Michèle Marcotte – new ways to dehydrate food
This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.
Michèle Marcotte, Ph.D., is a pioneer in food processing research. As a federal scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), she created a new method of fruit dehydration which can also be applied to vegetables, meat, or fish known as osmotic dehydration. The innovation uses a natural process to partially dehydrate and sweeten the fruit in order to make them more palatable. Collaboration with private industry in Quebec led to the design, development, installation, and start-up of a custom build dried-cranberry production line that is unique to the world.
Among other developments Dr. Marcotte has worked on a prototype pilot oven for the optimization of baking and computer software to establish cooking-cooling cycle for meat products. Her research was recognized with several awards including ones from Treasury Board, the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology and the Canadian Society for Bioengineering.
Dr. Marcotte is currently the Director of the Ottawa Research and Development Centre located at the Central Experimental Farm in Canada. She is Canada’s representative of the International Association on Engineering and Foods (IAEF) and the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST).