Friday, September 25, 2020

Journal articles focused on edible applications technology

The following Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society articles published in 2020 were curated by the Edible Applications Division Newsletter Editor, Andrew Gravelle.

Visit this page for help navigating your member-only access to all AOCS journals online. 

Issue 1: January 2020

Preparation and Characterization of Oil Rich in Odd Chain Fatty Acids from Rhodococcus opacus PD630 

Mei‐Yun Chu, Lin‐Shang Zhang, Wen‐Yong Lou, Min‐Hua Zong, Yu‐Qian Tang and Ji‐Guo Yang

Issue 2: February 2020

Tailoring Crystalline Structure Using High‐Intensity Ultrasound to Reduce Oil Migration in a Low Saturated Fat

Thais L. T. da Silva, Zachary Cooper, Juhee Lee, Veronique Gibon and Silvana Martini

Issue 3: March 2020

Effect of Feeding a Low Level of Encapsulated Fish Oil to Dairy Goats on Milk Yield, Composition, and Fatty Acid Profile

Maryuri Núñez de González, Rahmat Attaie, Sela Woldesenbet, Adela Mora‐Gutierrez, Jeneanne Kirven, Yoonsung Jung and Deland Myers

Issue 4: April 2020

Effect of CO2 Bubbles on Crystallization Behavior of Anhydrous Milk Fat 

Bhaskar Mani Adhikari, Tuyen Truong, Nidhi Bansal and Bhesh Bhandari

Accelerated Fat Bloom in Chocolate Model Systems: Replacement of Cocoa Powder with Sugar Particles and the Effects of Lecithin 

Jiayang Jin and Richard W. Hartel

Issue 5: May 2020

Oleogel Fabrication Based on Sodium Caseinate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, and Beeswax: Effect of Concentration, Oleogelation Method, and Their Optimization 

Leyla Alizadeh, Khadije Abdolmaleki, Kooshan Nayebzadeh and Seyede Marzieh Hosseini

Issue 6: June 2020

Na2SiO3‐Catalyzed Glycerolysis of Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia volubilis L.) Oil into Di‐ and Monoacylglycerols 

Jia Luo, Zeping Wang, Shangzhi Deng, Fan Zhang, Guirong Bao, Junni Mao and Wenjing Yang

Issue 7: July 2020

Hermetia illucens Larvae as a Living Bioreactor for Simultaneous Food by‐Products Recycling and Useful Oil Production

José L. Guil‐Guerrero, María J. Sánchez‐Muros, Dmitri Fabrikov, Borja Rodríguez‐Lozano, María J. González‐Fernández, Svetlana Lyashenko and Fernando G. Barroso

Issue 8: August 2020

Isothermal Crystallization of Palm Oil‐Based Fats with and without the Addition of Essential Oils 

Anis Chikhoune, Mikhail Shashkov, Aleksandr Vasilyevich Piligaev, Juhee Lee, Abdelghani Boudjellal and Silvana Martini 

Issue 9: September 2020

Tripalmitin‐Driven Crystallization of Palm Oil: The Role of Shear and Dispersed Particles

Ryan West and Dérick Rousseau

AOCS members enjoy unlimited access to all peer-reviewed AOCS journals. Join today to gain access now through 2021!


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Surfactants and Detergents Division Award Winner Feature: Jinning Liu

Q&A with Surfactants and Detergents Division Award Winner: Jinning Liu


Bio: Jinning Liu is a 3rd year Ph.D. candidate in the Food Science Department of the University of Massachusetts. She has been a graduate research assistant since 2015, meanwhile, she also served as a teaching assistant for Food Chemistry. Her research is mainly focused on applications of multiple emulsion by using different surfactants and fabrication methods.

1. What was your reaction when you learned you won the Surfactants and Detergents Division?

I did not expect to receive this award because it was my first time applying AOCS awards. I heard my labmates got their AOCS awards a week before finding out and thought I had no chance in winning, then I received the good news. It was so uplifting and encouraging to motivate my research life.

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

Food has always been one of always my favorite things. Then I started being eager to learn more about the science behind it. 

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

At the beginning when I first started my project, I found it hard to have a solid result. I kept looking up literature reviews to see how other researchers deal with the problem and finally figured out an effective approach to get a consistent result.

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

Nothing Is Impossible!

5. How has winning the AOCS Surfactants and Detergents Division Award helped you develop as a young scientist?

Winning the award helped me improve my confidence in this field. It provided a chance to let more scientists get to know what I’ve done. This will motivate me to explore more on my research. I also hope my project can provide inspiration to other scientists who have the same interests.

6. Can you tell us about your current research?

My current research focuses on controlling the release of bioactive components in multiple emulsions by tailoring the osmotic stress.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Registration for the Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum is now open

The AOCS Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum is now open for registration. Join live online presentations and interactive discussions that will take a closer look at compelling advancements in plant proteins. With a common pursuit of sustainability, developments in this focus area will play an increasingly important role in helping shape the systems and solutions that will nourish the world. 

Participants from all over the globe will come together to delve into topics that cover the full landscape of protein supply chains. Sessions will include:

Explore the future of plant proteins throughout the month of October! 

Register today

Add event to calendar

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Corporate member spotlight with Plus Group

AOCS is featuring different corporate members to help us learn more about their company and what they do to improve the science and technology of oils, fats, surfactants and more!

This week AOCS talked with Grant Mitchell, acting CEO of the Plus Group. Grant joined the Plus Group in 1998 and has over 30 years of professional experience in the operation, design and management of processing facilities within the Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Food & Beverage Industries. He is a member of the American Oil Chemists’ Society and is presently on the organization’s Governing Board and serves as the organization’s Foundation Board Treasurer.  He is also the chairman of the board for Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Southern Ohio region.

In this conversation, AOCS learned about innovations the Plus Group has developed and what really sets them apart from their competitors. Read on for the next installment in the Corporate Member Spotlight series and learn more about the Plus Group. 

1) Thanks for taking some time to help us learn more about Process Plus. Tell us a little about the Plus Group.

The Plus Group is comprised of Process Plus, Design Build Plus and Automation Plus…thus making it the Plus Group of companies. Process Plus is a full-service engineering and architectural firm consisting of ten (10) discipline departments. Automation Plus specializes in modernizing and improving efficiency with the latest in automation and controls technologies. Design Build Plus offers Procurement, Construction Management and Owner’s Representation for clients who prefer a more seamless approach to project execution.

