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Hasitha Priyashantha

My focus area is Food Science & Technology and thus the research interests are pertaining to wider aspects concerning the raw material characteristics and food (dairy) technology.


Currently, I am guest-editing a Special Issue in Animals MDPI (Impact Factor 2.75) on "New Insights into the Milk 2.0". We welcome contributions that aim to increase our knowledge about the different aspects of milk. Therefore, studies dealing with bovine milk and dairy products are welcome. More information is available here: Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2022.
I completed my PhD in Food Science at Åse Lundh Lab, Department of Molecular Sciences. My major focus area is Food (dairy) technology.  My current work is to understand how the texture, microstructure and flavour develop in Swedish long-ripened hard cheese, in relation to raw milk composition and properties. The project is implemented in collaboration between SLU (Uppsala and Umeå) and industry (e.g. Norrmejerier, Umeå)


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Teaching in Food Chemistry and Physics (LV0105) MSc. Course

1.) Enzymes in food 
2.) Water in food

Lab assistant/demonstrator in Animal Food Science (LV0099) MSc. Course

1.) Milk coagulation and rheology lab exercise 
2.) Meat texture and colour lab exercise 


I am applying several food structure characterization methods such as; hyperspectral imaging, microscopic (confocal, electron and fluorescence) imaging, rheological techniques and other advanced food structure measuring techniques to track the changes over the ripening period. Development of aroma components and sensorial properties will be analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively (sensory panel and headspace GC-MS). I also work with the characterization of raw milk composition and properties (e.g. gross composition, casein micelle size, plasmin etc.).


The main organizer of the PhD study visit to Japan and the main applicant of the grant (162 000 SEK) from PhD School Focus on Food & Biomaterials and SLU Future Food

Chairperson of SLUSS PhD Student Council 2018

Social Media Coordinator at the Department of Molecular Sciences, SLU, Aug 2018 – Present

PhD student representative in PhD school "Focus on Food & Biomaterials"


I am a well-organized, strategic, result-oriented and enthusiastic team player. I have involved in many extracurricular activities during my PhD (i.e. Organizing a study trip, a symposium and chairing the SLU's PhD council). Confident and influential communicator with good scientific practices (i.e. Departmental social media coordinator, invited to deliver speeches & various presentations, popular articles and scientific papers; see below). 

I obtained Erasmus Mundus Food of Life double masters from University of Copenhagen (MSc. in Food Science) and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (MSc. in Animal Science). I obtained my bachelor’s degree (first-class division) in Agricultural Technology and Management from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.


BSc. thesis projects  

1.     Visualization of fluorescent Lactobacillus reuteri in milk using epifluorescence microscopy– Co-supervisor 

2.     Identification of the microbial composition of Swedish hard cheese by MALDI ToF mass spectrometry– Co-supervisor 

3.     Shelf Stability of Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) Treated Milk Brands in Sri Lanka– Co-supervisor 

4.     Variation of Swedish bovine milk quality over 25 years–Main Supervisor

5.     Stability of natural plant colourants in stirred yoghurt production – Co-supervisor 

6.     Incorporation of natural plant stabilizers in yoghurt production – Co-supervisor 

7.     Stability of natural colourants on probiotic stirred yoghurt – Co-supervisor

8.     Milk clotting properties of Bryophyllum pinnatum, Calotropis gigantea, and Solanum incanum crude proteases on bovine, buffalo, and goat, skimmed milk– Co-supervisor

9.     Development of a quality management system for Nikakotuwa estate dairy processing plant– Co-supervisor

10.  Provision of yeast extract-based supplementation to crossbred Jersey-Friesian dairy cows in an intensive dairy farming system in Sri Lanka did not influence the milk yield or composition– Co-supervisor

Several other ongoing BSc thesis projects are currently supervising in collaboration with Sri Lankan universities 

MSc. thesis projects  

1.     Variation in milk composition and its correlation to rennet induced coagulation: A case study from northern Sweden–Main Supervisor 

2.     Plasmin and Plasminogen Variation in Bovine Raw Milk– Co-supervisor 

3.     Variation of protein profile of bulk milk from Northern Sweden- Co-supervisor

4.     The effect of freezing temperature and storage time on casein micelles’ functionality –Main Supervisor

Selected publications

Doctoral Thesis:

Priyashantha, H. (2021). Variation in raw milk quality: Impact on milk coagulation and cheese ripening (Doctoral Thesis 2021:48, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences). Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae. ISBN: 9789177607748. 

