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Students win international poster competition

Cereal science doctoral students Maneka Malalgoda and Ramnarain Ramakrishna were selected as winners in the graduate student poster competition organized during the 2016 Agricultural Bioscience International Conference held in Fargo Sept. 18-21.

Fifteen graduate students represented NDSU’s Department of Plant Sciences in the competition. Malalgoda won in the Plant Science category, while Ramakrishna won in the Food and Health category.

Malalgoda presented her poster, titled “Analysis of historical and modern hard red spring wheat cultivars based on parentage and HPLC of gluten proteins using Ward’s clustering method.” Her research determined how historical and modern wheat cultivars cluster when the pedigree information and protein analysis data are considered. She also looked at wheat quality characteristics and used markers for the analysis of reduced height genes in the cultivars in question. The results of the study indicated that the introduction of reduced height genes accompanied the improvements in quality characteristics. She also found the gliadin protein profile did not change over the years, although quantitative changes in specific proteins fractions, such as polymeric proteins occurred over time.

Malagoda’s doctoral adviser is Senay Simsek, Bert L. D'Appolonia Cereal Science and Technology of Wheat Endowed Associate Professor.

Ramakrishna presented his poster, titled “Enhancing phenolic antioxidant profile of barley sprouts using bioprocessed elicitors for improved bioactive functionality in vitro.” His research focused on understanding how natural elicitors such as chitosan oligosaccharides and marine peptides can be recruited to naturally stimulate health relevant phenolic bio-actives in barley, which are screened and targeted as a potential source of food ingredients for chronic diseases such as hyperglycemia associated with type 2 diabetes. The study also investigated the metabolic mechanism through the pentose phosphate pathway by which the natural elicitors converted the nutrient reserves in seeds towards health relevant food ingredients during sprouting. Significant improvement in health relevant phenolic bio-actives was observed and the improvement in phenolic bio-actives of barley sprouts with natural seed elicitation also resulted in higher inhibition of key enzyme α-glucosidase, reflecting the potential of elicited barley sprouts as dietary ingredient sources to manage hyperglycemia associated with early stages of type 2 diabetes.

Ramakrishna’s doctoral adviser is Kalidas Shetty, associate vice president for international partnerships and collaborations at NDSU and professor of plant sciences.

Graduate students from NDSU, South Dakota State University and Canada presented 34 posters describing their research in four categories: Plant Science, Animal Health, Innovations and Food and Health. Posters were judged by members of academia and industry on overall quality, scientific merit, clarity of supporting graphics and oral presentation. The winner in each category received a cash prize of $500.

This was the first time the conference was held in the United States. The theme of the 2016 conference was “Better Food, Better World.” The annual conference is considered the premier global meeting promoting innovation in bioscience to ensure sustainable food, feed, fiber and fuel security.

Source: NDSU News

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