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Project Title:  Integration of Product, Package, Process, and Environment: A Food System Optimization Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2015 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP SHFH:Space Human Factors & Habitability (archival in 2017)
Start Date: 10/01/2010  
End Date: 01/31/2015  
Task Last Updated: 03/31/2015 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Cooper, Maya  M.S. / Leidos/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  1300 Hercules MC:C09 
 
Houston , TX 77058 
Email: maya.cooper@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281.483.1892  
Congressional District: 22 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: Leidos/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Douglas, Grace  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Nelman, Mayra  Wyle Integrated Science & Engineering 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: John Glass was added as co-investigator in 2011; Grace Douglas was added as co-investigator in November 2011; Monica Leong was added as co-investigator in October 2012. John Glass and Monica Leong ended participation with study in October 2013 and February 2014, respectively. Mayra Nelman was added as a co-investigator in March 2013.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Directed Research 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Douglas, Grace  
Center Contact:  
grace.l.douglas@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: Directed Research 
Grant/Contract No.: Directed Research 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: (1) SHFH:Space Human Factors & Habitability (archival in 2017)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Food:Risk of Performance Decrement and Crew Illness Due to an Inadequate Food System
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) Food-03:SHFH We need to identify the methods, technologies, and requirements that will deliver a food system that provides adequate safety, nutrition, and acceptability for proposed long-duration Design Reference Mission operations. (IRP Rev G) (Previous title: AFT4-What technologies can be developed that will efficiently balance appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, and crew time during exploration missions with the safety, nutrition, and acceptability requirements?)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date is 1/31/2015 per PI and Element (Ed., 10/22/14)

NOTE: Gap change per IRP Rev E (Ed., 3/18/14)

NOTE: End date is 4/3/2016 per HRP Master Task List information and PI, as project extends into further aims (Ed., 9/20/2012)

NOTE: End date is 10/1/2014 per M. Perchonok/JSC (Ed., 8/17/2011)

Task Description: NASA is working to achieve manned space flights beyond low-Earth orbit within the next 25 years. Specifically, the vision includes a manned mission to Mars, which demands that astronauts survive extra-terrestrially for a minimum of three years. The space foods themselves must maintain quality for up to five years so that the food can be prepositioned on the Martian surface prior to crew arrival if necessary. This product life requirement is beyond the capability of the current stabilized food system used on the International Space Station. Thus, the food system optimization is vital for the viability of all extended duration missions.

Optimizing the food system to achieve a five-year shelf life mitigates the risk of inadequate food system during extended missions. Two causes of an inadequate food system are inadequate nutritional content within the food and inadequate acceptability of the food leading to insufficient intake. This study directly addresses those nutrition and acceptability concerns. Nutritional content and food quality, particularly as products age, are indicative of the food matrix, history, and storage environment. For example, a high availability of oxygen in a food package can be detrimental to product shelf life. The oxidative reactions that cause rancidity also lead to the degradation of vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, and thiamin (Gregory 1985: Gregory JF. 1985. Chemical changes of vitamins during food processing. In: Richardson T and Finley JW, editors. Chemical Changes in Food During Processing. Westport (CT): AVI Publishing Company, 373-408). Likewise, a product subjected to high heat in processing may undergo nonenzymatic browning, but broad vitamin degradation should also be expected after thermal processing. By establishing the proper recipe, process, package, and storage condition, the product is better positioned to sustain nutrition and acceptability over the product life. The chances of performance decrement or illness due to insufficient nutrition or poor food intake decreases with implementation of this integrated food system.

Hence, "The Integration of Product, Package, Process, and Environment: A Food System Optimization" seeks to optimize food product shelf life for the space food system through product recipe adjustments, application of new packaging and processing technologies, and modified storage conditions. Specifically, the research aims are: Aim A. To summarize the available packaged food technologies that would offer significant barrier or antioxidant property improvements over current space packaging.

Aim B. To complete a risk-benefit analysis on the usage of the space environment for cold food storage.

Aim C. To provide recommendations as to the formulation changes, processes, packages, and environments for each space food product that would result in a five-year shelf life for that product.

Aim D. To identify the technology needs associated with implementing any of the aforementioned integration recommendations.

