Dr. Seockmo Ku

Assistant Professor

Dr. Seockmo Ku
(615) 904-8290
Room 103, Stark Agribusiness and Agriscience Center (SAG)
MTSU Box 05, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Degree Information

  • Ph.D., Purdue University (2015)
  • M.S., Seoul National University (2009)
  • B.H.E., The Catholic University of Korea (2007)
  • B.S., The Catholic University of Korea (2007)

Areas of Expertise

Microbial Fermentation, Probiotics, Food Safety, Bioseparation, Food Processing, Nutraceutical, Biocatalysis

Biography

Dr. Seockmo Ku is an Assistant Professor of Fermentation Science in the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Ku is a professional fermentation scientist, food microbiologist, and certified nutritionist. He is a coinventor of 2 patents and has an additional patent pending. He has conducted numerous research projects in academia and industry.

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Dr. Seockmo Ku is an Assistant Professor of Fermentation Science in the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Ku is a professional fermentation scientist, food microbiologist, and certified nutritionist. He is a coinventor of 2 patents and has an additional patent pending. He has conducted numerous research projects in academia and industry. Dr. Ku serves as a peer reviewer of nine food science and food microbiology-related journal articles. He believes that his diverse research experiences will be an asset to secure grants and lead future research projects at MTSU.

   At Seoul National University, he conducted experiments to develop functional foods and biogenic compounds using lactic acid bacteria, more specifically: (i) the suppression of human colon cells using Bifidobacterium spp., (ii) the development of novel fermentation processes to increase the productivity of probiotic biomass and metabolic compounds, (iii) the bio-catalysis of plant glycosides to improve bio-functional effects, and (iv) the bio-separation of phytochemicals. Dr. Ku’s Master’s thesis integrated some of the aforementioned projects and was named the “Most outstanding thesis of the year” by Seoul National University in 2008.

   During his PhD studies at Purdue University, Dr. Ku developed novel technologies that enable the rapid detection of food-borne pathogenic bacteria via the microfiltration of food samples to accelerate Salmonella detection. This research is of critical national need; the early detection of contamination before food is shipped from a processing facility to vendors can prevent massive and expensive food recalls, food-borne disease, and even death. Current methods require up to several days to identify microbial contamination. The goal of Dr. Ku’s work at Purdue University was to shorten that time to mere hours. Such work required the capacity to integrate diverse specializations, including microbiology, separations engineering, molecular biology, biotechnology, as well as food production and processing systems. A Purdue team Dr. Ku was a part of, led by Dr. Michael R. Ladisch, recently earned the Grand Prize of $300,000 for the Food and Drug Administration’s inaugural Food Safety Challenge contest. His background knowledge in molecular biology, food science, and nutrition developed at the Catholic University of Korea (B.S. in Molecular Biology and Food & Nutrition) and Seoul National University (M.S. in Food & Nutrition) contributed to his Ph.D. studies and postdoctoral work. His research at both universities resulted in 15 peer-reviewed journal article publications. Four papers are currently under review.

   In addition to research experience in academia, Dr. Ku has professional expertise in launching several new products at CJ Cheilchedang Food R&D Center, formerly a parent company of Samsung and currently one of the largest Asian food and biotechnology conglomerates. As a R&D researcher, he participated in the development, testing, renewal, and patenting of more than 30 varieties of processed food products. Such achievements earned him two awards (the CJ Award and the Grand Prize of the CJ Only-One Fair) from the chairman of CJ group and one award (the Chief Scientist Award) from the vice CEO of CJ group. These awards are given to a researcher who demonstrates an extraordinary ability to design and develop new-processed food products, as well as demonstrate productivity, enthusiasm, and creativity in science and engineering. Furthermore, in 2010 Dr. Ku earned an official certification as a Nutritionist from the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Korea. His current projects at MTSU include: (i) the development of novel-fed batch culture technology for effective cell biomass production and (ii) rapid microbial detection and control using nano/micro technology. Dr. Ku teaches Introduction to Fermentation Science (FERM 1000) and Problems in Agriculture (ABAS 4910).

