Agricultural Research Award goes to food scientist

May 10, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Lisa Mauer, an associate professor of food science, was awarded the 2010 Purdue Agricultural Research Award for her work in water-solid interactions, spectroscopy and shelf life of food for space missions.

The Agricultural Research Award is given each year to a faculty member in the College of Agriculture with less than 15 years of experience beyond a doctoral degree. It is for scientists who have demonstrated a high level of excellence in research and made significant contributions to agriculture, natural resources and quality of life for Indiana citizens.

"The competition is fierce for this award. We had a number of excellent nominees this year," said Mark Hermodson, interim associate dean and director of Purdue Agricultural Research Programs. "Lisa stands out by being unusually successful in publishing. She's had a huge number of papers published. She's an extremely collaborative researcher and has had funded projects with a dozen other Purdue faculty. The breadth of her research and educational outreach is outstanding."

Mauer has worked in deliquescence and deliquescence lowering, in which humidity causes crystalline solids to dissolve and affect food and nutrient quality, stability, and shelf life. Her work in Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and near infrared spectroscopy has led to detection methods for melamine in baby formula, E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp. Mauer also has worked on the effects of low-dose gamma radiation and packaging on quality and shelf life of foods for extended space missions.

"Dr. Mauer's work is a terrific example of what we aspire toward in our strategic plan - research with purpose, leading to discovery with impact," said Jay Akridge, Purdue's Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. "Her work on food safety and deliquescence has both pushed the frontiers of the science and contributed to a safer and better quality food supply for all of us."

Mauer credits much of her success to her students.

"This award goes as much to the students who work with me as it does to me," Mauer said. "This is because of what they have been able to do."

The award includes a plaque, a $1,500 award from the Charles Guthrie Patterson Memorial Endowment and Matthew Morgan Hamilton Funds, and $10,000 for the recipient's research program.

Writer:  Brian Wallheimer, 765-496-2050,

Sources:  Lisa Mauer, 765-494-9111,
                   Mark Hermodson, 765-494-1637,
                   Jay Akridge, 765-494-8391,

Ag Communications:
(765) 494-8415;
Steve Leer,
Agriculture News Page