Head Food Science division: Dr. Maazullah Khan, DCE
Vision of Food Science Division
Overall Research and Development Objectives of Food and Nutrition Division
Introduction to Research and Development of Food and Nutrition Division
Groups of Food and Nutrition Division
Funded Projects Undertaken of Food and Nutrition Division

Vision of Food Science Division

To conduct R&D for minimizing the post-harvest losses, value addition, Food Safety and Security, providing services and HRD of communities for self-sustainability

Overall Research and Development Objectives of Food and Nutrition Division

Development and transfer of technologies/services for nutritive, value added and environmentally safe food/product to end users

Specific Objectives

  • Mitigating Post-harvest losses through value addition & processing
  • Irradiation services to the local gemstones traders for value addition of locally produced gemstone
  • Popularization of mushroom cultivation technology as cottage industry and Ganoderma medicinal mushroom cultivation optimization on available low-cost substrate
  • Biopesticide formulation and application
  • On-spot qualitative analysis of added fortificants in different food products such as oil/ghee, wheat flour and edible-salt
Introduction to Research and Development of Food and Nutrition Division

Food Engineering and Irradiation group of Food and Nutrition Division focuses on application of engineering principles and concepts to the handling, storage, processing, packaging, and distribution of food and related products. Food Safety through the use of nuclear techniques is the other important aspect of this group, using Co-60 gamma irradiator and adopting the advanced irradiation technologies to achieve UN SDG 02 zero hunger. Controlled amount of ionizing irradiation doses are applied to food and food products to kill the microorganism that causes food spoilage. Various doses were optimized for different desired applications including preservation, shelf life extension and sterilization of food products. Current research activities include: i) Hybrid Solar Dryer (Design, Process Optimization and Demonstration), ii) Shelf life extension of Meal Ready to Eat, iii) Disinfestation of Dates, iv) Sprout inhibition in bulb food, v) Adaptation of Innovating radiation processing technologies vi) Disinfestation and decontamination of dry fruits and, vii) Rapid Test Kit for Adulterants in Spices.

Food and Environmental Safety Group, of Food and Nutrition Division is focusing on mushroom cultivation optimization, popularization, field-based efficiency testing of biopesticide (plant extracts) against yellow rust of wheat. This group is also working on the on the development of probiotic and bio-preserved foods. Moreover, extending analytical services for the enhancement of food safety across the country. With the collaboration of Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) and Directorate of Science and Technology (DOST) Govt of KP, FND-NIFA has popularized mushroom cultivation technology in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), upper Punjab and Baluchistan, Pakistan. Moreover, this division has successfully cultivated Ganoderma medicinal mushroom for the first time among public R&D organizations in Pakistan. NIFA Ganoderma mushroom has phytochemically analyzed and confirmed/quantified for biologically active constituents (Triterpenoids, polyphenols, minerals and vitamins). Efficacy of botanical extracts (Melia azedarach (Bakain), Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Withania coagulans (Paneer doda) were tested for the management of yellow rust disease in Wheat. Theses extracts in emulsified form has the potential for formulation and its possible commercialization. Classical method of food preservations is either using different chemicals that are health hazardous or by applying extensive thermal processing techniques that deteriorated the quality of food. Similarly, application of radiation for food preservation has also consumer acceptance issues. Bio-preservation is an emerging food preservation method that has full potential to replace the existing traditional preservation techniques. In the Bio-preservative method, bacteriocins (secondary metabolites) are produced under stress conditions by different microorganisms like lactic acid bacteria and help to eliminate harmful microorganisms from food products. At FND-NIFA, Food and Environment Safety group started work on this aspect under the umbrella of ALP project recently. It is hopeful that by adopting these techniques our local industries can overcome the problem of food borne toxicity especially related with over use of hazardous chemicals to inhibit the growth of microorganisms which are responsible for food spoilage.

Food Nutrition section (FN) has carried out work in multiple aspects of Human Nutrition, including food fortification especially fortification of wheat flour with Iron and carried out various studies on stability and acceptability of iron components in humans in previous collaborations with Nutrition International (NI), formerly the Micronutrient Initiative (MI) such as “Iron fortification of roller milled wheat flour in Pakistan”. Owing to the competence available in its labs, the analytical work for the production feasibility phase of the project was also undertaken and subsequently, during the implementation phase, our labs acted as reference lab for analysis of the fortified wheat flour samples collected from flourmills all over the country. As an output of our R&D work, NIFA Iron Spot Test Kit for qualitative analysis of fortified iron in wheat flour samples was developed which is the evidence of our commitment and due diligence. The Kit is now being extensively used by various Public and Private sector stakeholders including GAIN, NI, World Food Program (WFP), regulatory authorities and more than 170 flour mills around the country. FN has been actively interacting with the relevant stakeholders for dissemination of knowledge and technology about wheat flour fortification. FN has also successfully completed a project entitled “Fortification of Vanaspati ghee with Red Palm Oil as natural source of Vitamin A” in collaboration with Malaysian Palm Oil Board and developed Vitamin-A Spot Test Kit for qualitative analysis of fortified Vitamin-A in Oils and ghee samples. Another much appreciated project on “Iodine stability study in different climatic conditions and different packaging materials” was carried out by FN around the country by storing iodine at four PAEC centers in Karachi, Nawabshah, Faisalabad and Swat having different climatic conditions and geographic regions, as a result of this nationwide study a Rapid Test Kit for Testing Salts Fortified with Potassium Iodate was developed which is being widely used by a large number of public and private sector stakeholders. FN has functioned as resource lab for country wide survey of iodized salt for iodine contents conducted by MI, and recognized as “Reference Lab” in the region for analysis of iodized salt samples for USI/IDD Program funded by MI. Along with food fortification program, state of the art labs of FN has been established with the help of IAEA to carry out analytical work on Vitamin A analysis.

