Thursday, October 29, 2020

Processing Division member spotlight on Dr. Usha Thiyam Holländer

Dr. Thiyam-Holländer’s research is centered on the extraction, quantification and isolation of minor components such as phenolic compounds from by-products of edible oil processing. She is also researching the impact of various novel aspects of processing on canola oil and minor components.  Her focus is on plant-based functional foods and nutraceutical ingredients and the impact of innovative technology, isolation and optimization. 

Usha received her Ph.D. from the University of Kiel, Germany and her M.Sc. from IIT-Kharagpur, India.  A more complete description of her professional activities is found on the University of Manitoba’s website at or on her LinkedIn profile.

You can also hear Dr. Thiyam-Holländer discuss the following in this short video.


Dr. Thiyam-Holländer shared the following on her experience “Teaching in the time of Covid”:

My typical day is hard to describe — it is full of surprises and last-minute reminders and clinging on to my Outlook calendar.  I do spend a lot of time preparing online material.  And wading through emails that announce, “We're bringing our demo labs to you”, which is exciting; I am looking forward to a growing library of live experiments, recorded in real-time! So, there are positive advancements resulting from this fully online era.

I began this journey in March by learning how to host a YouTube lecture — of course with some help from my academic family members — while still striving to excel with video editing software and posting recorded lectures.  Now I am using Microsoft365 teams and multiple portals based on the audience (which changes whether you are with ACS, AOCS, etc) — prior to that it was blue jeans and Zoom.

So, one part of my day involves wrangling the number of webinars being offered during Covid. To help with this, I created a 2020 webinar folder portal. I have managed to attend a few live and recorded webinars via ACS, Select Science, FOSS, Thermofisher, Agilent and Phenomenex amongst others. The overwhelming number of messages that started with “Free webinar—register now!” were rewarding in a few instances. Though I am still struggling to find time, I was happy to share so many webinars with students. 

The pedagogical value of using available online webinar material is not as easy, especially from copyright and citation perspectives. For example, if I see a webinar and I instantly like it, and I want to use parts of it for my class (cite it!)—I usually deal with long and painful e-mail threads to get permission to share just a few minutes of clips! One exception I encountered was that I did connect with a Stanford University professor who was more than willing for me to share clips from her webinar. It was very exciting for my students. 

Last month I came across a headline that read, “As September approaches, universities prepare for a fall semester unlike any other” and I was wondering what remote teaching would be like. I am happy that the remotely delivered undergraduate seminar course works well with 26 students. Technology glitches have not overtaken our class time. Though things are busier than expected and the amount of time spent on emails and communication has skyrocketed, it did not limit my productivity too much. Perhaps I should simply be thankful that it is all working well!  However, I do have fears of COVID affecting any of my loved ones, especially my aging parents.  

On the pandemic more generally: 

During the pandemic, scientists have shifted their focus a lot. We are either remaining productive or catching up. So far, I have had the chance to read about women researchers and the challenges faced by us during these times — especially childcare issues and the impact on mental health. I also remembered my own maternity leave, navigating remote work with a baby on my lap and a long list of emails awaiting my reply — it seems many more people around the world have had to embrace these lifestyle shifts. It was not easy for me and is not easy for women in general –- we need to credit women scientists more, given all that they juggle! AOCS’ has clearly been encouraging women in science and I am happy to see this, but I believe we can do more!

I am less concerned about my job than my health and safety — protection means a good chance for survival, which is something someone recently said that really spoke to me. Going back to normal will be different, at least for the time being, so the conversation is about a potential “new normal” to which we will have to adapt. 

Finally, to help cope with the pandemic, fishing is on my to-do list along with exploring the great Canadian outdoors, gardening and learning more about indigenous Canadian nutrition, native Meitei and Naga indigenous food and culture — somewhere down the road. I have also been reflecting on the impact of the mentorship I received at AOCS on my career – it has been invaluable!  Almost 18 years ago, I was very inspired after attending an AOCS annual meeting and highly recommend volunteering for AOCS to our students and young professionals!

On food processing:

Through AOCS’ platform, I am equipped to learn, exchange information and network with knowledgeable colleagues and industry experts. Oilseed processing (raw materials – seed to oil and by-products) and food processing extending to preparing and generating side-streams, grinding and processing grains or coffee beans or even beer is critical to understand today’s nutrition, wellbeing and changing lifestyles.  Recently, I extended my research to explore home cooking practices and efficient commercial and industrial methods impacting the mustard antioxidants. It is a very exciting and interesting area to research as practices are changing and new findings are coming in — I want to discover whether you can cook mustard seed in an InstantPot or if you can use the standard oven at home or conduct a lab-based accelerated solvent extraction! 

Here is the link to our beer study: "Identification of hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives of selected Canadian and foreign commercial beer extracts and determination of their antioxidant properties".




How peer reviewing can help you professionally: an upcoming Midweek Mixer

Monday, November 2 at noon CST (UTC–06/Chicago, USA), moderator Yunbing Tan and panelists Doug Hayes, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents, and Jim Kenar, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society will host the Midweek Mixer, "How peer reviewing can help you professionally". You can read more about the Mixer and the hosts below

Why join?

