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Meat Processing and Nutrition Research Team


Chief Scientist

Zhang Dequan, Ph. D, Professor, Doctoral Supervisor,

Deputy Director of Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST)

Devoted in meat science and technology research for decades, National Outstanding personality in agricultural science and technology research, China; Young and Middle-aged Leading Scientist of the Ministry of Science and technology, China (MoST); Leading Researcher (Class B) of "Agricultural Science Talents" of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS); Chief Scientist of the Meat Processing Research of National Sheep Industrial Technology System; Director of Key Laboratory of Agro-Food Quality and Safety of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, China (MARA); Deputy director of Key Laboratory of Agro-Products Processing Technology of MARA; Vice-chairman of Chinese Association of Animal Products Processing Science and Technology; Vice Secretary-General of National Animal Products Processing Standards Technical Committee; Vice-chairman of Agricultural Product Standardization Technical Committee of MARA; Vice-chairman of China Cold Chain Logistics Alliance.

Research focus and objectives

1. Fresh meat intelligent logistics and preservation technology. Cover the evaluation and digital characterization of fresh meat regarding to eating quality, processing quality, nutrition quality and safety quality, and the mechanism of meat fresh keeping. Prof. Zhang’s team also focuses on research and developing of novel packaging materials, online monitoring, intelligent storage and logistics technology, precise loss reducing and other key technologies and equipment. Development of new products, such as chilled meat, iced fresh meat, are ongoing. Efforts on fresh meat aim to achieve digitalization of fresh meat quality, identification of characteristics, non-destructive evaluation, online monitoring and intelligent logistics preservation.

2. Green processing technology of Chinese traditional meat products. Focuses on the mechanism of the mass transfer and heat transfer, characteristic quality formation and the growth and decline of hazards in Chinese traditional meat products, such as smoke-barbecue, air drying and marinating. The team created key techniques and equipment for green processing, such as smoke-free barbecue, water-free brine, and intelligent air-drying, etc. Moreover, the team also developed ready-to-eat, ready-to-heat, ready-to-cook, ready-to-prepared meat products (i.e. 4R meat products) and other convenient and fast new products in order to overcome common problems in meat industry, which are the low industrialization and the difficulty to maintain characteristic quality.

3. Precise manufacturing technology of nutritious meat products. Carrying out research on the evaluation of the nutrient ingredients and functional efficacy of special livestock and poultry meat. Further studies drive on developing key technologies for personalized meat products design, precise and high-quality processing in order to develop new meat products for special populations, special environments, and special medical applications (i.e. 3S meat products), as well as other nutritional, functional, high value-added new products to a variety of consumer’s needs.


The team focuses on three key tasks in the meat industry, including fresh meat quality and freshness preservation, green manufacturing of traditional meat products and meat nutrition. Responsible for over 30 national projects, such as the “13th Five-Year Plan” National Key R&D Project, National Nature Science Foundation of China and International S&T Corporation Program of China; gained “Youth Civilization” of CAAS in 2016; the team’s achievement, “Key technology and industrialization of mutton echelon processing”, won the Second Prize of National Science and Technology Award in 2018; won the Outstanding Innovation Team of Chinese Agricultural Science and Technology Award and the Outstanding Innovation Team Award of CAAS in 2019. The team published more than 170 high quality academic papers, published 5 academic books, authorized 58 National Invention patents, established 13 national standards, won 13 national and ministerial level awards, participated in drafting of 10 national and industrial planning, such as “Development Outline of National Food Industry 12th and 13th Five-Year Plan” and “Outline of the national medium and long term science and technology development program (2021-2035)”, etc. There were 82 students supervised by the chief scientist, Prof. Zhang, including post-doctoral students, doctoral students, master students and international students. Since 2013, the team performed the technical transformation in more than 30 enterprises with direct economic benefits of more than 16 billion RMB, and the technical transformation created more than 20 million RMB. The team achieved the following achievements.

1. The team proposed and revealed the endogenous enzyme mechanism of post translational modification of protein affects meat quality and developed the flexible combination preservation technology, hurdle preservation technology. As a result, the loss of livestock and poultry after slaughtering fell to less than 3%, and the shelf life of fresh meat was extended to 45 days. There were more than 30 high quality papers about protein phosphorylation published on the top journals in the field, such as Meat Science, Food Chemistry, etc. The frontier research outcome enriched and developed the classic calpain regulation theory.

2. The team systematically analyzed the processing characteristics of mutton in China and established a mutton processing technology system including grading and cutting-primary processing-comprehensive utilization technology which is suitable for Chinese dietary habits and has been widely used in four major mutton production areas in China. The standardized grading and cutting rate of lamb increased from 4.8% to 92.5%, and the industrial deep processing rate increased from less than 3% to 17%. The mutton processing realized a leap from "manual experience" to "standardized industrialization", which won the Second Prize of the National Science and Technology Progress Award.

3. For Chinese traditional meat products, revealed their characteristic quality formation mechanism and developed key technologies and equipment for industrialization, such as liquid smoking, green roasting, quantitative marinating, gradient temperature hot air drying, etc. Have built green manufacturing technology system. As a result, hazards have been reduced by more than 50%; pollutants emission have been reduced by more than 30%; energy has been saved by more than 30%. These scientific researches promoted the transformation and upgrading of traditional meat industry, and won Chinese Patent Excellence Award and International Invention Patent.