This three-in-one organizational structure allows us to offer clients a streamlined project approach with a single point of contact. By dividing our expertise into specialized companies, we can attract world-class talent and gain access to additional vendor partnerships.  The Plus Group consists of over 160 employees across five office locations and is 100% employee-owned. The Plus Group has been in business for over 24 years largely due to our repeat client base. The partners that we work with have come to depend on our high level of expertise, customer service and dedication to establishing lasting relationships. 

Plus Group provides one point of contact with a wide range of capabilities. The quality of our services is defined by the long-established reputation of our principals and staff. The skill and technical competence of our team is maintained through a culture focused on continuous improvement and being the ‘Firm of Choice’ for customers and employees. We take a consultative approach to projects and incorporate tools and systems that make the process of working together easy. No matter the size or scope of the work, we are customer advocates — ensuring that we align our services with our customers strategic plans and business objectives.

By combining process engineering, material handling and packaging with hygienic and clean design and automation we can ensure the highest level of plant operational efficiency and compliance.



2) In your own words, what products or services does Process Plus offer? 

Process Plus is a multi-discipline engineering and architecture firm, dedicated to finding the right solutions to fit your needs. We are problem solvers, interested in improving your operations, keeping you current with industry trends and regulations, consistently delivering quality solutions you have come to know and expect. We use proven methods to execute our projects while maintaining flexibility and adapting to our clients’ needs and preferences. We work together with our clients to understand their project goals, as we know each project has different parameters defining success.

3) What would you say differentiates Process Plus from companies in the same space as yours? 

Plus Group is more than meets the eye. We are not just another engineering group—we are a collection of three industry-leading companies that focus on our customers. Our Process and Facilities, Industrial Automation and Construction Management teams can work independently or together on any project, delivering exactly what customers need, every time.

4) What is a recent innovation of Process Plus that you would like to draw attention to? 

Recently, Plus Group developed Factory365 which is a product focused on providing customers peace of mind with respect to their operating facility. It is a suite of off the shelf solutions tailored to customers  The Factory365 Suite includes:

a. Metrix365 – A software application that bridges the gap between the plant floor and business systems in an Industry 4.0 world.

b. PKG365 – Comprehensive optimization of equipment and PKG lines for maximum Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE)

c. Service365 - Preventative maintenance for plant floor and IT/business solutions including cost-effective subscription services.

d. Academy365 - Training and empowering employees for successful plant floor and business operations.

e. Care365 - Providing 24/7 emergency support on and off the plant floor.

5) Obviously, this has been a challenging year for many companies. What do you view as the biggest challenge for Process Plus in the coming months? 

The war on talent continues to be a challenge.  Plus Group has industry expertise that is requested by some of the world’s largest and most recognized brands.  While technology improvements are critical to staying competitive, world-class resources are paramount to our success.  World-class resources that provide exceptional customer service will be essential.

6) Recently, you presented a #AOCSWebinar, “FSMA: Equipment, Cleaning and Sanitization Requirements Within the Food and Beverage Industry.” Can you tell us more about how the subject of that webinar intersects with your work? 

Plus Group's very talented Dennis McCullough made that presentation and really executed and shed light on the importance of hygienic and clean design, especially in today’s world where the effects of Covid19 have so greatly enhanced our need for consumer products to be trusted by manufacturing facilities that are up to code. Dennis’ presentation reviews steps for reducing possible contamination from equipment designs; and implementing effective cleaning and sanitization procedures for successful business operations. The use of the hygienic design standards developed and presented by Dennis dramatically reduces the risk of costly downtime and keeps customer’s products and employees safe from dangerous pathogens. We are seeing a tremendous peak in customer needs for services like this, and are grateful for those experts like Dennis, who have such a wealth of knowledge and cache of proven methods that ensure these standards in industries from food and beverage to consumer products to pharmaceuticals and beyond. You can get free access to this webinar's materials and its recording for a limited time by filling out your contact details.

7) Can you give one takeaway from your webinar that you think industry professionals would find really compelling?  

A well-designed facility that considers sanitization requirements in equipment or their facilities can be cleaned more effectively in less time while mitigating the risk of producing a contaminated product.  Sanitary design has not only added value to support food safety and quality, but it has also added value by supporting the organization’s operational efficiency objectives in reducing the amount of labor required to clean the equipment and/or facility. Fill out your contact details now for free access to this webinar.

8) Well Grant, thank you so much for your time! I hope everyone has learned a bit more about Process Plus. One final question before I let you go, why is being a corporate member of AOCS important to you and your company? 

Plus Group benefits by being a corporate member of AOCS based on the access to tools, discounts, annual meetings and contacts through industry, academia and many other channels that is customized to our needs.  Through inform|connect, Plus Group is able to obtain content that meets the specific informational needs on Plus Group.  AOCS has provided Plus Group the tools necessary to sustain and grow our expertise within the oils, fats, proteins surfactants and related materials.

Thanks again for reading and thanks to Grant Mitchell and his colleagues at Plus Group for taking part in our AOCS Corporate Member Spotlight Series. Make sure to visit their website and check them out on Facebook and LinkedIn! Join us next time to see who we feature next! 


Monday, September 21, 2020

Phospholipid Division Award Winner Feature: Mitchell Culler

Q&A with Mitchell Culler, winner of the Phospholipid Division Award Winner

Bio: Mitchell Culler is a Ph.D. candidate in food science studying methods for preventing lipid oxidation advised by Dr. Eric Decker at UMass, Amherst.  His research involves the modification of lecithin to act synergistically with tocopherol for increased antioxidant activity in emulsion systems.  His master's degree research was advised by Dr. Federico Harte at Penn State University and involved the prototyping and development of an automated device to study the effects of emulsifying salts and environmental conditions on casein micelle structure.  Mitchell holds a BS with honors in food science and a BA in English as well as minors in nutrition and agribusiness management from Penn State.  Additionally, he has research experience as a visiting scholar at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in Bellaterra, Spain where he developed an automated system to use light backscattering to measure coagulation time in cheesemaking, advised by Dr. Manuel Gahete.  Mitchell also gained research experience at the University of Cordoba in Cordoba, Spain working on a project advised by Dr. Raul Luque examining a link between a high-fat diet and somatostatin/cortostatin expression in mouse breast tissue.

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

I am absolutely thrilled to win this award, and I am very excited about what it represents.  As anyone who has spent any time doing research can attest, there are a lot of late nights in the lab and failed experiments that leave you empty handed with respect to data.  It feels really great to be recognized for all the hard work that goes into my research, and I feel honored to have been able to make a contribution that furthers scientific knowledge.

