Jennifer Acuff, assistant professor of meals microbiology and security within the Division of Meals Science, investigates methods to enhance contemporary and processed meals security and shield meals merchandise from microbial contamination.
Jennifer Acuff is making a three-tiered effort to make sure meals will get from the farm to the kitchen with out contamination.
Acuff joined the College of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and Dale Bumpers Faculty of Agricultural, Meals and Life Sciences proper in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is an assistant professor of meals microbiology and security within the Division of Meals Science.
She has appointments as an assistant professor within the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture’s analysis and extension arms, and a instructing appointment in Bumpers Faculty.
“My appointments in analysis, extension and instructing are very shut by way of proportion,” Acuff mentioned. “It’s meant to create a really built-in program.”
“Meals science is a perfect place for such related appointments,” mentioned Jeyam Subbiah, Meals Science Division head. “We wish outcomes from Dr. Acuff’s analysis to be instantly utilized to the meals business by her extension efforts, and likewise she teaches college students about this essential space.
“She is a superb trainer,” Subbiah mentioned, “and has been very versatile, approaching board in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and having to alter every part we do with a purpose to adapt. She pulled it off exceptionally nicely, to handle her courses and construct a analysis program.”
Acuff earned her bachelor’s diploma in biology from Abilene Christian College and a grasp’s diploma in meals microbiology from Kansas State College. She earned a doctorate in meals security and microbiology from Virginia Tech College in 2020.
She has analysis expertise in meals security, working in areas associated to beef, ready-to-eat meals and low-water exercise meals.
Acuff’s analysis primarily focuses on intervention applied sciences designed to cut back pathogen contamination in post-harvest meals. She investigates methods to enhance contemporary and processed meals security and shield merchandise from microbial contamination.
She is at present specializing in microbial contamination in low-moisture meals merchandise, together with things like spices, nuts, dry fruits and powders.
“Low-moisture meals are sometimes ignored,” Acuff mentioned. “Low-moisture environments do not promote bacterial development. It is uncommon, but it surely does occur.” She cited two instances — one in peanut butter and one other in dry toddler method — that led to recollects and manufacturing adjustments.
“It is an enormous deal to verify dry meals are secure,” she mentioned.
“The Meals and Drug Administration says all meals are inclined to contamination,” Acuff mentioned. “So, we’re investigating what we will do to cut back the dangers and find out how to show it really works.”
Acuff is at present engaged on an business grant-funded mission to analyze Salmonella contamination in dairy powders. “I am in search of routes of contamination and the way lengthy the bacterial pathogen survives. Additionally, what options can be found to destroy the micro organism.”
She can be trying to find efficient surrogate micro organism. These can be innocent micro organism that in any other case behave like Salmonella. They may very well be launched into an organization’s manufacturing line to confirm that detection and inactivation programs are working correctly.
Acuff needs to take her analysis outcomes on to the meals business, she mentioned. Additionally, she is going to be capable of assist corporations discover potential issues of their meals processing programs and take profitable motion to make their merchandise secure.
“My extension work will concentrate on session and in-plant analysis to assist corporations establish, mitigate and doc dangers of contamination,” she mentioned.
“We’re doing utilized analysis that may assist the meals industries,” Acuff mentioned, “and likewise to have interaction our native communities on meals questions of safety.”
Acuff’s classroom will assist put together college students for meals security jobs within the meals business and put together the following technology of meals security scientists. She is already instructing meals microbiology lectures and associated labs.
“There are various college students from different tutorial packages in addition to meals science,” Acuff mentioned. “They arrive from pre-health packages and different disciplines for which meals security schooling is essential.”
Acuff can be creating a web-based grasp’s diploma program in meals security.
“The goal is to assist individuals be higher educated about meals security, at dwelling in addition to within the business,” she mentioned.
In regards to the Division of Agriculture: The College of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and households by connecting trusted analysis to the adoption of finest practices. By way of the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts analysis and extension work inside the nation’s historic land grant schooling system.
The Division of Agriculture is considered one of 20 entities inside the College of Arkansas System. It has places of work in all 75 counties in Arkansas and college on 5 system campuses.
The College of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture presents all its Extension and Analysis packages and companies with out regard to race, shade, intercourse, gender identification, sexual orientation, nationwide origin, faith, age, incapacity, marital or veteran standing, genetic info, or another legally protected standing, and is an Affirmative Motion/Equal Alternative Employer.