Monday, August 31, 2020

Join us for these upcoming #AOCSWebinars

Continue professional development from the comfort of your desk, lab bench or armchair with upcoming #AOCSWebinars

Spanning a range of interest areas, from Processing to Surfactants and Detergents, AOCS Webinars give you the knowledge, skills and tools you need to continue advancing the science and technology of fats, oils, surfactants and related materials. 

Registration is free to all, including attendees who are not AOCS members! 

Want access to past webinars? AOCS members get access to our webinar archive, one of the many member benefits

Upcoming webinars

Making Sense of Patents - A Guide for Scientists and Engineers Part 1 of 3

September 1, 2020 | 2:00 pm CDT (Chicago, USA) | Register for free 

Scott Bloomer, Technical Director at AOCS, will provide code-breaking and pattern-recognition strategies for identifying and extracting needed information from patents. The common intimidation many researchers face when reading patents will be countered by demystifying the structure of patents and clarifying where the central facts are hidden. Attendees will understand the reasons patents are so different from papers and gain insight into how to use patents in their work.

Silicone Polymers and Surfactants

September 2, 2020 | 10:00 am CDT (Chicago, USA) | Register for free 

Tony O'Lenick, a principal consultant for Nascent Technologies Corporation, will demonstrate how to use the technology of siliphilic polymers to make polymeric surfactants with oil/water and silicone moieties. In this presentation, you will gain an understanding of silicone chemistry and hybrid silicone oil technology and chemistry. You will also learn how to use siliphilic polymers as surfactants in aqueous systems (PEG dimethicone) and in oil systems (alkyl dimethicone).

Biodiesel from Yeast Oil

September 2, 2020 | 12:00 PM CDT (Chicago, USA) | Register for free

Bioenergy is an important option for the transition toward a low-carbon economy. Among biofuels, biodiesel represents an environmentally friendly alternative fuel to petro-diesel consisting of mono-alkyl esters of long-chain fatty acids (mostly FAMEs). In this webinar, you will learn how oleaginous yeasts may provide unique platforms for the sustainable production of biodiesel due to some advantages over their plant and algal counterparts, such as no competition with food production, ability to grow in conventional bioreactors, rapid growth rates, growth unaffected by space, light or climatic variations, ability to utilize lignocellulose-derived sugars, easy to scale up, etc. Presenter, Dr. Mahesh Khot, will discuss a study that evaluated the lipid content and fatty acid profile of a yeast strain newly isolated from degraded wood in the Chilean rainforest with an eye toward using this novel yeast to make biodiesel.

Stability of Alcohol Propoxy Sulfate Surfactants in the Presence of Reservoir Rock

September 4, 2020 | 8:00 AM CDT (Chicago, USA) | Register for free 

This presentation was originally published as an ePoster at the Virtual 2020 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo. Julian Barnes will present this research live and take questions from the audience during this special edition virtual annual meeting webinar. View the ePoster and abstract.

Making Sense of Patents - Making Sense of Claims, Part 2 of 3

September 8, 2020 | 2:00 PM CDT (Chicago, USA) | Register for free 

Elaborating on his first webinar, “Making Sense of Patents – A Guide for Scientists and Engineers,” Scott Bloomer, Director of Technical Services at AOCS, will help attendees continue to understand patents by providing a brief outline of a patent's parts and explaining how these parts contribute to the meaning of patent claims. Learning objectives for this webinar include how to identify central terms of the patent claims, finding the meaning of these central terms and synthesizing these parts to clarify the intent of patent claims.

CNFA Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F), The Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) and AOCS -Volunteer Opportunities

September 10, 2020 | 10:00 am CDT (Chicago, USA) | Register for free

In this webinar, you will learn more about volunteer opportunities with the USAID’s F2F program that connects farmers in low-income countries with technical expert volunteers in the U.S. agricultural sector. The partnership with the Soybean Innovation Lab and AOCS broadens the impact of F2F by inviting oil seed agro-processors in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly those working with soybeans, into the program to request technical expertise from F2F. You will learn more about the workings and impact of F2F in oilseeds in Sub-Saharan African countries – providing technical expertise to larger processors strengthens the entire value chain, creating more nutritious food for populations, higher demand for raw materials and thus income for local farmers, and eventually greater opportunities for employment.

Making Sense of Patents - Pitfalls of Patent Ignorance (Part 3 of 3)

September 15, 2020 | 2:00 PM CDT (Chicago, USA) | Register for free 

In the final part of this webinar series about patents, presenter, Scott Bloomer will provide tips and tricks to decoding patents. This webinar will cover some of the common patent code words and how their meanings can be something other than the expected common usages, how to correctly refer to patent documents in scientific publications, common misconceptions regarding patent holder rights and where and how to search for patents. Attendees will also get a better understanding of the benefits of and differences between granted patents and trade secrets. 

Desafíos en la cristalización de palma alto oleico en margarinas y shortening

October 28, 2020 | 10:00 AM CDT (Chicago, USA) | Register for free 

Este webinar se presentará en español. Más detalles próximamente.

This webinar will be presented in Spanish. More details to come.

AOCS hopes to see you at a few of these upcoming webinars.

Stay up to date with #AOCSWebinars.

Analytical Division Award Winner Feature: Ziliang Song

 Q&A with Analytical Division Award Winner: Ziliang Song 

Bio: Ziliang (Len) Song started his research adventure at Jinan University in China, where he completed his bachelor's degree in food quality and safety (2009-2013). He conducted projects on developing analytical methods for environmental or processing contaminants in edible oil using instrumentations such as GC-MS and NMR. His passion for research and the international atmosphere of Jinan inspired Len to come to Canada in 2013 for his postgraduate study under the supervision of Dr. Randall Weselake at the University of Alberta. As a master’s student, he worked on metabolic engineering of oilseeds for novel lipid biosynthesis, specifically, a fatty acid originally enriched in pomegranate seeds. With his interest in natural plant products, Len started his PhD program in Dr. Martin Reaney's Group at the University of Saskatchewan in 2017. His project focuses on using sequence information to guide the discovery of a class of cyclic peptides called orbitides in flax. In the future, he hopes to further integrate genomics to the study of bioproduct chemistry as a strategy to explore the plant kingdom for better solutions to human health and environment.

1) What was your reaction when you learned you won Analytical Division Award?

I was surprised by the news that I won the award, because this is the second time, I have been recognized with an AOCS award. I feel grateful for the committee's approval for my work.

2) What challenges have you overcome during your course of study?

We know little about orbitides and their potential functions in the plant, and thus I have to refer to the methods applied in other similar studies from the literature and customize them for my study. However, there are still many case-to-case differences that make the methods not work as well as one would hope. I am trying to build a framework for studying the diversity and evolution of orbitides at the genome level. 

3) Can you tell us about your current research?