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

I originally found food science because I became interested in the ingredients in the food I was eating.  What has captivated my interest is how much my perspective has changed the more I have learned about the field.  In short, it has remained interesting to me.  Studying food science has allowed me to work on many different projects and in different areas of research.  From designing, programming and testing automated prototypes to extracting and using enzymes to modify phospholipids, I have gotten to have some pretty incredible experiences so far.

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

In the last year, the coronavirus pandemic has caused increased challenges while trying to do research.  In addition to restricting the number of people in the lab at once, it has added significant restrictions to our ability to work in the lab.  While I am not sure anyone is able to say they have fully overcome this obstacle yet, I have found that planning experiments in advance and being more intentional with how I am spending my time has certainly been a step in the right direction.

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

Setting realistic expectations for what you are able to accomplish in a given time period is a really critical skill to start developing, particularly early on.  One of the biggest things I continue to struggle with is accurately estimating how long certain tasks will take me to complete.  When you are planning out experiments, it is definitely important to take Murphy’s law into account and leave some extra time in your plan to get things finished.

5) How has winning the AOCS Phospholipid Division Award helped you develop as a young scientist?

Winning this award has given me a platform to showcase my research.  Personally, it is been really affirming to have this recognition from AOCS, particularly in my research area of phospholipids.  It can be easy to be overly critical of yourself when working in research because progress is often slow, so it can feel like you are not really getting anywhere.  Receiving an award like this is a great opportunity and reminder to look back at the work you have done and recognize how far you have come.

6) Can you tell us about your current research?

My Ph.D. research is on the topic of creating a modified lecithin using phospholipase D from various plant sources to transphosphorylate the lecithin head groups so that they can increase the efficacy of tocopherol as an antioxidant in food emulsion systems.  Typically, phosphatidylcholine (PC) has been shown to be a pro-oxidant in emulsions; however, phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) are able to recharge alpha-tocopherol-quinone back to its active form.  Therefore, creating a high PE or PS lecithin from natural sources will extend the effectiveness of tocopherol, thus increasing the shelf-life of these emulsion-based products without the need for synthetic antioxidants.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Two minutes with: Florencia De Alzaa

We love showcasing not only the valuable work of AAOCS members but also the personal side of our members. In this newsletter, we provide two minutes with Florencia De Alzaa, R&D Technical Engineer for Boundary Bend Ltd.

Florencia came to Australia and joined the Boundary Bend team in September 2016 where she is working as a R&D Technical Engineer. She finished her degree in Chemical Engineering in 2015 at Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina. After graduation, Florencia has completed several Postgraduate Diplomas in Australia, including ‘Leadership and Management’, ‘Project Management’ and ‘Innovation and Design Thinking’. Florencia is an Associate Member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (AMIChemE) and a Member of the Institution of Engineers Australia (MIEAust). Her recent research in the food industry has included: ‘Chemical and physical changes to fried chicken’, ‘Chemical and physical changes in oils during heating’, ‘Study of cooking oils suitability for Teflon coated cookware’, ‘Preliminary results of Evaluation of Chemical and Nutritional Changes in Chips, Chicken Nuggets and Broccoli after Deep Frying with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Canola and Grapeseed Oils’.

Every day at work… I am faced with new challenges. It is hard to define a typical day in my line of work. Sometimes I am researching, reading and writing about various topics. Recent research in the food industry has included: chemical and physical changes to fried chicken, chemical and physical changes in oils during heating. Other days I find myself in meetings, working with contractors, suppliers and with internal cross-functional teams to run R&D projects.

My favorite part of my job is… that it never gets boring! I have the opportunity to work with colleagues from different backgrounds and work towards solving problems and develop solutions that can be challenging but rewarding. 

Away from work, I like to… do yoga or a stretch session. I really enjoy playing with my creativity and I often draw, paint, and take artistic photographs. I also practice aerial silks, and, because I recently moved close to the beach, I am learning to surf.

If I could meet anyone, it would be… the authors of the book Frying Technology and Practices (Kathleen Warner). I referred to this book as a bible when researching cooking oils in Australia. I found the theoretical discussions on oil chemistry, oil degradation mechanisms, and the practical aspects related to frying including regulatory matters well described. 

When listening to the radio I listen to… Spotify radios and podcasts. I am passionate about the olive tree, all its related products and its health benefits, if I would have to recommend a podcast it would be “The Olive Wellness Institute” podcast. They always interview experts in this industry sharing the science behind it. 


Congratulations to AAOCS member [soon to be Dr.] Leonie Walter

AAOCS student member, Leonie Walter, submitted her Ph.D. thesis entitled “Understanding small and large milk fat globule phenotype variation in dairy cows through milk lipidomic characterisation” in August 2019 and graduated earlier this year. Her Ph.D. was conducted through the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Science at the University of Melbourne in conjunction with CSIRO, under the supervision of Professor Brian Leury, Dr. Richard Fry and Dr. Amy Logan.

Milk fat globules (MFGs) are spherical structures comprising a neutral lipid core that is surrounded by a three-layer membrane. Individual variation in MFG size is observed within dairy herds and, if selected for thorough breeding programs, could be exploited for a more targeted milk production for specific technological streams. 

Her thesis’s initial experiment aimed to determine how much the average MFG size is affected by on-farm and animal-related factors within a herd subjected to the same diet and environmental conditions: Walter, Leonie, Sue Finch, Brendan Cullen, Richard Fry, Amy Logan and Brian J. Leury. "The effect of physiological state, milk production traits and environmental conditions on milk fat globule size in cow's milk." Journal of Dairy Research 86, no. 4 (2019): 454-460.

Based on the data collected for the first experimental chapter, cows were selected for the second and third experiment, which aimed to characterise the small and large MFG phenotypes through an in-depth lipidomics analysis. This analysis included the characterisation of the fatty acid profile of the MFG core by gas chromatography and the identification of the whole milk lipidome through targeted liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry: Walter, L., P. Shrestha, R. Fry, B. J. Leury, and A. Logan. "Lipid metabolic differences in cows producing small or large milk fat globules: Fatty acid origin and degree of saturation." Journal of Dairy Science 103, no. 2 (2020): 1920-1930.

The third experiment, conducted in conjunction with Metabolomics Australia, presents the most extensive milk lipidomic analysis in the literature to date, with 301 detected lipid species. The results also revealed, for the first time, a potential role for ether phosphatidylethanolamine in the regulation of MFG size, showing a higher relative abundance of ether phosphatidylethanolamine in the milk from cows that tended to produce larger MFGs: Walter, Leonie, Vinod K. Narayana, Richard Fry, Amy Logan, Dedreia Tull and Brian Leury. "Milk fat globule size development in the mammary epithelial cell: a potential role for ether phosphatidylethanolamine." Scientific Reports 10, no. 1 (2020): 1-13.

