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Academic Biography

Omotola Olagunju is a lecturer in Food Safety in the School of Health and Life Sciences. She obtained a doctoral degree in Food Science and Technology from Durban University of Technology, South Africa (2019). Her research interests include Food Safety (food pathogens and toxins) and Fermentation Technology. As an academic, Omotola has authored and co-authored research articles in internationally recognised and peer-reviewed journals, as well as book chapters that focus on identification of microbial food contaminants and management strategies to achieve decontamination. She has presented some of her research findings on food safety management at local and international conferences.  A member of national and international scientific associations including the International Association for Food Protection, South African Association for Food Science and Technology and the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology, Omotola has over nine years of experience teaching in the higher education sector. Prior to joining Teesside University, she worked at Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti in Nigeria (2013-2022). Omotola is internationally recognized as a Global Talent under the Exceptional Promise category by the Royal Society in the United Kingdom (August 2022).

Summary of Research Interests

  1.  Food Safety

    • Isolation and characterization of pathogenic/mycotoxigenic microbes associated with food matrices
    • Colonization patterns of pathogenic/mycotoxigenic microbes in food systems
    • Identification and quantification of pathogenic and mycotoxigenic metabolites of microbes in food systems and during processing
    • Mitigatory measures to control microbial contamination of food matrices e.g. processing methods, development of resistant varieties, agronomic practices etc.
    • Lactic acid bacteria as bio-control agents of food pathogens
  2. Fermentation Technology of legumes and cereals
  • The study of the various interactions of bacteria and fungi in food systems and conditions that support and mitigate microbial interactions in food matrices
  • Effects of microbial interactions on food matrices e.g. detoxification, changes in nutritional and sensory properties of the substrate, bioavailability of nutrients etc.
  • Molecular characterization and succession of microbial communities in legumes and cereals during fermentation
  • Identification and quantification of microbial metabolites during fermentation

 

Learning and Teaching Interests and Activities

  • Food Safety/Food Microbiology
  • Fermentation Technology
  • Food Processing and Preservation
  • Food Product Development
  • Food Quality Control
  • Post-harvest Physiology of Fruits and Vegetables

Research Projects & External Funding

  • Optimization of the fermentation process to reduce microbial and mycotoxin contamination in Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea) bouillon cube
  • Application of postbiotics of lactic acid bacteria in food decontamination

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Incidence of mycotoxigenic fungi during processing and storage of Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea) composite flour, Durban University of Technology

Jul 2015Nov 2018

Award Date: 5 Sep 2019

Master, Fermentation of Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) seed to produce food condiment, University of Ibadan

Feb 2011Oct 2012

Award Date: 5 Oct 2012

Bachelor, Production of a malt-like drink from Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea), University of Agriculture, Abeokuta

Mar 1994Mar 2000

Award Date: 8 Mar 2000

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