Orbitides are a class of cyclic peptides, first isolated in flaxseed in 1959. The discovery of cyclic peptides has been limited by bottom-up chemical approaches. To date, only nine orbitides have been identified and their sequence variation strongly implicates a myriad of more diverse orbitides to be explored. As orbitides are encoded by DNA sequences, I am inspired by the recently sequenced flax genome. Analyzing the precursor proteins sequences identified a distinct conserved pattern. Using this pattern, I searched the flax genome for sequences matching such patterns as candidates. The sequence information of the candidates was used to guide the identification of orbitides by mass spectrometry. These bioinformatics strategies can facilitate the identification, and reciprocally, validated orbitides will improve the sequence model of orbitides and provide useful insights of the evolution of these natural products and their biological functions in plants and other species.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Make sense of patents in these upcoming #AOCSWebinars

Patents often prove to be an information source more difficult to decode than scientific papers or books. Yet, given that 70% of all technical information published can only be found in patents, they are essential to read and understand for thorough research.

Looking to build your skills in pattern recognition strategies and extracting key information from patents? Join these upcoming #AOCSWebinars all focused on best patent reading and referencing methods. 

Upcoming webinars on patents

Making sense of patents #AOCSWebinar Series 

Presenter Scott Bloomer, Director of Technical Services at AOCS, will present a three-part webinar series dedicated to making sense of patents. Learning objectives include understanding the language and code patents use, identifying the central terms of patent claims and addressing common misconceptions regarding patent holder rights. 

This #AOCSWebinar series will provide attendees a better understanding of why patents are essential and beneficial to scientific research as well as best practices for referencing patents. 

Making Sense of Patents - A Guide for Scientists and Engineers, Part 1 of 3

Register for free for this webinar that will take place on September 1, 2020, at 2:00 PM CDT (Chicago, USA).

Making Sense of Patents - Making Sense of Claims, Part 2 of 3

Register for free for this webinar that will take place on September 8, 2020, at 2:00 PM CDT (Chicago, USA).

Making Sense of Patents - Pitfalls of Patent Ignorance (Part 3 of 3) 

Register for free for this webinar that will take place on September 15, 2020, at 2:00 PM CDT (Chicago, USA).

Why are patents important for R&D?

Many R&D professionals overlook the importance of patent research, exposing them to threats from disruptive innovators and competitors. Learn more about the importance of patents from Ken Ropke and Kevin Spahr of Minesoft; a global patent solutions provider that specializes in patent research and management tools as well as intellectual property document retrieval. 

This webinar will delve into this transformative research strategy that can help keep you ahead of the curve and armed with powerful knowledge. Key questions the presenters seek to answer include, what is a patent? Why are patents important to R&D? How is a patent structured? And how to search for patents in PatBase Express?

Register for free for this webinar that will take place on September 16, 2020, at 12:00 PM CDT (Chicago, USA).

Stay up to date on other #AOCSWebinars that cover a range of interest areas from Lipid Oxidation and Quality to Surfactants and Detergents.

Save the date for the AOCS Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum coming this October

With consumers seeking to be more sustainable, the need for more plant-based proteins to meet dietary preferences is growing. This trend, along with pandemic-related challenges, has created numerous opportunities for innovation.

The AOCS Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum aims to take a closer look at compelling advancements that will play an increasingly important role in helping shape the systems and solutions that will nourish the world. 

Featured topics include:

Delivered in an online format throughout the month of October, live presentations combined with interactive question and answer sessions give participants access to the latest information on the analysis, nutrition and applications of plant proteins. 

Reunite with your colleagues from around the globe while exploring the future of plant proteins! 

Join our email list for program and registration updates.


Add event to calendar

Apple Google Office 365 Outlook Yahoo

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

ILAC accreditation extends global status of AOCS Certified Reference Materials

For a certified reference material provider like AOCS, accreditation by a recognized body is essential. As one of two providers in the world for seed reference materials, AOCS has maintained its accreditation with the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) since the inception of AOCS' Certified Reference Material Program. This position was recently strengthened by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). 

This status extension indicates that AOCS' ISO 17034 accreditation meets both the A2LA's and ILAC's global criteria and, thus, is internationally recognized by another accreditation body. Learn more about this accreditation.

Lipid Processing and Biotechnology Award Winner Feature: Yunbing Tan

Question and answer with Lipid Processing and Biotechnology Award Winner: Yunbing Tan

Bio: Yunbing Tan is currently a third-year Ph.D. candidate in the Food Biopolymers and Colloids laboratory at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has a strong academic background in food science with competitive GPAs in both Bachelor's (3.82/4.00) and Master's (3.67/4.00) degrees. Previously, she has done research in several distinctive areas, including evaluation and characterization of emulsion systems and their in-vitro digestion fate, protein hydrolysis and its application in dairy products functional foods. To date, she has published 14 scientific articles in well-respected journals with three of them as the first author. Her work has been with many scholarships and awards during her undergraduate and graduate studies. In the future, she would like to continue research on the application of the INFOGEST method to understand the gastrointestinal fate of various emulsions systems in regard to their lipid digestion properties as well as bioavailability of encapsulated components.

1) What was your reaction when you learned you won Lipid Processing and Biotechnology Nutrition Award?

I am thrilled that I have received this honor and have been recognized by AOCS. I am more enthusiastic in continuing my current research.

2) How did you get started in the area of focus that you are studying?

I am interested in research on nutrition and human health. In our lab, one of the biggest research areas lies in the use of an in- vitro digestion model in assessing the digestion and bioaccessibility of various food systems. Therefore, I think it would be interesting to work on a more comprehensive study on the impact of various food matrix effects so as to better understand how different food products influence nutritional values.

3) What challenges have you overcome during your course of study?

The development of the in- vitro model that better mimic the in- vivo environment is still under investigation. Recently, the INFOGEST model was published which is recognized as a standard method. Therefore, I have spent a great deal of time in applying the INFOGEST method in our lab.

4) Do you have any words of wisdom for other AOCS student members?

It is equally important that we work, think and communicate.

5) How has winning the AOCS Lipid Processing and Biotechnology Award helped you develop as a young scientist?

It is so helpful to be recognized for my work and encouraged to continue what I have been doing so far. It works as great motivation for the future of my research.

6) Can you tell us about your current research?