The peer-review process is an important step for improving research paper quality; however, less is known about the standardized review process. This Mixer will provide a platform for attendees to share their reviewing experiences and ask questions about how to get involved, best review practices and more. Other topics that we hope to discuss include how to balance research and reviewing and what could we learn or get from this reviewing experience. This Mixer is designed to be both an informative session on how peer reviewing can enhance your professional development and an opportunity for you to network with peers also interested in journal reviewing.

Join AOCS for a Midweek Mixer hosted by the AOCS Student Common Interest Group (SCIG)https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2QAT2slOQ_2iaYTOBhWZ1g

Get to know your hosts:

Mixer moderator

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. Yunbing Tan is the winner of AOCS' Lipid Processing and Biotechnology Division Awards in 2020.


Mixer panelists

Doug Hayes is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents. He is a Professor of Biosystems Engineering at the University of Tennessee (UT) and also serves as an Adjunct Professor for Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UT, a Guest Professor at Wuhan Polytechnic University and Jinan University (Guangzhou, China), and a UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Joint Faculty member. He received a B.S. and Ph.D. at Iowa State University (1986) and University of Michigan (1991), respectively, both in chemical engineering. He served as a Postdoctoral Research Chemist at the USDA/ARS/NCAUR from 1991 to 1994, and as an Assistant and Associate Professor at UAH (Chemical and Materials Engineering, 1991–1994) before joining UT. He received the Impact Award (2017) and the John J. and Dorothy G. McDow Faculty Excellence Award (2019) from the UT Institute of Agriculture. Doug has over 80 publications in peer-reviewed journals, over 20 book chapters and three co-edited books. His research interests include surfactant self-assembly systems, biobased products, bioplastics and applied enzymology.

A longstanding member of AOCS, Hayes became a reviewer for the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (JAOCS) when he was a postdoc at the US Department of Agriculture. He became an Associate Editor (AE) for JAOCS in 1999, an AE for JSD in 2010, and a Senior Associate Editor for JAOCS in 2013. He is also the author of the INFORM magazine article, “How peer reviewing has helped my career” in the April 2019 issue of the magazine. 


Jim Kenar is a research chemist at the US Department of Agriculture–National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (USDA–NCAUR) in Peoria, Illinois, USA. Jim is an active member of AOCS and currently a senior associate editor for the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (JAOCS). He has been the journal’s editor-in-chief since May 2016. Jim’s research interests focus on the modification and utilization of agricultural materials (vegetable oils and polysaccharides) for food and nonfood applications. Jim Kenar joined AOCS in 2000.



Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Almond Protein Extractability and Utilization in a Plant-forward World: An upcoming #AOCSWebinar

New plant-forward ingredients are increasingly in demand, creating opportunity for technologies that extract protein.  This webinar will provide attendees an overview of the latest research on protein extraction methods, a better understanding of almond protein qualities and a culinary demonstration by Chef Christine Farkas where she will show almond protein in action. 


Register for this webinar, which will occur on November 19, 2020 at 10 a.m. CST (UTC–06/Chicago, USA).

From this webinar, attendees will gain a better understanding of: 
  • Almond protein nutrition profile, including the fat profile of almonds 
  • Current almond protein technologies and the functional properties of the almond protein powders that can be ideal for solubility and digestibility
  • Present research and processes in protein extraction, including utilizing enzymes to help extract almond protein
  • Practical and functional applications of almond protein powder (defatted almond flour) in two culinary examples 


Meet the presenters

Swati Kalgaonkar, Associate Director, Nutrition Research Program for the Almond Board of California (ABC): Dr. Swati Kalgaonkar’s primary focus is on oversight of ABC-contracted and management nutrition research, public policy analysis and synthesis. Her role at ABC also involves helping to identify research needs and knowledge gaps related to almond health benefits and communicating research results/progress to global audiences.




Guangwei Huang, Associate Director of Food Research & Technology for the Almond Board of California: For the last 18 years, Guangwei has worked at the Almond Board of California (ABC) in various roles, most recently as Associate Director (Food Research & Technology), and previously as Principal Scientist, Senior Technical Manager and Technical Manager. Guangwei manages ABC’s almond quality, safety and processing technology, and co-product utilization research projects, and he conducts trade education events and food professional outreach activities. 



Juliana M.L.N. de Moura Bell, Departments of Food Science and Technology and Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of California, Davis: Dr. de Moura Bell’s research includes the development and application of environmentally friendly technologies to replace the incumbent technology for extracting and fractionating of major food components such as oil, protein and carbohydrates. Her goal is to develop structure/function-based processes to produce foods that will improve human health, with the translation of these processes into the industrial realm being her work’s ultimate goal. Specifically, she is interested in bio-processing techniques such as enzyme-assisted aqueous extraction, fermentation and less harsh techniques like supercritical and subcritical extractions. 


