Jun Kyun Oh, a doctoral student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, presented his graduate research to PepsiCo, Inc.’s research and development professionals at Journey Through Science Day.
The event, which was hosted by the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) and PepsiCo, Inc. in New York City, included 49 other early career scientists from across the nation.
“I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and network with PepsiCo’s R&D professionals and discuss their sustainable food safety needs,” said Oh. “I learned about practical applications of various materials in food packaging.”
Oh’s research, “Surface modification of food processing and handling gloves for enhanced food safety and hygiene,” highlighted how altering the coating on gloves used for food handling could make pathogens less likely to stick.
“Foodborne illness is a constant issue for food handlers and while gloves are preferred, they are still not a fool-proof way to protect consumers from possible contamination,” said Oh. “The advanced coating that I am testing gives the gloves superhydrophobic characteristics and the bacteria-repellent quality of these gloves has proven to deter both salmonella and staphylococcus aureus strains of bacteria.”
Oh attributes his success at the event to his graduate adviser, Dr. Mustafa Akbulut, associate professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, and co-advisor, Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, associate professor in the Department of Horticultural Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Contributing author: Haley Posey