Akier Assanta Maf, Ph.D.

Image Akier Assanta Maf
Research Scientist

Dr. Maf is a research scientist in food hygiene, safety and biosecurity at the Saint-Hyacinthe Research and Development Centre. He has multi-disciplinary expertise that includes veterinary medicine, pathology, microbiology, and water sanitation. His expertise builds on the adhesion of pathogenic microorganisms to surfaces in contact with food and their resistance to natural and chemical antimicrobials in the bio-industrial sector. Through his projects, Dr. Maf also carries out work on: (1) the safety of red- and white-meat products; (2) validation of the hygiene of inert surfaces through molecular techniques; (3) the physical chemistry of interfaces in the formation of biofilms and the sanitation of poultry cages at slaughterhouses; and (4) the biosecurity of alternative foods based on edible insects.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec

Current research and/or projects

Dr. Maf’s research aims to support the Canadian food industry by strengthening the sector’s competitiveness through the implementation of risk-mitigation strategies in food production and processing. In addition, Dr. Maf focuses his research on the control of risks and threats, dangers which can be obstacles to ensuring the promotion of alternative foods based on edible insects in complex food systems.

Research and/or project statements

Dr. Maf’s team is convinced of the importance of cleaning and disinfection of equipment surfaces for food safety and biosecurity. As such, they have developed and applied a unique, structured and integrated approach to hygiene for equipment in contact with food to ensure better control of contamination of surfaces colonized by pathogens. Thus, Dr. Maf’s work addresses the equipment-bacteria-residue-cleaning-disinfection relationship from the perspective of cross-contamination to elucidate the problem of surface sanitation in the food industry. In the bio-industrial sector, the persistence of microbial agents and their biofilms on inert surfaces encourages companies and monitoring agencies to work together to strengthen the standard on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), the measurement standard in food safety. For several years, in collaboration with industry, this researcher has worked at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) St-Hyacinthe Research and Development Centre (SHRDC) on the contamination of surfaces by pathogens in both agri-food and hospital environments. The researcher’s current projects to this end can be summarized as follows:

  • Improvement of the cleaning and sanitation system for transport crates bringing poultry to slaughterhouses to ensure risk management and reduction of threats associated with the consumption of chicken meat contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms;
  • Potential of insects as a source of healthy ingredients and a production sanitation process;
  • Promotion of protein from edible insects through the production of sausages that are safe for human consumption;
  • Use of SpectrAAC-2 as a tool for obtaining the optical fluorescence fingerprint of protein from edible insects.

Professional activities / interests

  • Associate professor in the Department of Food and Nutrition Sciences at Université Laval;
  • Member of the Board of Directors of Université Nouveaux Horizons (UNH), Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo;
  • Founding member of Fondation INITIA, Saint-Hyacinthe Research and Development Centre, QC;
  • Chairman of the International Symposium on Food Safety and Processing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Education and awards

  • Recognition award for the work atmosphere at the Food Research and Development Centre (2002);
  • Honorary Citizen of West France Award, best presentation (1991);
  • Recognition Award as part of the 125th anniversary of the Government of Canada’s Research Branch, for great international recognition in the field of food hygiene, safety and biosecurity, Canada (2012);
  • United Nations Laureate of a scientific excellence support grant sponsored by the following organizations: The International Council for Science, The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, The United Nations for Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization and The United Nations University Institute for Advanced Studies (2006 to 2009);
  • Science Prize, scientific winner of the year, Organisation des professionnels congolais au Canada (OPCC) (2015);
  • Post-doctoral internship in food hygiene, safety and biosecurity, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) (1993);
  • Grant from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) (1984–1987);
  • Tuition exemption scholarship from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies of Université Laval (1987–1992);
  • Grant from the Governor’s Foundation, Food Research and Development Centre (1997–2001).

