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FAPC Research Symposium kicks off 20-year anniversary celebration

Oklahoma State University's Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center kicked off its 20-year anniversary celebration during the 17th Annual Research Symposium.

By Mandy Gross, FAPC Communications Services Manager

(Stillwater, Okla. – March 7, 2017) Oklahoma State University's Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center kicked off its 20-year anniversary celebration during the 17th Annual Research Symposium.

“Since opening our doors in January 1997, FAPC has kept food and agricultural processors and entrepreneurs on the forefront of cutting-edge value-added processing and technology with our research laboratories, pilot-processing facilities, educational programs and seminars,” said Roy Escoubas, FAPC director. “There’s no better way to begin our 20-year anniversary celebration than during the Research Symposium, which highlights food and agricultural products research.”

Sponsored by the Institute of Food Technologists-Oklahoma section and Oklahoma Association for Food Protection, the Feb. 21 symposium featured student oral and poster presentations from OSU, Langston University and University of Central Oklahoma and a keynote presentation by Randall Phebus, Kansas State University food science professor.

“As part of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, we feel it is important to provide an opportunity for students to make presentations of their work and for researchers to network with others in the food and agricultural field and possibly foster future collaborations among colleagues,” said Peter Muriana, FAPC food microbiologist and chair of the symposium.

This year’s symposium included nine oral presentations and 12 poster presentations with student awards presented in both categories. The top student winners were Ashley Newton (Langston University) and Hung King Tiong (OSU) in the oral and poster presentations, respectively. 

Additional winners were Magnus Scott (Langston University), second place, and Joyjit Saha (OSU), third place, in the oral category and Manish Aryal (OSU), second place, and Audrey Boeken (OSU), third place, in the poster category.

The IFT-Oklahoma Section provided monetary awards for the winners. First, second and third place winners in both categories received $250, $150 and $75.

During the keynote address, Phebus, who specializes in food microbiology, food safety, food biosecurity and defense, and public health, addressed about 100 attendees of the symposium.

Phebus said he took advantage of an opportunity to visit FAPC shortly after the building opened and the program started in 1997.

“Oklahoma State University and Kansas State University are almost clones of each other with the agricultural focus, the food science programs, the size of the universities and even the greatness of our students,” he said. “I’m sure proud to be here, and congratulations on your 20-year anniversary.”

Phebus discussed validation and prevention of multi-syllable germs in meat, produce, baking and pet food industries. He defined important aspects of validation in using a food safety control system to produce safe consumer food products, discussed validation research and highlighted lessons learned from his own research projects.

“Dr. Phebus is a great colleague, an excellent food microbiologist involved in both teaching and research, and along with myself and a dozen other colleagues, is a member of the Consortium of Process Validation Experts,” Muriana said. “One of his student dissertations identified a potential health concern with mechanically tenderized beef, which initiated my own involvement in this area.”

More information about Phebus plus his keynote presentation and slides are available online at

Tom Coon, OSU vice president for agricultural programs, said the FAPC Research Symposium is an example of the division’s commitment to providing relevant and timely educational experiences to students and other stakeholders.

“Our land-grant mission is to develop and disseminate science-based knowledge that improves the quality of life for the people of Oklahoma and beyond, and FAPC has been a high-profile and very important way in which we have done that over the past 20 years,” he said.

Coon believes a particular strength of the FAPC Research Symposium is that it allows students to gain firsthand insights about how applied research moves from the laboratory to a point where it can provide significant benefits to clients and consumers.

The FAPC Research Symposium was held in conjunction with OSU Research Week, which ran Feb. 20-24.

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Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. OSU has more than 36,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 25,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 120 nations. Established in 1890, Oklahoma State has graduated more than 260,000 students who have been serving Oklahoma and the world for 125 years.