The final experiment developed an in vitro model using cells purified from raw milk and grown on permeable membrane supports: Walter, Leonie, Richard Fry, Amy Logan and Brian J. Leury. "Investigation on the suitability of milk-derived primary bovine mammary epithelial cells grown on permeable membrane supports as an in vitro model for lactation." In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology. Animal (2020).

“Leonie, it has been an absolute pleasure to co-supervise your Ph.D., where I was able to watch you develop into a truly gifted and exemplary scientist. A huge congratulations for all that you have achieved, and I wish you all the very best for this next phase of your career”  Dr. Amy Logan (AAOCS member and outgoing Treasurer for the AAOCS).

And from all of us here at AAOCS, congratulations, Leonie! 

Other Ph.D. students who are graduating, we would love to hear from you or your supervisors to help you celebrate! Contact your Division of the AOCS Communication Specialist, Katrina Gaffney.


Professional Educator Common Interest Group Member Spotlight: Dr. Ruijie Liu

An Interview with Dr. Ruijie Liu

Meet Dr Ruijie Liu, Professor in the School of Food Science and Technology at Jiangnan University, China. 

Dr. Liu became a member in 2012 and talks more about her involvement with AOCS, why she joined the PE CIG, what she loves most about her work and how she relaxes outside of work. 



1. Why did you join AOCS and how long have you been a member? 

As we all know, AOCS advances the science and technology of oils, fats and related materials, enriching the lives of people everywhere. It is not an overstatement to say that AOCS is my global fats and oils connection. As a young oil chemist, it was a great honor to join this outstanding society. Becoming a member of AOCS has allowed me not only to broaden my professional horizons but also to advance my career. I became a member in 2012 and have had eight years of invaluable experiences thanks to AOCS.  

2. How has your involvement with AOCS influenced your career? 

Since I became an AOCS member, I have been contributing oral presentations to the annual meetings. I have made many new friends and colleagues and participated in launching an international joint lab, which stemmed from my involvement with AOCS. This year, I advanced to the title of professor, which I believe my involvement with AOCS played a significant role in and so I feel I have AOCS to thank for that.

3. Why did you decide to join the PE-CIG? 

 I joined the PE CIG as it provides me a new opportunity to promote excellence in teaching through discussion and the exchange of ideas. With this additional membership, I can collaborate with educators around the world, working together to create an environment of academic excellence in my classroom. My involvement came about as a result of a warm invitation from a friend and colleague. 

4. What led you to where you are now? Talk about previous jobs, school, other life journeys that led you to where you are.

“Interest” always moves/leads me forward. I have been studying and working in Jiangnan University since 2011. Jiangnan University is a competitive place as many excellent colleagues work here. I always remind myself to keep a peaceful heart and a sensitive mind. Science needs “interest”.

5. What do you love most about your position? 

The sense of achievement from my teaching and researching.

6. How do you define success? 

To me, success is a state of self-satisfaction. Whether this self-satisfaction is from being a well-known scientist or a teacher, these are all types of success. If I can make the lives of people around me a little better; that is the mark of success for me.

7. Who inspires you? Or who has been the most influential person in your career? 

Both my Ph.D. supervisor at Jiangnan University and co-supervisor at Cornell University have inspired me the most. They both taught me not only science itself, but also ways to think scientifically. They both set a prime example of how to guide students as a teacher.

8. If you could give advice to young AOCS members, what would it be? 

Work Hard, Work Smart.

9. What is something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know? 

Baking with my daughter. That is my happiest moment, the moment I feel her happiness.

10. What is your favorite thing to do outside of work? 

Reading. In my opinion, reading can not only broaden our vision but also cultivate our taste. Reading helps me escape from any unhappy things I might be dealing with in my day-to-day reality. I believe it is important and necessary for us to spend time reading what we are interested in. I am always reading something.


Find out more about the benefits of PE CIG membership.

Online learning in the time of COVID-19. Part I: A student perspective

Due to the lockdown spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, most educational institutions around the world were forced to close their campuses and switch to online education and e-learning with no definite date for a complete return to physical classrooms. Despite many universities being able to successfully transition to online courses in a short period, there are still many challenges to overcome to achieve effective digital teaching/learning. In fact, this dramatic change in education has brought, in many cases, confusion, concern and frustration among educators and students.

To assess how students felt about the sudden switch to online lessons, Professor Nuria Acevedo of Iowa State University gathered opinions from multiple graduate students attending Universities in the Midwest region of the country. Their thoughts are based on different aspects they brought up regarding this new digital pedagogy they experienced:  

How digital learning cannot replace in-person classroom activities:

  • When our university closed down in March, I was halfway through a course called “Sensory Evaluation of Wine.” While I was able to continue learning the course content, the in-person experience of sensory evaluation and the conversations with peers as we try to decipher subtle tasting notes was completely lost. The same is true for many of our lab courses. It’s like a soccer player trying to improve their game by reading about soccer. It might help conceptually, but the only real way to improve is through in-person practice.
  • As an aspiring educator, I consider in-person teaching to be extremely important. It is difficult to engage with and elicit participation from students remotely. Moreover, verifying class attendance by requiring web-cameras to be on feels like an intrusion of privacy.
  • I felt the benefits and value of hands-on experiences that are so valuable for my development as a young professional have been completely taken away from as a result of the pandemic.


Student perceptions of the remote learning experience:

  • Personally, online courses have been a severe detriment to my learning experience. I have found that it is challenging to focus at home and that classes lose their gravitas. I strongly oppose remote learning and only deem it acceptable for non-STEM courses.
  • Virtual meetings are a nice addition to remote learning because they are still scheduled meetings that force me to stay up-to-date with classwork and I still get the benefits of class discussions for classes that are dependent on sharing experiences and opinions.  We still have productive class discussions every time we meet. It also takes the edge off class participation when I am able to speak to the class in a place that I am comfortable in.  
  • I would strongly prefer a hybrid model as opposed to asynchronous learning. In a hybrid model, face-to-face sessions would best be used to reinforce difficult concepts or administer exams. 
  • The shift to remote education has had a minor impact on my learning. As a visual learner, I retain information best from use of diagrams and color-coded labels and notes. Online teaching has forced many of my professors to create additional visual aids and handouts to better organize and distribute lecture notes. For this reason, I have had a much easier time following along in lecture and keeping up with the material. 
  • It has taken some time for me to adjust to being productive at home. I do not mind listening to lectures or seminars online. I actually find it kind of nice because it allows me to pause the video to take careful notes and rewind the video when I need to hear something again. I think I learn just as much, or even more, with remote learning when I am consistent in watching the content and keeping up with classwork.  
  • Overall, I think I am adapting to remote learning well. During the latter part of the spring semester, when remote learning started, I was still able to maintain my GPA and perform well in my classes. I hope to do the same this semester.


