Developed improved storerooms and rice processing complexes and modernized the Korean rice management system
Established the Korea Food Research Institute and prepared the basis for Korean food science research to be globalized
(Late) Kwon Tae-wan
Former President of the Korea Food Research Institute (1932~2017)
- Academic background
B.S. at Seoul National Univ. (Chemistry)
M.S. at Seoul National Univ. (Chemistry)
Ph.D. in Science at the Univ. of Florida, USA
- Professional career
Research Fellow, UC Berkeley IMR, USA
Senior Research Fellow, Vice President, KAIST
President, Advisor, Korea Food Research Institute
Professor, Inje University
Hwarang Order of Military Merit
Order of Civil Merit, Magnolia Medal
Daesan Award of Rural Culture
Developed and distributed the rice management system and Korean-style rice processing complexes
Professor Tae Wan Kwon is a globally renowned food scientist who developed the Korea Food Institute to the status of an international institute by developing and supplying the Korean rice management system.
While working as a professor in the USA, he joined the KIST as a senior research fellow. He devoted his life to scientific activities and developed the Korean food research into the globally recognized level. He posted his paper, “Malonaldehyde from the Autoxidation of Methyl Linolenate” in the globally renowned journal, Nature (April 1966) for the first time among food researchers in Korea, while working as a research fellow of IMR, USA. He returned to Korea with the establishment of the KIST as a scientist invited by the government. He prepared the national rice management system by developing the rice processing complex in accordance with national efforts to accomplish self-sufficiency of rice. He took up the office of the founding president of the Korea Food Development Institute and developed the Korean food research into the globally recognized level.
Developed improved storerooms that brought forth innovation in Korean farmers’ rice storing
One of his major accomplishments in food research is the development of ‘improved storerooms’, which brought forth an innovation to rice storage by farmers. The improved storeroom is a five-square meter facility where farmers can put 60 sacks of undried rice and easily dry them via an air blower and then store them until the next year. This greatly saved the labor for drying rice and allowed farmers to keep the rice quality via ventilation windows and the scientific design of rice entrances and exits. They began to supply the storeroom to farmers since 1981 and the number of the supply amounted to over 100 thousand, which was evaluated as a successful case for an individual farmer to dry and store grain for the first time in the world.
His second achievement was the completion of the rice processing complex. Dr. Kwon recognized that the traditional Korean way of cooking rice had the problems of losing some nutritious ingredients of rice and spending too much water during washing. He tried to solve the problem by producing clean rice that can be cooked without a washing process. He prepared a plan to develop a rice processing complex (RPC) which can make an integrated processing of rice from the measurement of harvested rice to drying, processing, and packaging. He revised the drying methods by air blowing in the USA, Japan, and Germany to a way suitable for Korean rice and developed a Korean-style RPC that can make the bulk processing of rice from feeding in raw materials to selection, measurement, quality inspection, drying, storage, milling, shipment, and handling of by-products, via 10-year long research in technical cooperation with Germany. In 1992, two such testing RPCs were introduced and currently there are over 200 RPCs supported by the government. With the supply of the RPC, the Korean rice management system experienced innovative changes and this allowed Korea to become a country with good quality rice.
Established and developed the Korea Food Research Institute, the Korean hub for food science
Lastly, another of his major achievements is the establishment of the Korea Food Development Institute (currently Korea Food Institute). He persuaded the government it needed research on the processing and storage technologies for agricultural products for the advancement and development of the Korean farming industry. He prepared a plan to establish the Korea Food Development Institute and took up the position of the founding president of the institute. Then, he led the institute to perform the role of securing a global competitive edge for Korean foods, providing strategic direction for the Korean food industry, fostering experts via graduate school education, and cooperating with global scientists. This helped the institute to enhance its profile as a global institute and the core of Korean food research with globally accredited research accomplishments.
Dr. Kwon developed the scientific management method for rice and proved the value of food research. During the 1970s, Korea became a rice-independent country by developing Tong-Il rice. However, with the economic growth in the 1980s, the quality of people’s food consumption was much strengthened. This made the people demand rice focusing on quality, not the amount of production. With these changes, the improved storerooms and RCPs were supplied across the country, modernizing Korean rice management. As a result, Korea became a quality rice-independent country and his efforts to promote food science provided the foundation for the growth and development of the Korea Food Institute.