Date of Award

6-2015

Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Food Science and Nutrition

Department

Food Science and Nutrition

Advisor

Gour Choudhury

Abstract

Oats are considered to be a highly nutritious breakfast food available to consumers. Heightened consumer interest in functional food products and advances in human nutrition have led to increased levels of interest in the development of new oat based products (Webster and Wood 2011). Developments in technology have led to manufacturing of instant oatmeal, making the product more convenient to consumers. Low moisture extrusion processing is one of the most widely used methods to produce ready to eat breakfast cereals; however, there has been little research carried out to determine if high moisture extrusion methods would be viable. This study evaluated the economic and technical feasibility to utilize high moisture extrusion processing to produce ready to eat oatmeal. A process economics evaluation included measuring the capital requirements to implement the system, process costing to estimate the weighted average unit cost, and net present value of high moisture extrusion production. The capital expense was significantly high. However, the unit cost is comparable to similar products in the market. The net present value of implementing the technology revealed a significant profit over the course of 20 years. Six different technical experiments were performed using a twin screw extruder, each experiment testing for the effect of different extrusion variables on finished product texture. Reference texture data was measured using a control product currently made in the industry using an alternative batch process. The processing parameters which seemed to have the biggest influence on product quality were high rates of water injection, low feed rate, high reaction zone temperature, reduction of particle size, and the use of functional ingredients in the formula. Technical hurdles such as low dwell times, steam plugging, and inconsistent feeding prevented complete starch gelatinization and the steady state of extrusion. Overall, the high moisture methodology did not yield product quality that was consistent and cannot be recommended for use.

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