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Student Awarded at Cereal Chemists Conference

Cassie Anderson won second place in the Best Student Research Paper Competition at the annual meeting for the American Association of Cereal Chemists International held in Savannah, Georgia, October 23-26, 2016. Her research focused on the utilization of the dietary fiber present in wheat bran, corn bran, and dried distillers' grains as a basis for biodegradable food packaging.
Student Awarded at Cereal Chemists Conference

Cassie Anderson

November 10, 2016

Cassie Anderson won second place in the Best Student Research Paper Competition at the annual meeting for the American Association of Cereal Chemists International held in Savannah, Georgia, October 23-26, 2016. She was one of six finalists from around the world competing for this distinguished award. Finalists were selected based on the scientific merit of their research. The other five finalists were from Texas, Washington, Germany, Nebraska, and Indiana.

Anderson is a Cereal Science M.S. candidate in the Department of Plant Sciences at North Dakota State University. She is advised by Dr. Senay Simsek, Bert L. D’Appolonia Cereal Science and Technology of Wheat Endowed Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences.

The title of Anderson’s research is “Arabinoxylans from Cereal Processing Byproducts as a Basis for Biodegradable Food Packaging”. Her research analyzes the arabinoxylan, a form of dietary fiber, found in wheat bran, corn bran, and dried distillers' grains, as the main component in food packaging materials. This research focused on how the type of arabinoxylan (wheat bran, corn bran, or dried distillers' grains), type of plasticizing agent (glycerol or sorbitol), and amount of plasticizing agent impact the mechanical properties of the packaging materials engineered. The main objective of this research was characterization of each material and analysis of possible uses in the food packaging industry. Anderson and Simsek collaborated with Dr. Jiang Long from the Mechanical Engineering Department at NDSU in this research.

According to Anderson, the results of her research show great promise for the food packaging industry. The variety of packaging materials that can be made by simply modifying the amount and/or type of plasticizing agent solely or in addition to using a different type of arabinoxylan provides for packaging a plethora of foods. By modifying these three ingredients in the food packaging material, the tensile strength, puncture resistance, water vapor permeability, and other mechanical properties can be manipulated. In addition, this type of material is edible, which has the potential to provide marketing opportunities targeted to younger generations. All materials developed also are biodegradable, which leads to a decrease in the ecological impact of disposing this type of food packaging.

“Cassie did an excellent job presenting her work to the audience, which was made up of scientists in many different areas of cereal science research,” said Simsek. “She was well prepared and was able to provide answers to questions from the audience, who seemed to be impressed by her work.”

Anderson expects to complete her M.S. degree in spring 2017 and publish her research shortly after. She will continue to contribute towards the advancement of cereal science through further research and work in the industry.

Source: Senay Simsek, 701.231.7737, Senay.Simsek@ndsu.edu
Editor: Kamie Beeson, 701.231.5384, Kamie.A.Beeson@ndsu.edu

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