Texas A&M University Graduate Program in Food Science

Program Director: Lloyd W. Rooney (Chair of the Intercollegiate Faculty of Food Science)

Jan Johnson, Administrative Secretary
Department of Animal Science
Texas A&M University
Room 310 Kleberg Center
College Station, TX 77843-2471
Phone: (409) 845-4425
FAX: (409) 862-3475
E-mail: jan-johnson@tamu.edu

Degrees Offered:  M.S., M.Agr., Ph.D.

Associated Fields and Departments: Interdisciplinary graduate program with participating faculty from departments of Animal Science, Poultry Science, Horticultural Sciences, Soil and Crop Sciences, Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Economics, Veterinary Medicine, and the Food Protein Research and Development Center.


Program Description

Entrance Requirements:  Four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution (strong science background preferred); GPR reflective of ability to pursue advanced study and independent research; GRE Verbal and Quantitative scores; original copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (native language as well as English translation, for international applicants); 3 letters of recommendation; on-line or paper application materials; application fee ($50 for U.S. citizens and permanent residents; $75 for international applicants); a student enrolling in a degree program must have been accepted by a member of the Faculty of Food Science prior to official admission. In addition, international applicants must demonstrate the ability to read, write, speak, and understand the English language by scoring at least 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), unless they have received a degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S.

Program of Study: M.S., M. Agr., and Ph.D. degrees are offered, providing a range of knowledge covering food microbiology, food chemistry, cereal chemistry, food safety, fermentation, food engineering, commodity processing technology, and meat and poultry science.

Graduate Requirements: M.S. Thesis Option students must complete a minimum of 32 semester credit hours of approved courses, as well as research for the preparation and defense of a thesis. M.S. Non-Thesis Option students must complete a minimum of 36 semester credit hours of approved courses and a final comprehensive examination. The M.Agr. degree is available for students who want professional, graduate training with a management orientation in the food industry. It is a non-thesis degree, requiring a minimum of 36 semester credit hours (12 hours of which must be taken outside the student’s degree option) and a 3-9 month professional internship. Ph.D. candidates must complete a minimum of 96 semester credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree or 64 semester credit hours beyond the master’s degree, pass oral and written comprehensive examinations, and conduct independent research for the preparation and defense of a dissertation.

Statement of Costs: As of January 2000, tuition is $76 per semester credit hour for in-state residents and $292 per semester credit hour for nonresident and international students. In addition, students will be required to pay a variety of fees. An in-state resident taking 9 semester credit hours may estimate combined tuition and fees of $1,364 per semester; nonresidents $3,263 and international students $3,291, respectively

Availability of Financial Aid: Research and teaching assistantships, as well as fellowships are available on the competitive basis. Students who hold assistantships are eligible to pay in-state resident tuition.

Unique Capabilities: Well-equipped teaching and research laboratories; pilot plant facilities in red meat, poultry, and fruit/vegetable processing; cereal quality and oilseed processing laboratories; taste panel rooms; Center for Food Safety and HACCP Alliance located on campus; opportunities to collaborate with scientists from throughout the Texas A&M University System; diverse student body.

Faculty and Research Interests

G.R. ACUFF– Professor, Animal Science. Food Microbiology. Methods of decontaminating raw foods of animal origin for increased shelf life and microbiological safety; characterization and elimination of atypical odors of vacuum and modified-atmosphere packaged meat; microbiological assessment of critical control points and safety of precooked beef products; seafood safety and quality; characterization of emerging foodborne pathogens

S.G. BIRKHOLD – Assistant Professor, Poultry Science. Poultry Processing and Poultry Products. Antemortem and postmortem factors affecting poultry meat quality; consumer education.

J.B. CAREY – Professor, Poultry Science. Food Microbiology and Waste Management. Development of alternative methods sanitation of egg shell surfaces; development of low input methods for on-farm stabilization of mortalities; environmental impact of poultry production and processing.

M.E. CASTELL-PEREZ – Assistant Professor, Agricultural Engineering. Characterization of Food. Characterization of food, agricultural, and biological materials; food rheology; food packaging; alternative uses of agricultural products.

A.B. CHILDERS – Associate Professor, Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health. Food Safety and Microbiology. Brucellosis; trichinosis; salmonellosis; vibriosis; chemical and drug residues.

