and ozonation.   


Meat Technology Pilot Plant (5,000 sq. ft., Animal Science Bldg.)

The meat technology pilot plant, run by the Department of Animal Sciences, includes a slaughter facility, chilling and holding coolers, fresh meat processing equipment and processed meat capabilities including curing, blending, smoking and packaging.  The facility is fully licensed for slaughter and processing inspection under the Ohio Department of Agriculture's meat and poultry inspection program. Capabilities include:

Slaughter of beef, pork, and lamb with electric stimulation capabilities

Fresh meat processing for carcass fabrication, boxed meat processing and HRI or tray-ready meat preparation; equipment for grinding, mixing, forming, slicing, tenderizing and vacuum packaging for both subprimal cuts and individual serving portions

Processed meats processing including injection-curing equipment, meat choppers and emulsifiers, mixers, a piston and vacuum stuffers, sausage linker, tumblers, a thermal processing unit capable of applying natural and liquid smoke, impingement oven, convection oven, steam-jacketed kettle, vacuum packaging equipment