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Philip Nelson

Philip Nelson
D.W. Brooks Lecture Date: 10/06/2009

About the Guest Speaker

Philip Nelson, World Food Prize laureate and Scholle Chair professor at Purdue University, began his food science career as plant manager of a tomato processing plant. In 1961, the joined the staff of Purdue University as an instructor and earned his doctorate in food science from the university in 1967.

In 1975, he was appointed director of the Food Sciences Institute and became head of the Purdue University Department of Food Science in 1983. He held that position for 20 years. In 2004, he was named the Scholle Endowed Chair in food processing. Three years later he was named the World Food Prize Laureate, an award considered the Nobel of food and agriculture.

In addition to his administrative duties, Nelson has taught food preservation and product development courses and assisted food processors throughout the United States and several foreign countries.

His research into aseptic bulk storage has revolutionized the not-from-concentrate orange juice industry with more than 600 million gallons of juice being stored. This technology is used in all the major citrus production areas of the world. Nelson's aseptic bulk storage process received the Institute of Food Technologists' Industrial Achievement Award in 1976 (the first time this award was given to a university) and the Nicholas Appert Award in 1995 (IFT's highest honor). He served as IFT president the 2001-2002 term. In 2003, he was elected a fellow by the International Academy of Food Science and Technology.

In 2004, Nelson was honored with a replica of a ship from a Norwegian and Brazilian company for his contributions in developing an 8 million gallon ship that carries aseptic orange juice around the globe. His involvement in the bag-in-box development has impacted the distribution of fruit concentrates in more than 135 countries.

In developing countries, this technology has made it affordable and convenient to transport and delivery safe food products without refrigeration. Nelson's technology was also used to bring potable water and emergency food supplies to survivors of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the 2005 Hurricane Katrina.

Nelson's other honors include being awarded the USDA Personal Achievement Award and being appointed to the USDA National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economic Advisory Board, the USDA Specialty Crops Committee and the USDA Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Interest in his current research program is attested by his numerous lecture invitations and his annual international aseptic workshop celebrated its 26th year in 2009. He has authored or co-authored more than 65 papers in the field of food science and technology and holds 14 U.S. process patents.


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