At the study conclusion, a course to shift the space food products to a five-year shelf life will be proposed. Overall system or category changes will be clearly identified, and products with little chance of meeting the five-year shelf life hurdle will be delineated for replacement or removal from long duration menus. The required future work to deliver this postulated integration for the food system will be identified.

Rationale for HRP Directed Research: This research is directed because it contains highly constrained research, which requires focused and constrained data gathering and analysis that is more appropriately obtained through a non-competitive proposal.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: The implications of the study go beyond future space missions in that successful optimization would raise the food quality and simplify food logistics for International Space Station provisions and for food rations used terrestrially for relief efforts and military applications.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2015 
Task Progress: The study is complete.

In this study the space food system was divided into five food category modules – thermostabilized fruits, thermostabilized vegetables, thermostabilized entrees, freeze-dried foods, and baked goods. Through hypothesis-driven experimentation alternative storage, processing, and packaging technologies were evaluated to achieve better sensory, color, texture, and nutrient quality. None of the experiments singularly resulted in five-year shelf life, but important evaluation of the technologies was achieved as indicated in the following key results. Thermostabilized fruits have significant quality issues when stored at ambient temperatures, but colder temperatures alone did not drive enough stabilization in the assessed products to reasonably achieve a five-year shelf life through storage modifications. Pressure-assisted thermostabilization (PATS) resulted in better color and texture of the fruit, but not vitamin stability, as compared to traditional retort. The greatest challenges with thermostabilized vegetables, nutrient degradation and textural softening, were not alleviated by microwave-assisted thermal stabilization (MATS) of the Carrot Coins. The MATS process did produce carrots with brighter color and better texture initially, but due to inadequate packaging barrier, improvements were not sustained over the shelf life of the product. Similarly, the MATS process did not provide a significant, sustained improvement for the evaluated entree, Sweet and Sour Pork. In the freeze-dried food module, the rehydration of freeze-dried items appeared to be most affected by the moisture content of the food. Even slight changes in moisture resulted in noticeable shifts in the amount of water absorbed. Finally, in the baked goods module the evaluation of Butter Cookies demonstrated that the initial development of off-flavors in baked goods may not be the direct result of fat reacting with residual oxygen but the rancidity and chemical activity that comes with higher moisture.

This study addressed Advanced Food Technology (AFT) Gap 4 and the methodology to produce a food system that meets the shelf life necessary for design reference missions. Because the five-year shelf life was not fully achieved, future research will focus on a hurdle approach, a likely stability solution for most of the foods. Cold storage has the capability to slow the chemical reactions that cause color darkening and vitamin degradation as well as slow the enzymatic reactions that lead to textural degradation. Hence, alternative processing technologies, along with colder storage, improve the probability of getting a five-year shelf life for thermostabilized space foods. Opportunities exist to alter freeze-dried product quality by optimizing process parameters and tightening end product specifications. Processing the food precisely and protecting the food against moisture ingress should result in 5 years of shelf life in freeze-dried items. Moisture control should be the focus area of future baked goods work. Refrigeration or freezing should be considered for baked goods as the colder temperatures slowed moisture and oxygen ingress. Encapsulated vitamins should be considered for all food items.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/23/2019)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Cooper MR, Douglas GL. "Integration of Product, Package, Process, and Environment: A Food System Optimization." 2015 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 13-15, 2015.

2015 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 13-15, 2015. Abstract #0226. , Jan-2015

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Cooper MR. "Optimizing Space Food to Achieve a 5-Year Shelf Life." 2014 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, February 12-13, 2014.

2014 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, February 12-13, 2014. http://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/hrp2014/pdf/3029.pdf ; accessed 4/1/2015. , Feb-2014

Project Title:  Integration of Product, Package, Process, and Environment: A Food System Optimization Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2014 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP SHFH:Space Human Factors & Habitability (archival in 2017)
Start Date: 10/01/2010  
End Date: 01/31/2015  
Task Last Updated: 09/27/2013 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Cooper, Maya  M.S. / Leidos/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  1300 Hercules MC:C09 
 