Chef Christine Farkas, Founder and Chef at IHeartFood Consulting: Christine Farkas is the Chef and Founder of IHeartFood Consulting. Christine is a skilled Food Innovator, Research Chef and Holistic Nutritionist with extensive research and development, culinary and nutrition-driven experience across Canada and the United States. Her work focuses on recipe and product development, hands-on culinary workshops and presentations and trendspotting through local and global travel. Her background includes working with food companies and commodity groups to create innovative food products and menus to nourish and create market growth, sustainably. Much of her work is linked to farmers and the food in which they grow, as well as having a deep connection to ingredient sources.


Access a brand new, exclusive webinar library! Members now have access to presentations spanning 10 interest areas — all on-demand! Join the AOCS community to continue building your knowledge on relevant research and trends, no matter where your career or life takes you. Become a member.

You can also see newly added events on a range of topics, including, "Should you be pre-printing your research?", which will focus on what preprints mean for journals in the long-term.



Upcoming AOCS events for plant protein professionals

Learn about the latest advancements in plant protein science and technology with these upcoming AOCS events:


More Informed: Exploring Pulse Ingredients as an Egg Replacement

Learn more about replacing eggs with pulse ingredients directly from the author of the October INFORM magazine article. Mehmet Tulbek, Ph.D., Director of AGT Foods Research & Development Center, will delve deeper into the emulsification, structure development, foam stabilization, gelation and browning of pulse ingredients. Read more about this webinar and its presenter here.

November 12, 2020 | 10 a.m. CST (UTC–06/Chicago, USA)  | Register for free 

Meet the speaker: Dr. Mehmet C. Tulbek

Dr. Tulbek is the Director of AGT Foods Research & Development Centre in Saskatoon, Canada. He has over 20 years of experience in cereal, pulse and oilseed processing and utilization technologies. Mehmet completed his B.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering with an emphasis in Food Science and Technology at Ankara University, and his M.Sc. in Food Engineering at Istanbul Technical University in Turkey. He then moved to the United States to pursue his Ph.D. in Cereal Science at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. Before joining AGT Foods, Mehmet worked at the Northern Crops Institute as the Technical Director and Crop Quality Specialist. At NCI, he led the development of technical, educational and international outreach programs for pulse, oilseed and specialty crops. Mehmet is a sought-after presenter at global industry and academic gatherings, and has authored numerous journal articles, book chapters and proceedings. Mehmet is a member of multiple organizations including AACCI, IFT, AOCS, CIFST, CNS and AAFCO. He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Saskatchewan Department of Food and Bioproduct Sciences and the University of Manitoba Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences.

What is INFORM magazine?

INFORM magazine is AOCS' member magazine, which covers the latest developments and critical issues with the fats, oils, proteins, surfactants and related materials. More Informed is a space for magazine readers to delve deeper into topics like new analytical methods and technologies, processing technologies that improve efficiency and sustainability, health and nutrition, formulation science, critical business issues, and more.

Phase Behavior of Concentrated Pea Protein Isolate-Pectin Mixture and their Application

This webinar will focus on a study that sought to develop an alternative method to study phase behaviors of concentrated solutions of pea protein-pectin mixtures by identifying critical phase transition pH values as well as applications of pea protein-pectin complexes. Read more about this webinar and its presenters.

November 20, 2020 | 10 a.m. CST (UTC–06/Chicago, USA)  | Register for free 

Meet the speaker: Dr. Yang Lan

Dr. Lan is a research fellow in the cereal and food science program at North Dakota State University (NDSU). 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.

Access a brand new, exclusive webinar library! Members now have access to presentations spanning 10 interest areas — all on-demand! Join the AOCS community to continue building your knowledge on relevant research and trends, no matter where your career or life takes you. Become a member.

You can also see newly added events on a range of topics, including, "Should you be pre-printing your research?", which will focus on what preprints mean for journals in the long-term.

JAOCS Supplemental Issue: Abstracts from the Virtual 2020 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo

This supplemental issue to the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society holds the robust collection of research presented at the Virtual 2020 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo and serves as space to recognize the hard work of these authors. 

Spanning all of AOCS’ interest areas, this issue is another venue to continue the conversations that go on during an annual meeting. It is also a starting point for readers to connect with authors and discuss their findings. 

Read on for abstracts from industry icons like N.A. Michael Eskin with “A Long Lipid Voyage: A Half Century of Research” and emerging scientists like Lirong Xu with “Effect of Oil Types and Frying Cycles on Flavor Compounds of French Fries during Deep-Frying.”

You can still register for the online annual meeting for free and gain access to these abstracts’ presentations.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

AOCS Student e-Poster Pitch Competition: New to the 2021 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo

Awards | How to submit

Contributing to the endeavor of supporting students in the lipid science and oil technology fields, AOCS launches a Society-wide Student e-Poster Pitch Competition at the 2021 AOCS annual meeting

This new competition is designed to give student researchers an opportunity to highlight their achievements, demonstrate their ability in scientific presentations, and receive important feedback and mentoring from industry leaders. 