I am working on in vitro digestion studies to better understand the impact of food matrix effects on vitamin and nutraceutical bioaccessibility. My study showed that one can modulate the bioaccessibility of hydrophobic nutraceuticals by various means, including changing the oil-phase composition (digestible or indigestible oils) or the addition of different food-grade components (e.g. chitosan, calcium). Consuming nutraceutical-rich foods with these food matrices could lead to unfavorable impacts the efficacy of nutraceuticals. However, these systems might be of great potential as modification into specialized delivery systems. For example, chitosan, which binds to the precipitate mixed micelles, might be digested by gut microbiota in the colon, so the mixed micelles loaded with nutraceuticals might be liberated and available for adsorption again. An improved understanding of the impact of food matrix effects is important for nutrition supplementation as well as food engineering.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Lipid and Chemistry Nutrition Award Winner Feature: Hualu Zhou

 Q&A with Lipid and Chemistry Nutrition Award Winner: Hualu Zhou

Bio: Hualu Zhou is a third-year Ph.D. candidate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Currently, she is working in Dr. David Julian McClement’s research group, and investigating the gastrointestinal fate of organic and inorganic nanoparticles in foods, including their impacts on lipid digestion and nutraceutical bioavailability. She has nine years of experience in the food science field and is enthusiastic to become a food scientist in the future. She has authored and co-authored 23 research articles in peer-reviewed journals with196 citations. She is full of passion and confidence to dedicate herself to increasing the health and nutrition of food. In the future, she will continue to apply food nanotechnology in reducing the calorie density and digestibility of processed food and improving human health by further human and animal studies.

1) What was your reaction when you learned you won Lipid and Chemistry Nutrition Award?

I was so excited and could not wait to share it with my dear advisor and lab mates the first time I heard. Then I shared this good news with my family and my two kids.

2) How did you get started in the area of focus that you are studying?

1. My love for food science is in my genes - being the daughter of a chef, I have a natural curiosity in food and cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. Because of this, I majored in Food Science and Engineering during my undergraduate study, where I believe that I not only acquired fundamental knowledge and skills related to food science but also received the professional research training in the State key laboratory of Food Science and Technology. 

2. Creating and developing much healthier and more nutritious foods always makes me feel confident and valuable in our society. Thus, I put my focus on a deeper understanding of human nutrition and health, so I chose Chemical Biology in my master’s program, using molecular biology to investigate the mechanism behind food’s impact on health and some advanced nanotechnologies. I am conducting a lot of research to explore the physicochemical properties of nanoparticles (dispersity, size, morphology, and surface modification) and their biological effects (toxicity, cell uptake, endocytosis, autophagy, etc.). Therefore, these experiences play an important and fundamental role in pursuing my Ph.D. program, which obviously inspires humans more generally to develop much healthier and more nutritious foods. 

3) What challenges have you overcome during your course of study?

First, is the language problem. As a student coming from China, I need to keep improving my English skills. Other challenges I have worked to overcome lie in working to balance my studies with my personal life – I love to contribute to my community and company with my two kids while still pursuing my degree and my research.

4) Do you have any words of wisdom for other AOCS student members?

Believe yourself, do experiments and apply for scholarships!

5) How has winning the AOCS Lipid and Chemistry Nutrition Award helped you develop as a young scientist?

Yes, AOCS is a century-old international scientific and professional organization. Winning the AOCS Lipid and Chemistry Nutrition Award helps me get recognized and become more confident in studying lipid and nutrition areas. 

6) Can you tell us about your current research?

I am investigating the gastrointestinal fate of organic and inorganic nanoparticles in foods, like titanium dioxide, nanocellulose and nanochitin, and exploring their impacts on lipid digestion and nutraceutical bioavailability.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Announcing AOCS Midweek Mixers!

 AOCS is there for our community especially during these trying, fully remote times with AOCS journals, webinars, INFORM Magazine, inform|connect and more. 

Even that is not enough! We want to do more for you. 

To echo that spirit, AOCS is launching Midweek Mixers – a virtual space for you to connect with colleagues and friends throughout the year. No need to wait for AOCS annual meetings!

We hope to have our community drive the themes and focuses of our Midweek Mixers. So, whether you are looking for career development opportunities, wanting to discuss a recent breakthrough in your area of focus, or just needing a social hour with colleagues to unwind, throw your ideas our way! 

These get-togethers can be as formal or as casual as you want, and we want to invite you to propose the next Midweek Mixer. The times for scheduling these are fairly flexible and can be on any day during the workweek. 

AOCS will handle the promotion so the community knows all about it. All you need to do is log on and host.

Just fill out this form with your Midweek Mixer idea and a member of the AOCS Membership team will reach out to you with the next steps. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Want to stay connected?

Now more than ever, staying connected is crucial to professional progress and the foundation to staying connected is up-to-date contact information. And updating your contact information with AOCS is now easier than ever. 

AOCS is a great resource to help you stay connected with colleagues in relevant industries. To help maximize your participation in the AOCS community, keep your work/home address(es), email and phone number up to date in our database. 

By checking your contact information is accurate and current, you will help AOCS keep in touch with you about upcoming AOCS events, such as meetings and webinars, volunteer opportunities and new resources available in the Open Forum and the Premium Content Library

Pro tip: providing alternate emails and phone numbers can help us ensure we reach you about these wonderful opportunities. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Hans Kaunitz Award Winner Feature: Mahesh M. Kharat

Q&A with Hans Kaunitz Award Winner: Mahesh M. Kharat

Bio: Mahesh Kharat completed bachelor's degree in 2012 in Food Science and Engineering at the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India. He went on to pursue his master’s at the same institute and graduated in 2014. He completed his doctoral studies in food science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2020. His laboratory group at UMass Food Science is globally recognized for its work in the area of colloidal delivery systems for food applications.

1) What was your reaction when you learned you won Hans Kaunitz Award Winner?

Firstly, I would like to congratulate all 2020 AOCS award winners. It is a great pleasure to accept the 2020 AOCS Hans Kaunitz award.

I felt extremely happy to know that I had been recognized for the award. This is a valuable recognition of my research at UMass Amherst as well as a great encouragement. I would like to thank my Ph.D. dissertation advisor, Prof. David Julian McClements, for the guidance, and our lab assistant, Jean Alamed, as well as all my colleagues who make the lab an amicable workplace— so thank you all. 

Perhaps most importantly, this was not possible without the support of my family and friends — I am very grateful to them!

2) How did you get started in the field that you are studying?

I have been studying food science since 2008 when I started as a college student at ICT, Mumbai. Then, I used to observe the Ph.D. students and other researchers at ICT always involved in lab experiments and I was fascinated with the research in this area; that’s when I decided to start doing hands-on research during my master’s. I was more interested in knowing and studying how physical and chemical phenomena at the molecular level affect the properties and structure of the foods we see and eat. I, therefore, applied to work in graduate labs whose work is focused on colloidal particles and their interactions. I was fortunate to be able to work in such an accomplished group of students and researchers led by Prof. McClements here at UMass Amherst.

3) What challenges have you overcome during your course of study?

There were a few challenges I have overcome. 

Technically, many researchers have been working on curcumin encapsulation, so I needed to be up-to-date with the ongoing research and so that I could be sure my work was different and still very relevant. 

As far as the lab work is concerned, I had to be optimistic and not lose hope even when experiments fail or do not work out as expected. At the same time, I learned that maintaining my health and internal motivation, both for my own benefit and the benefit of those around me, was extremely important.

4) Do you have any words of wisdom for other AOCS student members?