Houston , TX 77058 
Email: maya.cooper@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281.483.1892  
Congressional District: 22 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: Leidos/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Glass, John  MEI Technologies 
Douglas, Grace  Ph.D. NASA 
Leong, Monica  Lockheed Martin 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: John Glass was added as co-investigator in 2011; Grace Douglas was added as co-investigator in November 2011; Monica Leong was added as co-investigator in October 2012.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Directed Research 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Douglas, Grace  
Center Contact:  
grace.l.douglas@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: Directed Research 
Grant/Contract No.: Directed Research 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: (1) SHFH:Space Human Factors & Habitability (archival in 2017)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Food:Risk of Performance Decrement and Crew Illness Due to an Inadequate Food System
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) Food-03:SHFH We need to identify the methods, technologies, and requirements that will deliver a food system that provides adequate safety, nutrition, and acceptability for proposed long-duration Design Reference Mission operations. (IRP Rev G) (Previous title: AFT4-What technologies can be developed that will efficiently balance appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, and crew time during exploration missions with the safety, nutrition, and acceptability requirements?)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date is 1/31/2015 per PI and Element (Ed., 10/22/14)

NOTE: Gap change per IRP Rev E (Ed., 3/18/14)

NOTE: End date is 4/3/2016 per HRP Master Task List information and PI, as project extends into further aims (Ed., 9/20/2012)

NOTE: End date is 10/1/2014 per M. Perchonok/JSC (Ed., 8/17/2011)

Task Description: NASA is working to achieve manned space flights beyond low-Earth orbit within the next 25 years. Specifically, the vision includes a manned mission to Mars, which demands that astronauts survive extra-terrestrially for a minimum of three years. The space foods themselves must maintain quality for up to five years so that the food can be prepositioned on the Martian surface prior to crew arrival if necessary. This product life requirement is beyond the capability of the current stabilized food system used on the International Space Station. Thus, the food system optimization is vital for the viability of all extended duration missions.

Optimizing the food system to achieve a five-year shelf life mitigates the risk of inadequate food system during extended missions. Two causes of an inadequate food system are inadequate nutritional content within the food and inadequate acceptability of the food leading to insufficient intake. This study directly addresses those nutrition and acceptability concerns. Nutritional content and food quality, particularly as products age, are indicative of the food matrix, history, and storage environment. For example, a high availability of oxygen in a food package can be detrimental to product shelf life. The oxidative reactions that cause rancidity also lead to the degradation of vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, and thiamin (Gregory 1985: Gregory JF. 1985. Chemical changes of vitamins during food processing. In: Richardson T and Finley JW, editors. Chemical Changes in Food During Processing. Westport (CT): AVI Publishing Company, 373-408). Likewise, a product subjected to high heat in processing may undergo nonenzymatic browning, but broad vitamin degradation should also be expected after thermal processing. By establishing the proper recipe, process, package, and storage condition, the product is better positioned to sustain nutrition and acceptability over the product life. The chances of performance decrement or illness due to insufficient nutrition or poor food intake decreases with implementation of this integrated food system.

Hence, "The Integration of Product, Package, Process, and Environment: A Food System Optimization" seeks to optimize food product shelf life for the space food system through product recipe adjustments, application of new packaging and processing technologies, and modified storage conditions. Specifically, the research aims are: Aim A. To summarize the available packaged food technologies that would offer significant barrier or antioxidant property improvements over current space packaging.

Aim B. To complete a risk-benefit analysis on the usage of the space environment for cold food storage.

Aim C. To provide recommendations as to the formulation changes, processes, packages, and environments for each space food product that would result in a five-year shelf life for that product.

Aim D. To identify the technology needs associated with implementing any of the aforementioned integration recommendations.

At the study conclusion, a course to shift the space food products to a five-year shelf life will be proposed. Overall system or category changes will be clearly identified, and products with little chance of meeting the five-year shelf life hurdle will be delineated for replacement or removal from long duration menus. The required future work to deliver this postulated integration for the food system will be identified.

Rationale for HRP Directed Research: This research is directed because it contains highly constrained research, which requires focused and constrained data gathering and analysis that is more appropriately obtained through a non-competitive proposal.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: The implications of the study go beyond future space missions in that successful optimization would raise the food quality and simplify food logistics for International Space Station provisions and for food rations used terrestrially for relief efforts and military applications.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2014 
Task Progress: To evaluate alternative processing as a means to extend the life of entrees and vegetables, Sweet and Sour Pork and Carrot Coins were processed using either microwave-assisted thermal stabilization or traditional thermostabilization (retort) and then stored at 22°C, 32°C, and 37°C for 6 months. While microwave-assisted thermal stabilization did produce product with brighter color and better texture initially, the advantages were not sustained over the shelf life of the product. After 6 months, the vitamin stability in products was not substantially different between Microwave-Assisted Thermal Sterilization (MATS) and traditional thermostabilization. Color changes in Sweet and Sour Pork were impacted by artificial coloring in the food. However, significantly more color difference was noted in the MATS Carrot Coins as compared to the color difference in thermostabilized Carrot Coins after storage. Textural degradation proceeded after MATS processing at the same rate as textural degradation after thermostabilization. The food will be reevaluated after one year and after 18 months of storage.

Freeze-drying optimization studies were conducted with Rice Pilaf and Corn. Corn rehydration was significantly impacted by the initial freezing rate and the internal cellular structure was impacted by the freezing rate and the primary drying conditions. Rice pilaf did not present significant differences in moisture or rehydration within the window of operating parameters. Rice alone showed differences in porosity, directly related to the primary drying pressure. One set of operating parameters caused significantly different compression resistance in cooked, freeze-dried rice grains. Impacts to texture acceptability would need to be measured to determine final optimal parameters.

Neither the microwave-assisted thermal stabilization processing nor the freeze dry optimization resulted in compelling quality differences from current space food provisions such that a five-year shelf life is likely with these processing changes alone. However, the evaluation of the food is still in progress. The knowledge of how these alternative processing methods and/or procedures impact food quality is important for both the consideration of hurdle technology to achieve a five-year life and to evaluate feasibility of achieving a five-year life.

The experimental research will continue for another year to evaluate alternatively formulated, processed, and stored foods and packaging materials. Representative foods will be chosen and tested; the data will be used to draw conclusions on how to best impact shelf life for the larger food system. The study is on track to be completed winter in 2014.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/23/2019)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Cooper MR, Leong ML, Glass JW, Douglas GL. "Optimizing Space Food to Achieve a 5-Year Shelf Life." 2013 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, February 12-14, 2013.

2013 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, February 12-14, 2013. , Feb-2013

Project Title:  Integration of Product, Package, Process, and Environment: A Food System Optimization Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2013 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP SHFH:Space Human Factors & Habitability (archival in 2017)
Start Date: 10/01/2010  
End Date: 01/31/2015  
Task Last Updated: 10/15/2012 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Cooper, Maya  M.S. / Leidos/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  1300 Hercules MC:C09 
 
Houston , TX 77058 
Email: maya.cooper@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281.483.1892  
Congressional District: 22 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: Leidos/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Glass, John  MEI Technologies 
Douglas, Grace  NASA 
Leong, Monica  Lockheed Martin 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: John Glass was added as co-investigator in 2011; Grace Douglas was added as co-investigator in November 2011; Monica Leong was added as co-investigator in October 2012.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Directed Research 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Douglas, Grace  
Center Contact:  
grace.l.douglas@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: Directed Research 
Grant/Contract No.: Directed Research 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: (1) SHFH:Space Human Factors & Habitability (archival in 2017)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Food:Risk of Performance Decrement and Crew Illness Due to an Inadequate Food System
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) Food-03:SHFH We need to identify the methods, technologies, and requirements that will deliver a food system that provides adequate safety, nutrition, and acceptability for proposed long-duration Design Reference Mission operations. (IRP Rev G) (Previous title: AFT4-What technologies can be developed that will efficiently balance appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, and crew time during exploration missions with the safety, nutrition, and acceptability requirements?)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date is 1/31/2015 per PI and Element (Ed., 10/22/14)

NOTE: End date is 4/3/2016 per HRP Master Task List information and PI, as project extends into further aims (Ed., 9/20/2012)

NOTE: End date is 10/1/2014 per M. Perchonok/JSC (Ed., 8/17/2011)

Task Description: NASA is working to achieve manned space flights beyond low-Earth orbit within the next 25 years. Specifically, the vision includes a manned mission to Mars, which demands that astronauts survive extra-terrestrially for a minimum of three years. The space foods themselves must maintain quality for up to five years so that the food can be prepositioned on the Martian surface prior to crew arrival if necessary. This product life requirement is beyond the capability of the current stabilized food system used on the International Space Station. Thus, the food system optimization is vital for the viability of all extended duration missions.