AOCS invites all student researchers to submit their e-poster abstract within any one of ten interest areas (Divisions):

  • Analytical
  • Biotechnology
  • Edible Applications Technology
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Industrial Oil Products
  • Lipid Oxidation and Quality
  • Phospholipid
  • Processing
  • Protein and Co-Products
  • Surfactants and Detergents

E-posters will be presented as a single page PDF with static text and images. Up to five finalists will be selected from each interest area to give a 5-minute oral presentation during the AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo. At the conclusion of each Division’s oral competition session, the viewing audience will be encouraged to vote for their favorite pitch!

All accepted poster abstracts, PDFs and live presentations will be available to all 2021 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo attendees and the general public on the AOCS website(s).


Awards (per Division):

First place winners receive:
  • US $200 cash prize
  • Recognition certificate
  • 2022 AOCS student membership
  • Recognition in the AOCS Newsletter
  • Recognition in the applicable Division Newsletter

Second place winners receive:

  • US $100 cash prize
  • Recognition certificate
  • Recognition in the applicable Division Newsletter

This competition is made possible in part by the AOCS Foundation, which is dedicated to fostering programs that recognize student accomplishments.


How to submit 


Detailed instructions regarding abstract submission, selection criteria and more are available in the Guidelines & CadmiumCD User Guide (PDF). 

Students interested in participating in the e-poster pitch competition should submit a poster abstract by January 15, 2021. 

Submit today


Questions?

If you have questions about the AOCS Student e-Poster Pitch Competition, please contact AOCS staff at meetings@aocs.org or +1 217-693-4831.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Soybean 360: Agro Processing in Sub-Saharan Africa, an upcoming symposium

Discover the latest innovations in soybean processing technology in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and network with both researchers and industry experts from around the globe. Presenters will offer pragmatic market views and leading research on technologies to enhance efficiencies, improve nutrition and optimize market opportunities. Although presenters consider the context of SSA, the techniques and practices are applicable for processors in all growing economies. 

Symposium presentations will be offered live and online from 8-11 a.m. CST (UTC-06/Chicago, USA) on November 30–December 11, 2020. This format allows you to integrate your participation in the symposium into your daily routine!

Learn more about this event and how to register.

Cooperating organizations include the Soybean Innovation Lab, IFT - Institute of Food Technologists, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Makerere University and National Agricultural Research Organisation - NARO Uganda.





Thursday, October 22, 2020

Lipid Oxidation and Quality Division member spotlight

Dr. Marc Pignitter received his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Graz in Austria, then was a visiting research fellow at the National Biomedical EPR Center and the Free Radical Research Center at the Department of Biophysics at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2018, he joined the group of Metabolomics Australia in Adelaide. Currently, he works as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Physiological Chemistry at the University of Vienna, Austria. 

He received the competitive H. P. Kaufmann-Prize 2015 of the German Society for Fat Science (DGF) and the prestigious Australia Awards–Endeavour Research Fellowship in 2018 for his outstanding achievements in the field of lipid research. 


Marc has been a pioneer in applying omics approaches with multiple mass spectrometry technologies to quantitatively detect and identify lipid oxidation products at sub-micromolar levels and then used that data to track oxidation pathways in foods and also biological effects of lipid oxidation products. 

For those unfamiliar with omics approaches, Marc determined structures of hydroperoxides and epoxides in oils and margarine that had been heated vs stored at room temperature by first isolating oxidized fractions from oils by solid-phase extraction, eliminating derivatization steps that alter oxidation products, then separating Individual oxidation products by HPLC. For product identification, ion masses of products were determined by single quad Q-TOF MS and in untargeted omics analyses, this data from heated and stored test samples was compared using XCMS online to determine peaks whose intensity increased or decreased with sample treatment. Ion masses of these marked products were then targeted in subsequent Multiple Reaction Mode [MRM(+)] analyses using triple quad MS to quantitate and identify each of the products. This multiple MS approach detected epoxides at substantially higher levels than hydroperoxides in unreacted lipids and showed that epoxides formed faster than hydroperoxides in early oxidation, providing cogent support for the importance of epoxides in lipid oxidation.

Recently, by applying genomic and metabolomic tools, Marc broke additional new ground revealing that oxidized lipids from food altered cellular phospholipid and amino acid metabolism in gastrointestinal cells, raising questions about a potential role of dietary oxidized lipids in development of inflammatory bowel diseases and other gastrointestinal pathologies. 

Marc is Chairing the 2021 Annual Meeting & Expo session Contemporary analysis of lipid oxidation products: Detecting and quantitating more products at lower levels. Feel free to contact him with papers for this session.

Pignitter papers you may find interesting:

You can also view his 2020 LOQ presentation Enhancing the Shelf Life of Flaxseed Oil by Modifying Oil Manufacturing Processes until June 2021. 

Find out more about the LOQ Division.


Canadian Section member spotlight on Marnie Newell

Get to know Marnie Newell, M.Sc. Food Technology, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences – Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Sciences, University of Alberta, AB, Canada. She is the Recipient of the 2020 AOCS Honored Student award and the Peter and Clare G. Kalustian award. This interview was conducted by Hongbing Fan, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Sciences, University of Alberta, AB, Canada.

