Ken McNaught commenced his professional career in 1965 as a Quality Control Chemist at RM Gow Limited in Brisbane, Queensland. He advanced to the position of Research and Development Chemist in 1968. In 1971 he moved to The Golden Circle Cannery in Brisbane also as R&D Chemist.
1972 marked an important change in Ken’s career when he accepted the position of Assistant to the Research Manager at Fielders Starches Pty Ltd in Tamworth, NSW. At this time he really began his distinguished career in cereal science.
Ken has held numerous important technical roles as this cereal based company evolved during the past three decades including as the R&D Manager for Fielders Starches Pty Ltd (1978-1980) and then Fielder Gillespie Davis Limited (1981-1986) in Tamworth, NSW. Ken then moved to Sydney where he served as the R&D Manager for Goodman Fielder Mills Limited (1986-1990), Goodman Fielder Ingredients Limited [Starch Division] (1990-1992) and Starch Australasia Limited (1992-1999). In 1999 Ken became the Technology Manager for Starch Australasia Limited. In 2000 Goodman Fielder Limited divested its starch ingredient business that was purchased by the Penford Corporation, USA. Ken has continued to serve as the Technology Manager for Penford Australia Limited.
Ken has undertaken a number of tertiary courses over the years including a Bachelor of Applied Science (QIT), Masters Preliminary (Biochemistry) (UNE), Bachelor of Financial Management (UNE) and Diploma in Labour Relations & Law (Sydney University).
Ken has had a remarkable impact on the advancement of cereal science in Australia. He has been involved in a broad range projects, such as an investigation into the production of tapioca starch in Australia, the modification of numerous types of starches and the use of these starches in such diverse applications as adhesives, paper, mining, aquaculture, food and pharmaceuticals, to name a few. He has also been actively involved in the development, evaluation or commercialization of a large number of starch containing crops in Australia, such as sorghum (including waxy sorghum), tapioca and high amylose maize. In some cases he participated in introducing these crops to other countries.
Ken has been a co-inventor of seven patent applications concerned with the growing, processing and application of high amylose maize, including the use of starch as a prebiotic.
He supported the development of the world’s first commercial resistant starch food ingredient, Hi-maize, which was based on high amylose maize and is a co-inventor on the primary maize seed, food applications and prebiotic patents. In 1995 Hi-maize was awarded the AIFST Food Industry Innovation Award where Ken was named as one of three contributors to this important innovation. Hi-maize is now a globally successful branded ingredient.
Ken is well known internationally amongst both the cereal science technical community and the users of starch ingredients. Ken has participated on the technical committee of the International Wheat Gluten Association and he has provided technical presentations in Australia (e.g. Australian Maize Conference) & overseas (e.g. South African Institute of Food Technologists). He has co-authored numerous review papers on the subject of starch chemistry and technology.
Ken has been a member and supporter of a number professional organizations during his career, including the RACI and the Cereal Chemistry Division (1973 - present), AIFST (1968 - present), AACC (1986 to present), ACS (1980 to present), the Australian Biotechnology Association (founding member) and the Australian Institute of Brewing (1980 - 2004).
Ken McNaught has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the cereal industry in Australia during his career and is a worthy recipient of the Founders Award of the Cereal Chemistry Division of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.