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Students Win International Poster Competition

Maneka Malalgoda and Ramnarain Ramakrishna, Ph.D. students in the Cereal Science program in the Department of Plant Sciences, were selected as winners in the graduate student poster competition organized during the 2016 Agricultural Bioscience International Conference held in Fargo on September 18-21.

October 6, 2016

Fifteen graduate students represented NDSU Plant Sciences in the graduate student poster competition organized during the 2016 Agricultural Bioscience International Conference held in Fargo on September 18-21. Maneka Malalgoda and Ramnarain Ramakrishna, Ph.D. students in the Cereal Science program, were selected as winners in the Plant Science and Food and Health poster competition categories, respectively.

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 that 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 Ph.D. adviser is Dr. Senay Simsek, Bert L. D'Appolonia Cereal Science and Technology of Wheat Endowed Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences.

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 bioactives 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. Further, this study also investigated the metabolic mechanism through the pentose phosphate pathway by which these natural elicitors converted the nutrient reserves in seeds towards health relevant food ingredients during sprouting. Significant improvement in health relevant phenolic bioactives was observed and the improvement in phenolic bioactives 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 Ph.D. adviser is Dr. Kalidas Shetty, Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Collaborations at NDSU and Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences.

Graduate students from North Dakota State University, 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. NDSU President Dean Bresciani was on hand to congratulate the winners and present the awards.

This was the first time the Agricultural Bioscience International Conference was held in the United States. The theme of the 2016 conference was “Better Food, Better World” and featured speakers from Cargill, Monsanto, Bayer, and many international policy makers. Of the 350 registered attendees, a large number represented industry. NDSU’s Vice President of Agricultural Affairs/North Dakota Agriculture Experiment Station Director/College of Agriculture Dean Ken Grafton, ND Agricultural Experiment Station Associate Director Jane Schuh, Animal Science Department Head Greg Lardy, and Plant Sciences Department Head Richard Horsley joined representatives of the ND Agriculture Commissioner’s Office, AdFarm, and the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to organize the event. “Several past organizers commented on what an excellent university representation we had both in our students and in our faculty who participated,” said Schuh.

The annual Agricultural Bioscience International Conference focuses on how public and private research collaborates by using science to solve issues related to the increasing demand for food. It is the premier global meeting promoting innovation in bioscience to ensure sustainable food, feed, fiber and fuel security. Learn more at  

Author: Kamie Beeson, , 701-231-7123
Editor: Karen Hertsgaard,, 701-231-5384

Author: Kamie Beeson, 701-231-7123,
Editor: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384,

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