A brief biography: 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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. 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) Could you please introduce yourself to the CAOCS?

I am a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta. I am a proud mother of two kids, so if I am not in the lab, I can be found at the pool or the hockey rink!

2) Could you tell us about your current research and how you got started in this field?

I began my journey working as a lab technician in my current lab. After 10 years in this position, I made the decision to return to school and am very fortunate that I could remain in the lab that is my second home! My project focuses on breast cancer and the role of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in improving treatment outcomes. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in females in Canada, and DHA has been shown to reduce the growth of breast cancer cells in preclinical models. Yet, the specific mechanisms of action of DHA in conjunction with chemotherapy are unclear. I have an exciting project that has run the spectrum from bench to bedside: I started in a tissue culture model and from there moved to two different animal models where we determined some of the mechanisms responsible for DHA’s anticancer effects. My final project is a clinical trial where women with newly diagnosed breast cancer are receiving DHA or a placebo throughout their chemotherapy. We predict that the DHA will have a beneficial effect on reducing markers of tumor proliferation, resulting in a beneficial immune response and improve overall patient outcomes. Stay tuned for the results!

3) You had a number of presentations in AOCS annual meetings, could you share a few tips on improving communication skills with other CAOCS student members?

I love my project and I am always excited to chat about it to anyone that will listen. My number one tip comes from that: we are all fortunate to be researching something that we are passionate about, so show your enthusiasm. No one knows your project better than you do, so take every opportunity you can to present and share your knowledge with a supportive community. Also, embrace questions from the audience; it is a great opportunity to think of your project in a different way when people ask you a variety of questions. Finally, practice, practice and more practice. I usually present to my lab group more than once before a big presentation so I can get all their feedback and suggestions. It is invaluable.

4) You have won several AOCS awards, do you have any words of wisdom for other CAOCS student members?

AOCS has been so supportive of me during my time as a student and I am very grateful for the awards I have received. I would say to any student – never get discouraged. It is a long road to the finish line, so keep applying for scholarships and awards. Every application you make will be stronger than the last, and always pay attention to the details! Start your application early and revise often. Good luck!


Articles published in AOCS Journals in 2020 by Canadian lipid scientists

The following is a selection of articles published in Lipids by Canadian scientists courtesy of AOCS' Canadian Section.

Articles published in Lipids by Canadian lipid scientists

Chamorro, R., Gonzalez, M.F., Aliaga, R., Gengler, V., Balladares, C., Barrera, C., Bascuñan, K.A., Bazinet, R.P., Valenzuela, R. Diet, Plasma, Erythrocytes, and Spermatozoa Fatty Acid Composition Changes in Young Vegan Men. (2020) Lipids, in press. 

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lipd.12265

Kalinger, R.S., Pulsifer, I.P., Hepworth, S.R., Rowland, O. Fatty Acyl Synthetases and Thioesterases in Plant Lipid Metabolism: Diverse Functions and Biotechnological Applications. (2020) Lipids, in press. 

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lipd.12226


Kaur, R., Myrie, S.B. Association of Dietary Phytosterols with Cardiovascular Disease Biomarkers in Humans. (2020) Lipids, in press.

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lipd.12262

M'Hiri, I., Diaguarachchige De Silva, K.H., Duncan, R.E. Relative expression and regulation by short-term fasting of lysophosphatidic acid receptors and autotaxin in white and brown adipose tissue depots. (2020) Lipids, 55(3), 279-284.

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lipd.12224

Newell, M., Patel, D., Goruk, S., Field, C.J. Docosahexaenoic Acid Incorporation Is Not Affected by Doxorubicin Chemotherapy in either Whole Cell or Lipid Raft Phospholipids of Breast Cancer Cells in vitro and Tumor Phospholipids in vivo. (2020) Lipids, in press. 

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lipd.12252

Otoki, Y., Metherel, A.H., Pedersen, T., Yang, J., Hammock, B.D., Bazinet, R.P., Newman, J.W., Taha, A.Y. Acute Hypercapnia/Ischemia Alters the Esterification of Arachidonic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid Epoxide Metabolites in Rat Brain Neutral Lipids. (2020) Lipids, 55(1), 7-22.

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lipd.12197

Pauls, S.D., Ragheb, M., Winter, T., Leng, S., Taylor, C.G., Zahradka, P., Aukema, H.M. Spleen Oxylipin and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Profiles are Altered by Dietary Source of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid and by Sex. (2020) Lipids, 55(3), 261-270. 

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lipd.12235

Subedi, U., Jayawardhane, K.N., Pan, X., Ozga, J., Chen, G., Foroud, N.A., Singer, S.D. The Potential of Genome Editing for Improving Seed Oil Content and Fatty Acid Composition in Oilseed Crops. (2020) Lipids, in press.

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lipd.12249

Tian, B., Sun, M., Jayawardana, K., Wu, D., Chen, G. Characterization of a PLDζ2 Homology Gene from Developing Castor Bean Endosperm. (2020) Lipids, in press. 