How digital learning can foster improved learning solutions in higher education:

  • I believe COVID-19 presented academia with a vital opportunity to advance and develop the ways we teach and learn. It would be a shame if we squandered this opportunity. For example, by offering an asynchronous option for viewing lectures, graduate students are able to plan their research better and aren’t subject to the university’s course schedule for that semester. It’s still important to offer opportunities for discussion and collaboration but added flexibility would greatly help many of my graduate student peers. 
  • Though it is unfortunate it took a pandemic to spark creativity and innovation with coursework, I believe we have a great chance to enhance learning outcomes, provide educational opportunities to more people, and streamline the on-campus experience as well. I hope that our colleges and universities take advantage of the lessons we have learned this year.


How remote learning can allow accessibility to a broader audience:

  • I think more remote learning opportunities would allow people who are unable to live near a university a larger variety of educational options. 
  • I consider online teaching to be very important. Not only is it a way to keep everyone safe during this pandemic, but it also sets a precedent for students who will prefer online schooling in the future. 


How digital education has affected students’ schedules: 

  • For me, the hardest part of remote learning has been separating work time from personal time. I found that no longer needing to commute between academic buildings or make time to attend in-person meetings has given me a surplus of time during the workday. This extra time has allowed me to call in to office hours and meet with my professors more frequently.
  • When I do not have designated appointments or expectations to be somewhere, it can be hard to stay focused and goal-oriented.  
  • I have also started creating online workspaces where I video chat my friends and we all work on our respective tasks in the same Zoom room. If we keep our mics muted, it’s a great way to stay in touch with friends and also have someone present to keep you on task.  

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Check out our new easy to use submission system for the 2021 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo Call for Papers

Call for papers for the 2021 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo is now open. See for yourself how it is easier than ever before to submit your abstract for consideration. 

Presenters, program committee members and session chairpersons all use the online meeting programming system to submit, view, review and edit abstracts for the AOCS annual meeting. This new system makes the submission process centralized, easy to follow, and, simply put, a better experience for you. 

Get to know AOCS’ new platform with the Guidelines & CadmiumCD User Guide and submit your abstract today.

Should you have any questions, contact Julie May


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Saturated Fat and Cardiovascular Disease: an upcoming #AOCSWebinar

Limiting saturated fats is a common dietary recommendation to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, emerging research may need to be considered to determine future dietary guidelines. This webinar’s presenters will explain the importance of considering chain length, molecular structure and food matrix when assessing the effects of saturated fat on human health, particularly cardiovascular disease. 

Cosponsored by the Coconut Coalition of the Americas, this free AOCS webinar will be presented live Wednesday, September 30th from 10:00am to12:00pm CDT (Chicago, USA). Register today!


Presentations

Presentations will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Rakesh Kapoor, the Director of Science and Technology with the Bioriginal Food and Science Corp.

Public Health Nutrition: Aligning Policy with Science 

Susan J. Hewlings, Ph.D., RD.
Long-standing nutritional recommendations have recently been questioned. For example, the focus for dietary fat has moved from total fat intake per day to the type of fat consumed. Recommendations related to saturated fats and their connection to heart-disease risk are a ic of debate, in particular, the practice of grouping all foods high in saturated fat into one group thus one guideline. This contrasts with the literature which suggests that the chain length of the saturated fat influences its metabolism and therefore its impact on human health. This is not the first time research has shown the need to differentiate fats by their chemistry, this issue is much like the research that demonstrated that the different polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, have different metabolic effects and thus should be differentiated in recommendations and policy. Just as recommendations and policy evolved to differentiate polyunsaturated fats the science suggests the same should be done for saturated fats, but policy often lags years behind the science. This presentation will discuss why policy is often misaligned with the science and will further suggest steps that can be taken to better connect science and policy.

Susan J. Hewlings Ph.D., R.D.,
 holds a Ph.D. in Nutrition Science and a Masters in exercise physiology from Florida State University.  She is currently working as the Director of Scientific Affairs at Nutrasource, CRO where she helps clients (industrial and trade associations) to plan, interpret and publish clinical trials as well as prepare manuscripts, reports and analysis for substantiation for claims.  She is also a co-founder and director of Substantiation Services LLC, and a Professor at Central Michigan University Online. She served as Professor of Medical Education at the University of Central Florida, College of Medicine from 2009 to 2012. She has published several books and peer reviewed many journal articles. In the last 5 years, she has published over 35 articles and made several presentations at various events.


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Dietary Saturated Fat and Coconut Oil: Waylaid by the Wrong Definition 
Fabian M. Dayrit, Ph.D.
The warning against saturated fat is based on the notion that animal fats are saturated fats and that saturated fats are linked to heart disease. And since coconut oil is a saturated fat, it has been included in this warning. However, if one checks the databases of fatty acid compositions, one readily finds out that animal fats are not saturated fats and their composition is vastly different from coconut oil. Although there have been warnings against coconut oil for over 40 years, there is no evidence that coconut oil causes heart disease.  This presentation will discuss the history of how this came about and what the implications are of this erroneous definition. A quantitative classification system of fats and oils is proposed: saturated fat, meso fat, unsaturated fat. Further, animal fats and vegetable fats should be classified separately because of the significant differences in their cholesterol content. 


Fabian M. Dayrit, Ph.D. is an emeritus professor at the Department of Chemistry, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines. He obtained his BS Chemistry degree the Ateneo in 1975, and his MA and PhD degrees in Chemistry from Princeton University in 1978 and 1981, respectively. He was a post-doctoral research associate at Oxford University (1980 to 1982), University of Tokyo (1993), and University of Minnesota (1994).  

He was admitted as an Academician to the National Academy of Science and Technology, the Philippines in 2009, and is currently its Vice-President.  In 2016, he was appointed Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for Health of the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC), now expanded to the International Coconut Community (ICC). 

He has published research papers on coconut oil in the Journal of the American Oil Chemists Society, Philippine Journal of Science, CORD and Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. In 2013, he wrote the popular book: “Coconut Oil: From Diet to Therapy” and has written numerous articles and given talks on the benefits of coconut oil. He continues to conduct research to improve the quality of virgin coconut oil.  


