Paul Sarnoski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor - Food Science
Office: FETL 13
Office: FETL 13
My research group has two major focuses: i) aquatic food products, and ii) flavor chemistry and processing.
An objective means for assessing the quality and safety of seafood products is a problem that has plagued the seafood industry for many years. Work in my lab group has focused on understanding chemical changes in fish and shellfish that can be used as markers to detect the onset of quality or safety issues. The impact of this research has been the development and validation of rapid and low-cost methods that can be used to make objective quality and safety decisions.
Flavor studies primarily occur two areas:
i) flavored beverages, and ii) improved flavor of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and their associated processed food products.
The flavor chemicals in plant extracts that are responsible for certain flavors at this point are mostly known. This has given us the ability to naturally or artificially create flavors and put them in products they have not been typically associated with. One of the issues with flavored beverages is flavor degradation.I have worked with industry to measure and understand flavor fade in various beverage systems under different storage conditions. The output of this research is to reduce flavor fade and thus lead to shelf life improvement in beverage systems.
Tomato breeding programs have historically focused on yield, fruit size, and shelf-life attributes inadvertently removing genetic traits that are related to positive flavor characteristics. This has produced tomatoes that yield well, but are widely viewed as having poor taste, with flavor being the major source of consumer dissatisfaction. There is a need for the development of tomato processing facilities in Florida to make products like sauces, pastes, and juices with improved flavor. The impact of this research has been to improve tomato production economics, increase tomato product consumption, and promote a juice processing industry in Florida that could contribute billions of dollars per year to the state’s economy.
Dr. Sarnoski oversees two labs in the Food and Environmental Toxicology Building (FETL) and shared instrumentation space. One lab is designed for wet chemistry and flavor volatiles by purge and trap GC-MS. The other lab is designed to prepare and process food samples for sensory analysis and other studies.