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 Agriculture 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 Agriculture 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 served as a peer reviewer of >30 food science and food microbiology-related journal articles. Dr. Ku’s research projects have resulted in >20 peer-reviewed articles publications and three additional manuscripts under review (July 2018). 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. 

   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, (ii) rapid microbial detection and control using nano/micro technology and (iii) phytochemical biocatalysis using probiotic bacteria. Dr. Ku teaches Introduction to Fermentation Science (FERM 1000), Food Qulity Control (AGBS 4830),  BDF Safety and Sanitation (FERM 3710), Facillity desing and Operation (FERM 3750) and Problems in Agriculture (ABAS 4910) at MTSU.

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Publications

(Peer-Reviewed Articles)

  1. Ahn, H. J., You, H. J., Park, M. S., Johnston, T. V., Ku, S.¶, Ji, G. E. "Biocatalysis of Platycoside E and Platycodin D3 using Fungal Extracellular β-Glucosidase Responsible for Rapid Platycodin D Production," Int. J. Mol. Sci. 19(9), 2671; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092671 (2018)(¶Corresponding autho...
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(Peer-Reviewed Articles)

  1. Ahn, H. J., You, H. J., Park, M. S., Johnston, T. V., Ku, S.¶, Ji, G. E. "Biocatalysis of Platycoside E and Platycodin D3 using Fungal Extracellular β-Glucosidase Responsible for Rapid Platycodin D Production," Int. J. Mol. Sci. 19(9), 2671; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092671 (2018)(¶Corresponding author).
  2. Kim, M. J., Ku, S.*, Kim, S. Y., Lee, H. H., Jin H., Kang, S., Li, R., Johnston, T. V., Park, M. S., Ji, G. E.  "Safety Evaluations of Bifidobacterium bifidum BGN4 and Bifidobacterium longum BORI," Int J Mol Sci. 19(5), 1422 (2018) (*Co-first author).
  3. Hoagland, L. A., Ximenes, E., Ku, S., Ladisch, M. R. "Foodborne pathogens in  horticultural production systems: Ecology and mitigation," Scientia Horticulturae 236, 192–206 (2018).
  4. Kim, D. H., Ku, S.¶, " Bacillus Cellulase Molecular Cloning, Expression, and Surface Display on the Outer Membrane of Escherichia coli," Molecules 23(2), 503 (2018) (¶Corresponding author).
  5. 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 18(1), 207; doi:doi:10.3390/s18010207(2018)
  6. Kim, D. H., Ku, S.¶, " Beneficial effects of Monascus sp. KCCM 10093 Pigments and Derivatives: A Mini Review", Molecules 23 (1), 98 (2018) (¶Corresponding author).
  7. 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.9 (45),39165–39173 (2017)
  8. 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).
  9. 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).
  10. 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)
  11. 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).
  12. 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.
  13. 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).  
  14. 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).  
  15. Ku, S. §  “Finding and producing probiotic glycosylases for the biocatalysis of ginsenosides: a mini review,” Molecules 21, 645 (2016). (§ Single-authored paper). 
  16. 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).
  17. 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).  
  18. 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).  
  19. 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).  
  20. 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).  
  21. 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).

(Book Chapter)

  1. Ximenes, E., Ku, S., Hoagland, L. A., Ladisch, M. R. "Accelerated Sample Preparation for Fast Salmonella Detection in Poultry Products," Book chapter, Springer (2018, Accepted).

(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).
  • Jin, W., Yoon, C., Johnston, T. V., Ku, S.¶, Ji, G. E. "Whole Cell Biotransformation of Sodium Selenite using Bifidobacterium bifidum BGN4 for Selenomethionine Production," PeerJ (Under review, ¶Co-corresponding author).
  • Kim, H., Park, S., Kim, K., Ku, S., Seo, J., Roh, S." Enterococcus faecium L-15 cell-free extract improves the chondrogenic differentiation of human dental pulp stem cells," Sci Rep (Under review).

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Awards

Grant

  • Faculty Research and Creative Activity Awards, 10,000 USD, Middle Tennessee State University, PI, 2018
  • Special Project Grant, 17,000 USD, Middle Tennessee State University, Co-PI, 2018
  • FDA Food Safety Challenge, Grand Prize, 300,000 USD Purdue University Team Member, 2015

Award

  • Honorable Mention for Poster S...
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Grant

  • Faculty Research and Creative Activity Awards, 10,000 USD, Middle Tennessee State University, PI, 2018
  • Special Project Grant, 17,000 USD, Middle Tennessee State University, Co-PI, 2018
  • FDA Food Safety Challenge, Grand Prize, 300,000 USD Purdue University Team Member, 2015

Award

  • 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
  • SNU Elim Scholarship, 1,000,000 KRW, 2008
  • SNU 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

Dr. Seockmo Ku has served as a manuscript peer-reviewer for more than 30 articles (Top 98th percentile peer-reviewer in the world [2017-2018]).  

  • 2018 Reviewed four articles for Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643; IF=3.55)
  • 2018 Reviewed for World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology (ISSN 0959-3993; IF=1.66)
  • 2018 Reviewed for International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601; IF=2.10)
  • 2018 Reviewed two articles for Catalysts (ISSN 2073-4344; IF=3.08)
  • 2018 Reviewed five articles for Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049; IF=2.86)
  • 2018 Reviewed for Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology (ISSN: 1738-8872; IF=1.75)  
  • 2017 Reviewed two articles for Microbial Cell Factories (ISSN: 1475-2859; IF=3.68)
  • 2017 Reviewed for Catalysts (ISSN 2073-4344; IF=3.08)
  • 2017 Reviewed two articles for Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049; IF=2.86)
  • 2017 Reviewed three articles for Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049; IF=2.86)
  • 2017 Reviewed six articles for International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067; IF=3.23)
  • 2017 Reviewed four articles for Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643; IF=3.55)
  • 2017 Reviewed for Biotechnology Progress (ISSN 1520-6033; IF=1.99)
  • 2017 Reviewed for Journal of Functional Foods (ISSN: 1756-4646; IF=3.14)

SERVICE AND READERSHIP

  • Judge for the MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences - Scholars Day
  • 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)
  • Food Quality Control (AGBS 4830)
  • Brewing, Distillation, Fermentation, Sanitation and Safety (FERM 3710)
  • Facillity Design and Operation (FERM 3750)