Saturated Fats: Special Properties and Health Benefits of Medium-Chain Fatty Acids 
Mary T. Newport, M.D.
Saturated fat and cholesterol have been at the center of controversy and the subject of much debate in the field of nutrition for decades.  In the public arena, largely due to disinformation perpetuated by “experts”, there is a simplistic idea that all saturated fats and cholesterol are bad and that mono-and polyunsaturated fats are good. Saturated fats and cholesterol are essential to life and involved in the structure and function of all cells and tissues in the body. Nearly all cell types contain stores of lipids which can be lipolyzed and undergo de novo lipogenesis and/or elongation to make a variety of SFAs, MUFAs and PUFAs, or used as signaling molecules. Nearly all cells manufacture cholesterol as well.  Recently, it has been recognized that dietary cholesterol intake has no proven risk of increasing rates of cardiovascular disease.  Likewise, a study demonstrated that even very high dietary intake of saturated fat does not increase the proportion of saturated fat in the blood.  However, high carbohydrate intake correlates with higher levels of palmitoleic acid, a MUFA biomarker of cardiovascular risk.

All natural fats and oils contain a blend of SFAs, MUFAs and PUFAs.  Coconut oil has been much maligned due to its high saturated fatty acid content based mainly on studies of animal fat and hydrogenated coconut oil.  It contains nearly double the total SFA content of animal fat, however, there is very little overlap in the saturated fatty acid composition of coconut oil with animal fats. The long-chain SFA content in coconut oil (palmitic and stearic acids), at about 11%, is comparable to the common vegetable oils, soybean, corn, olive, and peanut (11 to 14%) and much lower than in animal fat (37-43%).  These common vegetable oils contain none of the medium-chain or transitional MC/LC SFAs (lauric and myristic) found in coconut oil and they are miniscule in lard and beef tallow.  These distinctive fatty acids in coconut oil confer its unique health benefits related to ketogenesis, antimicrobial action, cell signaling, skin barrier protection, and more. Virgin coconut oil also raises HDL cholesterol and contains anti-inflammatory polyphenols and other beneficial substances. 

Mary T Newport M.D., graduated from Xavier University and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She trained in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and in neonatology at the Medical University of South Carolina.  She is board certified in pediatrics and neonatology, the care of sick and premature newborns. She was the founding medical director for two newborn intensive care units and practiced neonatology for thirty years in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.  More recently, she makes home visits with people who have chronic conditions.  In 2008, she implemented a ketogenic nutritional intervention with coconut and medium-chain triglyceride oil that dramatically helped her husband Steve Newport who had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  He lost his battle with Alzheimer’s and Lewy Body dementia in 2016 and Dr. Newport carries on his legacy as an author and international speaker on ketones as an alternative fuel for the brain.  Her latest book is entitled The Complete Book of Ketones: A Practical Guide to Ketogenic Diets and Ketone Supplements.  She has also authored the following books:

The Coconut Oil and Low Carb Solution for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Other Diseases (2015)  
Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was a Cure?  The Story of Ketones. (2011, 2nd Edition 2013)  
Facebook: Coconut Oil Helps Alzheimer’s, Dementia, ALS, MS… https://www.facebook.com/CoconutOilandAlzheimers




The Coconut Coalition of the Americas (CCA) was founded in 2017 when coconut industry stakeholders realized that one unified voice was needed for the North American coconut trade. Industry members came together to steward the category and promote the facts about coconut oil and coconut products. CCA established National Coconut Day in 2019, which annually celebrates all things coconut and strives to increase awareness of coconut benefits. For more information about CCA, please visit CoconutCoalition.org.


Edible Applications Technology Division Award Winner Feature: Maria Scharfe

Q&A with Edible Applications Technology Division Award Winner: Maria Scharfe

Bio: Maria Scharfe is a Ph.D. student in the department of Food Process Engineering at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany. She earned a BS and MS in food technology specializing in general process engineering, sugar and fat technology, and functional microorganisms. During her studies, she worked at Nordzucker (sugar production) and Unilever (R&D spreads and dressings) for 6 months each. For the duration of her time at Unilever Rotterdam, she had the chance to plan and execute her own research project in emulsion technology. Working independently and in-depth on this project led to the decision to do a PhD which she is set to complete in 2020. Her current interests and research include the influence of solvent composition on various oleogel systems to unravel their impact on the final product properties on a microscopic and macroscopic scale. This will hopefully enable a better understanding of oleogel characteristics and formation which in turn facilitates industrial applications.

1) What was your reaction when you learned you won Edible Applications Technology Division Award?

I felt very happy and honored and actually started dancing in the kitchen :)

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

I have been interested in the production of food since I was a child. My dad was a mechanical engineer and worked for numerous food companies in the Berlin area. During summer holidays, I often got to accompany him. At university, I decided to study food technology, and by the time I finished my masters I knew I wanted to work in the sciences. Since I worked a lot in sugar research, I was very happy that a project in the field of oils and fats (oleogelation) was available at that time.

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

Many! Our department had to move twice during my PhD which was probably the most challenging and time-consuming hurdle. Moreover, a lack of self-motivation along with a high level of frustration is quite common for Ph.D. students every now and then :)

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

Start presenting your data to others at conferences or even within your research group. 

5) How has winning the AOCS Edible Applications Technology Division Award helped you develop as a young scientist?

Due to the current situation and the cancellation of the conference, not that much yet. But I hope that it will look appealing on my CV.

6) Can you tell us about your current research?

It was stated in several studies that the type of solvent has a major impact on oleogel properties. To successfully implement oleogels in food products the mechanism responsible for these changes must be understood. The aim of my research is to unravel the influence of oil composition on various oil systems. To that end, the effect of the continuous phase (TAGs) and minor oil compounds such as free fatty acids must be considered separately.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

AOCS Corporate Member Spotlight: Center for Testmaterials B.V.

Welcome to the newest edition of our “AOCS Corporate Member Spotlights”!

AOCS is featuring different corporate members to help us learn more about their company and what they do to improve the science and technology of oils, fats, surfactants and more!

This week, Sterling Bollman, the head of Advertising and Sponsorship Sales at AOCS, talked with Caspar van Leeuwen, the Managing Director of Center for Testmaterials B.V., a global company based in the Netherlands. In this conversation, AOCS learned about innovations Center for Testmaterials B.V. has developed and what really sets them apart from their competitors. Read on for the next installment in the Corporate Member Spotlight series and learn more about the Center for Testmaterials B.V.


Thanks for joining me Caspar. We’re thrilled to continue our 
“Corporate Member Spotlight” series with the Center for Testmaterials. My first question is a basic, background one. What types of products and services does your company provide?

