The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Professor Thandwa Zizwe Mthembu and the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences, Professor Suren Singh, are hosting the inaugural professorial lecture of Professor Oluwatosin Ademola Ijabadeniyi, a full Professor in the Department of Biotechnology and Food Technology in the Faculty of Applied Sciences.
Prof Ijabadeniyi is a C2 rated NRF Research Scientist in the Department of Biotechnology and Food Science, at the DUT. The lecture titled: “The Battle with Persistent Foodborne Pathogens: Can We Win?” – is scheduled to take place online, this Thursday, 18 November 2021 from 17:00 to 19:00 on Microsoft Teams.
“Food, along with air and water are critical human needs for survival. It provides the necessary nutrients for leading a healthy and wholesome life. However, some of the food that we eat for their unusual health benefits such as fruits and vegetables as well as the ready-to-eat food that we consume due to their convenience nature are easily contaminated with hazards,” said Professor Ijabadeniyi.
Prof Ijabadeniyi, indicated that notable among the hazards are bacterial pathogens that survive in food, saying further, that they continue to be associated with food borne illnesses, taking a major toll on a person’s health.
“Globally, an estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people – fall ill after consuming contaminated food each year, resulting in 420 000 deaths and the loss of 33 million healthy life years. In developing countries, food and waterborne diseases for example, are amongst the leading causes of illness and death, killing about 2.2 million people annually and the majority of whom, are children. Factors responsible for the emergence and prevalence of produce-linked outbreaks include increased consumption of meals outside the home, increased popularity of salad bars, increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and increased size of at-risk population (elderly people, children, immunocompromised people) among others,” he conveyed.
Prof Ijabadeniyi, stressed that a clear understanding of these factors as well as persistent foodborne pathogens’ strengths are necessary for effective control and prevention of outbreaks.
“This lecture will discuss the benefits of food safety, the difficult food safety challenges the world faces and ways to make food safer through a systematic and proactive approach,” he said.
Oluwatosin Ademola Ijabadeniyi was born in Osogbo, Nigeria. After completing his primary school education at Emmanuel Primary School, Lagos and Secondary School education at St John-Mary’s Unity Secondary Owo, Ondo State. He gained admission into Federal University of Technology Akure where he studied Food and Industrial Microbiology. Upon completion of the compulsory National Youth Service at Cadbury Nigeria PLC and working as a computer teacher at a private secondary school for one year, he was appointed at Federal University of Technology as a graduate assistant where he also completed his Masters in Food Microbiology. In 2007, he travelled to South Africa to begin his PhD in Food Science at University of Pretoria. At the end of his PhD programme, he was appointed as a lecturer at Durban University of Technology (DUT), South Africa in January 2011, where he has pioneered research to study the prevalence of food borne pathogens in foods sold at retail outlets and those consumed at households. His interests also lie in improving the quality of indigenous fermented foods and the capacity building of smallholder farmers in agro-processing and the adoption of food safety practices.
His research findings have revealed that some ready-to-eat foods constitute a public health risk. He has used many antimicrobials -including chemical sanitizers, lactic acid bacteria, ultrasound and bacteriophage etc. – to control persistent pathogens in food. His work has brought to the fore, the intricate relationship between public health and sustainable food safety systems.
Pictured: Professor Oluwatosin Ademola Ijabadeniyi.