I would say “Patience is the key for a doctoral student.” If you can keep your spirits up even during the inevitable lows, then slowly but steadily you will get where you ultimately wish to be.

5) How has winning the AOCS Hans Kaunitz Award Winner helped you develop as a young scientist?

It has been a true encouragement for me to win this, one of the most prestigious AOCS awards. I remember receiving messages and emails from my colleagues, friends and family which truly motivated me. 

Every scientist would like her research to be heard and recognized which encourages their continued efforts in carrying out the research. I feel immensely fortunate to win this award and it has done nothing but inspire me to carry out more research in this area. 

6) Can you tell us about your current research?

I have been working on developing delivery systems for Curcumin which is believed to have many health benefits. We have studied various factors that may affect the chemical stability of curcumin in emulsions, including the effect of the oil phase, emulsifiers, oil-water interfacial area and antioxidants. We believe that our research has direct applications in developing food and pharmaceutical products that are aimed at delivering curcumin.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

AOCS Corporate Member Spotlight - Kalsec

Sterling Bollman, the head of Advertising and Sponsorship Sales at AOCS, talked with Dr. Roger Nahas, the Senior VP of Global R&D of Kalsec, an ingredient extract company headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. In this conversation, AOCS learned about innovations Kalsec has developed and what really sets them apart from their competitors. So, please enjoy our next installment in the Corporate Member Spotlight series and learn more about Kalsec.

Hi Dr. Nahas. First, thank you so much for joining me today to talk about your company. I know lots of companies are incredibly busy during this time, so I appreciate you taking time out of your schedule. My first question for you is, what type of products and services does Kalsec provide? 

When you let us know of this opportunity, we were more than happy to shed more light on our company. Kalsec has been a leader in the ingredient-extract industry for over sixty years. Our foundation is built on innovation and harnessing what nature offers to deliver the highest quality and most trusted products in the industry. Our broad range of products and services meet and exceed food and beverage manufacturer’s needs – natural colors, spice and herb flavor extracts, natural antioxidants and advanced hop products. Each product group is fueled and supported by a world-class research and development team, which includes global applications, sensory and analytical teams and capabilities. 

Thanks for that background information. Now, I’m sure there are a lot of other companies specializing in the same field as Kalsec. What sets your company apart from the competitors?

Kalsec is different from other companies because we have a high level of dependence on science and innovation while maintaining superior quality with customized solutions and a collaborative approach. 

In this field especially, growth and innovation are crucial for a company’s health. What are some recent innovations at Kalsec that you’re most proud of? 

Kalsec is proud of several recent innovations, but we will highlight two of the most recent ones. To begin, we created an innovation platform in the area of food protection, which combines both antioxidants and antimicrobials. Our other area of innovation where we have allocated resources is finding unique, clean-label solutions for plant-based alternative proteins. 

Now, so far, 2020 has been an incredibly trying year for a lot of companies due to the COVID-19 outbreak. How has the pandemic affected your company and what do you foresee being the biggest challenges from here on out?

Kalsec has taken this time to re-focus our efforts on employee safety while providing much-needed support for the essential businesses we cater to. We learned a lot about our strengths as a team and the level of solidarity and innovation that comes out of a crisis. We also leveraged on our current practices to seek out unique future opportunities. As far as upcoming challenges from now until the foreseeable future, the overall global economy and the uncertainty in the supply chain is going to have a major impact. 

Thanks again Dr. Nahas for teaching us a bit more about what you and Kalsec are doing. This was incredibly enlightening, and I hope other readers find it as informational as I have. Before I let you go, I have one more question for you. Why is being a Corporate member of AOCS important to you and Kalsec? 

Kalsec is all about community and people. We value investing time, dollars and resources into partnerships that will both drive our business forward and support the industries in which we are heavily invested in. Being an AOCS Corporate Member allows us to connect with both current and prospective companies as well as having ample opportunity to both speak to and learn about new innovations and product development in the oils industry. 

Thanks for reading and thank you to Dr. Roger Nahas and his colleagues at Kalsec for taking part in our AOCS Corporate Member Spotlight Series. Make sure to visit their website, subscribe to their blog, follow them on Twitter, Instagram and connect with them on LinkedIn! Join us next time to see who we feature next!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Ralph H. Potts Memorial Fellowship Recipient: Parichat Phaodee

Q&A with Ralph H. Potts Memorial Fellowship Recipient: Parichat Phaodee

Bio: Parichat (Tam) Phaodee graduated with a PhD in Environmental Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. She previously received a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at Mahidol University, Thailand, and a master’s degree in Petrochemical Technology at the Petroleum and Petrochemical Collage of Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. During her master’s degree, she gained experience investigating microemulsion phase behavior of semisolid triacylglycerol soil using different surfactant systems for hard-surface cleaning which made me passionate in colloidal science. In 2015, she further pursued my interest in pursuing a doctoral degree. Her main research focus is related to apply surfactant for laundry detergency of semisolid triacylglycerol soil which is the most difficult soil removal in cold-water detergency. To overcome the difficulty of semisolid soil removal at low washing temperatures, an insight in colloidal science was employed to enhance soil removal efficiency and determine its removal mechanism as well. Moreover,  she has applied a hydrophilic-lipophilic deviation (HLD) microemulsion model to predict an optimal HLD range of effective removal for oily and solid non-particulate soils which required a creative approach to perform detergency of soils varying from low to high equivalent alkane carbon numbers (EACNs).

1) What was your reaction when you learned you won Ralph H. Potts Memorial Fellowship?

I was excited to hear the great news which really made my day. I was proud that what I have studied in my PhD research was valuable to a community of my peers. I consider this is a significant recognition of the work I have done.

2) How did you get started in the area of focus that you are studying?

I have always been interested in colloid and surfactant science. During my master’s degree, I conducted research, investigating microemulsion formulation for designing low-temperature hard-surface cleaning. After that, I decided to gain more insight by pursuing a doctorate degree at Oklahoma University where they are known as a distinguished institution for applied surfactant. I am very glad I made the decision. 

3) What challenges have you overcome during your course of study?

I switched my degree from Chemical Engineering to Environmental Engineering. It was quite a big change. I took several classes on microbiology which was a new topic for me. I had to extensively study by myself to achieve my goals. 

4) Do you have any words of wisdom for other AOCS student members?

Failure is our teacher that we learn how to find another route to achieve. It gives us the proper perspective on success. And we should not give up because success awaits us.

5) How has winning the AOCS Ralph H. Potts Memorial Fellowship helped you develop as a young scientist?

So far, AOCS has helped me by giving me a different perspective on the industrial side of my area of focus along with a new network of fellow professionals. I get to keep myself update with new scientific articles on AOCS which helps build my knowledge and skills. 

6) Can you tell us about your current research?

