Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Food Science (MS)

Degree Level



Food Science


Philip G. Crandall

Committee Member

Han-Seok Seo

Second Committee Member

Cynthia Sides

Third Committee Member

Alvaro Durand-Morat

Fourth Committee Member

Corliss Ann O'Bryan


environmental, health benefit, liquid smoke, mesquite, sustainability, willing to pay


Mesquite trees continue to invade forests and range lands in many countries across the world. The cost to remove these trees is staggering. In Texas, landowners spent $25 million over a 10- year period to clear 300,000 ha of mesquite trees, a fraction of the 22 million ha of Texas land affected by this invasion. Estimates are that the mesquite continues to negatively impact one to two percent of additional land in selected counties each year in Texas. However, the problem is not unique to Texas, but rather to the 44 species of mesquite trees, belonging to the genus Prosopis found in the pea family, the Fabaceae, introduced across the southern United States, South Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America, and the Caribbean. In response, researchers are searching for economically viable uses for harvested trees and seeds to provide an alternative to the high cost of removal. If viable uses for harvested mesquite trees and seeds are found, then sustained pressure will limit and ultimately reduce the negative impact from these invasive trees. One key factor to controlling this invasive species is to find economically and environmentally sustainable uses to help pay the costs of removal or perhaps make removal less necessary. Traditional uses of mesquite are as a building material, as a source of food for both animals and humans and as wood for charcoal. Emerging uses of mesquite are new applications as a biofuel and as a bio-filter medium for water. Moreover, forestry land management of mesquite has adapted to include the tree as a component of hunting lands. New control methodologies and technologies are based on an increased understanding of mesquite growth patterns, using recommended practices that reduce control and eradication costs while improving the efficiency of land management. Previous land management practices have proven that excessive application of herbicides, physical removal of mesquite trees, or human-induced brush fires, if not carefully planned, only worsen mesquite infestations. The growing problem of mesquite land management provides an opportunity for continued research into novel ways to utilize mesquite biomass, of both wood and seed pods. For example, liquid smoke application for poultry products. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts comprise almost 30% of total poultry sales and poultry remains US consumers’ protein of choice. This research sought to determine whether consumers of chicken would pay a premium for a smoked chicken breast that was healthier and produced with less of a negative impact on the environment. Two balanced consumer panel groups were presented with information on the two value prospects of smoked chicken prepared with liquid smoke. The order of presentation of the health claims and the environmentally friendly claims were reversed to measure the impact of the order of presentation on consumers’ willingness to pay. An Nth type auction showed that health claims elicited a greater premium; the highest average premium was approximately $7 including the baseline price following the health claims for the liquid smoked chicken. The order of presentation of the information did not affect the results.