Technical University of Nova Scotia Department of Food Science and Technology

Program Director: R. Alex Speers:(Speers@TUNS.CA)

Contact: T.A. Gill, Head Department of Food Science and Technology, Technical University of Nova Scotia, P.O. Box 1000, Halifax, NS, CAN, B3J 2X4, Phone (902) 420-7758, Fax (902) 420-0219.

Degrees Offered: M.Sc., Ph.D.

Associated Fields and Departments: Fisheries Engineering, Marine Oils, Seafood Biochemistry, Process Technology, Food Rheology and Texture, Thermal Process Science, Beverage Science, Industrial Microbiology, Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering


Program Description

Admission and Program Requirements: Minimum requirements include an undergraduate degree with a B average from a recognized university. Students whose native language is not English must provide a satisfactory score on an approved English language examination (TOFEL>550). Specific application details may be obtained from the Program Director or the Registrar. Graduate students are accepted on the basis of previous academic performance as well as the availability of research space and funding. Qualified students with scholarships or fellowships may be accommodated more readily, however, than those who would rely on the research supervisor for complete funding.

More detailed information on graduate studies is available through the TUNS calendar and the "Graduate Studies Handbook" available through the TUNS' Office of Graduate Studies. Further information on the Food Science program is available at our website

Application Details: June 30 for September admission and October 31 for January admission. An application fee of $25 must accompany the application.

Facilities: Department facilities consist of the following major areas: marine oils laboratory; seafood chemistry laboratory and instrument room; test kitchen and sensory panel area; pilot plant; low temperature storage facility; food physical properties laboratory; and food microbiological laboratory.

These areas contain specialized instruments and food processing equipment to enable experimental processing, laboratory analyses, product storage and evaluation. In addition to a computer-controlled cold-storage facility, the pilot plant is equipped for experimental processing including freezing, canning, chilling, drying and smoking, centrifugal separation, meat-bone separation and modified atmosphere storage. The pilot plant is especially well equipped for thermal processing with a modern computer-controlled retort capable of steam, steam-air, or water immersion processing research.

Specialized laboratory equipment includes: automated high performance and fast protein liquid chromatography systems, gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy system, preparative ultracentrifuge, analytical and preparative electrophoretic/ isoelectric focusing equipment, capillary electrophoresis system, Instron Universal Testing Machine, various colorimeters, U.V. and visible spectrophotometers, spectrofluorometer, Pen Kem System 3000 electrokinetic analyzer, TA Instruments Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC) and Thermal Mechanical Analyzer (TMA), Perkin-Elmer DSC, Bohlin controlled stress rheometer with a high temperature/pressure attachment, and a Paar rolling ball viscometer.

Assistantships: A listing of available scholarships and awards may be obtained after application to the graduate school. Qualified students may be asked to perform teaching assistant duties for which remuneration will be provided through part-time teaching assistantships (PTTA's).

Faculty and Research Interests

Dr. Robert G. Ackman: Edible fats and oils, particularly fish oils, particular interest in omega-3 fatty acids and the uptake of hydrocarbon pollutants into fish tissue.

Dr. Tom Gill: (Head) seafood biochemistry and protein changes in frozen seafood and surimi-based products, seafood quality, energy conservation in the canning of foods, enzymatic changes in fresh and frozen seafood, protein interactions in heated fish muscle systems and pharmaceutical products from fish.

Prof. John H. Merritt: Fish handling and processing with specialization in refrigeration, cold storage and fish by-products, drying systems, fish processing equipment, fish smokers and seafood processing facilities.

Dr. Allan T. Paulson: Food chemistry, thermal processing, chemical markers for the determination of thermal process lethality, rheology/texture/microstructure of food polymer systems and functionality of food proteins.

Dr. Alex Speers: Beverage, brewing and fermentation science, food texture and rheology, sensory analysis, colloidal chemistry of fluid foods.

Adjunct Faculty

Dr. Santosh Lall: Institute of Marine Biosciences, Halifax, NS. Nutrient requirements for fish growth, digestibility of feedstuffs, protein quality of fish meals and silage, nutritional strategies to reduce waste.

Dr. David Pink: Physics department, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS. Theoretical modelling of phase transitions and cooperative phenomena at soft interfaces with particular interest in biological membranes, biomaterials and ordered films.

Dr. James Stewart: Biological Sciences Branch, Fisheries and Oceans, Halifax, NS. Biosynthesis and fate of algal toxins (paralytic shellfish poisons, saxitoxin family and amnesic shelfish poisoning), involvement of microorganisms in the process, petroleum microbiology, lobster disease and mariculture.

Dr. Juming Tang: Food Enginering Program, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, WA., microwave heating, drying of foods, heat and mass transfer in food processing, and rheological properties of foods