Elmer H. Marth, Emeritus Professor of Food Science, of Bacteriology, and of Food Microbiology and Toxicology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, recently received the NFPA Food Safety Award from the International Association for Food Protection.

Marth was honored for the long-term excellence of his contributions to food safety through research, teaching, publications, and public service. Research on food safety in Marth’s laboratory included studies on aflatoxin, aflatoxin M1 patulin, rubratoxin, enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Staphyloccus aureus, and degradation of sorbic acid by molds. He has produced more than 660 scientific publications, including research papers, review papers, book chapters, books, patents, and abstracts of papers given at professional meetings. More than 500 of these papers deal with food safety and have appeared in some 50 domestic and foreign scientific journals. He also served as major professor for 32 students who earned an M.S. degree, an additional 32 students who received their Ph.D., and supervised 17 postdoctoral researchers who worked in his laboratory.

Marth earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, all in bacteriology, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Except for nine years at the R&D Division of Kraft Foods, Glenview, Ill., he spent his entire career on the faculty at UW-Madison, retiring in 1990 as Emeritus Professor.

WSU names novel bacteria after retired enologist
A novel species of bacteria isolated from wine, Lactobacillus nagelii, was recently discovered by Charles G. Edwards, enology professor at Washington State University (WSU), Pullman, and named after a former WSU colleague, Charles W. Nagel. Nagel retired from WSU in 1992 after devoting 30 years to enology research and helping build the foundation for the modern wine industry in Washington.

Lactobacillus is a genus made up of rod-shaped bacteria that produce lactic acid as a product of metabolism. They are one of the few groups of microorganisms that can grow in wine and grape juice, both of which are inhospitable to most microbes. Researchers study Lactobacillus because they are one of the causes of “stuck,” or sluggish, alcoholic fermentations sometimes encountered by winemakers. The problem is of increasing interest to winemakers because many are trying to reduce or eliminate sulfites from their wines. Sulfites have been used since ancient times to control spoilage bacteria.

Discovery of Lactobacillus nagelii came as part of Edwards’ on-going research for unidentified spoilage bacteria. With funding from the Washington Wine Advisory Committee and the Northwest Center for Small Fruit Research, Edwards’ laboratory is screening samples from stalled fermentation batches for bacteria that inhibit the growth of yeast, which ferments juice into wine.

Kansas State University celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Rapid Microbiology Workshop
From July 6 to July 14, 2000, a total of 185 scientists from 20 countries and 25 states celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the International Workshop on Rapid Methods and Automation in Microbiology at Kansas State University, Manhattan.

The celebration involved a three-day mini-symposium with 20 U.S. and international speakers, including scientists from France, Germany, Hungary, Brazil, Australia, Thailand, Belgium, and Canada, who gave stimulating and timely lectures on rapid methods and food safety issues. Dean O. Cliver delivered the Paul A. Hartman Memorial Lecture entitled “Detecting Viruses and Protozoa—The ‘Other’ Foodborne Disease Agents.”

The rest of the week was devoted to lectures and hands-on activities in all aspects of rapid detection of microbes in food, clinical, industry, and environmental samples. A gold medallion was struck for the occasion.

The 21st Workshop will be held July 6–13, 2001, and the Paul A. Hartman Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Larry R. Beuchat on “Rapid Detection of Foodborne Pathogens in Fresh Produce.” Daniel Y.C. Fung, a Professional Member of IFT and an IFT Fellow, has been Initiator and Director of the Rapid Microbiology Workshop since 1980.