Food Science

Food science graduate Millie

The University of Adelaide is at the forefront of cutting-edge science solutions to some of the world’s major food and horticultural challenges.

Our researchers seek to improve human nutrition and global food security through functional food development, exploring new viable sources of food and minimising and repurposing food waste.

Our research delivers outcomes of direct significance to both the Australian and global agriculture, food and wine industries.

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.

Professor Rachel Burton

Head of the Department of Food Science

Research profile

Research strengths

  • New and emerging foods

    Edible insects anyone?

    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
    Dr Graham Lyons Development of functional foods
    Prof Kerry Wilkinson Edible insects, sensory science
  • Nutrition, health and food security

    Sustainable food sources and improved health outcomes

    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 increase health outcomes, improve our quality of life and reduce whole-of-like 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 security 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
    Prof Martin Cole Global food security; food safety and technology
    Prof Robert Gibson Human nutrition, grains for health, clinical trials and lipidomics
    Dr Graham Lyons Agronomic biofortification
    A/Prof Beverley Muhlhausler Obesity and metabolic health
    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

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



How is drought affecting cereal plants such as wheat and barley?

Scientists have summarised seven years of research published in more than 20 international journals, on the effect of drought on cereal plants.



Scientists find greener way to extract health-promoting molecules from food waste

Scientists show greener process for extracting health-promoting molecules from food waste to use in skincare and pharmaceutical products.



More than enough yard to have your lawn and eat too

Adelaide residents would only need to give up a small area of their lawn to grow enough vegetables to become self-sufficient.



Plants growing in tough soil respond to hormones, not barriers

When soil is tough and compact enough to make using a shovel difficult, roots are going to have trouble too, but not for the same reasons.



Scientists in the news this week: September 2020

Here are the stories of University of Adelaide scientists and science graduates in the news this week.



Food scientist is advisor on plant-based meat

Internationally recognised food scientist joins Australian plant-based meat startup v2food as its new chief scientific advisor.