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Malalgoda Wins Prestigious Cereal Protein Chemistry Award

North Dakota State University Cereal Science Ph.D. candidate Maneka Malalgoda was awarded the 2017 Walter Bushuk Graduate Research Award in Cereal Protein Chemistry by the American Association of Cereal Chemists – International at the recent annual meeting in San Diego, CA.
Malalgoda Wins Prestigious Cereal Protein Chemistry Award

Mankea Malalgoda

October 31, 2017

North Dakota State University Cereal Science Ph.D. candidate Maneka Malalgoda was awarded the 2017 Walter Bushuk Graduate Research Award in Cereal Protein Chemistry by the American Association of Cereal Chemists – International (AACCI). Her advisor is Dr. Senay Simsek, Bert L. D’Appolonia Cereal Science and Technology of Wheat Endowed Associate Professor.

The Walter Bushuk award recognizes outstanding contributions by graduate students in basic and/or applied research in cereal protein chemistry. The award is presented in honor of the late Dr. Walter Bushuk, who was a pioneer in cereal protein chemistry. Malalgoda was presented an honorarium October 10 at the AACCI Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA, and also was given the opportunity to present her work at the meeting. The title of her presentation was “Analysis of gliadin proteins with LC-Mass spectrometry”.

Malalgoda looked at certain peptides called ‘antigenic peptides’, which cause the immune reaction related to celiac disease. She analyzed historical and modern spring wheat cultivars released from 1910 to 2013 to determine if celiac antigenicity increased over the over the years. She also quantified these peptides using mass spectrometric methods. Her results suggest that modern wheat cultivars are not higher in celiac antigenicity compared to historical wheat cultivars. Additionally, she studied historical and modern durum wheat cultivars, as well as ancient wheat species, such as einkorn and emmer for antigenic peptides. She is currently expanding her work on antigenic peptides in ancient grains.

The goal of Malalgoda’s Ph.D. dissertation research is to discover how pre-harvest desiccants affect starch and protein deposition in spring wheat. Upon graduation, Malalgoda hopes to conduct further research in cereal protein and starch chemistry.

For more information on the Walter Bushuk Graduate Research Award in Cereal Protein Chemistry, see https://www.aaccnet.org/membership/divisions/Pages/Protein.aspx.

Author: Senay Simsek, 701-231-7737,
Editor: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384,

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