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Robert C. Williams

Dr. Robert C. Williams
401-C HABB1 (0924)
1230 Washington Street SW
Blacksburg, VA 24061
  • Ph.D., Food Science and Technology, The University of Tennessee, 2001
  • M.S., Food Science and Technology, The University of Tennessee, 1998
  • B.S., Biology, Tennessee Technological University, 1994
Employment History

2008 - Present Associate Professor – Food Microbiology Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
2002 - 2008 Assistant Professor – Food Microbiology Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

  1. Enhancement of Alternative Processes to Control Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica serovars and Listeria monocytogenes in Foods
    • Non-thermal processes; Ultraviolet light, high pressure, ozone
    • Novel as well as widely-utilized antimicrobial agents
  2. Characterization and Control of Foodborne Pathogens in Fresh Produce and Low-Moisture Foods
Extension Objectives and Supporting Programs
  1. Improving Food Safety and Food Quality in Virginia
    • Fresh Produce Safety: Good Agricultural Practices program for production and distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables.
    • Virginia Food Processor Technical Assistance Program: Food safety, quality and regulatory recommendations are made to food processors who submit product samples.
    • Food Product Recall Planning: Training to prepare food processors and distributors to quickly and efficiently recall contaminated food products.
    • Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP): Food safety management.
    • Better Process Control School: FDA approved instruction in the safe manufacturing of canned foods; required by federal law for supervisors in such establishments.
  2. Improving the Decision-Making Capacity of Leaders in the Virginia Food and Beverage Industry
    • VDACS Specialty Food Advisory Committee

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Saunders T.*, Wu J., Williams R.C., Huang H., and Ponder MA. 2017. Inactivation of Salmonella and Surrogate Bacteria on Cashews and Macadamia Nuts Exposed to Commercial Propylene Oxide Processing Conditions. Journal of Food Protection. Accepted

Saucedo-Alderete, R.O., Eifert, J.D., Boyer, R.R., Williams, R.C., and Welbaum, G.E. 2017. Delmopinol hydrochloride spray reduces Salmonella on cantaloupe surfaces. Food Science & Nutrition. DOI: 10.1002/fsn3.564

Levy, J., Boyer, R.R., Nielson, A., O’Keefe, S., Chu, H., Williams, R., Dorenkott, M., and K. Goodrich. 2017. Evaluation of peanut skin and grape seed extract to inhibit growth of foodborne pathogens. Food Science & Nutrition. 5(6): 1130–1138

Kumar GD, Williams RC, Al Qublan HM, Sriranganathan N, Boyer RR, Eifert JD., 2017. Airborne soil particulates as vehicles for Salmonella contamination of tomatoes. International journal of food microbiology; 243:90-95.

Bacon K, Boyer R, Denbow C, Neilson A, Williams RC, 2017. Antibacterial activity of jalapeno pepper (Capsicum annum var. annum) extract fractions against select foodborne pathogens. Food science & nutrition. 5(3):730-738.

Dev Kumar G, Williams RC, Sumner SS, Eifert JD, 2016. Effect of ozone and ultraviolet light on Listeria monocytogenes populations in fresh and spent chill brines. Food control, January; 59:172-177.

Concha-Meyer A, Eifert JD, Williams RC, Marcy JE, Welbaum GE, 2016. Listeria monocytogenes survival in the presence of malic acid, lactic acid or blueberry extract. Journal of berry research. 7(1):33-41.

Bacon K, Boyer R, Denbow C, O'Keefe Sean, Neilson A, Williams RC, 2016. Evaluation of different solvents to extract antibacterial compounds from jalapeno peppers. Food science & nutrition. 5(3):497-503.

Bowman LS, Waterman KM, Williams RC, Ponder MA, 2015. Inoculation Preparation Affects Survival of Salmonella enterica on Whole Black Peppercorns and Cumin Seeds Stored at Low Water Activity. Journal of food protection 78(7):1259-65.

Concha-Meyer A, Eifert JD, Williams RC, Marcy JE, Welbaum GE, 2015. Shelf Life Determination of Fresh Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) Stored under Controlled Atmosphere and Ozone. International journal of food science:164143.

