Food Science Research

Creating safe, nutritious, sustainable, and equitable food systems is a growing global challenge. Our world-class research delivers new ways of problem solving to secure and stabilise our future in terms of maintaining food security, improving human nutrition, repurposing and minimising food waste.

Food science graduate Millie

Podcast: Meet Millie Shinkfield , her food and nutrition science studies gave her the appetite to pursue a career with one of Adelaide's largest food producers.

We are developing functional foods through our knowledge of nutrigenomics and metabolic nutrition, applying sensory and flavour science to new product development, discovering innovative and emerging processing and preservation techniques, in addition to critically evaluating legislative and regulatory policy.

We pass on this vast array of expertise to future leaders of industry, and our research delivers outcomes of direct significance to the global agriculture and food industries – making a real impact in society.

Research strengths

  • New and emerging foods

    Muntries Kate Delaporte

    Our scientists are pioneering new research into functional food development, such as using hemp, native plants and edible insects as viable food sources. We also undertake sensory science and consumer research with new and emerging foods to determine how new food sources are perceived by the public and if new products are suitable and viable for the market. 

    Lead researchers

    Researcher Focus areas
    Prof Rachel Burton Plantago (psyllium), chia, agave (tequila and bioethanol) and industrial and medicinal hemp (cannabis)
    Dr John Carragher Development of functional foods
    Dr Kate Delaporte Native plants for food and medicine
    Prof Kerry Wilkinson Edible insects, sensory science
  • Nutrition, health and food security

    study Food & nutrition science

    Food security is closely tied to health outcomes and our research aims to improve human nutrition and discover more sustainable food sources. To optimise health outcomes, improve our quality of life and reduce healthcare costs, our researchers explore maternal nutrition, developmental origins of disease, cancer and epigenetics through molecular genetics. We collaborate with health and medical scientists on clinical intervention trials that provide evidence for public health recommendations. 

    Our scientists investigate the nutritional quality and sustainability of plant-based proteins and ‘superfoods’; as well as how fungi and bacteria interact with plants and the subsequent effect on food quality and human health. 

    Lead researchers

    Researcher Focus areas
    Dr Tina Bianco-Miotto Epigenetics
    Prof Rachel Burton Grains for health, dietary fibre
    Dr John Carragher Grains for health, functional foods and industry relations
    Dr Bryan Coad Food safety, Glycoscience
    Dr Graham Lyons Agronomic biofortification
    Dr Shao Jia (Jo) Zhou Legumes as a sustainable protein source; Nutrition in pregnancy and early life, food innovation and regulation, public health nutrition

    Research centres and groups 

    Australia-China Joint Research Centre on Grains for Health

    Research, knowledge and training in grain biology, variety development, innovative processing, health and nutritional sciences, behavioural economics, which translate into desirable products that will be taken up by consumers

    Davies Livestock Research Centre

    We collaborate with researchers from the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences to deliver excellence in ruminant science to ensure the sustainability of the red meat industry

    Fight Food Waste CRC

    Improving the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of the Australian food industry

  • Lead researchers

    Researcher Focus area
    Dr Hayriye Bozkurt Cekmer  Food microbiology and safety, food processing 
    Dr Lenka Malek Consumer behaviour insights, food and health policy 
    Dr James Cowley  Develop novel food and ingredients from plant sources 
    Mr Bill Hirt Novel product development and ingredients from raw materials 
    A/Prof Jenny Mortimer  Synthetic biology, complex carbohydrate, space food

Waite Research Institute

The Waite Research Institute drives innovation to secure a sustainable future for Agriculture - by creating high-quality, nutritious and climate-resilient products. We do this through close partnerships with the agriculture, food and wine sectors.

Waite Research Institute

Food science news

Working with plants can help you both to grow

Professor Rachel Burton has always loved plants, but it took her a while to be immersed in them properly.

New research puts bugs to the taste test

New research to develop more accurate and consumer friendly descriptions for one of the most sustainable and high protein food sources on the planet, edible insects.

Why backyard farming is the type of dirty work you want to be involved in

Is urban agriculture just a nice idea, or a plausible reality? Cosmos Magazine chats to Isobel Hume, Dr Matthias Salomon and Professor Tim Cavagnaro.


Food product development

Based in state-of-the-art facilities, the food product development team offers a wide range of food R&D capabilities, supporting companies and research projects with ingredient development, product development, sensory testing, quality testing, claims support, and shelf-life testing.