(11/19/19) Baton Rouge, La. — Three LSU AgCenter researchers and extension educators have been recognized for their excellence in agricultural research.
Marlene Janes, Achyut Adhikari and Wennie Xu received the National Excellence in Multistate Research award from the Association of Public Land-Grand Universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Janes is a food microbiologist and Adhikari and Xu are food safety specialists in the AgCenter School of Nutrition and Food Sciences.
The three are members of a multidisciplinary team of researchers and extension educators from 39 institutions from across the United States whose work focuses on enhancing microbial food safety using risk analysis.
Jane’s specialty is in the control or elimination foodborne pathogens on the surface of meat, poultry, fruits, and vegetables by using chemicals and natural antimicrobial compounds
“We are validating mathematical models used for predictive microbiology to assist in the development of food safety assurance programs for food processors that produce water-in-oil emulsions such as margarine,” Janes said of the work that was recognized in the award.
Adhikari’s work focused on evaluating on-farm food safety risks associated with fresh produce and developing strategies to prevent microbial contamination during the production and processing.
“We also tested different water treatment to minimize microbial contaminants from irrigation water and meet the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule Agricultural water quality requirements,” he said.
With the goal of reducing foodborne illness, Xu’s group focuses on using reality-based research methods to improve microbial safety of fresh produce as well as understand the survival and transmission of pathogenic bacteria and viruses in various public settings.
“The group also investigates food safety knowledge and behaviors among food handlers who serve foods to general public or high-risk populations,” she said.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture