PMIL Lead Scientist Professor Kumar Mallikarjunan receives the Kishida International Award

By Amy Loeffler

Virginia Tech, Office of Communications and Marketing

Kumar Mallikarjunan, a professor of biological systems engineering housed in both the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, recently received the Kishida International Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

The award recognizes outstanding contributions to engineering, mechanization and technology related programs of education, research, development, consultation or technology transfer that have resulted in improved food production, living conditions and/or education for people living outside the United States.

In sub-Saharan African countries like Uganda, Mallikarjunan has conducted research in reducing aflatoxins in the peanut crop in East Africa where peanuts are a popular source of protein because they do not require refrigeration. His role as a researcher in the University of Georgia-led Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab allowed women peanut farmers to begin screening for the pernicious mold, which can cause everything from stunted growth to liver cancer, using infrared spectroscopy.

“The goal of the project was to provide opportunities for small- to medium-scale enterprises mainly operated by women farmers to provide a pathway to an economic livelihood,” said Mallikarjunan, who worked with women’s organizations and other nongovernmental organizations on the project.

Mallikarjunan received his bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering from Tamilnadu Agricultural University, India; his master's degree in agricultural and food engineering from the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand; and his Ph.D. in biological engineering from the University of Guelph, Canada.

Initiated in 1978, the Kishida Award is endowed by Shin-Norinsha Co. Ltd. of Japan, publisher of Agricultural Mechanization in Asia, Africa and Latin America magazine and other publications, in honor of Yoshikuni Kishida, founder of the firm. Kishida earned worldwide recognition for his pioneering agricultural mechanization developments.

Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 3,100 students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world’s leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.

Published March 03, 2016