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Armin Tarrah

Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Food Science, Ontario Agricultural College

Research focus: Exploring the use of bio-controls at the dairy farm to improve food safety 

Dr. Armin Tarrah working in a lab.

When asked about his research interests, Dr. Armin Tarrah exclaims that he is “in love with microbiology.” Prior to joining Dr. Gisèle LaPointe’s lab as a postdoctoral scholar at the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety (CRIFS), Tarrah completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Cellular and Molecular Microbiology and Master’s Degree in Microbiology at the Islamic Azad University in Iran.  

After his MSc, he considered pursuing medicine but discovered food microbiology, which led him to complete his doctorate in Food Microbiology at the University of Padova in Italy. Tarrah’s doctoral work studied lactic acid bacteria and bioactive compounds which could be used as biocontrols and probiotics for humans. He also completed another postdoctoral position for two years in Italy related to genetic predispositions of animals can affect milk microbiota. While working on this project, he met Dr. LaPointe and came to Canada as part of her research group. 

Dr. Tarrah is now working on improving dairy environments using biocontrols, or beneficial bacteria, to control pathogens and spoilage-related microorganisms that can be found in bedding material, housing, silage, or other locations between the farm and the final dairy product. While chemical cleansers may be used to clean the environment, they can have detrimental effects on animal health which is transmitted to human food products. Biocontrols provide an opportunity to improve the quality of food without using chemical compounds, increase health benefits and prevent product loss during the pasteurization stage that costs producers money. They would be introduced in bedding or animal housing where spoilage bacteria exist and offer the greatest opportunity for bacteria reduction. 

Looking ahead, Tarrah shares that he loves academia, teaching and being a lecturer, especially when it comes to food microbiology. With his passion for research and love of the city and the university, his goal is to pursue a faculty position at the University of Guelph. 

Written by Hanne Goetz

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