Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award 2015
Yuanyuan Ma, a recent doctoral graduate in food science and technology, took on a challenging research project at UGA that focuses on fortifying peanut butters with antioxidant-rich peanut skins, which are generally regarded as an industrial byproduct. Ma developed product prototypes, which included a novel grinding technology that reduces the particle size of peanut skins to an extent that they would not offend consumers’ palates. She also characterized the products’ textural attributes as well as the level of bioactives and selected nutrients in the formulated products after processing. This research has significant market potential for the peanut industry, as nearly half of the peanuts grown in the U.S. are made into peanut butter. Ma’s research makes possible the development of new peanut butter product lines and niche markets of peanut skin-fortified products with improved antioxidant and fiber levels.