Center for Testmaterials is the one-stop-shop for cleaning-performance testing. We offer a wide variety of stains, other testmaterials, cutting and sewing services, (soiled) ballast loads, reference detergents, measuring equipment and laboratory washing machines. 

With such a wide variety of options you offer, there’s sure to be many competitors you must deal with. What differentiates the Center for Testmaterials from these other companies? 


In order to set us apart from those in the same field, we work on four different areas. Those areas are as follows:

  • Quality
    • Quality is our main concern. Our products always must be from the highest quality. Our quality control is strict, and we put a lot of work in controlling the consistency of our ingredients. This is important to maintain our reproducibility. 
  • Delivery speed
    • The last couple of years, Center for Testmaterials has focused on supplying our products to our customers even faster. 
  • Communication
    • Center for Testmaterials has also focused on their communication. Through email and our website, we provide our customers and clients with important information about our products and services. Thanks to our office team, we make sure you receive a reply within one business day. 
  • Full service
    • Finally, full service has become important for Center for Testmaterials. We offer a wide range of products. There is a possibility of purchasing from compelling brands. Our customer is the king. If something is missing in our product range, we work together with our customers to develop new products. 

Thanks for that breakdown! With all the focus on quality and customer service, there must be plenty of opportunities for new innovation. What’s an innovation you are proud to offer at Center for Testmaterials? 

We have recently finished developing the CFT Greying sock, which is a soil-ballast load that can be used to mimic the realistic greying of white fabric. The greying sock can copy up to twenty-five wash cycles in just five actual wash cycles. Most of our R&D budget is on expanding our CFT Dishwash method with ready-to-use soiled tiles (soiled melamine, technical porcelain, stainless steel, plastic, glass and ceramic). We are always working on the development of harder, surface cleaning testmaterials as well. 

An emphasis on innovation is incredibly important, especially during these tough times. In what ways has the COVID19 situation affected Center for Testmaterials and what do you foresee being your biggest challenges in the upcoming year?

Luckily, our company has not been largely affected by COVID19, especially on the orders placed by our customers from March until now. We did see that some companies we work with were ordering quite a bit more of stock material, which we assume was caused by fear of not being able to order more supplies if air transport was prohibited. We are incredibly glad that we did not have to fully close our company; instead, have been able to continue our production and helping our customers. In order to prevent against outbreaks, we have imposed protective measures, such as social distancing and the separation of our departments. While this has put a bit of strain on our operation, we have managed to continue getting our products out on time.

Always, our biggest challenge is to maintain our consistency in the materials and quality of our products. We need to make sure that we can always obtain our raw materials and they must always be reproducible, relevant and realistic. Due to the growth of Center of Testmaterial Fabrics over the past five years, we also want to stay focused on the well-being and personal growth of our employees. In the meantime, we must stay our innovative selves.

Well, it is refreshing to hear that there are still companies out there that can continue powering through the unknown that the COVID19 pandemic presents. Before I let you go, I do have one more important question for you. Why is it important to you and Center for Testmaterials to be a member of AOCS?

The membership is important to us because of the exposure AOCS offers on their numerous events. This increases our brand awareness, raises our brand recognition and amplifies the reach of our network to places we would not normally have access to. We also enjoy the benefits of the discounts for attending and taking part in the larger conferences, such as the annual meeting.


Thanks again for reading and thanks to Caspar van Leeuwen and his colleagues at The Center for Testmaterials for taking part in our AOCS Corporate Member Spotlight Series. Make sure to visit their website and learn more information! Join us next time to see who we feature next! 



 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Honored Student Award Winner Feature: Yang Lan

 Q&A with Honored Student Award Winner: Yang Lan

Bio: Yang Lan is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the cereal and food science program at North Dakota State University (NDSU). He is on track to graduate in 2020 and has done an excellent job in his academic studies, receiving A’s in all 11 required courses in the past three years. So, his current career plan is continuing to finish his doctoral research project, which focuses on the phase behavior of concentrated pea protein isolate-pectin mixture and their application. He has published 15 peer-reviewed articles and given more than 12 academic presentations at professional meetings such as the AOCS and IFT annual meetings. Yang has received both a travel grant and the Honored Student Award from AOCS as well as several graduate scholarships from IFT. Yang has been an active member in AOCS’ Protein and Co-Products (PCP) division since 2017 and is a member of the AOCS Student Common Interest Group.

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

I was extremely excited when I saw “congratulations” in the email from Victoria. I checked my inbox quite often since the award application had been submitted two months prior. This award is quite important for me since AOCS has now rewarded me for my hard work and helped me to present at the 2020 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo. I would like to thank the AOCS foundation for its generosity and support. With this recognition, I am further motivated to work hard and make cereal and food chemistry my career after graduation. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as AOCS has helped me.

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

I started my bachelor’s study in food quality and safety at Xichang College, then completed a three-year master’s training in food science at Southwest University. As I learned more about food science through experiments and lectures during my college years, my interest in pursuing further food science studies continued to grow. Therefore, after completing a graduate degree in China, I was lucky enough to start an overseas Ph.D. program in cereal and food science at NDSU in 2016.

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

At the beginning of my overseas studies, language was the biggest challenge that I had to work hard to overcome. The demanding requirements of listening, reading, speaking and writing in a nonnative language challenged me a lot when I first started this program. My solution to overcome this challenge was practice, practice, practice! I think it’s clear how much practice paid off for me, given the A’s I received in all required courses during my course of study.

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

AOCS membership is incredibly valuable for student members since it provides us with the latest information on food science through the weekly Inform SmartBrief as well as a way to join open discussions through inform|connect. These resources help us understand emerging events, trends and innovations; they also broaden our horizons in the food science industry. Moreover, AOCS membership provides us opportunities for volunteering, such as with the Student Common Interest Group, and networking opportunities at the AOCS Annual Meeting and Expo, which is certainly helpful in connecting with peers and professionals, and to develop our leadership and networking skills. 

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

Winning the AOCS Honored Student Award is such an honor for me since it is an evaluation and recognition of my dedication and rigor. Plus, having external recognition of my work will translate to praise and respect among my food science peers. Winning this award will encourage me to continue working hard in my graduate research program and to try my best to serve the food science industry in the near future. After graduation, I plan to find a post-doc research position in this area of focus since I have a strong commitment to contributing to the body of cereal and food chemistry research as my career.

6) Can you tell us about your current research?

