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Klaenhammer Wins Metchnikoff Prize

Dr. Todd Klaenhammer is one of three winners of the 2010 Elie Metchnikoff Prize, given by the International Dairy Foundation and its partners to celebrate scientific discoveries. The prize is named after Nobel prize winner Elie Metchnikoff, who first promoted the concept of creating beneficial health effects through ingestion of living bacteria.

Metchnikoff Prizes were awarded in three categories: nutrition and health, biotechnology and microbiology. Klaenhammer won in the biotechnology category.

He was cited for discoveries focused on industrial application of molecular genetics to food grade lactic acid bacteria. Klaenhammer studies genetic approaches to improving lactic acid bacteria, the “good” bacteria used as starter cultures and probiotics in fermented food and dairy products, like yogurt. His recent research focused on the molecular mechanisms responsible for the survival and activity of probiotic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. He used that information to develop live bacterial delivery systems for oral vaccines.

Klaenhammer is a Distinguished University Professor and William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of food, bioprocessing and nutrition sciences. He also directs the Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center, which develops and applies new technologies for processing milk and its components into products with improved qualities.

Metchnikoff Prize winners were announced at the IDF Symposia on Science and Technology of Fermented Milk and on Microstructure of Dairy Products in Tromsö, Norway, in June. The prize was created by the International Dairy Federation and partner organizations, Institut Pasteur and the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, with support from industry partners.