Ohio State Scientist Recognized for Egg, Food Safety Innovations

Ahmed Yousef

WOOSTER, Ohio -- Ohio State University scientist Ahmed Yousef, who developed a new process to pasteurize eggs in the shell and discovered two new antimicrobial agents for fighting foodborne pathogens, has received the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s (OARDC) 2014 Director’s Innovator of the Year Award. The award honors innovation and entrepreneurship by OARDC scientists.

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

Yousef serves as Bazler Professor of Food Science in the college’s Department of Food Science and Technology. He also holds an appointment as professor in the Department of Microbiology in Ohio State’s College of Arts and Sciences.

He and his research team developed a new process that pasteurizes eggs in the shell while maintaining their fresh qualities. The process, which uses mild heat and pressurized ozone, can eliminate Salmonella and other pathogens in egg contents and on egg surfaces.

The research that led to the process has received two patents and has three other patent applications in review.

Video: Yousef discusses the challenges of foodborne illness and his research aimed at preventing it.

“The new process results in safer and higher-quality eggs,” one of Yousef’s nominators wrote.

“Millions of dollars in revenues to Ohio farmers are anticipated in the first few years of implementation.”

Yousef’s lab also recently discovered two new potent antimicrobial agents, Paenibacillin and Paenobacterin, that could greatly benefit the food industry.

“The food industry urgently needs new antimicrobial agents to combat emerging foodborne pathogens,” the same nominator wrote. “Currently used antimicrobial agents are losing efficacy, while foodborne pathogens are gaining resistance to these preservatives.

“Implementation of these discoveries will improve food safety and provide a means to combat diseases caused by multidrug-resistant pathogens.”

Yousef holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an M.S. from Egypt’s University of Ain Shams and a B.S. from Cairo High Polytechnic Institute, also in Egypt.

The award includes a plaque, $1,000 honorarium and $2,500 added to the operating expense account of his OARDC research program.

OARDC Director Steve Slack presented the award April 24 at the center’s annual research conference 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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For more information, contact: 

Steve Slack