Optimizing the food system to achieve a five-year shelf life mitigates the risk of inadequate food system during extended missions. Two causes of an inadequate food system are inadequate nutritional content within the food and inadequate acceptability of the food leading to insufficient intake. This study directly addresses those nutrition and acceptability concerns. Nutritional content and food quality, particularly as products age, are indicative of the food matrix, history, and storage environment. For example, a high availability of oxygen in a food package can be detrimental to product shelf life. The oxidative reactions that cause rancidity also lead to the degradation of vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, and thiamin (Gregory 1985: Gregory JF. 1985. Chemical changes of vitamins during food processing. In: Richardson T and Finley JW, editors. Chemical Changes in Food During Processing. Westport (CT): AVI Publishing Company, 373-408). Likewise, a product subjected to high heat in processing may undergo nonenzymatic browning, but broad vitamin degradation should also be expected after thermal processing. By establishing the proper recipe, process, package, and storage condition, the product is better positioned to sustain nutrition and acceptability over the product life. The chances of performance decrement or illness due to insufficient nutrition or poor food intake decreases with implementation of this integrated food system.

Hence, "The Integration of Product, Package, Process, and Environment: A Food System Optimization" seeks to optimize food product shelf life for the space food system through product recipe adjustments, application of new packaging and processing technologies, and modified storage conditions. Specifically, the research aims are: Aim A. To summarize the available packaged food technologies that would offer significant barrier or antioxidant property improvements over current space packaging.

Aim B. To complete a risk-benefit analysis on the usage of the space environment for cold food storage.

Aim C. To provide recommendations as to the formulation changes, processes, packages, and environments for each space food product that would result in a five-year shelf life for that product.

Aim D. To identify the technology needs associated with implementing any of the aforementioned integration recommendations.

At the study conclusion, a course to shift the space food products to a five-year shelf life will be proposed. Overall system or category changes will be clearly identified, and products with little chance of meeting the five-year shelf life hurdle will be delineated for replacement or removal from long duration menus. The required future work to deliver this postulated integration for the food system will be identified.

Rationale for HRP Directed Research: This research is directed because it contains highly constrained research, which requires focused and constrained data gathering and analysis that is more appropriately obtained through a non-competitive proposal.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: The implications of the study go beyond future space missions in that successful optimization would raise the food quality and simplify food logistics for International Space Station provisions and for food rations used terrestrially for relief efforts and military applications.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2013 
Task Progress: The NASA Human Research Program Science Management Office gave the Authority to Proceed (ATP) with the experimental portions of the project on April 19, 2012. In line with that ATP, the planned experimental phases have shifted in timing and, in some cases, have been compressed to maintain end deliverable dates.The study is on track to be completed winter in 2014.

In the first experimental module, thermostabilized Spiced Apples and Mixed Fruit were stored at -80°C, 4°C, and 19°C and analyzed at 2 and 9 months of storage. Color darkening over time was noted in the L-axis results for the spiced apple products regardless of storage condition. The required shear force initially increased in both fruits stored in ambient and refrigeration conditions due to pectin gel formation but the firmness was not sustained over time. Ultra cold freezing conditions reduced fruit firmness immediately through irreversible ice damage to the cell structure of both fruits. Results from the study show that thermostabilized fruits have significant quality issues when stored at ambient temperatures, but colder temperatures alone did not drive enough stabilization in the assessed products to reasonably achieve a 5-year shelf life through storage modifications.

In contrast, the comparison of 3.5-year-old pressure-assisted thermostabilized (PATS) fruits with equally-aged retorted fruits showed that the high pressure, lower temperature method of stabilization does circumvent much of the harm to internal cellular structure during processing. The PATS products had better color and firmer texture across the four products examined. Using a combination of refrigeration and PATS processing is expected to result in organoleptically-acceptable fruit quality for most fruits through five years. The vitamin degradation will be aided somewhat by the cold temperatures but, given the labile nature of vitamin C, a more stable fortification method, such as encapsulation, should also be considered to ensure vitamin delivery throughout the product life.

The experimental research will continue along a three-year evaluation of alternatively formulated, processed, and stored foods and packaging materials. Representative foods will be chosen and tested; the data will be used to draw conclusions on how to best impact shelf life for the larger food system.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/23/2019)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2013
Project Title:  Integration of Product, Package, Process, and Environment: A Food System Optimization Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2012 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP SHFH:Space Human Factors & Habitability (archival in 2017)
Start Date: 10/01/2010  
End Date: 01/31/2015  
Task Last Updated: 09/23/2011 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Cooper, Maya  M.S. / Leidos/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  1300 Hercules MC:C09 
 
Houston , TX 77058 
Email: maya.cooper@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281.483.1892  
Congressional District: 22 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: Leidos/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Catauro, Patricia  NASA Johnson Space Center/Lockheed Martin 
Glass, John  MEI Technologies 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: John Glass was added as co-investigator in 2011.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Directed Research 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Sullivan, Thomas  
Center Contact:  
thomas.a.sullivan@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: Directed Research 
Grant/Contract No.: Directed Research 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:  
No. of PhD Candidates:  
No. of Master's Candidates:  
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:  
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) SHFH:Space Human Factors & Habitability (archival in 2017)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Food:Risk of Performance Decrement and Crew Illness Due to an Inadequate Food System
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) Food-03:SHFH We need to identify the methods, technologies, and requirements that will deliver a food system that provides adequate safety, nutrition, and acceptability for proposed long-duration Design Reference Mission operations. (IRP Rev G) (Previous title: AFT4-What technologies can be developed that will efficiently balance appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, and crew time during exploration missions with the safety, nutrition, and acceptability requirements?)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date is 1/31/2015 per PI and Element (Ed., 10/22/14)

NOTE: End date is 4/3/2016 per HRP Master Task List information and PI, as project extends into further aims (Ed., 9/20/2012)

NOTE: End date is 10/1/2014 per M. Perchonok/JSC (Ed., 8/17/2011)

Task Description: NASA is working to achieve manned space flights beyond low-Earth orbit within the next 25 years. Specifically, the vision includes a manned mission to Mars, which demands that astronauts survive extra-terrestrially for a minimum of three years. The space foods themselves must maintain quality for up to five years so that the food can be prepositioned on the Martian surface prior to crew arrival if necessary. This product life requirement is beyond the capability of the current stabilized food system used on the International Space Station. Thus, the food system optimization is vital for the viability of all extended duration missions.

Optimizing the food system to achieve a five-year shelf life mitigates the risk of inadequate food system during extended missions. Two causes of an inadequate food system are inadequate nutritional content within the food and inadequate acceptability of the food leading to insufficient intake. This study directly addresses those nutrition and acceptability concerns. Nutritional content and food quality, particularly as products age, are indicative of the food matrix, history, and storage environment. For example, a high availability of oxygen in a food package can be detrimental to product shelf life. The oxidative reactions that cause rancidity also lead to the degradation of vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, and thiamin (Gregory 1985: Gregory JF. 1985. Chemical changes of vitamins during food processing. In: Richardson T and Finley JW, editors. Chemical Changes in Food During Processing. Westport (CT): AVI Publishing Company, 373-408). Likewise, a product subjected to high heat in processing may undergo nonenzymatic browning, but broad vitamin degradation should also be expected after thermal processing. By establishing the proper recipe, process, package, and storage condition, the product is better positioned to sustain nutrition and acceptability over the product life. The chances of performance decrement or illness due to insufficient nutrition or poor food intake decreases with implementation of this integrated food system.

Hence, The Integration of Product, Package, Process, and Environment: A Food System Optimization seeks to optimize food product shelf life for the space food system through product recipe adjustments, application of new packaging and processing technologies, and modified storage conditions. Specifically, the research aims are: Aim A. To summarize the available packaged food technologies that would offer significant barrier or antioxidant property improvements over current space packaging.

Aim B. To complete a risk-benefit analysis on the usage of the space environment for cold food storage.

Aim C. To provide recommendations as to the formulation changes, processes, packages, and environments for each space food product that would result in a five-year shelf life for that product.

Aim D. To identify the technology needs associated with implementing any of the aforementioned integration recommendations.

At the study conclusion, a course to shift the space food products to a five-year shelf life will be proposed. Overall system or category changes will be clearly identified, and products with little chance of meeting the five-year shelf life hurdle will be delineated for replacement or removal from long duration menus. The required future work to deliver this postulated integration for the food system will be identified.

Rationale for HRP Directed Research: This research is directed because it contains highly constrained research, which requires focused and constrained data gathering and analysis that is more appropriately obtained through a non-competitive proposal.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: The implications of the study go beyond future space missions in that successful optimization would raise the food quality and simplify food logistics for International Space Station provisions and for food rations used terrestrially for relief efforts and military applications.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2012 
Task Progress: The Integration of Product, Package, Process, and Environment: A Food System Optimization seeks to optimize food product shelf life for the space food system through product recipe adjustments, application of new packaging and processing technologies, and modified storage conditions. The ultimate goal is the determination of food requirements such that a five-year shelf life is achievable for most of the prepackaged space foods.

This study began with two literature reviews. The first review was conducted to identify packaging technologies that could be used in place of the current packaging system or in combination with the current packaging system to extend shelf life. Clay nanocomposites, because of their high barriers and low optical density, seem especially viable as a packaging material replacement. Moisture scavengers, which are widely available commercially, are not currently used in the food system, and may be exceptionally useful for products that are very sensitive to moisture. Other technologies, like liquid crystal polymers and Overture One, a transparent, non-aluminum foil barrier film, were reviewed and are expected to provide step change improvement to current barrier films. Additional research was recommended prior to implementing these technologies to support spaceflight. Therefore, further empirical examination of the available materials will be conducted in latter phases of this project.

The second review explored the Martian environmental conditions and the storage of food at deep freeze temperatures to assess whether the Martian climate could be leveraged for food storage. While clear evidence supports lowering environmental temperature as a means to extend the shelf life of foods, it remains unclear whether the ultra cold environment of Mars provides a viable “freezer” space and to what extent the shelf life of the foods would be lengthened. Further investigation will be conducted to determine if storing food items at ultra cold temperatures in a Martian environment will impart negative effects to the foods.

The experimental research, expected to begin in FY2012, initiates a three-year evaluation of alternatively formulated, processed, and stored foods and packaging materials. Representative foods will be chosen and tested; the data will be used to draw conclusions on how to best impact shelf life for the larger food system. The study is on track to be completed by September 2014.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/23/2019)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2012
Project Title:  Integration of Product, Package, Process, and Environment: A Food System Optimization Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2011 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP SHFH:Space Human Factors & Habitability (archival in 2017)
Start Date: 10/01/2010  
End Date: 10/01/2014  
Task Last Updated: 08/10/2011 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Cooper, Maya  M.S. / Leidos/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  1300 Hercules MC:C09 
 
Houston , TX 77058 
Email: maya.cooper@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281.483.1892  
Congressional District: 22 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: Leidos/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Catauro, Patricia  NASA Johnson Space Center/Lockheed Martin 
Glass, John  MEI Technologies 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Directed Research 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Sullivan, Thomas  
Center Contact:  
thomas.a.sullivan@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: Directed Research 
Grant/Contract No.: Directed Research 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:  
No. of PhD Candidates:  
No. of Master's Candidates:  
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:  
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) SHFH:Space Human Factors & Habitability (archival in 2017)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Food:Risk of Performance Decrement and Crew Illness Due to an Inadequate Food System
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) Food-03:SHFH We need to identify the methods, technologies, and requirements that will deliver a food system that provides adequate safety, nutrition, and acceptability for proposed long-duration Design Reference Mission operations. (IRP Rev G) (Previous title: AFT4-What technologies can be developed that will efficiently balance appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, and crew time during exploration missions with the safety, nutrition, and acceptability requirements?)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date is 10/1/2014 per M. Perchonok/JSC (Ed., 8/17/2011)

Task Description: The NASA vision includes a manned mission to Mars, demanding that astronauts survive extra-terrestrially for a minimum of three years. To promote human performance and survival during long duration missions, a food system is required that is safe, acceptable and nutritious but efficiently balances appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, power, water, and crew time. The current crew member diet is completely supplied through shelf-stable food items produced on Earth. Some items are commercial food products; others are produced solely for space provisioning. The quality of most space foods declines sharply two years after production due to enzymatic changes, oxidation, nutrient degradation, moisture migration, and other chemical and biological processes. The extended duration of future missions requires that the space foods maintain quality for up to five years so that the food can be prepositioned on the Martian surface prior to crew arrival if necessary. This product life requirement is beyond the capability of the current stabilized food system used on the International Space Station.

