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Dept. of Agro-food Resources

Department of Agro-food Resources is the future-growth R&D hub organization for the world's merchandising of Korea agricultural products

Korean food, Hansik, is attracting the world with its healthfulness as well as nutrition and taste. It is a very balanced diet harmonized with various food ingredients, such as rice, meats, fishes and vegetables. Also, the obvious 4seasons in Korea make it possible to have developed diverse traditional local regional foods. For globalizing Korean food and food ingredients, RDA has set up 'the department of Korean Food Research for Globalization' in NAS(National Institute of Agricultural Sciences).

Department of Agro-food Resources has 3 divisions and promotes fundamental and applied research & development for cultivating the agricultural and food industry to nation's new growth engine as a national organization. There are 3 goals. : first, develop the food nutrient and phytochemical database and research to improve national dietary life, second, utilize microzyme and research commercialization of fermented processed food, and the last, identify functional material and research commercialization.

(1) Agro-food Utilization Division

works for establishing foundation to promote value of our agro-food and to maintain healthy dietary life by developing food composition database which is the basic infrastructure for food and nutrition policy, research and dietary practices, preparing scientific evidences of Korean dietary life, and creating an environment for proper food consumption.

(2) Fermented Food Science Division

works for supporting the global production of fermented foods. First, building based technology of fermented food by screening and resources of useful microorganisms. Second, develop technology to support standardization and industrialization of agro-food.

(3) Functional food and Nutrition Division

works for looking into the value by analyzing the nutrition & function of agricultural resources, and supporting new growth power of agricultural food's industry as searching new function & practical use of materials.

We develop food processing technology for agro-industry using in business. And we are impoving the value for adding specialty in region. We make better use healthy food material and develop convenience food processing technology to reactive future dietary life. We research scientific base for establishment of healthy food image of Hansik.

(4) The one and only "Not-harden technology"

"Not-harden technology without additives" is innovative in that it considered the traditional Korean food, Tteok, as a solution to the problem of starch retrogradation which has been a long-lasting issue in the food processing industry (shelf-life: one day to six months). This technology is able to expand the application to "Rice clay", "Dental supplies for dogs", and special rice cake decorated with three dimensional rice art on top surface. By utilizing the original technical know-how of making rice cake with non-glutinous rice or glutinous rice, 5 cases of patents were applied for both in Korea and foreign countries, and the technique was transferred to 180 industries up to now (June 30, 2012).

1. Improving usability of the traditional food and assuring the international intellectual property of right.

We are finding the local foods, the head family foods and old cookbooks and reforming for expanding traditional dietary culture. We published 'The suitable foods for institutional food service' as the 4th series of 'Taste journey with the traditional foods' and have served its information through web and application. We linked English version of the traditional food to the knowledge portal site on Korean Intellectual Property Office, assuring the international intellectual property of right.

(5) Investigation of benefit effect of Han-sik on health

In order to improve the brand image of Han-sik as a healthy diet, human clinical trial feeding Han-sik in American subject was conducted to investigate the effect of Han-sik intake on the risk factor of cardiovascular disease with collaboration of USDA. As part of the research, international comparison of dietary pattern analyzing data of Korea, U.S. and the Netherlands and its relation with health status is ongoing. We are doing research on the construction of dietary environment survey system. In this project, individual diet and its' environment will be surveyed and followed up over time to estimate health risk by dietary characteristics.

(6) Fermented Food Science Division

Based on the screening and resources of useful microorganisms in order to support the global production of fermented foods, we carry out applied research for improving the quality of fermented food, such as Nuruk, Meju, traditional liquor and sauce food. Also, we accelerate the developing of advanced utilization technology of agricultural resources using fermentation technology.

1. Screening and Resources of Useful Fermentation Microorganisms

We have established a foundation of fermented food industry by isolating various fermentation microorganisms ranging from Nuruk (starter for making traditional liquor) to Meju (fermented soybean), selecting and registering excellent strains through functional analysis. In addition, we have studied methods to detect harmful microorganisms promptly and production technology of fermentation agent to remove harmful bacteria in order to ensure the stability of fermented foods.

2. Restoration and industrialization of Korean traditional liquor from ancient documents

We are restoring Korean traditional liquor which were buried in old books. It is not just remaking the beverages disappeared, but finding and analysing our ancestors' knowledge scientifically which have accumulated a long time so that we have the process patents and develop brewing technologies to coincide people i-s tastes.

  • Restoration of Korean traditional liquor
  • Industrialization
  • Booklet published

3. Development of Makgeolli(Korean traditional liquor) in a new paradigm

We have begun various efforts to promote sustainable development of Makgeolli industry. The present research focused on the (1) screening of proper rice variety for high quality Makgeolli brewing, (2) enhancement of shelf life by high hydrostatic pressure sterilization, (3) improving suspension stability, (4) expanding the diversity of Makgeolli(sparking and color Makgeolli) and (5) development of Makgeolli bottle.

  • Improving suspension stability
  • Sparking Makgeolli
  • Makgeolli bottle
  • Control
  • Treatment

Sparking Makgeolli Makgeolli bottle High hydrostatic pressure sterilization

4. Upgrading food components using excellent fermented microorganisms

A variety of fermented soybean sauce and soybean paste had emerged in Korean old literature. We separated excellent fermented microorganisms from them and using manufacturing technologies performed industrialization. We developed buckwheat Sokseongjang by using functional starter Bacillus subtilis HJ18-4 strain and improved the quality of fermented vinegar that significantly upgraded the tastable sweet. Also, we developed fermented beverages as easily be prepared at home by using Nuruk.

  • Buckwheat Sokseongjang Vinegar Fermented beverage
  • Vinegar
  • Fermented beverage

(7) Functional Food & Nutrition Division

works for looking into the value by analyzing the nutrition & function of agricultural resources, and supporting new growth power of agricultural food's industry as searching new function & practical use of materials.

1. Book Publication, [The composition table of the national food standard], for providing various nutritional information to the public.

[The national food composition table] which is 8th revised edition has been applied to national food·nutrition policy, education, information, and medical field since 1970 when the first edited by RDA(Rural Development Administration).

  • The component list of the national food standard
  • The functional food composition and the nutrition diagram, which is easily understandable edition

2. The research on functional evaluation for looking into healthy value on the resources of the nation's agricultural products

The research is focused on the investigation for functional effects and mechanisms of agricultural products on oxidative stress, obesity, glucose metabolism, blood circulation, immune response and cognitive function using cell culture and experimental animals.

3. Creating new demand by the development of practical technique from high value-added food materials.

We are performing the research on increasing the value-added of agricultural products by developing of functional food through searching functional material and the research on the specialty to the domestic agricultural resources. As a result, AF-343, dandelion complex was registered as Korean product specific health functional food in 2012.

  • Nutrition bar for anti-aging
  • Cosmetics with dandelion for anti-wrinkle