FDSC 413: Science & Technology of Plant Foods
Known to Penn State Food Science students as "Plants", FDSC 413 is a senior capstone course that focuses on applying core principles of food science to the study of physical and chemical behavior of plant-based raw materials throughout processing.
After 3 years in a supportive role, serendipitous timing of Dr. Ryan Elias's sabbatical allowed me to step into an instructor role for FDSC 413 in Fall 2016.
My responsibilities included two 75-minute meetings and one laboratory session per week for a 15 week semester. In addition to traditional lectures, we held short discussions on various topics, completed worksheets as groups and discussed results, watched videos, and participated in demonstrations whenever possible.
I expanded on the basic framework of the course by organizing the exisiting lectures into three units: (1) Plants as Foods; (2) Adding Value to Plant Products and (3) Plant Products as Ingredients. My personal contributions of original content/design include: molecular biology of plants, plant bioactives, wine microbiology, beer microbiology, bread production, gluten chemistry and celiac disease, bread microbiology, plant protein structure and function, traditional plant protein products and an exploration of sustainability, or, "plant foods for the future".
In order to help students apply concepts learned in class and focus their education towards their likely future as research scientists in product development, I designed an assignment requiring students to repurpose waste products from a chosen food product. The project required students to write a proposal for their product, outlining important quality parameters and highlighting the innovation of their ideas. They also shared these ideas with their classmates through oral "sales pitch" presentations at the end of the course.
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