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Publications

  • Hoagland, L. A., Ximenes, E., Ku, S., Ladisch, M. R. "Foodborne pathogens in  horticultural production systems: understanding the ecology to develop  effective mitigation strategies," Scientia Horticulturae (Under review).
  • Kim, D. H., Ku, S.¶, " Beneficial effects of Monascus sp. KCCM 10093 Pigments and Derivatives: A Mini Review, Molecules  (Under review)&nbsp...
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  • Hoagland, L. A., Ximenes, E., Ku, S., Ladisch, M. R. "Foodborne pathogens in  horticultural production systems: understanding the ecology to develop  effective mitigation strategies," Scientia Horticulturae (Under review).
  • Kim, D. H., Ku, S.¶, " Beneficial effects of Monascus sp. KCCM 10093 Pigments and Derivatives: A Mini Review, Molecules  (Under review) (¶Corresponding author).
  • Cho, I. H., Lee, J., Kim, J., Kang, M., Paik, J. K., Ku, S., Cho, H. M., Irudayaraj, J., Kim, D. H. "Current Technologies of Electrochemical Immunosensors: Perspective on Signal Amplification," Sensors (Under review).
  • Lee, J., Kang, M. S., Paik, J. K., Park, H. S., Ku, S., Cho, I.H. "Mutual Interaction of Protein G with Murine F(ab’)2 and Fab Antibody Fragments Digested by Proteases," Biochem Biophys Res Commun (Under review).
  • Chen, X., Ku, S., Weibel, J. A., Ximenes, E., Li, X., Ladisch, M. R., Carimella, S. V. “Enhanced antimicrobial efficacy of bimetallic porous CuO microspheres decorated with Ag nanoparticles,” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b11364 (2017)
  • Cho, I. H., Ku, S.¶  "Current technical approaches for the early detection of foodborne pathogens: challenges and opportunities," Int J Mol Sci. 18(10), 2078 (2017) (¶Corresponding author).
  • Li, Y.*, Ku, S.*, Park, M. S., Li, Z., Ji, G. E. “Acceleration of aglycone isoflavones and γ-aminobutyric acid production from doenjang using whole cell biocatalysis accompanied by protease incubation,” J Microbiol Biotechnol. doi: 10.4014/jmb.1705.05052 (2017) (*Co-first author).
  • Park, M. S., Kwon, B., Ku, S., Ji, G.E. “The efficacy of Bifidobacterium longum BORI and Lactobacillus acidophilus AD031 probiotic treatment in infants with rotavirus infection,” Nutrients 9, 887 (2017)
  • Ku, S., Kreke, T., Ximenes, E., Foster, K., Liu, X., Gilpin, C., Ladisch, M. R. “Protein particulate retention and microorganism recovery for rapid detection of Salmonella,” Biotechnol Prog 33(3), 687-695 (2017).
  • Ximenes, E., Hoagland, L., Ku, S., Li, X., Ladisch, M. R. “Human pathogens in plant biofilms: formation, physiology, and detection,” Biotechnol Bioeng 114(7):1403-1418 (2017). This article has been selected as Spotlight Featured Work.
  • Ku, S., Ximenes, E., Kreke, T., Foster, K. Deering A. J. Ladisch, M. R. “Microfiltration of enzyme treated egg whites for accelerated detection of viable Salmonella,” Biotechnol Prog 32(6), 1464-1471(2016).  
  • Ku, S., Park, M. S., Ji, G. E., You, H. J. “Review on Bifidobacterium bifidum BGN4: Functionality and nutraceutical applications as a probiotic microorganism, Int J Mol Sci 17(9), 1544 (2016).  
  • Ku, S. §  “Finding and producing probiotic glycosylases for the biocatalysis of ginsenosides: a mini review,” Molecules 21, 645 (2016). (§ Single-authored paper)  
  • Ku, S., You, H. J., Park, M. S., Ji, G. E. “Whole-cell biocatalysis for producing ginsenoside Rd from Rb1 using Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG,” J Microbiol Biotechnol 26, 1206-1215 (2016).
  • Ku, S., Ximenes, E., Kreke, T., Ladisch, M. R. “Salmonella in shell eggs:  mechanisms, prevention, and detection,” J Nutr Food Sci 6:455. doi:10.4172/2155-9600.1000455 (2016).  
  • Vibbert, H. B., Ku, S., Li, X., Liu, X., Ximenes, E., Kreke, T., Ladisch, M. R., Deering, A. J., Gehring, A. G. “Accelerating sample preparation through enzyme-assisted microfiltration of Salmonella in chicken extract,” Biotechnol Prog 31, 1551-1562 (2015).  
  • Ku, S., You, H. J., Park, M. S., Ji, G. E. “Effects of ascorbic acid on a-L-arabinofuranosidase and a-L-arabinopyranosidase activities from Bifidobacterium longum RD47 and its application to whole cell bioconversion of ginsenoside, J Korean Soc Appl Biol Chem, 1-9 (2015).  
  • Ku, S., Zheng, H., Park, M. S., Ji, G. E. “Optimization of β-glucuronidase activity from Lactobacillus delbrueckii Rh2 and its use for biotransformation of baicalin and wogonoside,” J Korean Soc Appl Biol Chem 54:275-280 (2011).  
  • Ku, S., You, H. J., Ji, G. E. “Enhancement of anti-tumorigenic polysaccharide production, adhesion, and branch formation of Bifidobacterium bifidum BGN4 by phytic acid,” Food Sci Biotechnol 18:749-754 (2009).

