COLUMBUS, Ohio–V.M. “Bala” Balasubramaniam, a professor of food engineering in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) departments of Food Science and Technology and Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, is the 2021 recipient of the Research and Development Award from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).
Balasubramaniam was honored for his ground-breaking work in high-pressure processing, IFT President Noel Anderson, said in a written statement. IFT is an international, nonprofit scientific society of professionals engaged in food science, food technology, and related areas in academia, government, and industry.
“What makes this recognition especially distinctive is the fact that (he) was nominated and selected by (his) peers and leaders in the field of food science,” Anderson said.
“Balasubramaniam’s integrated, multidisciplinary approach to research and industrial outreach has advanced knowledge about innovative food manufacturing technologies and has resulted in a significant impact on the thermal and nonthermal processing of foods, which significantly contributes to the understanding of food science and technology,” Anderson said. “In particular, his work in the area of high-pressure processing has opened new pathways for product offerings by developing safe, clean-label, high-quality alternatives to traditional processes.”
High-pressure pasteurization was originally introduced for preservation of guacamole in the United States in 1997, said Balasubramaniam. Today, high-pressure pasteurization is a commercially viable process worldwide. Deli meats, guacamole, ready-to-eat meals, juices, fruit and vegetable products, salads, and seafood are examples of pressure-treated, value-added, clean-label products available on the market.
Award winners were presented with a $3,000 honorarium and a crystal award from IFT.
“I am very honored to receive the award, which validates the work one has done by various peers, as nominations come globally as well as by various sectors including academia, industry, and government agencies,” Balasubramaniam said. “An award like this is not possible without excellent, dedicated colleagues, staff, and students.
“This includes multidisciplinary team efforts and a dedicated support ecosystem. Though each one may do a small part, these (efforts) are very critical for success of the faculty members.”
Balasubramaniam’s laboratory—which includes a multidisciplinary team of process engineers, microbiologists, chemists, and nutritionists—investigates innovative food manufacturing technologies and then works with industry to implement them.
Known internationally for his research on high-pressure and other types of nonthermal processing, or safely processing food using significantly less heat, Balasubramaniam has won numerous national and international awards and authored or co-authored some 115 journal papers, 22 book chapters, two books, five webinars, and four invention disclosures. Balasubramaniam was previously a recipient of the IFT Calvert L. Willey Distinguished Service Award.
For more information on high-pressure processing, go to u.osu.edu/foodsafetyeng/research-focus/high-pressure-processing.
V.M. “Bala” Balasubramaniam