Federico Harte, Ph.D.

Federico Harte, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Food Science
331 Rodney A. Erickson Food Science Building
University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • Dairy Processing
  • Food Rheology
  • Food Engineering


  • B.S., University of Uruguay. Agricultural Engineering.
  • Ph.D., Washington State University. Biological Systems Engineering.


Dairy Foods processing
Food Rheology
Food Engineering

Current Key Members

Liz Astorga (MS student)
David Goulder (MS student)
Grace Voronin (PhD student)
Saurabh Lele (Postdoctoral Research Associate)
Stiphany Tieu (MS student)                    

Research Focus

Research focuses on processing interventions that strongly affect protein functionality and overall food physical properties. As we continue to seek for 'minimally processed' and 'clean' label foods, understanding the effect(s) of processing operations on the functionality of proteins, fats and carbohydrates becomes critical.

Recent projects have focused on

  • Caseins as natural emulsifiers and foaming agents
  • Functionality of lecithin phospholipid fractions beyond emulsification
  • Cryo-electron microscopy to elucidate the structure of casein micelles
  • Analytical methods to separate glycosylated casein proteins
  • The emulsifier-free and stabilizer-free ice cream
  • High pressure jet processing to dissociate protein quaternary structures
  • Effect of ionic environment on protein integrity

Strong emphasis is given in the following areas:
Dairy Processing and the structure-function properties of milk proteins

The casein proteins account for 80% of the total protein content in bovine milk and 40% of the total protein content in human milk.  The casein proteins aggregate into so called “casein micelles" of spherical shape and ca. 150 nm diameter. Bovine milk is white because of the 1015 casein micelles) dispersed in every mL of milk. The agreed biological function of the casein micelles is to transport amino acids and calcium from mother to young. This is widely accepted based on the fact that milk is supersaturated with calcium (bovine milk contains ca. 1.2 mg calcium per mL of milk whereas water can only dissolve up to 0.02 mg of calcium – as calcium phosphate – per mL) and because the phospho-serine amino acids responsible of holding calcium-rich clusters are conserved throughout virtually all mammal species. The casein micelles have also a tremendous technological relevance as they constitute the building blocks of traditional dairy foods, including cheese and yogurt. We are elucidating casein micelle structure-function relationships that are relevant to the fundamental understanding of the biological relevance of this nano-delivery system and the engineering of novel application within the food and health industries.

Nonthermal technologies for fluid foods: valve homogenization

Homogenization is a term used by food scientists and engineers to describe a wide variety of processes including ultrasonic, rotary, membrane, colloidal mill, and valve homogenization … among others. The ambiguity in the use of the word "homogenization" rises from the fact that any process that reduces the relative heterogeneity of a system can be called homogenization. We focus on what is typically referred to as "high pressure valve homogenization" or "dynamic high pressure homogenization" where several physical phenomena (including hydrostatic pressure, cavitation, shear stress, temperature) promote changes ranging from microbial and virus inactivation to protein structural modification and atypical molecular interactions. This process is applied to liquid foods by devices consisting of a positive displacement pump (usually a plunger type pump) and one or more restrictions to flow (stages) created by valves or nozzles. We arbitrarily define "high pressure homogenization" as homogenization processes where pumps are able to deliver at least 100 MPa hydrostatic pressure to a liquid food. We are currently working at maximum pressures that are six times that at bottom of the Marianas trench. As homogenization technologies keep “evolving" and higher pressures are achieved, the agreement on how to define “high pressure" vs. “low pressure" will most certainly change too.


Ethanol-mediated electrospinning of casein-only bead-free nanofibers
Food Hydrocolloids, Deepika, Sharma, Sharma, Deepika, Ziegler, Gregory Ray, Harte, Federico, 2024

Effect of high-pressure jet processing on the structure and physicochemical properties of plant protein isolate aqueous dispersions
Food Hydrocolloids, Oquendo, Liz Astorga, Lewis, Grace, Mahdinia, Ehsan, Harte, Federico, 2023

Milk fatty acid profile from grass feeding strategies on 2 Holstein genotypes: Implications for health and technological properties
JDS Communications, Techeira, N., Keel, K., Garay, A., Harte, F., Mendoza, A., Cartaya, A., Fariña, S., López-Pedemonte, T., 2023

Functionality of glycomacropeptide glycated with lactose and maltodextrin
Journal of Dairy Science, Keel, Karen, Harte, Federico M., Berbejillo, Julio, López-Pedemonte, Tomás, 2022

Effect of mild thermal and pH changes on the sol-gel transition in skim milk
Journal of Dairy Science, Tieu, Stiphany, Harte, Federico, 2022

Characterization of ethanol-induced casein micelle dissociation using a continuous protein monitoring unit
Journal of Dairy Science, Lewis, G., Bodinger, L. R., Harte, F. M., 2022

Characterization of high pressure jet–induced fat-protein complexation
Journal of Dairy Science, Lewis, G., Coupland, John, Harte, Federico, 2022

Prevention of low-temperature gelation in milk protein concentrates by calcium-binding salts
Journal of Dairy Science, Goulder, D. M., Harte, F. M., 2022

The effect of high-pressure jet processing on cocoa stability in chocolate milk
Journal of Dairy Science, Roberts, R, Tran, Michele, Coupland, J, Voronin, Grace, Lewis-Voronin, Grace, Roberts, R. F., Tran, Michelle, Lewis-Voronin, Grace, Coupland, J. N., Ziegler, G. R., Harte, F. M., 2021

Differential scanning calorimetry, Voronin, Grace, Harte, Federico, 2021

Tests done at the plant, López-Pedemonte, Tomás, Harte, Federico M., 2021

Raw Milk: Nature's most perfect food?, Clark, Stephanie, Harte, Federico, 2021

Stability, temperature dependence, and microstructure of high pressure jet-treated dairy foams
Food Hydrocolloids, Voronin, Grace Lewis, Coupland, John, Harte, Federico, 2021

Method-induced variation in the bacterial cell surface hydrophobicity MATH test
Journal of Microbiological Methods, Salas-Tovar, Jesús A., Escobedo-García, Sarai, Olivas, Guadalupe I., Acosta-Muñiz, Carlos H., Harte, Federico, Sepulveda, David R., 2021

High pressure jet spray drying of condensed skim milk results in powders with enhanced interfacial properties
Journal of Food Engineering, Voronin, Grace Lewis, Hettiarachchi, Charith A., Harte, Federico M., 2021

Freezing kinetics and microstructure of ice cream from high-pressure-jet processing of ice cream mix
Journal of Dairy Science, Voronin, G.L., Ning, G, Coupland, John, Roberts, Robert, Harte, F.M., 2021

Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Voronin, Grace, Harte, Federico, 2021

Raw Milk: Nature’s Most Perfect Food?, Clark, Stephany, Harte, Federico, 2021

Tests Done at the Plant, Tomas, López-Pedemonte, Harte, Federico, 2021

Assessing constituent volumes and morphology of bovine casein micelles using cryo-electron tomography
Journal of Dairy Science, Hettiarachchi, Charith A., Swulius, Matthew T., Harte, Federico, 2020

Effect of high-pressure-jet processing on the physiochemical properties of low-fat ice cream mix
Journal of Dairy Science, Voronin, G, Roberts, Robert, Felix, Tara L., Coupland, John N., Harte, Federico, 2020

Spray drying of high pressure jet-processed condensed skim milk
Journal of Food Engineering, Hettiarachchi, Charith A., Voronin, Grace L., Harte, Federico M., 2019

Critical phosphate salt concentrations leading to altered micellar casein structures and functional intermediates
Journal of Dairy Science, Saricay, Y., Hettiarachchi, C. A., Culler, M. D., Harte, F. M., 2019

Enhanced foaming and emulsifying properties of high-pressure-jet-processed skim milk
International Dairy Journal, Hettiarachchi, Charith A., Corzo-Martínez, Marta, Mohan, Maneesha S., Harte, Federico M., 2018

The association of lipophilic phospholipids with native bovine casein micelles in skim milk: Effect of lactation stage and casein micelle size
Journal of Dairy Science, Cheema, M, Smith, P. B., Patterson, Andrew, Hristov, A., Harte, F. M., 2018

Effect of high-pressure-jet processing on the viscosity and foaming properties of pasteurized whole milk
Journal of Dairy Science, Tran, M., Roberts, R., Felix, T. L., Harte, F. M., 2018

Effect of ethanol on the solubilization of hydrophobic molecules by sodium caseinate
Food Hydrocolloids, Qu, Yanqi, Harte, Federico M., Elias, Ryan J., Coupland, John N., 2018

Critical synergistic concentration of lecithin phospholipids improves the antimicrobial activity of eugenol against Escherichia coli
Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Zhang, Haoshu, Dudley, Edward G., Harte, Federico, 2017

