Professional News

UK Meat Scientist Earns International Honor

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2009) - A meat scientist who joined the University of Kentucky faculty three years ago is the first American researcher to win the prestigious International Meat Secretariat Prize for Meat Science and Technology as an individual award. 

Surendranath Suman, an assistant professor in UK’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences within the College of Agriculture, recently experimented with ginger as a meat tenderizer in underutilized beef muscles, primarily the biceps femoris in this case.  Suman presented his findings at the recent 55th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Often in meat processing, certain cuts of beef go unused. UK College of Agriculture researchers have been looking at ways to make those cuts more palatable and therefore, more profitable for meat processors.

 “I think the general public would be surprised to know that ginger can successfully be used as a natural source of meat tenderizing enzymes and a source of antioxidants as well,” Suman said. “We worked with funding from the Kentucky Beef Council on this project and found it’s quite useful to use ginger to improve meat tenderness as well as other beef quality attributes.”

Suman co-authored a paper about his research with colleagues Gregg Rentfrow and Youling Xiong, both faculty members in the College of Agriculture. The paper was one of three Suman presented at the congress.

The International Meat Secretariat Prize recognizes meat scientists younger than 40 years of age for their contributions that have the most impact on either knowledge or application for the industry or the furtherance of meat science and technology.

Herbert W. Ockerman, professor of animal sciences at The Ohio State University, served as one of the judges at the Copenhagen conference. He praised Suman for his work.

"The judges were very impressed not only with his paper, but with his ability to defend his research," said Ockerman.

As part of his prize, Suman will receive $5,000 and travel expenses toward his attendance at the 18th World Meat Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2010.  There he will deliver a keynote presentation about his research.

Although a team of U.S. researchers won the award in 2004, Suman is the first individual American scientist to win the International Meat Secretariat  Prize.

Suman originally is from India where he studied veterinary medicine at Kerala Agricultural University. He then earned a doctorate from the University of Connecticut prior to joining UK’s faculty.