In the past, HLB was used to design surfactant formulations for cleaning applications but it does not account for the impact of surfactant structure (linear versus branching chain) and formulation variables (i.e. surfactant concentration, salinity, temperature, additive, and etc.) which affect designing surfactant formulations. Hence, my current research is focusing on the utility of HLD principle to design detergency of oily and solid non-particulate soils. The HLD equation reveals to be a potential tool for designing detergency of a wide range of soils.

Career Coaching with Lowell Isom from Hollander Horizon International

Career Coaching with Lowell Isom from Hollander Horizon International

Join us for career breakout sessions with Lowell Isom of Hollander Horizon International, an Executive Recruiting firm that has a long history of helping individuals navigate the job market in the food and consumable product industry.

Hosted virtually, this informal gathering is an opportunity for you to ask your most urgent questions about the job market. You will also have the benefit of hearing your peers’ questions and concerns and gaining career development advice from an industry professional. 

Signups will be limited, so take a moment now to fill out the signup form to reserve your space in the first of many career resources to come from AOCS. 

Register for either session that will take place September 24 from 1 to 2pm CDT (Chicago, USA) and 2:30 to 3:30pm CDT (Chicago, USA).

Friday, August 14, 2020

Time is running out to save on AOCS membership through the end of 2020

There are plenty of ways to get a preview of what AOCS membership looks like! Sign up for an upcoming #AOCSWebinar, sign up and access our free on-demand Virtual 2020 AOCS Annual Meeting presentations and join your peers in online conversation on our inform|connect Open Forum.

AOCS needs more scientific minds like you to build our community. By becoming a member by August 21 and using code SAVEAOCS35, you can access exclusive, cutting-edge content like INFORM magazine, AOCS Journals, the AOCS Webinar archive and more for 35% off. 

By joining the AOCS community through the end of the year, you gain:

  • Insights into the latest trends in 10 extensive scientific areas to impact your research.
  • Global connections with experts and peers who share your focus.
  • Significant savings on collaborative events that bring together colleagues from around the world.
  • Exclusive access to compelling research through all AOCS journals, the Premium Content Library on inform|connect and a brand-new webinar library.

Spend the rest of the year tapping into support and guidance that has the power to strengthen your work by joining today.

Honored Student Award Winner Feature: Lirong Xu

 Q&A with Honored Student Award Winner: Lirong Xu

Bio: Lirong Xu was born on April 28, 1991, in Jinan, China. She received her B. S. and M. S. degrees both in Food Science and Engineering from Northwest A&F University in the year of 2014 and 2017, respectively. Now, she is a third year Ph. D. candidate student from Jiangnan University. Her research interests include lipid oxidation, analysis method, and flavor chemistry. She has always been passionate about her studies and has developed a broad range of experimental and scientific experiences during her research works. Until now, she has 8 SCI academic publications totally as the first author, with one as the ESI TOP 1%. Additionally, she has participated in several scientific research projects such as the National First-Class Discipline Program of Food Science and Technology (JUFSTR20180202). Because of her outstanding performance, she has obtained the First-class Scholarship for Ph. D. Candidate Student. During the years of endeavors in the field of fats and oils, she has learned how to work as a team with her colleagues and how to improve her scientific research ability. Her background inspired and prepared her for her further step in the area of lipid oxidation, analysis method and flavor chemistry.

1. What was your reaction when you learned you won Honored Student Award Winner?

I was very excited and really enjoyed winning the award. I want to express my sincere thanks to the AOCS Award committee, for their recognition of my hard work and achievement.

2. Can you tell us about your current research?

My current research works focus on the influences of fry oil’s fatty acid profile on the flavor of French fries.   

My project is thus designed to: 

1) develop analytical methods for determining volatile compounds of fried food 

2) investigate the effect of oil types and frying time on the flavor compounds in frying oils 

3) and study the formation mechanisms of some off-flavor compounds and find some method to control them.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Extending a warm welcome to the AOCS community’s new members

 AOCS gained 16 new members in the month of July and we want to help them feel part of our fantastic community of scientists and technologists. 

These incoming members span the globe from Finland to Brazil, Norway to Australia. Our members this month came to us from the virtual annual meeting and from purchasing AOCS Methods.  

Joining AOCS are members from companies familiar to us, but there are also many new companies we get to welcome to the AOCS community this month. So, welcome Baheth Research & Development Labs, Ltd, Cooperative Agrarian Agroindustrial, Drula Publicacoes Tecnicas, Georgia Pacific, L’Oréal, Nu-Mega Ingredients, P2 Science Inc and Sesajal SA de CV. Some of our new members are affiliated with academic institutions like City College of New York, Iowa State University and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 

Current members can learn more about incoming members in the Premium Content Library.

Get rewarded for introducing colleagues to AOCS! Both long-time and new members can participate in our refer-a-friend program. For every member you recruit in 2020, you will get a $20 gift card (up to $100). Visit the “Recruit Members” page on for a downloadable recruitment toolkit. 

Plus, now is a great time to join AOCS with our special summer member offer, which gives you a 35% discount on membership when you join before August 21. Just use code SAVEAOCS35!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Honored Student Award Winner Feature: Marnie Newell

Q&A with Honored Student Award Winner: Marnie Newell

Bio: Marnie Newell’s journey began in 2003 when she was hired as a research technician at the University of Alberta, laying the foundation of her current career trajectory. She is a mother of two school-aged children who inspired her to pursue graduate education. It is her goal to become an independent researcher at a Canadian University. She is very passionate about her project and the potential impact it could have for women with breast cancer. In her PhD program, she has published a review on DHA and cancer cell cycle progression, three research articles on the efficacy of DHA in conjunction with chemotherapy in two different animal models and a protocol paper detailing her final PhD objective: a randomized controlled trial. She is a mentor for both undergraduate and junior graduate students in her department. She enjoys teaching and has been fortunate to take part in the 3-Minute Thesis speaking competition. On a personal note, she volunteers at the local Food Bank, with youth sports in Edmonton and at a local elementary school. In her spare time, she enjoys running and gardening.

1) What was your reaction when you learned you won Honored Student Award Winner?

I was so excited! I'd been to the AOCS conference for the past two years and it was a wonderful experience to connect with people in my field and beyond. 

2) How did you get started in the area of focus that you are studying? 

I began as a research technician for my current supervisor a very long time ago! One thing led to another and here I am! 

3) What challenges have you overcome during your course of study?

I think it is a different experience to be in grad school with children and one of the biggest challenges for me has been fitting everything in – both on the research side and as a parent. I have become much better at time management and have found a good balance between research and kids!

4) Do you have any words of wisdom for other AOCS student members?

Read as much as you can – about everything, not just specific to your field of study. It’s all important. And have fun! 

5) How has winning the AOCS Honored Student Award Winner helped you develop as a young scientist?

It has expanded my networking circle and led to many new contacts in the AOCS community. I think this will be very helpful as I take the next steps in my career.

6) Can you tell us about your current research?

