WOOSTER, Ohio Ã¢â¬â Monica Giusti, an assistant professor in Ohio State UniversityÃ¢â¬â¢s Department of Food Science and Technology, yesterday (4/22) received the 2010 DirectorÃ¢â¬â¢s Innovator of the Year Award from the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).
The award honors innovation and entrepreneurship by OARDC scientists, either individually or in teams.
Giusti was honored for her discoveries in such fields as functional foods, anthocyanin bioactivity and isoflavones. Her research looks at non-volatile compounds in fruits and vegetables and the role they play in human health.
Ã¢â¬ÅShe has developed numerous cutting-edge innovations and discoveries that have had great influence on consumer products before they entered the marketplace,Ã¢â¬Â OARDC Director Steve Slack said.
Ã¢â¬ÅIn the past year and a half alone, her team has participated in four sponsored research projects with domestic and international companies, totaling over $275,000 Ã¢â¬â greatly benefiting producers, processors and consumers around the globe.Ã¢â¬Â
Of special interest to Giusti are flavonoids, including anthocyanins and isoflavones, and how horticultural and processing conditions affect their incidence in foods.
One of her projects was an extensive study of cranberry extract phytonutrients with Cliffstar Corporation, the largest private-label juice manufacturer in the United States. The work allowed Giusti and her team to determine the optimum protocol for quantitative and qualitative analyses of cranberry extracts, a protocol now used to determine the average content of phytonutrients in all samples of cranberry extracts.
Other efforts include looking at anthocyanins Ã¢â¬â natural colorants Ã¢â¬â and their potential to combat and protect against certain gastrointestinal cancers; and developing a mixed-mode cation-exchange technique for the fractionation of high-purity anthocyanins, for which a patent is pending.
Ã¢â¬ÅGiustiÃ¢â¬â¢s work receives great exposure in the beverage industry and continues to have a large commercial impact,Ã¢â¬Â Slack said, noting that beverage sales in the United States alone are expected to hit $17.6 billion by 2011.
The award carries with it a plaque, $1,000 to Giusti plus $2,500 to the operating account of her research program. It was presented in a ceremony during OARDCÃ¢â¬â¢s 2010 Annual Research Conference in Wooster.
OARDC is the research arm of Ohio StateÃ¢â¬â¢s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and is the largest university agbioscience research center in the United States.
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