LSU AgCenter
Go Local
   Headline News
 Home>News Archive>2014>October>Headline News>

LSU nutrition and food science team takes home prestigious DuPont Knowledge Award

News Release Distributed 10/21/14

BATON ROUGE, La. – An LSU College of Agriculture nutrition and food science team placed first in the national DuPont Knowledge Award, winning $10,000 for a new food product the team developed. Graduate students José Estrada, Namrata Karki, Kennet Carabante and Samantha Stein beat out 33 other universities with their savory cottage cheese crumbles.

Team leader Estrada and faculty advisor and food science professor Jack Losso accepted the award at the Prepared Foods New Product Conference at Amelia Island, Florida, on Sept. 16.

This was LSU’s first time in the competition.

According to DuPont, the DuPont Knowledge Award encourages the development of innovative new food and beverage products using two or more DuPont ingredients.

The team calls their product Medittage and describes it as a low-fat cottage cheese with a crumbly texture along with sun-dried tomatoes and dressing with Mediterranean herbs and a touch of olive oil.

“It’s a delicious, high-protein snack, dip or side item,” Karki said.

The LSU team used three DuPont ingredients – a natural antimicrobial to promote shelf life, a rosemary extract, which helps prevent lipid oxidation of the olive and sunflower oils, and a starter culture to make the cottage cheese curd.

Estrada said inspiration for the product came from a friend who was making cottage cheese in a food science lab and infused it with rosemary grown behind Miller Hall on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. The team decided to take their product further with additional herbs and flavors.

“We had passion for this product from the beginning,” Estrada said.

The team worked with it until they had the right look and taste. In April, they sent 18 samples to DuPont’s nutrition and health division in New Century, Kansas, for judging. In June, they received word their product had won the competition.

“It was like a dream come true,” said Karki.

Estrada said it was rewarding to apply what he learned in his classes and have it validated by people who devote their lives to food science.

“It was good confirmation that we are well-trained,” he said.

The team split the award four ways. DuPont owns the rights to the product for a year, but if they do not manufacture it within the year, the team can get the rights back.

Losso encouraged the team to participate in the competition. He organized a seminar where LSU graduate and DuPont representative Troy Boutté spoke to nutrition and food science students about the DuPont Knowledge Award. Boutté will return to campus on Nov. 21 to encourage participation in next year’s competition.

A university can have multiple teams participating, and it is open to juniors, seniors and graduate students.

“This award is very prestigious,” Losso said. “Winners of this award get jobs in industry just like that.”

Second- and third-place winners of the competition included Clemson University’s frozen salsa verde cod pizza and the University of Wisconsin’s high-protein, high-fiber breakfast muffins.

Tobie Blanchard
Last Updated: 10/21/2014 1:23:42 PM

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?
Click here to contact us.