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Published: Wednesday, 9/29/2010

2009 Pettisville grad to enter research in national FFA competition


PETTISVILLE, Ohio - A 2009 Pettisville High School graduate will enter her recent agricultural-science research in national FFA competition next month as a representative of that organization's local chapter.

During her four years at Pettisville High, Rebekah Meller first studied the effects of garlic to inhibit the growth of bacteria - especially the dangerous E. coli - in ground beef.

More recently, she researched the viability of probiotics - beneficial food-borne bacteria, such as those found in active yogurt cultures - when exposed to gastric juice, otherwise known as stomach acid. As part of that inquiry, she studied whether food structure affects probiotics' effectiveness.

Miss Meller is now a sophomore at Ohio State University, majoring in animal and food sciences. FFA allows its members to enter research started in high school into its competitions even if that research has continued into college.

By qualifying as one of eight national finalists in her field, Miss Meller has won a $1,000 scholarship. The FFA nationals will be held Oct. 20-23 in Indianapolis.

Miss Meller has been an FFA officer and committee chairman and has been active in many of the organization's career development efforts. She attended the National FFA Proficiency Agricultural tour in Costa Rica during the summer of 2009 by placing in the national top four in food science and technology and represented Pettisville and northwest Ohio at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fairs in Indianapolis, Albuquerque, N.M., and Atlanta in 2006, 2007, and 2008, respectively.

She is the FFA's Agriscience Student of the Year for 2010 and placed first in state Food Science and Technology competition in 2008. She is a five-year presenter at the Ohio Academy of Science State Science Day, a 2009 Best of Show poster presenter at the Ohio Junior Sciences and Humanities Symposium, and won top prizes for research in the state FFA Agriscience fairs in 2006, 2007, and 2009.

FFA, formerly the Future Farmers of America, has more than 500,000 student members representing 7,439 local chapters throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

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