Peer-reviewed international journal articles:

  1. Wijesekara, A., Weerasingha, V., Jayarathna, S., Priyashantha, H.* (2022) Quality parameters of natural phenolics and its impact on physicochemical, microbiological, and sensory quality attributes of probiotic stirred yogurt during the storage. Food Chemistry: X
  2. Priyashantha, H.*, Patrizia Buldo, Thilo Berg, Christian Gilleladen, Richard Ipsen (2021). Understanding the fermentation factors affecting the separability of fermented milk: A model system study. Food Structure 
  3. Priyashantha, H.*, Ranadheera, C.S., Rasika, D.M.D., Vidanarachchi, J.K.* (2021). Traditional Sri Lankan Fermented Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) Milk Gel (Meekiri): Technology, Microbiology & Quality Characteristics. Journal of Ethnic Foods.
  4. Adikari, A.M.M.U., Priyashantha, H.*, Disanayaka, J.N.K., Jayatileka, D.V., Kodithuwakku, S.P., Jayatilake, J.A.M.S., Vidanarachchi, J.K.* (2021). Isolation, identification and characterization of Lactobacillus species diversity from Meekiri: traditional fermented buffalo milk gels in Sri Lanka.  Heliyon.
  5. Priyashantha, H.* & Lundh, Å. (2021). Graduate Student Literature Review: Current understanding of the influence of on-farm factors on bovine raw milk and its suitability for cheesemaking. Journal of Dairy Science.

  6. Weragama, D., Weerasingha, V., Jayasumana, L., Adikari, J., Vidanarachchi, J. K., & Priyashantha, H.* (2021). The physicochemical, microbiological, and organoleptic properties and antioxidant activities of cream cheeses fortified with dried curry leaves (Murraya koenigii L.) powder. Food Science & Nutrition. 9(10), 5774-5784.

  7. Priyashantha, H.*, Johansson, M., Langton, M., Samples, S., Jayarathna, S., Hetta, M., Saedén, K. H., Höjer, A., & Lundh, Å. (2021). Variation in Dairy Milk Composition and Properties Has Little Impact on Cheese Ripening: Insights from a Traditional Swedish Long-Ripening Cheese. Dairy. 2(3), 336–355.

  8. Priyashantha, H.*, Höjer, A., Saedén, K. H., Lundh, Å., Johansson, M., Bernes, G., Geladi, P., & Hetta, M. (2021). Determining the end-date of long-ripening cheese maturation using NIR hyperspectral image modelling: A feasibility study.   Food Control. 108316.

  9. Priyashantha, H.*, Lundh, Å., Höjer, A., Bernes, G., Nilsson, D., Hetta, M., Saedén, K. H., Gustafsson, A. H., & Johansson, M. (2021).Composition and properties of bovine milk: A case study from dairy farms in northern Sweden; Part I. Effect of dairy farming system. Journal of Dairy Science. 104 (7).
  10. Priyashantha, H.*, Lundh, Å., Höjer, A., Bernes, G., Nilsson, D., Hetta, M., Saedén, K. H., Gustafsson, A. H., & Johansson, M. (2021). Composition and properties of bovine milk: A case study from dairy farms in Northern Sweden; Part II. Effect of monthly variation. Journal of Dairy Science.  104 (7).
  11. Madushan, R., Vidanarachchi, J.K., Prasanna, P.H.P., Werellagama, S., Priyashantha, H.*  (2021). Use of Natural Plant Extracts as a Novel Microbiological Quality Indicator in Raw Milk: An Alternative for Resazurin Dye Reduction Method. LWT-Food Science and Technology.  144-111221
  12. Abesinghe, A.; Priyashantha, H.; Prasanna, P.; Kurukulasuriya, M.S.; Ranadheera, C.; Vidanarachchi, J.  (2020). Inclusion of Probiotics into Fermented Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) Milk: An Overview of Challenges and Opportunities. Fermentation 6, 121.
  13. Jayarathna, S., Priyashantha, H., Johansson, M., Vidanarachchi, J.K., Jayawardana, B.C., Liyanage, R.  (2020). Probiotic enriched fermented soy-gel as a vegan substitute for dairy yoghurt. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation. 00:e15092.
  14. Priyashantha, H.*, Höjer, A., Saedén, K. H., Lundh, Å., Johansson, M., Bernes, G., Geladi, P., Hetta, M.  (2020). Use of near-infrared hyperspectral (NIR-HS) imaging to visualize and model the maturity of long-ripening hard cheeses. Journal of Food Engineering.
  15. Priyashantha, H.*, Lundh, Å., Höjer, A., Hetta, M., Johansson, M., Langton, M.,  (2019). Interactive effects of casein micelle size and calcium and citrate content on rennet‐induced coagulation in bovine milk. Journal of Texture Studies. 1-12
  16. Priyashantha, H.*, Quintáns, A.P., Baixauli, R., Vidanarachchi, J.K.,(2019). Type of starter culture influences on structural and sensorial properties of low protein fermented gels. Journal of Texture Studies, 1-11.
  17. Sun, L., Dicksved, J., Priyashantha, H., Lundh, Å., Johansson, M. (2019). Distribution of bacteria between different milk fractions, investigated using culture-dependent methods and molecular-based and fluorescent microscopy approaches. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 

* corresponding author 

Cover pages:

Cover Image, Journal of Texture Studies, Volume 50, Issue 6, 2019

Posters and presentations:

Hasitha Priyashantha, Annika Höjer, Karin Hallin-Saedén, Gun Bernes, Monika Johansson, Maud Langton, Åse Lundh, Paul Geladi and Mårten Hetta. Near-infrared hyperspectral imaging for prediction of the maturity of long ripened hard cheese. Poster presented at: IDF World Dairy Summit (2017), Belfast, UK.

Also, the poster was presented at the Food Science Sweden conference in Uppsala, Sweden.

Hasitha Priyashantha, Monika Johansson, Annika Höjer,  Mårten Hetta, Maud Langton and Åse Lundh. Interaction between casein micelle size, calcium and citrate in renneted milk coagulation. Poster presented at: 32nd EFFoST (2018), Nantes, France.

Hasitha Priyashantha. Hyperspectral imaging for rapid prediction of cheese maturity. Poster presented at: 7th Edition of Advanced Food Analysis VLAG International PhD course at Wageningen, The Netherlands. Awarded as the runner-up of the poster session.

Hasitha Priyashantha, Annika Höjer, Karin Hallin-Saedén, Gun Bernes, Monika Johansson, Maud Langton, Åse Lundh, Paul Geladi and Mårten Hetta. Near-infrared hyperspectral imaging in cheese ripening. Oral presentation and poster presented The Chemical Side of SLU IV 2019 August, Uppsala, Sweden. 

Presented NABC (Need-Approach-Benefits-Competitiveness) style pitch based on PhD project at the Food Science Sweden Conference in Lund, November 2019

Participated and delivered an oral presentation about PhD project at the Baltic University Programme's training on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary PhD education workshop for PhD students in Rogow, Poland. 24-28 November 2019

Oral presentation on raw milk quality in cheese making at Nordic Joint Committee for Agricultural and Food Research, 2020-08-27

Oral presentation about the PhD project at the virtual internship programme (2021) for master and PhD students from S.Seifullin Kazakh Agro Technical University, Kazakhstan.