International experience and/or work

Regional veterinarian, animal health, Ministry of Agriculture, City of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Key publications

  1. Taherian, A., Mondor, M., Labranche, J., Drolet, H., Ippersiel, D., and Lamarche, F. (2011). Comparative study of functional properties of commercial and membrane processed yellow pea protein isolates. Food Research International.
    Boye, J.I., S. Aksay, S. Roufik., S. Ribéreau, S., Mondor, M., Farnworth, E., and Rajamohamed, S.H. (2009). Comparison of the functional properties of pea, chickpea and lentil protein concentrates processed using ultrafiltration and isoelectric precipitation techniques. Food Research International.
    AACC International Method 10-10.03 (November 3, 1999). Optimized Straight-Dough Bread-Making Method. Baking Quality, pp. 1-8. Accessed at http://dx.doi.org//10.1094/AACCIntMethod-10-10.03

    2019 - View publication details

  2. Mafu, A.A., Massicotte, R., Pichette, G., and Ahmad, D. (2015). "Importance of mechanical action in a terminal disinfection process for decontamination of Clostridium difficile spores on hospital inert contact surfaces.", International Journal of Infection Control, 11(3), pp. 1-9. doi : 10.3396/IJIC.v11i3.018.15

    2015 - View publication details

  3. Vogeleer, P., Tremblay, Y.D.N., Mafu, A.A., Jacques, M., and Harel, J. (2014). "Life on the outside: Role of biofilms in environmental persistence of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli.", Frontiers in Microbiology, 5(July: Article number Article 317). doi : 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00317

    2014 - View publication details

  4. Mafu, A.A., Massicotte, R., Pichette, G., Lafleur, S., Lemay, M.-J., and Ahmad, D. (2013). "Influence of surface and cloth characteristics on mechanical removal of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) attached to inanimate environmental surfaces in hospital and healthcare facilities.", International Journal of Infection Control, 9(3), pp. 1-11. doi : 10.3396/IJIC.v9i3.021.13

    2013 - View publication details

  5. Raymond, P., Venne, P., Richard, M.-A., Deschênes, L., Lego, B., Paul, S., St-Germain, F., and Mafu, A.A. (2012). "IMS/MS based quantification of fullerenes spiked into model food matrices.", 60th American Society for Mass Spectrometry Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics, Vancouver, BC, Canada, May 20-24, 2012.

    2012 - View publication details

  6. Deshaies, F., Ahmad, D., Massicotte, R., Pichette, G., Belhumeur, P., and Mafu, A.A. (2012). "Comparison of efficacy profiles for minimum lethal concentrations (MLCs) of some commonly used commercial hospital microbicidal detergent-disinfectant products for disinfectants and sporicidal activity.", International Journal of Infection Control, 8(2), pp. 1-10. doi : 10.3396/ijic.v8i2.013.12

    2012 - View publication details

  7. Massicotte, R., Ginestet, P., Yahia, L., Pichette, G., and Mafu, A.A. (2011). "Comparative study from a chemical perspective of two- and three-step disinfection techniques to control Clostridium difficile spores.", International Journal of Infection Control, 7(4), pp. 1-8. doi : 10.3396/ijic.V7i4.031.11

    2011 - View publication details

  8. Mafu, A.A., Plumety, C., Deschênes, L., and Goulet, J. (2011). "Influence du pH de culture sur les propriétés physico-chimiques de surface des bactéries pathogènes.", Annales de la Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, XXII(1).

    2011 - View publication details

  9. Ali, F., Mafu, A.A., and Robert, C. (2011). "Gnetum africanum: A wild food plant from the african forest with many nutritional and medicinal properties.", Journal of Medicinal Food, 14(11), pp. 1289-1297. doi : 10.1089/jmf.2010.0327

    2011 - View publication details

  10. Mafu, A.A., Plumety, C., Deschênes, L., Goulet, J. (2011). Adhesion of pathogenic bacteria to food contact surfaces: Influence of pH of culture. International Journal of Microbiology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/972494

    2011 - View publication details

  11. Dubois-Brissonnet, F., Mafu, A.A., Naïtali, M., and Briandet, R. (2011). "Induction of fatty acid composition modifications and tolerance to biocides in salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium by plant-derived terpenes.", Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 77(3), pp. 906-910. doi : 10.1128/aem.01480-10