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lipd.12231

Wang, L., Li, Q., Xia, Q., Shen, W., Selvaraj, G., Zou, J. On the Role of DGAT1 in Seed Glycerolipid Metabolic Network and Critical Stages of Plant Development in Arabidopsis. (2020) Lipids, in press.

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lipd.12229


Articles published in JAOCS in 2020 by Canadian lipid scientists

Angers, P., Arul, J., Jacques, H. Cyclic Fatty Acid Monomers or the Potential Wild Card in Trans Fats. (2020) JAOCS, Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, in press.

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aocs.12405

Barthet, V.J., Petryk, M.W.P., Siemens, B. Rapid Nondestructive Analysis of Intact Canola Seeds Using a Handheld Near-Infrared Spectrometer. (2020) JAOCS, Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, 97(6), 577-589.

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aocs.12335



Ghazani, S.M., Marangoni, A.G. Novel Cocoa Butter Equivalent from Microalgal Butters

(2020) JAOCS, Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, 97(10) 1095-1104.

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aocs.12408

Vafaei, N., Marat, K., Eskin, M.N.A., Rempel, C.B., Jones, P.J.H., Scanlon, M.G. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy: A Versatile Tool for Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of an Emulsifier Mixture of Soybean Oil. (2020) JAOCS, Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, 97(2), 125-133.

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aocs.12303

West, R., Rousseau, D. Tripalmitin-Driven Crystallization of Palm Oil: The Role of Shear and Dispersed Particles. (2020) JAOCS, Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, 97(9), 989- 999.

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/aocs.12397

Yepez, X.V., Baykara, H., Xu, L., Keener, K.M. Cold Plasma Treatment of Soybean Oil with Hydrogen Gas (2020) JAOCS, Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, in press. 

https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aocs.12416

Find out more about the Canadian Section of AOCS.

Plant Protein and Sustainability at the Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum

The Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum will close looking at plant proteins from a sustainability perspective. Dr. B. Pam Ismail, Ph.D. is one of the many expert presenters in the session, Plant Proteins and Sustainability.

Join the live session, Plant Proteins and Sustainability, on October 23 to hear from experts and participate in the discussion how to meet the needs of our growing global population with affordable proteins that promote the wellbeing of both people and the planet. This requires building a sustainable value chain from farms to consumers. Join us to participate and learn how science and technological advances can help solve the challenges as we look at the future of plant proteins. The session on plant proteins and sustainability will highlight the importance of collaborative efforts between research, industry and government agencies to apply effective technological solutions, that include sustainable agricultural practices, crop biotechnology, processing solutions, food quality, and traceability.  


Presenter spotlight: B. Pam Ismail, Ph.D.


Professor and Director, Plant Protein Innovation Center, Dept. of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, USA

Her presentation, Developing Camelina and Pennycress as Sustainable Sources of Functional Proteinswill cover:

  • A multifaceted approach involving a concerted effort from breeders as well as food and nutrition scientists will lead to the production of pennycress and camelina lines that are viable protein sources
  • This presentation will cover the evaluation of flavor-guided protein extraction methodology for optimal quality and yield following innovative approaches
  • The presentation will highlight the protein structural and functional properties as impacted by breeding, extraction, and functionalization

Meet Dr. Ismail

1) What discoveries from your previous research inform the work you plan to discuss at the 2020 Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum? 
We have optimized extraction conditions to produce isolates with acceptable yield and purity, and with preserved structural properties and acceptable functionality in comparison to traditional protein ingredients. We are also working on characterizing flavor development during the isolation process to limit any off flavor in the final product.

2) What is the significance of the research you plan to discuss at the 2020 Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum, either for future research routes or for real-world applications? 
A breeding program that aims to successfully adapt sustainable and environmentally friendly crops as edible protein sources for food applications will use the information we are collecting. The information will also be useful for industrial production of functional proteins from such sources. 

3) Describe the biggest problem you encountered and solved during your most recent project? 
Proteins are entangled in a highly complex matrix, post oil extraction. Extraction protocol was carefully and systematically optimized to enhance yield and purity in an industry-feasible manner.

4) Share a turning point or defining moment in your work as a scientist and/or industry professional. 
A turning point in my career is when I realized the link between the basic research we do and its application. That then led me to understand how to utilize the acquired knowledge to provide a meaningful and positive impact. With the work we are doing, we aim to facilitate economic gain to the industry, address the consumer desire for nutritious and healthy food, have a positive impact on the environment by seeking and utilizing sustainable crops, provide additional protein sources for the growing population, and provide revenue to farmers and the industry.

5) What excites you about your work? 
The discoveries and developments I encounter along the way really drive me in my work. There is never a dull moment while conducting research.

6) What are potential future directions for the work you are discussing at the 2020 Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum? 
The directions are infinite. The discoveries can be applied to new protein sources. The information my work provides can lead to innovative technologies and applications.

7) What do you like to do when you are not in the lab or presenting at meetings? 
I love to spend time with my daughter, visit parks across the nation and play tennis!



This session is on October 23, but you can still register for on-demand access to the whole Forum. Find out more about the full technical program.