The binding of orally dosed hydrophobic active pharmaceutical ingredients to casein micelles in milk
Journal of Dairy Science, Cheema, M., Hristov, A. N., Harte, F. M., 2017

Critical concentration of lecithin enhances the antimicrobial activity of eugenol against Escherichia coli
Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Zhang, Haoshu, Dudley, Edward G., Davidson, P. Michael, Harte, Federico, 2017

Choline absorption and evaluation of bioavailability markers when supplementing choline to lactating dairy cows
Journal of Dairy Science, de Veth, M. J., Artegoitia, V. M., Campagna, S. R., Lapierre, H., Harte, F., Girard, C. L., 2016

Chromatographic fractionation and molecular mass characterization of Cercidium praecox (Brea) gum
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Castel, Virginia, Zivanovic, Svetlana, Jurat-Fuentes, Juan L., Santiago, Liliana G., Rubiolo, Amelia C., Carrara, Carlos R., Harte, Federico M., 2016

Solvent-free lipase-catalyzed synthesis of technical-grade sugar esters and evaluation of their physicochemical and bioactive properties
Catalysts, Ye, Ran, Hayes, Douglas G., Burton, Rachel, Liu, Anjun, Harte, Federico M., Wang, Yuemeng, 2016

Micro- and Nanoparticles for Controlling Microorganisms in Foods, Zhong, Q., Weiss, J., Harte, Federico, Davidson, P., 2016

Food processing by high-pressure homogenization

Short communication: Casein hydrolysate and whey proteins as excipients for cyanocobalamin to increase intestinal absorption in the lactating dairy cow
Journal of Dairy Science, Artegoitia, V. M., de Veth, M. J., Harte, F., Ouellet, D. R., Girard, C. L., 2015

Delivering AIDS Drug to the Youngest Patients
Research Penn State, Mulhollem, Jeff, Harte, Federico, 2015

The association of low-molecular-weight hydrophobic compounds with native casein micelles in bovine milk
Journal of Dairy Science, Cheema, M., Mohan, M. S., Campagna, S. R., Jurat-Fuentes, J. L., Harte, F. M., 2015

Thermal inactivation kinetics of hepatitis A virus in spinach
International Journal of Food Microbiology, Bozkurt, Hayriye, Ye, Xiaofei, Harte, Federico, D'Souza, Doris H., Davidson, P. Michael, 2015

Effect of ultra-high pressure homogenization on the interaction between bovine casein micelles and ritonavir
Pharmaceutical Research, Corzo-Martínez, M., Mohan, M., Dunlap, J., Harte, F., 2015

Choline and choline metabolite patterns and associations in blood and milk during lactation in dairy cows
PLoS One, Artegoitia, Virginia M., Middleton, Jesse L., Harte, Federico M., Campagna, Shawn R., De Veth, Michael J., 2014

Milk and Ice Cream Processing, Mohan, Maneesha S., Hopkinson, Jonathan, Harte, Federico, 2014

Effect of a low temperature step during fermentation on the physico-chemical properties of fat-free yogurt
International Dairy Journal, Trejo, R., Corzo-Martínez, M., Wilkinson, S., Higginbotham, K., Harte, F. M., 2014

Yerba mate enhances probiotic bacteria growth in vitro but as a feed additive does not reduce Salmonella Enteritidis colonization in vivo
Poultry Science, Gonzalez-Gil, Francisco, Diaz-Sanchez, Sandra, Pendleton, Sean, Andino, Ana, Zhang, Nan, Yard, Carrie, Crilly, Nate, Harte, Federico, Hanning, Irene, 2014

Yerba mate enhances probiotic bacteria growth in vitro but as a feed additive does not reduce Salmonella Enteritidis colonization in vivo
American Historical Review, Gonzalez-Gil, Francisco, Diaz-Sanchez, Sandra, Pendleton, Sean, Andino, Ana, Zhang, Nan, Yard, Carrie, Crilly, Nate, Harte, Federico Miguel, Hanning, Irene, 2014

Chapter 17. Milk and Ice Cream Processing, Mohan, Maneesha, Hopkinson, Jonathan, Harte, Federico, 2014

Magnetic Fields for Food Preservation
Encyclopedia of Agricultural, Food, and Biological Engineering, San Martín, M., Harte, Federico, Barbosa-Cánovas, G., Swanson, B., 2014

Micro- and Nanoparticles for Controlling Microorganisms in Foods, Weiss, Jochen, Zhong, Qixin, Harte, Federico, Michael Davidson, P., 2014