Dr. Joseph Awika leads the Cereal Quality Lab (CQL). His research focus is grain chemistry, processing and quality: Identifying mechanisms by which secondary plant metabolites and minor grain constituents can be optimized to improve food quality and human health; processing techniques to improve health and nutritional profile of grains. In these endeavors, he collaborates closely with plant breeders and geneticists as well as nutritional biochemists. He is also involved in international projects aimed at using grains to improve livelihood through nutrition and food security for small scale farmers in Africa. His teaching responsibilities are primarily in the Food Science Program where he teaches the capstone senior level Food Product Development (FSTC 401), as well as the elective Fundamentals of Baking (FSTC 305). He also teaches graduate level Carbohydrate Chemistry (FSTC 631) and directs graduate seminar (FSTC 681).
- Wheat quality analysis (kernel characterization, milling, mixing behavior)
- Cereal grain analysis (kernel characterization, oil/protein/starch quantification by NIR, weight/density/volume, tannin quantification)
- Characterization of polyphenols and other secondary metabolites in cereals, pseudocereals, and legumes (quantitative and qualitative tests available for phenols, tannins, flavonoids, anthocyanins, etc.)
- Antioxidant activity testing using various methods: ORAC, TEAC, among others
- UPLC-MS analysis of small molecules and their cellular and animal metabolites
- Wheat tortilla production and quality evaluation
- Corn tortilla and tortilla chip production and quality evaluation