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Randy Worobo

Randy Worobo

Professor

360 Stocking Hall
(607) 255-3614

Alternative approaches to enhance the safety and quality of food is the primary objective of my research. Long- term research projects include the chemical and genetic characterization of antimicrobial peptides (bacteriocins) produced by bacteria. These peptides have a broad range of hosts that include pathogenic Gram positive and negative bacteria as well as heat resistant molds and bacteria. It is believed that these peptides are self-defense mechanisms to protect limited food supplies in the environment. The ultimate application of these peptides to foods will enhance the safety and quality through the inhibition of pathogens and spoilage microorganisms that may be present in the food. Short term research includes the investigation of new technologies and combinations with existing food processing technologies to enhance the safety and quality. Presently, ultraviolet light, dimethyl dicarbonate and chlorine dioxide are being investigated for their potential application to various foods at different stages of food production. These non-thermal food processing treatments enhance the quality and are being evaluated for their effectiveness in achieving a safe food product. My primary outreach is focused on the fruit, vegetable and beverage industries in New York State. I provide my expertise in sanitation, processing recommendations for products that have problematic heat resistant molds and bacteria spoilage as well as answering basic food safety questions. I am actively involved in Juice HACCP training for the juice industry in New York State as well as the rest of the US. My outreach program is accomplished through workshops, conferences and direct contact with food processors.

Research Focus

The primary focus of my research is focused on enhancing the safety of fruits and vegetables throughout the produce supply chain. The safety of irrigation water used for produce production, pathogen survival in manure amended soil and effective decontamination methods are current research interest areas. Continuing research projects include the investigation of new technologies and combinations with existing food processing technologies to enhance the safety and quality of fruit and vegetable based foods. Part of this research involves non-thermal processing treatments to enhance the safety of high risk foods that include fruit juices and produce. More basic research projects focus on the chemical and genetic characterization of antimicrobial peptides (bacteriocins) produced by bacteria. These peptides have a broad range of hosts that include pathogenic Gram positive and negative bacteria as well as heat resistant molds and bacteria. It is believed that these peptides are self-defense mechanisms to protect limited food supplies in the environment. The ultimate application of these peptides to foods will enhance the safety and quality through the inhibition of pathogens and spoilage microorganisms that may be present in the food.

Outreach and Extension Focus

My primary outreach is focused on the fruit, vegetable and beverage industries in New York State. I provide my expertise in sanitation, processing recommendations for products that have problematic heat resistant molds and bacteria spoilage as well as answering basic food safety questions. I am actively involved in Juice HACCP training for the juice industry in New York State as well as the rest of the US. My outreach program is accomplished through workshops, conferences and direct contact with food processors.

Awards and Honors

  • CALS Outstanding Accomplishments in Research Award (2016) Cornell University
  • Cornell University Institute for Food Science Teaching Excellence Award (2015) Cornell University
  • Todd M. Bozicevich Education and Collaboration Award (team award to FD180 cGMPs core advisory group) (2013) FDA

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

Presentations and Activities

  • Use of PL and UV as part of hurdle treatments for microbial inactivation in food systems. Does the treatment order matter? International Nonthermal Workshop. October 2014. The Ohio State University. Columbus, OH.
  • Development of food contact surfaces with nanoscale topography: impact on bacterial attachment and biofilm formation. IUFoST (International Union of Food Science and Technology) Meeting . August 2014. IUFoST (International Union of Food Science and Technology). Montreal, Canada.
  • Assessing the Quality of Surface Water Utilized for Fresh Produce Production in New York. International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting. August 2011. International Association for Food Protection. Milwaukee, WI.