The world demand for protein is expected to increase due to population growth. The use of alternative proteins in food applications is crucial to meet demand. However, plant proteins are still used in limited food applications due to their low solubility, lack of functional properties, their off-flavor and taste. The goal of my research is to improve the functionality and flavor profiles of plant proteins, such as pulse and flaxseed proteins, through combined structural modification technologies (soluble complex and solid dispersion). This research has three main objectives: (1) To characterize denaturation profile, structure, functionality and negative tastes of extracted pulse proteins from pulse flour and flaxseed proteins from protein-rich flaxseed meal (oil extraction coproduct). (2) To structurally modify the proteins using soluble complex and solid dispersion technologies for improving functionality and flavor profiles. (3) Evaluation of thermal stability and other functionalities of the modified proteins in model beverage systems.


Friday, September 11, 2020

The next Midweek Mixer: Let’s talk about your edible oil sample preparation struggles - a conversation with Lovibond

Come prepared with your common obstacles when measuring edible oils in the lab. Lovibond, an analytical instrumentation manufacturer, and your peers will be there to listen and offer solutions to common pitfalls and help guarantee consistency. 

Join in on a round of edible oils trivia and find out what can reduce measurement interference such as sample preparation, sample temperature, contaminated or damaged sample cells, instrument maintenance and cleanliness, cell path length relative to color scale and incorrect color scale for verification.   

This Midweek Mixer will occur on September 23 at 1pm CDT (Chicago, USA).

A brief bio of the presenter: Matt French

Matt is the National Sales Manager for Lovibond North America, AOCS member and liaison for the Edible Oil Industry color measurement applications. Matt has a Bachelor's in Finance and Economics and a Masters in Management Science with previous experience in metrology and color measurement science. 

Register today for this fun, upcoming Midweek Mixer 


Thursday, September 10, 2020

This October: Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum

 

Katherine Gaffney                 For Immediate Release 9/10/2020

AOCS

katherine.gaffney@aocs.org

Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum

AOCS launches an online forum dedicated to plant proteins

URBANA, Ill., USA, September 10, 2020 — The American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS), an international professional organization that advances the science and technology of oils, fats, proteins, surfactants and related materials, is hosting a month-long forum with six sessions that will relay the latest information on plant protein nutrition, analysis and applications this October. 

Session include:

The live sessions will occur from 8-11:30a.m. CDT (Chicago, USA) on dedicated days throughout the month of October. View the schedule and session information at https://plantprotein.aocs.org/technical-program/schedule.

About AOCS: The American Oil Chemists’ Society is an international professional organization based in Urbana, IL. Founded in 1909, AOCS is dedicated to disseminating current and emerging information and research regarding oils, fats, lipids, proteins, surfactants and related materials. In helping forward these sciences, AOCS develops and upholds methods of analysis for global trade and research, conducts proficiency testing and provides reference materials. The Society also seeks to facilitate and strengthen interactions among professionals through meetings, specialized interest groups and other networking opportunities as well as collaborating with other related societies and organizations to promote the advancement of science. 

@AOCS

aocs.org

Media Contact: Katherine Gaffney, Communication Specialist, katherine.gaffney@aocs.org 

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Health and Nutrition Division Award Winner Feature: Hongbing Fan

Q&A with Health and Nutrition Division Award Winner: Hongbing Fan


Bio: Hongbing Fan is a Ph.D. candidate under the supervision of Dr. Jianping Wu in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Alberta in Canada. His research interests include functional foods and bioactive peptides. Prior to joining the University of Alberta, he did his M.Sc. research on food preservation, specifically aquatic products, at China Agricultural University. Meanwhile, he conducted two industry-driven projects to generate bioactive peptides from crocodile meat and codfish for value-added applications. It was these two projects during his spare time that triggered his interest to pursue a Ph.D. in the field of bioactive peptides. Besides academic work, he assists his supervisor by managing the lab and training new colleagues. He also engages in improving his teaching skills, participating in the Graduate Teaching and Learning Program and practical training as well as being a Teaching Assistant or a guest lecturer for several undergraduate- and graduate-level courses. His extracurricular activities involve organizing academic and social events as well as looking for career opportunities for graduate students in his department since he has been serving as the Chair of the Graduate Students' Association in his department. He also speaks for his department graduate community in the university graduate student council. With AOCS, he volunteers as the Chair of the Student Common Interest Group and as the student representative for the Canadian Section’s AOCS leadership team.

1) What was your reaction when you learned you won Health and Nutrition Division Award?

It was very exciting when I knew that AOCS was recognizing me and my work with this award. This is a true honor and will further inspire me to focus on my research and to engage more with AOCS.

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

When I was conducting thesis research during my master studies, I participated in two industry-driven projects on developing bioactive peptides for commercialized products, which had triggered my interests to continue conducting research in this field.

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

Language and culture are the first challenges I have faced as an international student. In this regard, my previous internship completed in Beijing at an international food company based in New Zealand prepared me, to some extent, for life and work in Canada. I like talking with people from different cultural backgrounds and being involved in various social and volunteering events. These really helped me improve my communication skills during my studies. As a graduate student, being able to work independently is necessary to develop critical thinking. Collaboration is, of course, highly recommended as it opens your mind to better advance your research. Time management is another skill given that we, researchers, are generally sharing equipment in our department and external vendor supplies also take time. Apart from your research, time management is essential to balancing your research with involvement in various academic or student activities.

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

Work hard and play harder; work independently while enhancing your collaborative skills.

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

AOCS provides several awards to help students achieve success. The recognition of this award marks a true honor. It will build up my confidence to showcase my research and connect myself with other professionals or colleagues. Many of the world’s excellent scholars and researchers are present at AOCS Annual Meetings, therefore it is a great platform for networking and interaction with peers.

6) Can you tell us about your current research?

My thesis project is to develop antihypertensive peptides from spent hen muscle proteins. Spent hens are the birds that reach the end of their laying cycle and are a waste or byproduct in the egg industry. Every year, more than 30 million spent hens are produced in Canada and ten times more of those produced more broadly in North America. Processing them for food/feed uses is of little economic value to the industry. They are mostly disposed of by burial, composting and incineration; these disposal methods cause environmental and animal welfare issues. Hypertension is a global health concern and food protein-derived antihypertensive peptides are an emerging treatment for hypertension. Although being treated as a byproduct or a waste, spent hens are rich in various proteins which can be a good source of antihypertensive peptides. This project aims to purify and identify novel antihypertensive peptides from spent hen muscle proteins, followed by validating their efficacy in various cell and animal models of hypertension. This new value-added application of spent hens will contribute to alleviating waste disposal issues for the egg industry and produce inexpensive and safer alternatives for the treatment of hypertension, thus yielding extra revenue for egg farmers and nutraceutical and functional food manufacturers.