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed and the second leading cause of cancer death in women. The overall goal of my research project is to provide the evidence and identify how docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) dietary supplementation in combination with chemotherapy improves breast cancer treatment.  DHA has been shown to decrease growth and increase death of breast cancer cells.  How DHA does this and if it can help the chemotherapy used in treatment has not been clearly elucidated. For my research, I began in a tissue culture model of breast cancer and found that treating cells with DHA in combination with chemotherapy improved the anti-cancer effect. Then I moved to a novel patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model. Female mice bearing breast cancer PDX's were fed a diet high in DHA and treated with chemotherapy.  Tumors from these mice were more than 50% smaller than tumors from mice fed a control diet and the same amount of chemotherapy.  Tumor sections were stained for cellular markers and it was determined that there was decreased growth and increased death in tumors from mice fed DHA.  Based on this evidence, we moved to the third objective:  a randomized controlled trial with newly diagnosed breast cancer patients who will receive DHA supplementation or a vegetable oil placebo throughout their chemotherapy regimen. We have 50% of patients currently enrolled and we believe that this supplementation will decrease cell growth and tumor size and have a beneficial impact on patient outcomes.  

Monday, August 10, 2020

Surfactants and Detergents Division Distinguished Service Award Winner Feature – Dr. Phillip Vinson

Q&A with Dr. Phillip Vinson, winner of the Surfactants and Detergents Division Distinguished Service Award

A brief bio: I am a Research Fellow at Procter & Gamble's Fabric & Home Care Innovation Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I lead the Surfactant Innovation Technical Strategy for the Fabric & Home Care business.  I joined P&G in 1990 after receiving my Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, where I studied surfactants and their microstructure using cryogenic transmission electron microscopy.  I received my BS in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University.  I am currently on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents and was previously an Associate Editor for the Journal.

I have several technical publications and over 70 granted US patents that have had an impact across all of P&G's laundry detergent forms, hand dishwashing liquids, fabric softeners, and several surface care products.

1) How did it feel to win the Surfactants and Detergents Division Distinguished Service Award?

I felt both honored and delighted.  I have known and admired past recipients of this award, both for their service to AOCS and for their contributions to the science of surfactants and detergents.  It is truly an honor to be recognized as a member of this esteemed group.

2) How did you get started in the field that you are studying or working in?

I got my start during my Ph.D. research in Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota.  I was fortunate to have two amazing advisors at Minnesota, Professors Skip (L.E.) Scriven and Ted Davis.  My research was in their Enhanced Oil Recovery group (called the “Low Tension Group” for low interfacial tensions), where understanding surfactant and polymer physical properties with water and oil, phase behavior, microstructure formation and rheology are critical.  My focus was the study of surfactant and polymer microstructures using cryogenic transmission electron microscopy techniques.

At Procter & Gamble, I have been able to apply and build upon what I learned in graduate school to design better surfactants and surfactant-based detergent formulations.  This is especially important for Fabric and Home Care applications, where surfactants are the core component of many consumer products.

3) What challenges have you overcome during your course of study or your career?

I came to P&G with a strong academic foundation in surfactants and colloid science.  This foundation was a tremendous help to quickly learn the many aspects of formulation, mechanisms of cleaning, etc. that are critical to a successful detergent product.  However, as a Chemical Engineer moving into a surfactant design and development role early in my career, my biggest gap was in my knowledge of the upstream industrial supply chain of feedstocks and associated synthesis and chemical transformations.  

Fortunately, over many years I was able to fill this gap by learning from experienced synthetic chemists at P&G and through external collaborations and interactions I have had with feedstock and surfactant suppliers.  That said, learning in this space is a journey where I continue to upskill my knowledge, both with fossil fuel-based materials and with the many new approaches being developed to provide renewable alternatives and increasingly circular options.

4) What advice can you share on how you have achieved success thus far in your career, whether that be entering a graduate program or a lengthy career in a prestigious position?

Lessons learned from my journey:

1. Own your future.  Master the science to become a recognized expert in your technical domain and use your expertise to deliver successes and build credibility.  As you build credibility, you can take on increasing levels of leadership in creating a vision for what is possible in your domain.
2. Learn how to work well with others and build trusting relationships.  Taking a product to market requires a multi-disciplinary team where team members can rely on each other.  Communication, time management and prioritization skills are key enablers for building trust.
3. Continue to upskill, because the skills required to be successful tomorrow will be different than the skills required today.  Supplement your growing expertise with new tools and capabilities to increase your effectiveness.

5) How has AOCS helped you in your career?

I have been involved with AOCS since the early ’90s. AOCS was important early on and remains so today in building my professional network outside of P&G and providing a source of scientific and practical technical information. The annual meeting has been a great way for me to stay connected with past colleagues, make new connections and connect with many current collaborators within a span of just a few days. AOCS has provided me with opportunities to share my research via technical presentations, and increased my external presence through various roles, such as technical session chair, JSD Associate Editor and JSD Editorial Advisory Board Member.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Protein and Co-Products Division Lifetime Achievement Award Feature - Keshun Liu

Q&A with Keshun Liu, winner of the Protein and Co-products Division Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Liu will be presenting his award lecture on 'Expanding plant protein utilization as food and feed through innovative processing' in a special session at the 2021 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo

A brief bio: Keshun Liu is a Research Chemist with United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), where he manages a Grain Chemistry and Utilization Lab within the National Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit in Aberdeen, Idaho. Born in rural China, he received a Ph.D. degree in Food Science from Michigan State University and did post-doctoral work at Coca-Cola Co. and the University of Georgia.  Before joining USDA in 2005, he was an employee at Monsanto Co. and the University of Missouri-Columbia.  In total, he has 35 years of research experience with academic institutions, industry, and the Federal Government. Dr. Liu is well known for his expertise in chemistry, processing, and utilization of soybeans, cereals, and legumes. 

Dr. Liu has authored or co-authored 132 publications, organized or co-organized six international conferences and 52 symposia for scientific meetings, and delivered 110 technical presentations to domestic and international audiences. He has written, edited, or co-edited four scientific reference books. He has also been active with AOCS and served as a board member, treasurer, chair-elect, and chair of Proteins and Co-Products Division. Currently, he serves as vice president of the AOCS China Section and a member of the AOCS Technical Leadership Committee.  He is the recipient of the AOCS Award of Merit (2010), AOCS fellow (2011), and IFT fellow (2014).

How did you feel to win the Protein and Co-Products (PCP) Division Lifetime Achievement Award?

I felt greatly honored. It is rather special to me because this award reflects recognition of my achievements in the field of proteins and co-products from the very colleagues (PCP members) who have the same research interests as mine.  I hope that the PCP Lifetime Achievement Award can inspire all PCP members towards achieving our research goals with proteins and co-products.

Can you tell us about your current research?

