During my time as a Michigan State Undergraduate Researcher, I focused on the development of a novel bio-based antimicrobial packaging material for fresh produce. Due to confidentiality restrictions, I am limited as to what can be said about this project until it’s completion. Here’s what I can say:
I led the following tasks…
Determination of the Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) of the Assessed Antimicrobial Compound.
This is a fancy way of saying I worked with different strands of common fungi found on fresh produce and analyzed the efficacy of an antimicrobial compound. Studies were set up at various concentrations to establish at what level, if at all, the antimicrobial was effective.
Structure Characterization of the Novel Material by Development of a New Methodology Utilizing ImageJ Software
Using an image processing and analysis software called ImageJ, I developed a new process to systematically analyze the microstructure of the packaging material. This was especially helpful when calculating the effect and contribution of different ingredient variables had on the overall structure of the material.
I helped with the following tasks…
In-Vitro Studies Assessment of Several Fungi in Absence and Presence of Antimicrobial Packaging Material
Here I aided in performing studies where the novel bio-based antimicrobial packaging material was introduced to strands of fungi and the efficacy was determined. This in-vitro study included dilutions, plating, and growth of fungi along with the documentation and determination of antimicrobial concentrations from previously mentioned minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) analysis.
Release Kinetics Studies of the Antimicrobial Compound
The newly developed novel bio-based packaging material released its impregnated antimicrobial compounds at various rates depending on a multitude of variables (relative humidity, temperature, antimicrobial concentration, etc…). It was my job to determine how these variables affected the release kinetics using a gas chromatography. The gas chromatography allowed me to analyze headspace gas composition to determine concentrations of antimicrobial compounds.
Research Team Presentation
As my time as an undergraduate at Michigan State University came to a close, as did my research position. On August 17, 2017, I had my last presentation summarizing my findings and observations from my time spent on this project. I turned over my lab coat and all documented information but left with a great experience in the development process of food packaging material.