AMES, Iowa — Six leading scientists in the area of epigenetic mechanisms in plants will present their research during the annual Plant Science Lecture Series at Iowa State University. The presentations will be May 16-17 in the Sun Room of the Memor

April 23rd, 2002

AMES, Iowa — A pizza crust developed by Iowa State students won first prize in the NASA Food Technology Commercial Space Center (FTCSC) product development competition. A group of food science and human nutrition students created EZ Crust, which may someday allow astronauts to enjoy pizza in space.

EZ Crust is made from okara, a high-fiber, high-protein by-product of soymilk and tofu production. The Iowa State team earned a trip to showcase EZ Crust at the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting and food expo in Anaheim, Calif., June 15-19. The students also will present the EZ Crust product to scientists at the Johnson Space Center in Houston in November.

Cheryll Reitmeier, NASA FTCSC education mission specialist and competition coordinator, said the product is a creative and versatile use of a food item that is usually viewed as waste.

"This product has applications for new foods on earth as well as in space," Reitmeier says.

The Iowa State students competed against teams from universities across the nation. Each team designed foods or processing systems that could meet the criteria for missions to the moon and planetary outposts. Those criteria called for a product that could be made from crops grown in space, prepared easily and eaten without producing many crumbs. It also was supposed to be easy to prepare, safe, nutritious to eat and good tasting. Food scientists from NASA and commercial food companies evaluated the students' products.

EZ crust is the culmination of two years of research. The students on the winning team are: Stanley Prawiradjaja, West Des Moines; Safir Moizuddin, Bangladesh; Nicolas Deak, Argentina; Theresa Walters, Beaconsfield; Jasmine Kuan, Malaysia; Mia Susanto, Indonesia; Miki Katayama, Japan; Roy Santoso, Indonesia; and Kariman Koning, Indonesia.

The students based their work on an initial version of EZ Crust developed last year for the 2001 competition. Those students included Sommer Hackenmiller, Grafton; Tessa Hackenmiller, Grafton; Carrie McDonald, Moline, Ill.; Maria McKean, Armstrong; and Tien Vinh, Iowa City, for the 2001 Product Development Competition. Mark Love, a associate professor in food science and human nutrition, was adviser for both groups.

Teams submitted their products to the competition in early April. Winners were announced on Monday, April 22.

The product development competition was established in 2001 to increase awareness among food science and technology students about foods and the food processing required for long-term space travel. The NASA FTCSC was established at Iowa State in 1999 to develop foods and food-processing technologies that enhance space missions and advance commercial food products. More information about the competition and the center can be found at


Cheryll Reitmeier, NASA Food Technology Commercial Space Center,(515) 294-4325

Katherine Carlson, NASA Food Technology Commercial Space Center,(515) 296-5387

Barbara McManus, Agriculture Communications Service, (515) 294-0707

Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720