Harald Perten Prize Awardees 2024: Dr. Bruce Hamaker & Prof. Sergio Serna-Saldivar

The Harald Perten Prize, named in honor of Ing. Harald Perten, a committed contributor of ICC, is intended to recognize outstanding achievements in the field of cereal science. While serving as the chairman of the ICC Working Group on Alpha Amylase and Sprouting, Harald Perten played a pivotal role in establishing standard methods, including the renowned "Falling Number" method. This esteemed award symbolizes his exceptional work and is presented every second year, in connection with ICC Congresses.


This year, in a celebration of outstanding contributions to the field of cereal science, the Harald Perten Prize for 2024 has been awarded to two exemplary researchers, Dr. Bruce Hamaker and Prof. Sergio Serna-Saldivar for their pioneering work in advancing our understanding of cereal carbohydrates, proteins, and their profound implications for health and industry.


Dr. Bruce Hamaker

Department of Food Science and Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research 

Purdue University, USA


Dr. Hamaker has been and continues to be productive and successful in the field of cereal carbohydrates and proteins. His multidisciplinary and unique background spans the fields of biology, human nutrition and food science/chemistry, and an extensive international experience. His groundbreaking research focuses on carbohydrate structures and their intricate interactions with the human body, particularly in the realm of nutrition and health outcomes. Notably, his work has clarified the perception of digestible carbohydrates, demonstrating their potential to be health-promoting rather than non-satiating and fattening. His innovative methods to slow starch digestibility have ushered in a new era of carbohydrate-based processed foods that contribute to weight management and overall well-being.


Recognized for his 30-year commitment to cereal science, Dr. Hamaker's impact extends globally. His research program spans the mechanistic to applied aspects of carbohydrates, physiology, dietary fibers, and gut health, addressing critical challenges facing society. His work has already influenced the cereal science field, with applications in the production of quality slowly digestible carbohydrates for industry and contributions to the burgeoning plant-based protein product market.


Dr. Sergio Serna-Saldivar

Centro de Biotecnología FEMSA

Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, México


Dr. Serna-Saldivar's expertise lies in the processing of maize and its applications, particularly in the production of tortillas and tacos. His research on the loss of starch crystallinity during the transformation of nixtamalized maize flour into these iconic products has reshaped our understanding of their unique texture. Beyond his impact on baked goods, his work on legume starch, particularly beans, has improved techno-functional properties and digestibility.


In addition to his academic achievements, Prof. Serna-Saldivar has contributed to the improvement of food nutrition and accessibility, particularly in developing regions. His research on Mexican autochthonous crops, such as maize and legumes, has revealed novel sources of essential nutrients, offering solutions to combat malnutrition and address food insecurity.


The professor's innovative research on maize processing technology, particularly nixtamalization, has played a pivotal role in the development of the tortilla industry in North America. With 12 awarded patents and seed rights, Prof. Serna-Saldivar has successfully translated scientific knowledge into efficient and sustainable industrial processes for producing healthy and nutritious foods.


The International Association for Cereal Science and Technology applauds both Dr. Bruce Hamaker and Prof. Sergio Serna-Saldivar for their exceptional contributions to the field. The awards are set to be presented at the 17th International Cereal and Bread Congress in Nantes in April 2024. This recognition underscores the significance of the awardees' ongoing impactful work in advancing our understanding of cereals.