Profile Image

Yuan Yao

Department of Food Sciences 

  • Professor of Food Science
Nelson Hall of Food Science (NLSN) Room 2115
745 Agriculture Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907

 General Information


In my lab, we integrate fundamental research with technology development. Our interests include the creation, characterization, and applications of novel carbohydrates, study of interactions among food ingredients, and development of value-added materials for the food and non-food industries.

  • Functional dendrimer-like polysaccharides & food nanotechnology
    Functional dendrimer-like polysaccharides (DLPs) are fundamentally novel materials created in my lab. Compared with synthetic dendrimers, DLPs are larger in size (~45 nm), far more economical, and can be designed and prepared with a broad variety of food and non-food approaches. A primary application of DLPs is the construction of multi-functional assemblies to protect and deliver bioactive compounds, such as drugs, antibacterial peptides, and nutrients. By manipulating the backbone structure and surface properties of DLPs, the performance of loading and release can be controlled. Grants have been awarded from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and USDA-NIFA to support the research in this area.
  • Oligosaccharides and polysaccharides with tailored digestibility
    Our target is to develop oligosaccharides and polysaccharides with modulated digestibility. My group is developing technologies to manipulate carbohydrate profiles, thus tailoring the ratio among rapidly digestible, slowly digestible, and resistant carbohydrates. These materials have potentials in foods to confer extended glucose release or prebiotic properties.  
  • Genetic, enzymatic and chemical starch modifications
    We use genetic, enzymatic and chemical approaches to modify starch structure and functions. The goal is to develop carbohydrate materials with enhanced values, such as high fiber content, controlled digestibility, or specific thermal and rheological properties. To conduct genetic starch modifications, we use Single Kernel Screening (SKS) methodology to identify maize mutants with novel starch structures.


FS 591 Food Enzymes
FS/F&N 630 Carbohydrates
FS 655 Case Study

Current Graduate Students and Research Lab Members

Department of Food Science, 745 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-8256

© Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Integrity Statement | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Agricultural Communication

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact us at so we can help.

Sign In