The objective of this project is to determine how to best integrate the product recipe formulation, process, package, and storage environment to achieve a five-year shelf life across the broad space menu spectrum. Because the mode of product shelf life failure varies according to the food matrix, this optimization will be defined according to individual menu items. Identifying the most advantageous combination of recipe, processing method, package, and storage for each food will be accomplished by:

1. Examining the available packaged food technologies that would offer significant barrier or antioxidant property improvements for existing products.

2. Performing a risk-benefit analysis on the usage of the space environment for cold food storage.

3. Leveraging existing evidence with regards to shelf life, nutrient degradation, packaging technology, and storage impacts to recommend the formulation changes, processes, packages, and environments for each space product that would result in a five-year shelf life for that product.

4. Identifying the technology needs associated with delivering any of the aforementioned integration recommendations.

Aim A. To summarize the available packaged food technologies that would offer significant barrier or antioxidant property improvements over current space packaging.

Aim A will be addressed through a literature review and market survey of available package technologies. Study A will proceed with researchers reviewing literature articles on smart packaging, active packaging, nanotechnologies associated with packaging, modified atmosphere packaging, and other relevant packaging breakthroughs. Once viable avenues to improving space food packaging are identified, market representatives and packaging experts will be contacted to assess the technology readiness level, specific potential food applications, and other considerations to implementation. Study A will conclude with a matrix of available packaging technologies, the space food menu items or food groupings to which each technology has benefit, and the potential shelf life improvement offered through the packaging technology implementation (estimate based upon packaging technology impact to shelf life mode of failure).

Aim B. To complete a risk-benefit analysis on the usage of the space environment for cold food storage.

Aim B will be addressed through a literature review on extraterrestrial environmental conditions, including Martian surface conditions, and the impact of ultra-cold temperatures on packaging materials and food structure. Study B will proceed with a literature review for available information on Martian surface temperature profiles and other extraterrestrial body data. Additional focus will be placed on the impact of cold storage and ultra-cold storage on food structure and quality and packaging integrity. If necessary, a proof of concept test may be conducted to assess how the thermostabilized, pouched products and freeze-dried products withstand ultra-cold temperatures. Current space foods will be placed into a cryogenic freezer for one month. Packaging integrity will be assessed using standard strength and seal integrity evaluations; the food organoleptic properties pre- and post-freeze will be determined by internal panel.

Aim C. To provide recommendations as to formulations, processes, packages, and environments for each space food product that would result in a five-year shelf life for each product.

Aim C will be addressed in the delivery of a final summary report which details the recommended formulation, process, package, and storage as well as the subsequent shelf life of each space food product. Representative foods will be processed and stored according to the theoretical postulations on how to extend shelf life and then undergo comparison to the current space products. Specific comparison criteria between the products will be chosen based on the expected mode of shelf life failure but may include aspects such as color/browning, hexanal, turgidity, water activity, microbial load, and sensory attributes. Should the comparison contradict expectations, then the recommendation on shelf life extension will be revised accordingly. Learnings from the representative foods will be extended to the remainder of the space food system as applicable.

Aim D. To identify the technology needs associated with delivering any of the aforementioned integration recommendations.

Aim D will be addressed in the delivery of a final summary report, specifically in a section focused on implementation hurdles. Each technology and/or ingredient will be classified according to their commercial availability (widespread – 3 or more suppliers, limited commercially – 1-2 suppliers, lab models/prototypes only). Additionally, each technology and/or ingredient will be analyzed to determine if auxiliary technologies (packaging film for high pressure processing, e.g.) are necessary to raise the viability of the recommendation.

By the completion of this study, a recommendation on how to move the current food system to a five-year shelf life will be presented. The recommendations for new ingredient, process, package and storage technologies will be clearly identified, and products with little chance of meeting the five-year shelf life hurdle are delineated for replacement or removal from long duration menus. Future work could include the technology development as identified and the development of new products necessary to fill gaps in the long duration menu.

Rationale for HRP Directed Research: This research is directed because it contains highly constrained research, which requires focused and constrained data gathering and analysis that is more appropriately obtained through a non-competitive proposal.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: 0

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2011 
Task Progress: New project for FY2011.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/23/2019)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2011