SDSU Dairy and Food Science graduate students receive honors for research

South Dakota State University College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences
Farm Forum

BROOKINGS — Tanvee Deshpande, master’s student, Mohamed Elfaruk, doctoral student, and Farzana Yesmin, master’s student, all of South Dakota State University’s Dairy and Food Science Department, recently received honors for their research.

Deshpande, working under the mentorship of Padmanaban Krishnan, Ph.D., received the second place award at the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Utilization and Technology Conference research poster competition in St. Louis, Missouri, for her research on developing food quality standards for distillers grains.

Her project involves the determination of standards for food quality, wholesomeness and efficacy for the use of a novel, patent-pending, food-grade dried distillers grains (DDG).

“Tanvee brings some experience from the pharmaceutical world to the DDG project and her award is recognition of the caliber of scientific work and potential economic and health implications of the discovery,” Krishnan said.

The National Corn Growers Association, along with its 49 affiliated state organizations, works to create and increase opportunities for corn growers and sustainably feed and fuel a growing world.

Elfaruk and Yesmin, working under the mentorship of Srinivas Janaswamy, Ph.D., both received honorable mention recognition at the 2018 It’s All About Science Festival in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“Farzana is trying to provide research-based solutions for practical societal problems such as runoff water contamination to improve human health, and Mohamed is developing novel healthy foods toward improving human health,” said Janaswamy. “Both of them are hardworking and highly focused on research.”

Elfaruk is preparing wheat bread comprising sweet potato puree. His project focuses on utilizing sweet potatoes as a viable approach to combat Vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency is a major nutrition problem that could lead to blindness and weakens the immune system. Vitamin A cannot be synthesized by the human body, and therefore needs to be supplemented through diet.

Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, Provitamin A. Their inclusion in daily foods would help address the Vitamin A issues. Apart from beta-carotene, sweet potatoes contain several bioactive compounds and, consequently, sweet potato inclusion in bread retards the starch digestion, which suggests prepared breads may be helpful when it comes to addressing glycemic issues.

Yesmin’s research focuses on capturing nitrates and phosphates from the runoff water using polysaccharide beads. Currently, she is developing beads composed of a variety of cations bound to alginate, food grade polysaccharide used as a viscosifier, to remove nitrates.

Because the alginate is biodegradable, Yesmin’s research could allow farmers to re-utilize the captured nutrient beads as fertilizer, saving them significant amounts of money.

The It’s All About Science Festival focuses on promoting a science-centered community by celebrating and exploring all things science, technology engineering and mathematics.