Unruh, John A.

Unruh, John A.
Professor Emeritus

Area(s) of Specialization

Meat Science and Animal Production



B.S. , Washington State University, 1979
M.S. , Washington State University, 1981
Ph.D. , Kansas State University, 1984

Bio Brief

Dr. John Unruh grew up on a diversified crop and registered Angus farm near Warden, Washington. The family ranch was also involved in commercial sheep production and was a charter member of the American Simmental Association.

John attended Washington State University and received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Animal Sciences. He enjoyed competition on the Livestock and Live Animal and Carcass Evaluation Teams and later coached both teams while pursuing a M.S. degree. John received his Ph.D. in Meat Science (Animal Sciences and Industry) at Kansas State University.

Following completion of his graduate studies, John joined the faculty in the Department of Animal Sciences at Washington State University.

John returned to KSU accepting a teaching and research position in the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry. While coaching the meat judging team from 1989 to 1996, the team won two national and four reserve national championships. Internationally, he has worked with university and producer organizations in Mexico and Costa Rica to improve the production, composition, and quality of meat. His research interests integrate live animal production and management, carcass composition and quality, and sensory evaluation of meat.

In 2009, John became chair of the Undergraduate Food Science program. He retired from the department on September 10, 2016. John and his wife, Judy, now live in Chico, CA, and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.


Dr. Unruh's Research interests integrate live animal production and management, carcass composition and quality, and sensory evaluation of meat. Recent and current projects include: Effects of different quality grades, aging periods, blade tenderization passes, and endpoint cooking temperatures on tenderness of beef strip loin, top sirloin, and inside round steaks; Effects of feeding pigs modified tall oil in combination with Vitamin E, creatine monohydrate, magnesium, carnitine, etc. on pork composition and quality; Effects of pH on pork loin quality; Effects of location within beef longissimus muscle on tenderness; Utilization of mechanical measures to predict beef tenderness; Effects of Paylean in combination with lysine and carnitine on pork composition and quality characteristics; Effects of sex, age (dentition), muscle score, and fat score on composition and quality of beef cuts in Costa Rica; Optimization of quality, consistency and shelf life of marinated fresh beef products; Influence of castration time on beef quality and composition; and Influence of early weaning on beef quality and composition of bulls and steers.