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Dairy Processing, Manufacturing, Dairy Foods Technology


The Cal Poly Dairy Products Technology Center was formed in 1986 to help meet the growing needs of California’s dairy industry for applied research, industry training, and more trained graduates for careers in the dairy/food industries. DPTC is now in its 23rd year as one of five dairy centers of excellence funded in part by Dairy Management, Inc. and California Dairy Research Foundation. Cal Poly has invested in and firmly established a solid infrastructure of technical expertise, physical facilities, equipment, and industry relationships to address many current and future needs of California’s dairy industry. The DPTC is recognized statewide, nationally and increasingly internationally as a focal point for innovation and training in dairy foods.


The Center is led by a Director and 3 full time tenure track faculty. It has 10 full time research staff, 15-20 graduate students (MS), and several undergraduate students involved in its activities. Recently it established a 17 member Industry Advisory Council to help guide program direction of the Center.


The Center is housed in a 21,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility (completed in 1996, $7.1 million) that is 100% dedicated to serving the dairy sector. The facility includes a well equipped pilot plant, product development labs, and analytical laboratories for microbiological, chemical and functional properties testing and research. In addition, Center faculty have established active collaborations within the University, and with other faculty at the nation’s other dairy centers and with colleagues at several internationally renown dairy research locations including INRA, France; STELA, Canada; Riddett Center, New Zealand; and Food Science Australia. The Center is also part of the Dairy Science Department which maintains a working 200 cow dairy farm adjacent to the DPTC which provides ample opportunities for dairy research from farm to table.

Program Activities

The Center has established active programs of applied research, outreach, and student training. The applied research program (a portfolio of 15-20 projects) currently emphasizes cheese science and technology, dairy foods quality, dairy ingredients technology, and novel process technologies. Its outreach programs serve approximately 400-500 participants annually through its many short courses and symposia. The center routinely addresses phone calls, emails and other requests from trade groups, consumers, media and individual companies. Its graduates are known for their strong focused training in dairy science and technology.


In addition to improving and growing its existing programs the DPTC (as part of its recently completed strategic plan) seeks to develop new program emphasis to support global market growth and dairy innovation for the California dairy sector. In addition, it is exploring new program approaches to address the expressed needs for more trained graduates to fill the many technical needs critical to drive product quality and ultimately dairy product sales growth.

The Mission

The overall mission of the Dairy Products Technology Center is to support the maintenance, growth and continued economic health of the dairy foods industry. To accomplish this mission, the DPTC will: 1. Conduct timely research that will provide the scientific and technological basis for new and improved dairy food products and processes which utilize dairy-based ingredients. 2. Increase the number of well-trained students available to enter careers in the dairy industry and allied fields. 3. Enhance technology transfer by offering short courses, symposia, and publications to the dairy/foods industry. 4. Ensure that dairy products are safe, wholesome and nutritious.

Academic Programs

  • Instruction- Fundamental principles and practices used in dairy product technology (undergraduate and graduate courses, student research projects).
  • Research and Development- Dairy foods product/process research and development (senior thesis projects, graduate student thesis projects, industry sponsored projects, collaborative projects with U.C. Davis and industry, proprietary research and development projects.
  • Technology Transfer- Dairy short courses and symposia for industry personnel, demonstration and testing of new technological advances, dairy certification and licensing, information retrieval and acqusition for dairy science and technology.

Current Areas of Reseach Focus:

  • Cheese Technology- (e.g. flavor, texture, yield, functional properties)
  • Process Development- (e.g. membrane processes, heat treatments)
  • Product Development- (e.g. frozen desserts, new uses of dairy products)

Go to DPTC Web Page