L. CISNEROS – Assistant Professor, Horticultural Sciences. Food Processing and Technology. Postharvest technology and physiology of fruits and vegetables; food processing; food packaging; functional properties of food components.

C.R. ENGLER – Professor, Agricultural Engineering. Biochemical Engineering. Fermentation and cell culture processes; enzyme technology; conversion of cellulosic materials to fuels and chemicals; energy production from agricultural and food processing wastes; and bioremediation of hazardous chemicals.

E. HERNANDEZ – Research Engineer, Food Protein Research and Development Center. Oilseeds Processing. Processing of vegetable oils, refining, bleaching, and deodorizing; interestrification of vegetable oils and manufacture of structured lipids; manufacture of non-trans margarines and shortenings; processing and production of specialty oils and lipid functional foods.

J.T. KEETON – Professor, Animal Science. Meat Processing and Chemistry. Application of biochemical and analytical methods to improve the safety, nutritional value, and composition of meat foods; characterization of meat tissue and food ingredient effects on the functional, nutritional, and sensory properties of meat products; development of process technologies and techniques to enhance the safety and quality of meat products; evaluation of collagen in value-added products destined for food or medicinal use.

S. SEFA KOSEOGLU – Research Engineer, Food Protein Research and Development Center. Separation Sciences. Nutraceuticals/functional foods; edible oil refining; protein separations; value-added products from food and agricultural waste streams; new technologies in food processing; membrane separation processes.

K.S. KUBENA – Professor, Animal Science. Human Nutrition. Magnesium metabolism; dietary fat and tissue lipids; nutrition in the life cycle.

R.E. LACEY – Associate Professor, Agricultural Engineering. Food Engineering. Application of nondestructive instrumentation to on-line measurement and control of food manufacturing operations.

J.R. LUPTON – Professor, Animal Science. Human Nutrition. Relationship between diet and colon cancer; incorporation of dietary fibers into designer foods and their effect on colonic lumenal contents, colonic cell proliferation, signal transduction, and color carcinogenesis.

M.R. McLELLAN – Director, Institute of Food Science and Engineering. Fruit and Vegetable Process Technologies. Processing methods and their effect on perceived quality in fruits and vegetables; ultrafiltration; enzyme clarification; impact of fruit storage conditions on processing quality; packaging work involving OPET package evaluations; applying statistical analyses to the identification of appropriate descriptors of processed fruit products.

R.K. MILLER – Professor, Animal Science. Meat Science and Technology. Antemortem and postmortem factors affecting red meat palatability, composition, and shelf-life; growth and development; meat safety and quality.

R.G. MOREIRA – Associate Professor, Agricultural Engineering. Food Engineering. Food engineering; biopolymers; post-harvest technology.

E.A. MURANO – Associate Professor, Animal Science. Food Safety and Microbiology. Effect of environmental stressors on survival, growth, and virulence of foodborne pathogens; novel intervention strategies to improve safety of animal products; characterization and isolation/identification of emerging foodborne pathogens.

P.S. MURANO – Assistant Professor, Animal Science. Food Assessment. Novel processing techniques; food quality assessment; food irradiation.

R.M. NAYGA  – Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics. Food Marketing and Consumer Economics. Econometric and marketing analysis of food demand/consumption, nutrient intakes, diet quality; economic analysis of effectiveness of government programs, such as nutritional/food labeling, food assistance programs, etc.; assessment of importance of demographic and health-related factors on food consumption.

J.P. NICHOLS – Professor, Agricultural Economics. Food Marketing and Economics. Market development relating to food products, agricultural commodities, and export markets; evaluation of marketing strategies; promotion of agricultural commodities; consumer acceptance studies.

S. OSBORN – Assistant Professor, Agricultural Engineering. Food and Crop Process Engineering. Developing curing processes for peanuts to maximize flavor development; modeling moisture and oxygen transfer in food and packaging products to optimize quality of fruits and vegetables; modeling the effects of processing on nutrient content in foods; determining physiological basis for fissure resistance in rice to help geneticists develop lines resistant to fissuring; application of electronic nose to detect off-flavors in peanuts; refining thermal diffusivity probe for use in food products.

T.D. PHILLIPS – Professor, Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health. Food Toxicology and Mycotoxins. Elucidation of molecular mechanisms of action/interaction of mycotoxins; development of rapid, effective methods to detect and detoxify mycotoxin-contaminated foods.

