A Deeper Look Into Food Safety, Quality: Ohio State Scientist Wins Research Award

Luis Rodriguez Saona

WOOSTER, Ohio -- Ohio State University scientist Luis Rodríguez-Saona, a national and international expert on using infrared spectroscopy to analyze the safety and quality of foods, has received the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s (OARDC) 2014 Distinguished Junior Faculty Research Award. The award honors outstanding achievements by an OARDC faculty member at the rank of assistant or associate professor.

OARDC is the research arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Rodríguez-Saona is an associate professor in the college’s Department of Food Science and Technology.

“His research accomplishments have produced significant improvements in rapid detection of quality traits and safety of agricultural products, as well as in disease detection,” a nominator wrote.

“He is currently working on sensor technology to allow the food industry to better manage harvest time, implement more appropriate postharvest handling procedures, and provide consistent, superior quality to manufacturers and consumers.”

Video: Rodriguez-Saona discusses his research on using infrared spectroscopy to improve the safety and quality of foods.

Infrared spectroscopy involves using infrared light to analyze the chemical makeup of materials -- in this case, foods and food ingredients.

Potato processors and cheesemakers, among others, are applying Rodríguez-Saona’s advancements.

He also is teaming up with scientists from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine to develop a faster way to diagnose disorders such as fibromyalgia and interstitial cystitis using infrared microspectroscopy.

“This research has received attention from the public and the medical community because quickly and accurately identifying pain syndromes permits early intervention of therapeutic strategies to aid in a patient’s quality of life,” the same nominator wrote.

Rodríguez-Saona has published more than 60 papers in refereed journals, has filed three patents, and has received funding support, for example, from Mars, PepsiCo, DairiConcepts, the Swiss Cheese Consortium and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

He holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in food science and technology, both from Oregon State University, and a B.S. in food science from Peru’s National Agrarian University.

He previously received the college’s Rodney F. Plimpton Outstanding Teacher Award in 2012 and his department’s Professor of the Year Award in 2007, 2012 and 2013.

The OARDC award includes a plaque, $1,000 honorarium and $3,000 added to the operating expense account of his research program.

OARDC Director Steve Slack presented the award at the center’s annual research conference April 24 in Wooster.

The conference, which included speakers from CFAES, Purdue University, and Ohio State’s colleges of Public Health and Arts and Sciences, focused on the theme “From Biology to Business -- The Transformational Power of Big Data.”

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CFAES News Team
For more information, contact: 

Steve Slack