    2011 - View publication details

  12. del Castillo, J.R.E., Mafu, A.A., Lafleur, S., Beaudry, F., Le Thanh, B.V., Scholl, D.T., Zouaoui, H., and Hildgen, P. (2009). "The monitoring of individual milk discard times with drug residue screening tests: An in vitro assessment with oxytetracycline.", Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 32(Suppl. 1), pp. 92-93. (Abstract)

    2009 - View publication details

  13. del Castillo, J.R.E., Mafu, A.A., Lafleur, S., Beaudry, F., Le Thanh, B.V., Scholl, D.T., Zouaoui, H., and Hildgen, P. (2009). "The monitoring of individual milk discard times with drug residue screening tests: An in vitro assessment with oxytetracycline.", 11th International Congress of the European Association for Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology, Congress Center Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany, July 12-16, 2009. (Presentation)

    2009 - View publication details

  14. Mafu, A.A., Pitre, M., and Sirois, S. (2009). "Real-time PCR as a tool for detection of pathogenic bacteria on contaminated Food contact surfaces by using a single enrichment medium.", Journal of Food Protection, 72(6), pp. 1310-1314.

    2009 - View publication details

  15. Deschênes, L., Racicot-Guérard, R., Mafu, A.A., Marcotte, L., Tabrizian, M., and Messier, S. (2008). "Effect of quaternization of poly-4-vinyl pyridine chains on the adhesion of BSA, Escherichia coli and Listeria monocylogenes.", CIFST 2008, Charlottetown, USA. (Abstract)

    2008 - View publication details

  16. Deschênes, L., Racicot-Guérard, R., Mafu, A.A., Marcotte, L., Tabrizian, M., and Messier, S. (2008). "Effect of quaternization of poly-4-vinyl pyridine chains on the adhesion of BSA, Escherichia coli and Listeria monocylogenes.", 2008 Canadian Institute of Food Science & Technology (CIFST) and AAFC Conference, Delta Prince Edward Hotel, Charlottetown, PEI, Canada, May 25-27, 2008.

    2008 - View publication details

  17. Mafu, A.A. (2008). Le HACCP. Syllabus de cours., Institut supérieur des techniques appliquées en chimie agroalimentaire (ISTACHA), République Démocratique du Congo. (Book)

    2008 - View publication details

  18. Bellon-Fontaine, M.-N. and Mafu, A.A. (2008). "Les biofilms dans les industries agroalimentaires.", Conférences et salon: Pathogènes alimentaires, salubrité et hygiène, INITIA, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, Canada, December 10-11, 2008. (Abstract)

    2008 - View publication details

  19. Mafu, A.A., Van Le Thanh, B., Lafleur, S., Beaudry, F., Zouaoui, H., Hildgen, P., Scholl, D.T., and del Castillo, J.R.E. (2008). "An in vitro model to assess the effect of individual variability in milk composition on the performance of drug residue screening tests.", IDF World Dairy Summit: The World Dairy Situation 2008. Bulletin of the IDF No. 432/2008, Mexico City, México, November 11-14, 2008. (Abstract)

    2008 - View publication details

  20. Dubois-Brissonnet, F. and Mafu, A.A. (2008). "Les antimicrobiens naturels conne agents d’assainissement dans les industries agroalimentaires.", Conférences et salon: Pathogènes alimentaires, salubrité et hygiène, INITIA, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, Canada, December 10-11, 2008. (Poster)

    2008 - View publication details

Research facility

3600 Casavant Boulevard West
Saint-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 8E3
Canada

Affiliations

  • Associate professor in the Department of Food and Nutrition Sciences at Université Laval;
  • Member of the Board of Directors of Université Nouveaux Horizons (UNH), Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo;
  • Founding member of Fondation INITIA, Saint-Hyacinthe Research and Development Centre, QC;
  • Chairman of the International Symposium on Food Safety and Processing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Language

English
French