Margaret Anne (Margo) Duckson completed a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature, and three minors in Chemistry, History, and Food Science and Technology all from Virginia Tech in May 2009. She is currently a Ph.D. Student in the Department of Food Science and Technology and is also working to complete a Bachelor of Arts in History. She aims to complete both degrees by May 2013.
Margo’s main area of study is food microbiology and food safety. She is interested in methods of extractions and the use of natural antimicrobial and antifungal compounds to eliminate or slow the growth of food spoiling bacteria, molds, and yeasts. Her current research is aimed at determining the antimicrobial effect of mustard seed oil against Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella typhimurium, Listeria monocytogenes V7, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Zygosaccharomyces bailii, and Zygosaccharomyces bailii/bisporus. She has previously worked on methods of extraction and antimicrobial testing of tomato seed extract and mustard seed extract against food spoiling bacteria and yeasts.
In addition to her research with natural antimicrobials, Margo is interested in food packaging and new food product development. She was one of eight winners across the United States to win the Italian Trade Commission’s 2011 Italian Packaging Technology Awards. She was also a member of the Virginia Tech Food Product Development Team that was a finalist in the Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) 2010 Product Development Competition and was the captain of the 2011 Food Product Development Team that won second place nationally in the Danisco Knowledge Award Competition. She is a member of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) and IFT.
Besides the scientific aspect of food, Margo is also interested in food history and food culture. By intertwining the disciplines of Food Science and History, she has examined the role of cooking in history, the history of food preservation techniques, and how cooking methods have changed over time.