Oral presentation about the PhD project at LiFT (Swedish Industrial PhD School) virtual mini-symposium (2021).

Oral presentation “NIR-hyperspectral imaging enables rapid and non-destructive characterization of long-ripening cheeses based on maturity” at IDF International Cheese Science and Technology Virtual Symposium (2021). Hosted by IDF-Canada and Université Laval, Canada. (First place in the student oral presentation competition).

Flash oral presentation “Impact of on-farm factors in dairy farming systems and sampling month on the composition and properties of bovine milk from dairy farms in Northern Sweden” at Dairy Science and Technology Virtual Symposium (2021). Hosted by Arhus University, Denmark.

Abstract of the PhD thesis published online in Journal of Dairy Research 

Conference paper “Dawul Kurundu” (Neolitsea involucrate) leaf extract as a natural stabilizer in set-yoghurt: Effect on physicochemical and sensory qualities

Popular Articles: 

SLU's knowledge bank article on factors behind variation in raw milk quality and its impact on cheese making properties

SLU's knowledge bank article on how milk quality is affected by dairy farming system and sampling

SLU's knowledge bank article on Development of a non-destructive tool for quality assurance of cheese ripening

Sunday Observer Newspaper article on Potential in dairy farming and the way forward 

Vidusara Newspaper article on Path to self-sustaining Sri Lanka’s need for dairying; is it an achievable challenge? 

Priyashantha, H., Höjer, A., Saedén, K. H., Lundh, Å., Johansson, M., Bernes, G., Geladi, P., Hetta, M. Can cheese maturity be measured using images? New Food Article 90979.

Hasitha Priyashantha, Nazlı Türkmen, Shishanthi Jayarathna. Challenges in probiotic dairy-based beverages. New Food. Issue 5. Beverages. In-Depth Focus – October 2019.

Gun Bernes, Annika Höjer, Åse Lundh, Johan Dicksved, Monika Johansson, Hasitha Priyashantha, and  Li Sun,  Anders H Gustafsson, and  Maud Langton, and Mårten Hetta and Karin Hallin Saedén. Forskning pågår - från foder till ost. Nytt / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för norrländsk jordbruksvetenskap (12609821), Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet, SLU. (2018). Online version available here.

Hasitha Priyashantha, Galia Zamaratskia, Senaka Ranadheera, Priyanga Ranasinghe, The power of Ceylon cinnamon, New Food, Issue 2: 2019. The online version is accessible by visiting the magazine.

Swedish translated version "Kanelen ger mer än smak" published in Livsmedel i fokus, Issue number: 4, ISSN: 1652-912X 

A matter of concentration - Popular Science Article, Dairy Industries International, October 2019, Volume 84 No. 10.


Read more at Research Gate


Awarded the American Dairy Science Association® (ADSA) Foundation Graduate Student Literature Review Award: Dairy Foods Division (PhD)  - SLU news 2022-07-01 and ADSA news page

Best Presenter Award at the IDF International Cheese Science and Technology Symposium 2021 - SLU news 2021-06-16

Organized a Sri Lankan Symposium -SLU webpage 2019-06-19.

Press releases

Daily Mirror Newspaper

The Island Newspaper

The agenda of the event can be found here

Organized a study trip to Japan - SLU webpage 2018-05-21

- Popular article in resurs

-Article in "Livsmedel i fokus" -April issue, 2018, Page 54 (PDF available on request)


The Graduate School LiFT (Future Technologies for Food production) graduate student profile

Invited speaker at the seminar of equal opportunities at SLU

Mjölkråvaran avgörande för mejeriprodukternas hållbarhet och smak (only available in Swedish, prepared in collaboration with Maria Karlsson for Matologi - food festival in Stockholm, 2018)

Seminar on visualization and modelling the maturity of long ripening hard cheese using NIR hyperspectral imaging at the VH faculty day 2018 (Aula, Uppsala) and Umeå - in connection with first year evlaution 

LiFT PhD course in Swedish Food industry in Lund.