Groups of Food and Nutrition Division
Research Groups

1. Food and Environmental Safety

2. Food and Nutrition

3. Food Engineering and Irradiation

Funded Projects Undertaken of Food and Nutrition Division
S.No Title of Project Donor Agency
1 Technological and economical feasibility of radiation preservation of potatoes CRP/IAEA
2 Commercial trials on radiation preservation of onions under tropical conditions CRP/IAEA
3 Radiation preservation of dried fruits TC/IAEA
4 Food Irradiation process control and acceptance CRP/IAEA
5 Standardization of detection method for irradiated dried fruits and tree nuts CRP/IAEA
6 Nutritional and physiological evaluation of Red Palm Oil (Carotino) PORIM Malaysia
7 Radiation treatment of minimally processed fruits and vegetables for ensuring hygienic quality CRP/IAEA
8 Radiation as SPS Treatment RCA/IAEA
9 Fortification of Vanaspati Ghee in Pakistan with red palm oil as a natural source of Vitamin A. MPOB Malaysia
10 Iron fortification of roller milled wheat flour in Pakistan MI Canada
11 Application of Irradiation for Improving Food Safety, Security and Trade (RAS/5/042) RCA/IAEA
12 Radiation decontamination of commercial poultry feed PSF
13 Coordinated between NIFA and NIH “Estimation of goitrogenous substances in foods and their relationship with the prevalence of goiter” NIH
14 Coordinated research project between NIFA and NIH A) Nutritional enhancement of cereals and grain legumes through sprouting and its utilization as food. B) Amylose contents of different food commodities; influence of household processing on the amylase contents of these foods. NIH
15 Harmonization of Radiation Protection (RAS/9/029) RCA/IAEA
16 Development of processing method for pectin as value added product from citrus peel waste PSF
17 Novel applications of food irradiation technology for improving socio-economic development (RAS/5/046) RCA/IAEA
18 Screening and development of low phytate bread wheat mutants in Pakistan RCA/IAEA
19 Better utilization of food for health and productive life in agriculture sector (Coordinated project with NWFP Agric. Univ. Peshawar) ALP
20 Fortification and physicochemical evaluation of canola & sunflower oil with sea buckthorn oil . HEC
21 Mushroom cultivation and popularization as cottage industry in NWFP PSF
22 Design and fabrication of a laboratory size screw extruder for conservation of agro-based materials into value added food and feed products PSF
23 Coordinated between NIFA and NIH “Estimation of goitrogenous substances in foods and their relationship with the prevalence of goiter” NIH
24 Coordinated research project between NIFA and NIH A) Nutritional enhancement of cereals and grain legumes through sprouting and its utilization as food. B) Amylose contents of different food commodities; influence of household processing on the amylase contents of these foods. NIH
25 Preventing osteoporosis and promoting bone mass in Asian Populations using a food based approach (RAS/6/041) IAEA
26 Development of irradiated foods for immuno-compromised patients and other target groups IAEA
27 Development and validation of technologies for pesticide residue management in fruit and vegetables produce (PSF/NSLP (203) PSF/NSLP
28 Pilot scale development of bio-pesticides and other environmental friendly techniques for the promotion of Green Growth Technologies Dost. DoST
29 HRD developed through transfer of technology “to arrange training courses for “mushroom cultivation” in various zones of KPK DoST. DoST
30 Storage stability of iodine in iodized salt collected from geo-climatical zones of Pakistan, MI, Pakistan MI, Pakistan
31 Development of market life enhancement technology of persimmon and its dissemination to growers. ALP ALP
32 1. Development of nutria-food products

2. Fortification of commonly consumed edible oil in non-conventional oil

33 Design and fabrication of single screw extruder for conversion of agro-based materials into value added food & feed products PSF
34 Development of innovative Nutraceutical products from herbal ingredients PSF
35 Adaptation of Electron Beam Irradiation to Treat MREs and Fruits & Vegetables in Pakistan IAEA
36 Commercialization of existing technology of mushroom and popularization of Oyster and Milky mushrooms as cottage industry for economic uplift of landless communities of KPK, Baluchistan & upper Punjab PSF
37 Production of indigenous food bio-preservatives from the micro flora isolated from the fermented dairy products ALP
38 Development of Low Cost Zero-Energy Cooling Chambers for Field Heat Removal and Storage of Fruits and Vegetables and its Transfer to Small Farmers (AE-033) ALP
39 Strengthening National Capabilities to Mitigate Vitamin A Deficiency in the Pakistani Vulnerable Population Using Stable Isotope Techniques IAEA
40 Development of Rapid Test Kit (RTK) for Qualitative Determination of Peroxide Value (POV) in Oil/Fats PAEC
41 Adaptation of Low Energy Machine Generated Radiation Sources for Surface Decontamination and Disinfestation of Food in Pakistan IAEA
42 Development of hybrid indirect type solar dryer for drying of fruits and vegetables (AE-001) ALP
43 PAK 5053: Strengthening and Enhancing National Capabilities for the Development of Climate Smart Crops, Improvement in Animal Productivity and Management of Soil, Water, and Nutrient Resources Using Nuclear and Related Techniques: TC/IAEA