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Awards

  • FDA Food Safety Challenge, Grand Prize, $300,000 Purdue University Team Member, 2015
  • Honorable Mention for Poster Science Culture and Policy Graduate Student Poster Competition, Purdue University, 2014
  • The CJ Award from Chairman of CJ group (Kyung-Shik Sohn), 5,000,000 KRW, CJ Group, 2010
  • Chief Scientist Award from Vice CEO of CJ group (Tae-...
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  • FDA Food Safety Challenge, Grand Prize, $300,000 Purdue University Team Member, 2015
  • Honorable Mention for Poster Science Culture and Policy Graduate Student Poster Competition, Purdue University, 2014
  • The CJ Award from Chairman of CJ group (Kyung-Shik Sohn), 5,000,000 KRW, CJ Group, 2010
  • Chief Scientist Award from Vice CEO of CJ group (Tae-Jun Kim),1,000,000 KRW, CJ Group, 2010
  • Grand Prize from Chairman of CJ Group (Jay-Hyun Lee), CJ Only-One Fair, CJ Group, 2009    
  • Most Outstanding Thesis of the Year, Food & Nutrition, Seoul National University, 2008
  • Elim Scholarship, 1,000,000 KRW, 2008
  • Superior Academic Scholarship, 367,000 KRW, 2007
  • Internship Scholarship, 500,000 KRW, 2006                                                       
  • Scholastic Achievement Scholarship, 2,230,900 KRW, 2004

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Research/Scholarly Activity

PATENTS                                                                                                           

  • Ladisch, M. R., Ximenes, E., Ku, S., Foster, K., Kreke, T., Liu...
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PATENTS                                                                                                           

  • Ladisch, M. R., Ximenes, E., Ku, S., Foster, K., Kreke, T., Liu, X., Jones, J. T., Deering, A. J., Hardenstein J., Tangare, A. “ Rapid Concentration, recovery and Detection of Pathogens in Food Samples,” Purdue Research Foundation, U.S., Application No. PCT/US2016/043596, https://www.google.com/patents/WO2017015574A1?cl=en, 2017
  • Ji, G. E., Ku, S., Park, M. S. “Culture Medium Containing Phytic Acid for Cultivation of Bifidobacterium bifidum BGN4 and Method for Production of Bifidobacterium bifidum BGN4 Polysaccharide Using the Medium,” Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, Patent No. 10-1037778, 2011
  • Park, J., Kim, H., Lee, S., Um, S., Kwon, J., Lee, J., Ku, S., Heo, S., Park, K., Jang, M., Lee, S. “Food Package”, CJ CGV, Seoul, Korea, Patent No. 3005329760000, 2009                                         

PEER REVIEWER

  • Biotechnol. Prog (ISSN: 8756-7938), 2017
  • Microb. Cell Fact. (ISSN: 1475-2859), 2017 
  • Molecules (ISSN: 1420-3049), 2017
  • Int. J. Mol. Sci (ISSN: 1422-0067), I have reviewed four different manuscripts as a reviewer, 2017
  • Nutrients (ISSN: 2072-6643) I have reviewed three different manuscripts as a reviewer, 2017
  • J. Funct. Foods (ISSN: 1756-4646), 2017
  • Bioenergy Res. (ISSN: 1939-1234), 2017
  • Microb. Cell Fact. (ISSN: 1475-2859), 2016 
  • Foods (ISSN: 2304-8158), In progress
  • Appl. Sci. (ISSN: 2076-3417), In progress
  • Catalysts (ISSN: 2073-4344), In progress

SERVICE AND READERSHIP

  • Judge for the 4th ABE Industrial Research Symposium at Purdue University, 2017
  • Judge for the 3rd ABE Industrial Research Symposium at Purdue University, 2016
  • Counselor of Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) at Purdue University 2016 Coleman, E.R., Ladisch, M.R., Ximenes, E., Karp, M., Howell, K., Ku, S., Mosier, N., Tabar, I.B. "DNA Bound Avicel Network: The Beginnings of a Self-Healing Material" p31. 
  • Korean Military Service, Sergeant, Army, 2000-2002  

CERTIFICATIONS                                                                                                

  • Nutritionist, 2010 (National Health Personnel Licensing Examination Board of Korea)

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Courses

  • Fermentation Science (FERM 1000)
  • Problems in Agriculture (ABAS 4910)