Professor John Taylor, a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Consumer and Food Sciences and an internationally renowned food scientist, has been awarded the Clyde H Bailey Medal by the International Association for Cereal Science and Technology (ICC).
The Medal is awarded by the ICC only once every four years for outstanding achievements in cereal science and technology. It is named after Professor Clyde Bailey (1887 – 1968), Dean of Agriculture at the University of Minnesota (1942 – 1952) and responsible for numerous fundamental research work in cereals. The Bailey Medal is one of the two premier cereal science and technology awards. The other is the T B Osborne Medal from the Cereal and Grains Association (formerly American Association of Cereal Chemists), which was also awarded to Prof Taylor last year.
Prof Taylor said. “Being awarded the Bailey Medal is uniquely special to me. I have been involved in the activities of ICC since way back in 1986 when my director at the CSIR asked me to serve as secretary of our local cereal science and technology group. Since then, ICC has made a huge and lasting impact on my scientific career and my life. Highlights include the 1993 international cereals conference held in Pretoria, the first international scientific conference held in South Africa for numerous years, serving as President of the ICC in 2009-2010 and serving as a co-editor of the ICC Handbook of Cereal Science and Technology. My only hope is that I have given back to ICC and our African cereal science and technology community as much as I have received.”
When asked how he felt about this esteemed medal, Prof Taylor said, “I am humbled that my peers in the international grain science community considered my contribution to our discipline worthy of this prestigious award. Especially as I am sure that by now, they were heartedly tired of writing nice things about my work. More seriously, receiving these two medals is a lot to live up to. All I can do is keep trying my best. While I am still able, my commitment is to apply my skills to help alleviate malnutrition in our continent by bringing the nutritional- and health benefits of whole-grain foods to people.
A significant theme of Prof Taylor's research has concerned sorghum's kafirin prolamin proteins. In addition to making some fundamental scientific contributions, his team has made significant innovations in utilising kafirin as a bioplastic polymer and a functional replacement for gluten in non-wheat types of bread. He has also contributed to improving African grain food nutrition in sorghum protein biofortification and essential mineral fortification.
Prof Taylor's work on sorghum malting and brewing has substantially impacted the development of the sorghum beverage industry in Africa. In addition, he has played a significant role in uplifting grain science education in Africa, supervising more than 100 master’s and doctoral graduates from across the continent. His professional service has included the International Association for Cereal Science and Technology presidency, being a former associate editor of Cereal Chemistry, and being past editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cereal Science.