Sustainability of Plant, Hybrid and Meat Products: A spotlight on Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum presenter Dr. Sergiy M. Smetana

Dr. Sergiy Smetana's presentation, "Sustainability of Plant, Hybrid and Meat Products," is part of the Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum session, "Plant Proteins and Sustainability." 

This presentation's learning objectives:

  • Plant products on average have a low environmental impact. The environmental impact of plant-based products depends on level of processing. Some plant product can have a high impact
  • Hybrid products vary enormously in their environmental impacts. Not all the variants are more environmentally beneficial than meats
  • Meat products can be environmentally sustainable, however direct health impact should be taken into account
You can still register for the Forum to view this presentation's live stream on Tuesday, October 13, and join the rest of the Forum.

Meet Dr. Smetana

A brief biography: Dr. Sergiy Smetana works as a Head of Food Data Group at the German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL e.V.) since 2017. However, he joined the institute in 2013 and was responsible for sustainability assessment of food and food technologies. Before that, he worked as a Visiting Fulbright Scholar in Brook Byers Institute of Sustainable Systems (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA) for a year and as a Leading Engineer in the Institute of Nature Management and Environmental Problems (Ukraine) for six years. During his career, he has been responsible for environmental impact assessment of technologies (related to food, mining and landscape construction). The focus of his current activities includes sustainability assessment of alternative protein sources, innovative food processing technologies and data analysis of complex food systems.  

1) What discoveries from your previous research inform the work you plan to discuss at the Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum?

My presentation at the forum will focus on life cycle assessment, or sustainability assessment, of plant protein sources versus hybrid products. This may sound quite simple, but it happens to be not quite as simple as it initially seems.

There are a few main parts.

First, looking at the meat products and meat sources, one can see there is a great variation in their environmental impacts. Second, perhaps surprisingly, plant proteins also have varying environmental impacts. Though these products are quite well studied in isolation, their impact as a hybrid product is less understood.

For example, the consideration of biodiversity impact is quite complicated. When we combine plant and animal-based products, that analysis becomes even more complicated.

In theory, adding plants to animal-based products should reduce the environmental impact of animal-based products; however, in many cases, that is not the case, due to a variety of factors and that’s where my presentation comes into play. My presentation will cover technical options and processing to succeed at making plant and animal products that actually reduce these products’ relative environmental impact. It is not always straightforward.

2) What is the significance of the research you plan to discuss at the Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum, either for future research routes or for real-world applications?

The significance of my research connects with a few points. The first point, of course, is that as a German Institute of Food Technologists (DIL), we want to support those protein sources and those technologies which are more sustainable such as plant-based protein sources. Those products, which are more sustainable and have low environmental impact, can provide enough profit for companies and enough nutrients for consumers.

Alternative, more sustainable protein sources, in general, are a major trend in the current research. Blends and hybrid products occupy a very strong position here because their environmental impact is low, but it usually means that we have to mix protein sources to assure the functionality or find some solutions to improve their nutritional properties.

So, the first point is related to sustainability in terms of significance. The second point is related to the biomass’s technical properties, and how it can be processed. We have to ask ourselves which protein sources, plant and animal, can we mix effectively to create sustainable and nutritious products. But we also must consider the product’s taste and acceptance properties, meaning how well the consumer will accept, and eventually purchase, this new product.

Hybridizing plant and animal proteins is not novel, it is something we do often in cooking. But we are trying to take it to the next level by considering insects and microalgae as potential ingredients. In all likelihood, these will take consumers longer to accept and so media and marketing will play a crucial role in getting the public to accept these hybrid alternatives.

In sum, the goal is for our products to help consumers feel good about the product’s environmental impact and its impact on the consumer’s health. Beyond that, we also want our consumers to enjoy the flavor and thus turn to it as a viable protein alternative.

3) Describe the biggest problem you encountered and solved during your most recent project? 

The biggest problem I have encountered is a lack of precise comparable data to evaluate the environmental impact of these hybrid products.

In theory, it seems simple, if the product is half animal-based protein and half plant-based protein, to get its environmental impact, you just mix the ingredients’ impacts 50-50 and you’ve got your new product’s environmental impact, but what we have found is that is not the case. The processing of these ingredients plays a larger role and thus makes the calculation more complicated. Practical trials are key to unraveling this complexity.

Another scientific challenge I have encountered is being able to predict how these products will translate to the end product’s taste and texture before testing. A product may taste great but then result in a negative environmental impact and vice versa.

4) Share a turning point or defining moment in your work as a scientist and/or industry professional.

As a sustainability and life cycle assessment expert, the turning point in my career was when I realized that I do not know anything about anything. Scientists have certain level of myths and beliefs about data, but there are times when you put your hardcore data through your analyses and then you realize the data does not always behave the way you predicted, and your mind really shifts very rapidly.

Another turning point for me was that I realized that even knowing the basics, you and your methods are not bulletproof, and they can be challenged. But using data the right way, with the right amount of data, with the right approach, you can get very interesting results, which, of course, for me, is super interesting.

