The Perrotis College School of Graduate Studies shares the American Farm School vision of providing quality education focused on applied research. This is reflected on the M.Sc. theses giving emphasis to digital technology, genomics and bioinformatics, the utilization of by-products of the food industry and bio-active food ingredients, as well as current consumer and food industry trends.
An important research focus has been the elucidation, with next generation DNA sequencing technologies, of the microbiota of Greek traditional fermented products such as table olives. The DNA of the probiotic bacteria was sequenced, revealing information on specific types of probiotics. Results on Halkidiki table olives revealed specific strains of probiotics in olives coming from different geographic locations. These results were presented at the 2nd International Yale Symposium on Olive Oil and Health at Delphi, Greece. Further analyses are underway with a focus on the effect of probiotics on the olive and brine volatile composition, measured with the GC-MS chromatography equipment of Perrotis college. These results will be published in an international scientific journal. Similarly, emphasis is given to the nutritional and functional food properties of olive oil for which a precise profiling of biochemical properties is underway.
Research has been initiated on the exploitation of the rich Mediterranean biodiversity to be used as alternative crop species that can adapt under harsh conditions and make for good candidates as potential food and medicinal crops. An M.Sc. thesis is underway studying the perennial plant Kritamo revealing with gene expression analysis the regulation the nutritional quality under salt stress conditions. A publication is being prepared to be published in an international scientific journal.
Effective and efficient detection of food adulteration is increasingly important in the food industry especially in processed meat products. A protocol was developed for simultaneous bovine, pork and horse meat quantification in raw and processed meat products with species specific quantitative DNA analysis.
The students of the Marketing department through analysis, critical thinking and the ability to evaluate the quality of research, are called to understand and propose substantiated solutions to complex issues in the field of agri-food in order to make better decisions.
A project evaluated the consumer perceptions in new fish farming products, such as fish fed with insect proteins in the form of fishmeal. Many of the respondents showed a positive attitude towards these new products and low phobia in new types of food and technologies as they believe they are more environmentally friendly.
The acceptance of digital technologies by Greek farmers was investigated taking into account the obstacles they may encounter trying to integrate precision agriculture into their farms. The main factors that seem to stand in the way of adopting precision farming are cost and lack of know-how. The perception of Greek farmers about the various benefits arising from precision farming systems indicated that fertilizer applications and precision farming applications related to automatic satellite guidance are the most popular. These results will be announced in a scientific conference but also have exceptional value to further facilitate the adoption of precision farming in Greece
Innovative research is at the core of Perrotis College Graduate program with current students continuing the work on the abovementioned research as well as initiating new projects such as the investigation of the functional properties of human maternal milk in comparison with bovine milk produced by the American Farm School using small RNA analysis. Results obtained from MSc students thesis contribute significantly towards the development of new food products, their marketing and consumer targeting as well as the adoption of innovative practices in the agricultural and food industry.