Calcium Clue To Milk Stability
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Master of Food Sciences 2007
Scholarships available - contact UQ for details.
Developing new milk products and improving milk’s shelf life is a key goal for Lakshmi Ramasubramanian’s PhD research.
She is investigating the interaction of ionic calcium with milk proteins during heat treatment.
Major dairy companies are keen on the work because it could lead to cheaper products, particularly high-calcium milk.
“Adding calcium to milk can change its texture, without the need to add costly additives and stabilisers,” Lakshmi says.
And there’s the potential to develop low-fat, high-calcium milk that does not seem ‘watery’ for consumers.
Lakshmi’s research could increase Australia’s dairy product exports. Subjecting high-calcium milks to the UHT process to extend their shelf life is currently problematic because of the calcium-protein interactions. Overcoming that barrier will allow more Australian exports to hot climates, like the Middle East and India.
Lakshmi completed a Master of Food Studies in 2007 during which she explored yoghurt’s physical properties.
“The combination of coursework and research offered in the program was excellent. I learnt all the basics of food science and specialised in dairy science through my research project,” she says.
She says UQ provided her with opportunities to develop valuable communication skills as well as scientific skills and knowledge.
“I walked away with first place and the people’s choice award in my School for my presentation in the Three Minute Thesis competition.”
“The competition helped me realise research could be communicated in a simple, uncomplicated manner.”
After completing her PhD, Lakshmi hopes to undertake a post-doctoral fellowship specialising in dairy science.