As a research chemist with USDA-ARS, my goal is to develop and expand plant-based proteins for food and feed uses. Our research involves basic chemistry, quantitative analysis, and development of innovative methods to evaluate new and existing protein products, to process oilseeds, grains, legumes into value-added protein ingredients, and to better incorporate these ingredients into food and feed products  One of my current research projects deals with trypsin inhibitor assay.  Trypsin inhibitors are naturally occurring proteinaceous substances, which can be antinutritional and/or bioactive.  As increasing volumes of plant proteins are being used for human consumption in recent years, it is rather important to have a standard method that can measure trypsin inhibitors in various protein products with high precision and sensitivity.  In working with the AOCS Method Committee, we have proposed an improved AOCS standard method for measuring trypsin inhibitor activity not only in soy but also in other protein products, based on recent findings from my lab. The proposed method was a significant modification of the current AOCS Method Ba 12-75 for TIA assay in soy products.  We just completed an international collaborative study, which showed that the proposed method is rather robust, with good repeatability and reproducibility.  Another project relates to the development of innovative methods that can process small grains, such as barley and oats, into several value-added ingredients simultaneously, each enriched with protein, starch, beta-glucan, or fiber, and applications of these new ingredients.  Still, another current research project is to improve methods for determining acid insoluble ash content in proteinaceous products with high sensitivity and precision, so that fish scientists can use it as a reliable marker for digestibility studies on new ingredients and new feed. 

How did you get started in this field?

My undergraduate degree from Anhui Agricultural College (Hefei, China) was on horticulture. Initially, I got interested in the storage and processing of fruits and vegetables.  After entering the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University, I chose Dr. Pericles Markakis as my advisor, whose research dealt with chemistry and processing of plant-based materials.  I started to work on soybeans for my graduate research. Since then, my field of interest has been related to chemistry, processing and the utilization of plant-based materials, mostly legume seeds and cereal grains.   

What challenges have you overcome during your career?

Since English is my second language, the greatest challenge I have faced has always been the language barrier. I work to constantly overcome this barrier and at the same time strengthen my communication skills. The second challenge has been to find the right position that fits my interest and personal strength.  I love research and scientific engagement.  So, for many years, I wanted to become a faculty member in the food science department.  Instead, I landed my first job as a food chemist in a small seed company in Arkansas after fruitful postdoctoral work at the University of Georgia.  When the seed company was brought out in the later ’90s, I became an employee of Monsanto.  Unfortunately, there was a constant change in the biotechnology company at that time.  In the end, I landed a research chemist position at USDA instead.   I feel that this was the right career move for me.  

What advice can you share on how you have achieved success thus far in your career.

My first advice is to have an objective (or dream), focus on it, and work very hard to achieve it, whether you are a graduate student, a faculty member, a researcher,  a chemist or a R&D leader and whether you like your current work or not.  The second advice is to join a professional society, like AOCS, and get actively involved as much as you can.  After a score of years, you will find that your involvement and volunteering service reward you and benefit your career in many ways.     

How has AOCS helped you in your career?

Ever since my graduate study, my field of interest has mostly related to chemistry, processing and value-added utilization of oilseeds, grains, legumes and other plant materials. AOCS is a natural fit for my work and research interests.  So, I joined AOCS in 1992 and got actively involved with the PCP Division by attending annual meetings, organizing symposia, giving presentations, and serving a leadership role, etc.  My membership and volunteer experiences at AOCS have enhanced my knowledge, broadened my connections, and shaped my career in many ways.  

For example, by attending AOCS annual meetings and interaction with AOCS colleagues, I learn what peers are doing on oilseeds and protein products relating to my research. This in turn helps me identify new research areas and use the most up-to-date research tools.  The supports and encouragement I received from AOCS colleagues over the years have also been very important for my career development. Furthermore, the achievement awards I received over the years, including the AOCS Award of Merit, AOCS Fellow Award, and the present award, the Proteins and Co-Products Division Lifetime Achievement Award, have brought much-deserved recognition to my employer, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, for supporting scientists to succeed in their fields.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Processing Division Distinguished Service Award Winner Feature – Scott Bloomer

Q&A with Scott Bloomer, winner of the Processing Division Distinguished Service Award

A brief bio: Scott Bloomer started his research career in 1973 in the laboratories of Honeywell, Incorporated doing research in humidity sensors. Since then he has been privileged to do research on smoke detectors, biosensors, enzymatic interesterification, basic oilseed processing, and the application of enzymes to milk compounds. He spent several years drafting and defending patent applications and performing freedom-to-operate studies in the fats and oils field. He has written a dozen peer-reviewed papers and is a contributing editor for the AOCS trade magazine, INFORM.  Bloomer is the Director of Technical Services at the American Oil Chemists’ Society. Bloomer’s hobbies include martial arts, old British cars, and growing elderflowers.

1) How did it feel to win the Processing Division Distinguished Service Award?

I was pretty surprised. I knew there was a movement afoot because when you work at AOCS, you hear things. People that you have not heard from for a while suddenly ask you for your resume. I have been on the nominating side a number of times, so I knew something was cooking. I thought, “surely there are people that are much more deserving than I,” so I was very surprised. You know the funny thing about is when you get to be a certain age or certain level of experience, it is terrifying because you realize that the real experts have retired. So, it is like you are a tree growing up in this forest and you see all these great tall trees and you admire them and admire them. They slowly get cut down and suddenly you are one of the tall trees and you think, “We are in trouble now.”

2) How did you get started in the field that you are studying or working in?

I consider biotechnology my home. I spent much of my career there and it is very close to my heart.

I got started in the field when I was working at a university in Sweden many years ago in the 80s. I came to that job, because they were advertising for a research assistant and I had more experience than anyone else. It was for a biosensor project, an ethanol sensor, and I had done research with smoke sensors and humidity sensors back in my misspent youth. I was hired there, and I worked there for about six or eight months and the professor told me he had heard good things about my work and asked me how would I like to do a Ph.D.? So, I thought that was a pretty good idea and I was then given the choice of three different areas to work with. 

The professor had me work for six weeks in fermentation, six weeks in aqueous two-phased separations, and then six weeks in enzyme engineering. It was very clear by the end that I should really do the enzyme engineering, using enzymes to catalyze reactions that are commonly catalyzed by chemicals. So, that is the field in which I got my Ph.D. I was then hired and worked at Cargill doing different things. 

3) What challenges have you overcome during your course of study or your career?

Most of my career was spent working in industry, but grad school prepares you poorly for working in industry. Grad school prepares you for working in academia. From there, it is a short jump to working in government, as many of the goals and imperatives are the same. In industrial research, figuring out what really was important when given a project was very difficult. One of the keys that made me a successful scientist was developing that ability, but there was no one who really could tell you how to do that. 

