ATCHISON, KANSAS, U.S. — MGP announced on Aug. 14 the appointment of Liming Cai, Ph.D., as applications scientist for the company’s food ingredients area. 

His principal responsibilities include providing research, applications and technical support to grow and enhance MGP’s portfolio of specialty starches and proteins while also assisting in the development of operational improvements related to the production of those ingredients. The position additionally involves working directly with customers to deliver solutions that uniquely add value to their consumer packaged goods, and participating in the training of company personnel, as well as ingredient brokers and distributors, through presentations, seminars and one-on-one collaborative activities.

An accomplished grain and food scientist, Cai most recently served as a post-doctoral associate in cereal chemistry at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, U.S. He began in that position in January 2012 after spending over four years as a graduate research assistant in carbohydrate chemistry in the department of grain science and industry at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, U.S. Along with experience gained in those roles, he brings considerable expertise in product formulations and ingredient applications to his role at MGP.

“Liming’s solid education and experience in cereal and starch chemistry are a great fit in MGP’s ingredient innovation program,” said Ody Maningat, Ph.D., vice-president of applications technology and technical services. “The knowledge and capabilities he possesses will be key in helping accelerate the completion of current and future research projects as we continue to develop value-added, wheat-based ingredients that address increased demand for nutritious and functional products. His numerous scientific publications literally speak volumes about his exceptional qualifications to significantly contribute toward our initiatives focused on value creation.”

A native of Putian, Fujian, China, Cai received a bachelor’s degree from Wuhan (China) Polytechnic University in 2004. He earned a master’s degree in food science from South China University of Technology in 2007 and his doctorate in grain science from Kansas State University in December 2011.

Post-doctoral research projects in which he has been involved have included the application of novel methods for processing whole grain for improved baking quality; the identification of grain traits influencing the functional and bread-baking properties of whole grain wheat flour; and the development of acceptable sensory properties for whole grain breads and noodles.  Industry-related projects have included researching the action of anti-staling enzymes on starch and its implications in baking applications, and investigating the molecular origins of enzyme resistance of high amylose starches.

Cai has authored and co-authored over two dozen scientific research publications and presentations. He additionally has presented research data at various food industry conferences and seminars and provided independent analytical services and technical support for major food product manufacturers.

He has served as assistant editor of Food Science, Versita Open Access Books since 2012 and is a member of the American Association of Cereal Chemists International and the Institute of Food Technologists. Among honors Cai has received are the National Starch Outstanding Ph.D. Graduate Student Award (2010) and the Ming-Long/Paul Seib Graduate Achievement Award (2009), both from the Kansas State University grain science department, and the Outstanding Poster Award in Cereal Chemistry (2008) from the Corn Refiners Association.