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Sarah Wu Earns USDA Grant to Explore Milk Processing Using Plasma Reactor

June 01, 2022

Biological Engineering Assistant Professor Sarah (Xiao) Wu earned a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to explore a novel milk processing method using a plasma reactor.

Funded through the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the grant will go toward established a green milk processing technology that is compact, easy to operate, and efficient in
producing a safe product with well-preserved sensory and nutritional characteristics and an extended shelf life.

Safe milk processing by traditional means includes thermal processing, which can lead to overheating, causing sensory and nutrient changes in milk products. Wu’s research uses a continuous-flow, liquidphase plasma discharge reactor that is hypothesized to effectively and efficiently inactivate pathogens as well as endogenous enzymes while preserving quality attributes of raw milk.

This project was funded to Regents of the University of Idaho by National Science Foundation under award 2022-67017-36315. The total project funding is $602,800.00 of which 100.00% is the federal share.

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