Amanda Minnaar, 1962-2015

posted on October 15, 2015 1:36pm

Professor, University of Pretoria, South Africa
PI, Bean/Cowpea and Dry Grain Pulses CRSP


The Management Office of the Legume Innovation Lab is grieved to announce the passing of Professor Amanda Minnaar of the Department of Food Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa, on Saturday, 26 September 2015.

A food scientist committed to improving the personal and economic well-being of African people throughout her career, Dr.  Minnaar served as a principal investigator on projects within both the Bean/Cowpea Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP) and the Dry Grain Pulses CRSP. Both of her projects related to improving nutrition and health among the poor in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Amanda, fourth from left, poses with the 2012 TMAC at the Pulse CRSP
Global Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, in February 2012

A consummate educator, Dr. Minnaar’s greatest legacy lies in the education of African food scientists from throughout the continent. Under her guidance, men and women from Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Kenya, and South Africa (among other countries) were identified and trained in food science. Her research projects always included master’s and doctoral students committed to applying science to food and nutrition research. Among her many outstanding students is Agnes Mwangwela, now a senior lecturer and the Dean of Faculty in the Department of Food Science and Technology at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Dr. Minnaar served on the Pulse CRSP Technical Management Advisory Committee from 2010 to 2012. A valued member of this committee, Dr. Douglas Maxwell, who served for five years as one of the committee’s external scientists, appreciated her “diligent efforts to provide insight into the decision making progress, where her judgement was always sound and appreciated by all.”  

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Visiting with Legume Innovation Lab friends at the Pulse
CRSP Global Meeting in 2012

On a more personal note, Dr. Maxwell added that Amanda “had an infectious personality that allowed her to make friends of all. When members of this committee [TMAC] were hosted by Amanda at her University, she treated us to top-notch South African hospitality. I valued her as a friend and colleague and am greatly saddened by her untimely death.”

Dr. Minnaar’s research interests included the use of modern food-processing technologies (e.g. food irradiation and micronisation) to improve the functional, nutritional, sensory, and microbiological stability and quality of food systems as well as the use of sensory evaluation to relate consumer acceptance of foods with physico-chemical and sensory characteristics of foods. Over the course of her twenty- year-plus career, her scholarly and well-cited research resulted in numerous publications, with more than 50 articles available on ResearchGate, founded in 2008, alone.  

Memorials from her friends, colleagues, and students can be found on the Forever Missed website, where you are also invited to share your thoughts and memories of her.