Fuxia Jin, PhD
John Kennedy, PhD
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Dole Food Company, Inc. located the Dole Nutrition Research Laboratory at the NC Research Campus to further their mission of producing healthier fruits and vegetables.
In a 10,000-square-foot laboratory in the Plants for Human Health Building, the Dole Nutrition Research Laboratory is identifying and quantifying the myriad of phytochemicals found in the company’s fruits and vegetables. Scientific evidence suggests that regular consumption of fruits and vegetables, which contain large amounts of these types of compounds, may help prevent the development of many common diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The Dole lab is also working on how to enhance the nutrition benefits of its product line by supporting the research requests of the company's divisions.
Dole is the world’s largest producer and seller of fruits and vegetables with over 200 products that include commodity fresh fruits and vegetables, packaged salads and a large line of canned, frozen fruit and value-added products. The Dole Nutrition Institute is a leader in nutrition education with a website, free on-line monthly newsletter, videos, brochures, cookbooks and educational materials.
At the NCRC, Dole collaborates with other campus partners including the Appalachian State University Human Performance Lab, the David H. Murdock Research Institute, NC State University Plants for Human Health Institute and NC A&T State University Center of Excellence in Post Harvest Technologies. Research projects so far have involved the use of bananas as an energy source for athletic performance, chia seed consumption and Omega 3 bioavailability, the effects of fruit and vegetable juice on inflammation and oxidative stress, the health benefits of vitamin D from Portobello mushroom powder and the identification of bacterial metabolites from black tea polyphenols. In addition, Dole has jointly funded a two year, post doctoral research position with NC State University utilizing NMR to assist in compound identification for these projects further enhancing the industry-academic partnerships which define the NCRC campus as a whole.
Dole’s research at the NCRC has contributed directly to the product development of a number of Dole products including a chia seed cluster snack and a vitamin D mushroom powder currently available on dole.com. Dole’s research has resulted in several scientific publications contributing to the knowledge base supporting the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and the nutrients they contain.