Linda Geist
  • Lakshmikantha 'Kantha' Channaiah.
    Lakshmikantha 'Kantha' Channaiah.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Lakshmikantha H. Channaiah joins the University of Missouri as a state extension specialist in food processing and an assistant professor in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR).

He will coordinate and conduct research and extension programming in food processing and food safety. He will work with food manufacturers and establish food safety training programs throughout Missouri.

Before coming to MU in July, Channaiah was director of microbiology at AIB International Inc. in Manhattan, Kansas, and was an adjunct faculty member at Kansas State University and Washington State University. He has a doctorate in grain science with a specialization in food microbiology from Kansas State University. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Agricultural Sciences in India.

Channaiah serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Food Protection and the SM Nutrition and Food Science Journal.

His office will be based in CAFNR’s newly formed Division of Food, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.

“As a food safety microbiologist with more than 17 years of combined experience in the food industry, R&D and academics, I realized the importance of agricultural extension in improving the livelihoods of growers, farmers and other food processing stakeholders,” says Channaiah, who goes by “Kantha.”

He says his experience with food industries such as milling, baking, beverage, dairy, produce, packaging, storage and distribution made him realize the importance of value-added food products for a greater portion of revenue for farmers and businesses. “Extension plays a vital role in disseminating information on cutting-edge research technologies pertaining to food processing through various communication channels,” he says.

Channaiah will promote findings from a 2019 study by the Show-Me State Food, Beverage and Forest Products Manufacturing Initiative. “The study estimates that the new food processing and manufacturing initiative could create nearly 70,000 new jobs, contribute $3 billion annual tax revenues and add $25 billion to Missouri’s economic output within 10 years,” says Robert Kallenbach, CAFNR’s associate dean of extension.

Learn more about the Show-Me State Food, Beverage and Forest Products Manufacturing Initiative at

You can reach Channaiah at

Photo available:
Lakshmikantha 'Kantha' Channaiah.