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2015 William J. Eva Award

William J. Eva Award

Dr. Rotimi Aluko

Rotimi Aluko obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Guelph. Currently, he is a Professor at the Human Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Manitoba. Rotimi Aluko has a strong record of conducting industrially relevant research, and by working with Canadian companies and identifying value-added opportunities for local crops, he has contributed significantly to food science and technology in Canada. These achievements, combined with numerous and wide-ranging academic contributions, as well as his active and long-standing volunteer contributions to CIFST and other professional associations, illustrate Rotimiís exceptional leadership in the sector.

Among Rotimiís many accomplishments is his role as lead inventor for a patented production process, composition and use of a bioactive pea protein hydrolysate (PPH) as an antihypertensive agent against systemic and kidney disease‐related hypertension. Not only is this invention projected to create economic impact for both the company that has licensed it and the company that supplies the pea protein isolate, but it will also benefit Canadian farmers who grow the yellow field peas from which the protein is extracted and consumers who will have access to an effective, natural product based anti‐hypertensive agent that could promote health by reducing the incidence of hypertension.

Rotimi is also currently involved in an industry-funded project aimed at creating a commercially feasible technology to isolate iron‐binding proteins (phytoferritin) from Canadian legume seeds. Since identifying the best legume seed source and developing a protocol for extraction of phytoferritin (which is organic, highly bioavailable and free of negative side-effects), plans are being made to scale-up Rotimiís protocol with a goal of eventual commercialization.

Rotimi has developed an antihypertensive hemp seed‐based peptide product that is currently undergoing human intervention trials and is expected to be commercialized in 2016. Commercialization talks are underway for a hemp oil project in which he is involved - the development of an industrially feasible method to produce a high-value hemp protein product from low-value hemp meal residue. The hibiscus flower is the subject of a nutraceutical research project by Rotimi, which has led to the development of a polyphenol extraction method and conversion into a dry powdered nutraceutical product. Scale-up and possible commercialization plans for this product are currently underway.

Another industry-funded project being conducted by Rotimi is aimed at developing a commercially viable food processing and protein extraction method to produce cholesterol binding proteins from legume seeds, with the view to incorporating these proteins into functional foods or nutraceutical pills that would reduce usage of or replace more toxic cholesterol‐reducing drugs. An additional project of Rotimiís, funded by industry, is focused on producing novel bitter taste blockers (a healthier alternative to the typical currently available blocking agents that include sugars and salts) from food protein hydrolysates.

Rotimi is a founding member and Chair of the Science Review panel of the Canadian Food Innovators (CFI) cluster, a group of Canadian food processing companies that operate different projects. The CFI cluster is expected to develop new processing methods to enhance food product quality and at lower costs to all Canadians. Rotimi has contributed to ensuring the excellence of the CFI projects, which was recognized by a $2.5 million AAFC funding grant and a recent $1.1 million donation by the Guelph Food Technology Centre. The CFI food processing cluster is expected to continue functioning with new grants and projects well beyond the original 2018 end date.

Numerous students have benefited from Rotimiís expertise and have been well-prepared for industry employment.  He has trained nine Ph.D. students, six M.Sc. students, five technicians, five postdoctoral fellows and supervised several undergraduate research students. As an instructor responsible for the Food Industry Option practicum course at the University of Manitoba, Rotimiís contribution has helped students gain experience in various food industry positions by pairing students with appropriate food industry employers, and his involvement has enhanced the supply of local skilled workers for the food industry with several of the students being retained as full‐time employees by Manitoba companies.

Rotimi also has a strong academic record. He has published 116 journal research papers, several book chapters and a textbook. He has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses and his graduate students have won several awards for their research and been selected for academic appointments at Canadian universities. He has hosted visiting researchers, served as external referee on promotion and tenure applications, an examiner on Ph.D. committees, a grant reviewer, Associate Editor, Editorial Advisory Board member and reviewer for various journals. Since beginning his academic career, he has received more than $3.5 million in operating and instrument grants from provincial, federal government and industry sources. He is a Certified Food Scientist and a multiple time University of Manitoba Merit Award winner.

Rotimi has been highly involved with various professional associations such as CIFST, AOCS and IFT for many years. He has been a Professional Member of CIFST for more than 20 years and was the President of CIFST for the 2011/2012 term. He also served as Chair of the Manitoba Section and still currently serves as a Member‐at‐Large on the Manitoba Section Management Committee.

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        This page was last updated on 2015-09-21 5:02:45 PM