Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Karin Allen, Sheryl Aguilar


Karin Allen


Sheryl Aguilar


Heidi Wengreen


It has been well documented that fruit and vegetable (F/V) intake is linked to lower risk of mortality and chronic disease. Raman resonance spectroscopy is a valid indicator of F/V intake and quantifies that intake by measuring skin carotenoid levels. In this study, 46 children, participated in a 6-week feeding study wherein they were randomly assigned to one of two groups: 1) consuming a high-carotenoid (HC) breakfast/snack food, or 2) consuming a placebo bar, every day. The HC food contained 4.3mg carotenoids per serving and the placebo contained none. Skin carotenoids were measured every two weeks using a BioPhotonic scanner. The treatment group had a mean increase in scanner score of 5,802 Raman intensity units which was significantly higher than the mean increase of the placebo group, 1,771. In this study we found that consumption of 120 gm of a high-carotenoid food significantly increased skin carotenoid levels in children ages 5-18 over a 6 week period.

Packaging type as well as storage conditions play a role in preserving carotenoids which are sensitive to light, temperature, and oxygen. Care must be taken when choosing packaging and storage conditions for foods containing carotenoids. Two shelf-life studies, one at room-temperature and another in frozen storage, were conducted on the HC breakfast/snack food to determine the best method of packaging to maintain quality and preserve carotenoids. The food was randomly packed into one of three packaging types for both studies. The packages used in the frozen study were then randomly assigned to one of three freezer storage methods. Room-temperature samples were analyzed on days 3, 7, 10, and 14 and samples in frozen storage were pulled every month for 5 months. Measures of water activity, moisture content, color values (L*a*b*, chroma, and hue), and carotenoid content were analyzed in each sample. At the conclusion of each study, L*, b*, chroma, and hue were significantly affected by packaging type. No significant associations were found in any other measures. From this study we draw the conclusion that cellophane packaging or packaging with a N2 backflush would be the best options for use with this food to best retain its quality.