Characterisation of volatile compounds in Manuka smoke
The smoke generator is the process unit operation that precedes the smokehouse where food is either hot or cold smoked. It is an ancient technology traditionally used to preserve and flavour food. In recent years, rising awareness of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) has resulted in the European Union placing limits on the PAH content in smoked foods. We are interested in the environmental conditions under which smoke is generated to influence the balance between aroma and flavour character and PAH content.
This PhD project will focus on identifying the desirable aroma compounds in smoke, focusing on New Zealand Manuka. This project will investigate the impact of processing parameters for smoke generation on the concentrations of desirable aroma compounds and undesirable PAHs. The project will utilize experimental techniques in flavour analysis, including gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and olfactometry, involving method development and validation. This PhD project will sit alongside another PhD project and a post-doctoral fellow at Massey University, who will develop the smoke generator and characterize its operation, including mechanistic modelling.
Personal attributes and behaviours we are looking for include:
Good interpersonal skills.
Good communication skills in both the academic and industrial environments.
Demonstrated ability to undertake self-directed research activities.
Demonstrated ability to write scientific publications.
Experience in analytical chemistry techniques, particularly gas chromatography and mass spectrometry.
An understanding of food science, flavour technology and sensory science is desirable.
The student will be supervised by Dr Graham Eyres and Pat Silcock at the University of Otago and Prof Jim Jones of Massey University. This PhD project is part of a large research programme ’Food Industry Enabling Technologies’ (FIET) funded by the New Zealand government.
The successful candidate must obtain a University of Otago Doctoral scholarship, which provides a stipend plus payment of relevant student fees, according to University policy. To be eligible to apply for an Otago scholarship the student should have a 1st class Honours degree or a Masters degree (both with a research component) in food science, food technology, or chemistry with a minimum GPA in the A range (US equivalent). A strong publication track record is also preferable.