S.D. PILLAI – Associate Professor, Poultry Science. Food Safety and Environmental Microbiology. Occurrence, fate, transport, and activity of microbial pathogens in natural and man-made ecosystems, such as groundwater, surface water, wastewater, bioaerosol, and food processing; development and testing of rapid diagnostic molecular assays for microbial pathogens of concern to human and animal health; evaluating public health risks from microbial pathogens in various environments.

K.C. RHEE – Professor, Soil and Crop Sciences and Director, Food Protein Research and Development Center. Oilseed Processing/Chemistry. Chemical, enzymatic, and physical modifications, structure and function relationships, and food, feed, and industrial applications of vegetable proteins, ingredients, and products; new process and product development; extrusion texturization; ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis membrane technologies; detoxification and deallergenation of oilseed meals; analytical methodology development.

K.S. RHEE – Professor, Animal Science. Meat Chemistry. Mechanism and control of quality deterioration in meat and meat products; endogenous and natural antioxidants; new product and process development.

M.N. RIAZ – Associate Professor, Soil and Crop Sciences and Head of Extrusion Technology Program, Food Protein Research and Development Center. Food Technology. Extrusion processes; extruded snacks; ethnic food; oil seed processing; feeds and pet food extrusion; recycling of food byproducts; food product development.

R.L. RICHTER – Professor, Animal Science. Dairy Processing and Chemistry. Microbiological, chemical, and biochemical properties of milk and milk products that influence their production, quality, or utilization.

S.C. RICKE – Associate Professor, Poultry Science. Food Microbiology. Environmental factors required for early establishment of Salmonella in poultry and establishing appropriate control measures for these factors; developing better disinfectants for hatching eggs; anaerobic metabolism of Salmonella; diagnostic testing of Salmonella contamination in poultry.

L.W. ROONEY – Professor, Soil and Crop Sciences. Cereal Chemistry and Technology. Food microstructure; food carbohydrates; starch technology, structure, and composition of grains; cereal chemistry; nutritional and processing quality of cereals; new food products; Mexican food systems; food corn improvement; dry and wet milling; baking; feed processing; alkaline cooking; snack foods; improvement of cereal quality through genetics and breeding; international post-harvest technology.

L.H. RUSSELL  – Professor, Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health. Food Toxicology. Epidemiology of foodborne diseases, including microbial pathogens and chemical toxicants; antibiotic resistant pathogens in foods of animal origin and their elimination or reduction through HACCP systems.

A.R. SAMS – Professor, Poultry Science. Poultry Processing and Products. Effects of poultry processing techniques on postmortem muscle metabolism and relationship to meat quality; electrical stimulation; gas stunning; pale/soft/exudative (PSE) poultry meat.

J.W. SAVELL – Professor, Animal Science. Meat Quality and Safety. Factors affecting beef quality; instrument grading of animals and meat; packaging and shelf-life of meat; carcass composition; role of meat in the human diet; nutrient composition of meat; consumer attitudes regarding meat.

S.B. SMITH – Professor, Animal Science. Composition and Accretion of Adipose Tissue and Muscle. Dietary and cellular factors determining the fatty acid composition of lipids in muscle and adipose tissue; cellular and genetic factors that regulate the growth rate of adipose tissue; especially in the marbling fat depot of beef cattle.

V.E. SWEAT – Professor, Agricultural Engineering. Food Process Engineering. Measurement and modeling of thermal and physical properties of food and biological materials; heat transfer in biological materials.

A.B. WAGNER – Professor, Horticultural Sciences. Processing Safety. Processing and preserving of acidified foods; post-harvest handling of fruits and vegetables.

R.D. WANISKA – Professor, Soil and Crop Sciences. Cereal Chemistry and Food Carbohydrates. Chemical, physical, and structural properties of starch and proteins during food processing; chemistry and technology of wheat and corn tortillas and chips; type, distribution, and bioactivity of proteins, hydrolytic enzymes, and phenolic compounds in corn, sorghum, and peanuts; the effect of these compounds on the activity of fungi, microbes, and insects.

A.D. WHITTAKER – Professor, Agricultural Engineering. Modeling of Natural Systems. Image processing for food and fiber product quality assessment, neural network process modeling and control, and object-oriented modeling of natural systems; GIS; object-oriented hydrology simulation; spatial variability for prescription farming; ultrasonic meat quality characterization.