Arritt, F., J. Eifert, M. Jahncke, M. Pierson, R. Williams, C. Decker. 2014. The effects of modified atmosphere packaging on toxin production by Clostridium botulinum in fully cooked breaded and battered Alaskan pollock (Theragra chalcogramma). Journal of Food Protection. Under review.

Concha-Meyer A., J. Eifert, R. Williams, J. Marcy, G. Welbaum. 2014. Shelf life determination of fresh blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) under controlled atmosphere storage. Postharvest Biology and Technology. In press.

Dev Kumar, G., H. Alqublan, N. Sriranganathan, R. Boyer, J. Eifert, R. Williams. 2014. Heat shock to improve transformation in tomato outbreak associated Salmonella serovars and comparison of bioluminescence expression of transformants. BMC Microbiology. Under review.

Concha-Meyer, A., J. Eifert, R. Williams, J. Marcy, G. Welbaum. 2014. Survival of Listeria monocytogenes on Fresh Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) stored under Controlled Atmosphere and Ozone. Journal of Food Protection. 77(5): 832-836.

Aviles, B., C. Klotz, T. Smith, R. Williams, M. Ponder. 2013. Survival of Salmonella enterica Serotype Tennessee during Simulated Gastric Passage is Improved by Low Water Activity and High Fat Content. Journal of Food Protection. 76 (2): 333-7.

Aviles, B., C. Klotz, J. Eifert, R. Williams, M. Ponder.  2013. Effect of Physiological State, Prolonged Dry Storage, and in vitro Digestion on the Survival and Gene Expression of Salmonella enterica sv. Tennessee. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 162 (3): 252–259.

Huff, K., R. Boyer, C. Denbow, S. O'Keefe, R. Williams. 2012. Survival of Salmonella enterica on the surface and internal components of jalapenos. Journal of Food Protection. 75(2) 382-388.

Parikh, P., R. Williams, K. Mallikarjunan, J. Eifert, J. Marcy. 2012. Control of Listeria monocytogenes in recycled chill brine using ultraviolet light and antimicrobial agents. Journal of Food Safety 32:169-175.

Boyer, R., S. Sumner, R. Williams, K. Kniel, J. McKinney. 2011. Role of Escherichia coli O157:H7 O-antigen on cell's overall hydrophobicity, charge and ability to attach to lettuce. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 147(3):228-232.

Maitland, J., R. Boyer, J. Eifert, R. Williams. 2011. High pressure processing reduces Salmonella enterica in whole and diced tomatoes. International Journal of Food  Microbiology. 149(2):113-117.

Parikh, P., R. Williams, K. Mallikarjunan, J. Eifert, J. Marcy. 2011. Concurrent use of ultraviolet light and citric acid, dimethyl dicarbonate or hydrogen peroxide to inactivate Listeria monocytogenes in chill brine. Journal of Food Safety, 31(4):530-537.

Boyer, R., L. Hintz, M. Ponder, S. Rideout, R. Williams. 2010. Recovery of Salmonella enterica Newport introduced through irrigation water from tomato (Lycopersicum escultentum) fruit, roots, stems and leaves. HortScience. 45:675-678.

Ponder, M., G. Lopez-Velasco, R. Boyer, R. Williams. 2010. Alterations of the phylloepiphytic bacterial community associated with interactions of E. coli O157:H7 during storage of packaged spinach at refrigeration temperatures. Food Microbiology. 27(4): 476-486.

Troung, V., R. Williams, R. Boyer, J. McKinney, S. O'Keefe. 2010. Effect of cinnamic acid alpha cyclodextrin inclusion complexes on populations of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica in fruit juices. Journal of Food Protection. 73(1):92-96.

Peer-Reviewed Extension Publications

Eifert J., R. Boyer, R. Williams, S. Sumner.  2014. "Vegetable Fermentation".

Morris, W., R. Williams, R. Boyer.  2014. “Developing a Farm Based Traceability System", the first in a Fresh Produce Food Safety Series of publications sponsored through the Virginia Tech Department of Food Science and Technology. Under review.

Boyer, R., C. Brennan, R. Williams, J. Eifert. 2014. Food Safety Practices for the Home Gardener.  In press.

Boyer, R., R. Williams, A. Villalba, R. James, R. Grisso. 2014.  Important facts about the safety of unpasteurized (raw) milk. In press.