What most people coming out of grad school do is, “This is what my boss told me needs to be done, but this other thing is what I want to do. So, I am going to figure out how to get done what I want to do and what I am really interested in, in the context of what my boss wants.” Grad school didn’t teach me to stop and think how this fits into the bigger picture. It is really key to consider what questions your boss is being asked and the imperatives for your boss – that was a major challenge I had to overcome. 

4) What advice can you share on how you have achieved success thus far in your career, whether that be entering a graduate program or a lengthy career in a prestigious position?

Anybody that knows me knows that this is my main thing that I push; “ask the right question,” If you ask the right question, you are halfway to the answer. If you take a brand-new researcher, just out of university, and you give them a problem, they will get the answer, but if you take somebody else who has learned how to ask the right question, you give the problem, they will get the same answer. The difference is, the first person will do 50 experiments, the second person will do five experiments because they take the time to figure out the right questions. So, that is one key. 

Another is you must read the literature. There is this common phenomenon, that is common to humans, that we start out in a field, we start learning it, it is all new and exciting to us so therefore it is new and exciting to the world. We discover something and it is really cool. I had an experience where I was reviewing a PowerPoint presentation for the annual meeting. Presumably, research done in the last year, showed certain results as if the discovery was new, I took a binder off my shelf,  opened it and found a paper from 1991 that taught the same thing. You have to read the old literature, to avoid reinventing the wheel. It may mean reading bound books, not everything is digital, but just because it is not digital does not mean it is not real.

Some that really brought this home to me happened when I did my Ph.D. defense., The field I was working in, enzymatic interesterification of lipids, was very new at the time. There were only five labs in the world working on it, but now it has become a billion pounds a year industry. I got to be there in the very beginning – this was kind of fun because anything you do is publishable. So. at my defense I was talking about all this new stuff and my opponent is talking about the new stuff.
I had made friends with an old professor in an adjacent department focusing on physiological responses to lipids and I asked him to be on the review board for my thesis defense. Near the end, he stood up to say something. He put  an overhead onto the projector and said, “You all are talking about this like this is something new, but I just want to show you that this has been done before.” He flipped on the light and showed a figure from one of his papers.  I recognized the figure because I had read the paper – it had been accepted for publication the day I was born. So, I said, “Yeah, you are right, we all act like it is brand new”, but the lesson is you have to reach the old literature. 

5) How has AOCS helped you in your career?

One of the things that happens when you are working for a company, university, or government is you are kind of in a tunnel. Your research group is so big and by its nature, it must be very focused and so it is very easy to go feel isolated. AOCS gives you a platform where you can speak about some of your work. At the annual meeting, for example, you can give a lecture on your work and of the people that attend, half of them will be interested, and many of them will know something about the topic and some of them will speak with you after or at a later event. The attendee may approach and say, “You said this about this particular temperature, have you tried this temperature?” or “That was a really great experiment, I’m going to go try that with this other matrix.” It liberates one from the limitations of your own context and it puts you in a world context. 

To expand on that, you see what other scientists are doing and somewhere, at least the industrial scientists have an economic driver. For me, I am very mercenary and always have been in my research. I always want to do something that can generate a product that can be sold. I do not want to just know more about how changing this particular type of lipid makes a different kind of emulsion. You have to be able to translate that into something practical and saleable. So, when you attend an AOCS meeting, you can listen to these talks and ask yourself or the speaker, “Why are they talking about that? Are there any commercial applications?” 

Another benefit is, I really like reviewing and editing papers. Being with JAOCS for so many years, I was a reviewer first, then an associate editor and then I was asked to be a senior associate editor for Biotechnology for a year when the senior associate editor became the AOCS President. Working on the journals gives you the opportunity to see a lot of science. 

6) Can you tell us about your work at AOCS?

There are three pieces that must be managed. One of them is the Laboratory Proficiency Program, another is the Certified Reference Material program, and the third is the AOCS Official Methods. The rest of the Technical Services team manages the first two and they do an outstanding job. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

AOCS Corporate Member Spotlight - CI Sigra

Sterling Bollman, the head of Advertising and Sponsorship Sales at AOCS, talked with Jorge Montenegro, the Technical Director of CI Sigra based in Bogotá, Columbia. In this conversation, AOCS learned about innovations CI Sigra has developed and what really sets them apart from their competitors. Enjoy our next installment in the Corporate Member Spotlight series and learn more about CI Sigra.

Nice meeting you Jorge and thank you for sitting down with me to do this Spotlight. My first question is a basic, background one. What type of services and products does CI Sigra provide?

Nice to meet you as well and thanks for the opportunity! CI Sigra is a company that, with more than sixty years in the market, offers solutions based on vegetable oils and fats to meet the needs of all its customers in the Bakery, Hospitality, Retail and Industrial industry segments. In addition, it has a top-notch team of Technical Advisors who provide personalized support in the execution of new developments for all our clients. 

This strikes me as a field that has a lot of competing companies. What differentiates CI Sigra from these other companies competing in the same space? 

For our company, quality is not an added value, but it is the normality that we guarantee in all our products. Customer service is essential for us, seeking to always focus on our developments, responding to the real needs of our customers, accompanying them in their developments, ensuring a timely supply of our product and its functionality at the time of its application. 

With so much emphasis on the quality of your work, I can imagine new innovations are important to CI Sigra. What’s one recent innovation that CI Sigra is most proud of? 

We recently launched a 100% vegetable-based butter substitute. This allows us to have those unique flavors and textures that the use of butter provides in our client’s applications, but with all the benefits of a 100% plant-based product. 

For many companies, the rise of COVID-19 has made 2020 a difficult year. How has the recent pandemic affected your company?

Undoubtedly, the pandemic has affected all economic sectors. We are fortunate to belong to a sector (the Food Sector) that has always had the authorization of the National Government to continue operating in compliance with all biosafety protocols. This has created a new challenge by having to incorporate new work measures to ensure that our employees can carry out their tasks safely, in order to continue to fulfill the supply of our products to each client, with the quality guarantee and functionality that they expect of us. 

Continuing off this, what do you foresee being the biggest challenges to CI Sigra moving forward? 

Many of our collaborators started working from home because of the pandemic. Getting back to the face-to-face routine after being away for so long may be one of the challenges we face moving forward and in 2021. 

Well Jorge, thank you so much for the time you’ve given me today. This series is giving people a chance to learn a little bit more about our corporate members. Before you go, I have one more question. Why is being an AOCS corporate member important to you and CI Sigra?

AOCS is the main source that the players in the fats and oils sector must interact. AOCS membership guarantees a constant networking strengthening exercise that allows us to be updated on the main, scientific news related to our products. In addition to this, it is a fundamental support system that guarantees all our analyses are standardized and aligned, according to the regulations defined by the AOCS. 

Thanks for reading. Thank you to Jorge Montenegro and his colleagues at CI Sigra for taking part in our AOCS Corporate Member Spotlight Series. Make sure to visit their website, subscribe to their YouTube page, like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram! Join us next time to see who we feature next!