That pretty much describes the life cycle assessment process. Even after doing life cycle assessment for 10 years, I can still say that in many cases, I cannot predict what will be the outcome.

While the numbers do not lie, they don’t always translate into experience the way you expect. The struggle is the paradox, you know steak is bad for the environment, but then you see it and smell it and say well….it’s this paradox that we are trying to resolve so that you don’t have to choose between taste, texture and environmental impact.

5) What excites you about your work?

I am excited that I cannot predict the product’s experience from the numbers. What also excites me about my work is that I am always discovering and learning. You could say, I am a life cycle researcher who is always growing.

6) What are potential future directions for the work you are discussing at the Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum?

Future directions are really endless as we look forward to, from a processing perspective, what can be combined into hybrid products – for instance, can milk and insects be combined to make a new hybrid product? And what would that product’s benefits be?

We are also looking at new sources of proteins, like grass, from new plants to see which can provide new qualities to fulfill the consumer’s needs and translate them into the specific products. 

By performing life cycle assessments, we can make sure that these products also make sense from a sustainability perspective.

We are in a unique position to develop products that provide consumers a slower transition to more plant-based products. In addition to product quality, the key to this success is a matter of perception, as Beyond Burger and Impossible Foods have demonstrated for us.

7) What do you like to do when you are not in the lab or presenting at meetings?

Some of what I do outside of the lab intersects with my work in the lab. My involvement in the IFT Protein Division has led me to help organize a Battle of Proteins, where attendees try different burgers at the same time, including plant-based meat, hybrid meat analogs and more. The event would hopefully be a kind of picnic in 2021 where experts could come together and discuss the burgers, challenges that went into creating those burger products, and what directions these products could go moving forward.

So, it is kind of a professional activity, but it is also a party where people can taste, chat and network, maybe over a beer.

I also really like to travel, but that, of course, does not happen anymore, at least, this year.

Dr. Smetana's presentation is scheduled for October 23 as part of the Plant Proteins and Sustainability session.  Find out more about the full technical program.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Plant Proteins and Sustainability: A spotlight on session chair Dr. Baljit Ghotra

Dr. Baljit Ghotra is the chair of the Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum's final session, "Plant Proteins and Sustainability." The following is a description of tomorrow's session.

Our growing global population requires affordable proteins that promote the wellbeing of both people and the planet. This requires building a sustainable value chain from farms to consumers. Join us to participate and learn how science and technological advances can help solve the challenges as we look at the future of plant proteins. The session on plant proteins and sustainability will highlight the importance of collaborative efforts between research, industry and government agencies to apply effective technological solutions, that include sustainable agricultural practices, crop biotechnology, processing solutions, food quality, and traceability.

You can still register for the Forum to view this session's live stream. 

Meet Dr. Ghotra

A brief biography:

Baljit Ghotra is Vice President of Food Research at ADM. In this role, he oversees research planning and its execution to support ADM’s strategy to accelerate innovation and growth. Based in Decatur, Illinois, he leads and works closely with teams of researchers and scientists exploring new ways to make food delicious and nutritious. In this effort, he supports the company’s goals of becoming a leading solutions provider for customers and consumers who are seeking new products based on proteins, carbohydrates, oils and lipids, and other specialty ingredients that are applied in food, beverage, personal care, pet foods, animal nutrition and pharmaceutical industries. Prior to ADM, he spent 20+ years in industry at various positions in research and manufacturing, including positions at Cargill, Ingredion and Mondelez International. He holds a Ph.D. degree focused on grain science and technology from the University of Alberta, Canada. 

1) Why did you decide to get involved with the Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum?

We have seen the agri-food space changing at a pace we have not seen before. This is all accelerated by technology to meet evolving consumer needs, producer expectations and customer demands. Given all the disruptions that have been happening in the alternative protein industry and the needs of both the consumer and the climate, this forum feels particularly important.

To meet these needs, we needed a way to bring like-minded people together to talk about the challenges and solutions and how to turns these conversations into reality. So, it is this global cause and the increasing presence of plant proteins in the market that drew me to suggest a session on plant proteins and sustainability. I am interested in this forum as it is a unique opportunity to discuss the opportunities and confront some of the challenges of making nutritious and delicious food from plant-based proteins.

2) How does your work intersect with the session, you are chairing?

This session on plant proteins and sustainability intersects with everyone as we all have a role to play in building sustainable food systems. At ADM, we are unlocking the power of nature to provide food and nutrition to the world, not only humans but animals. It is a huge responsibility. We have been doing this for the last 118 years, transforming agricultural feedstocks like corn, wheat, soybeans, pulses/beans and other specialty crops into food, feed and specialty industrial solutions. We are keeping sustainability at the forefront as we look at the next 50 years and beyond. We are asking ourselves, what structural changes in our choices and actions are needed as we prepare to feed 9.8 billion in 2050. There will be a need for significantly more food with significantly less land. Sustainable agriculture and disruptive technologies, and our commitment to mindful actions to support the environment are imperative to make a positive impact on the planet so that the natural resources on which we depend are available in the years to come. 

While thinking about the plant proteins and sustainability session one thing that comes to my mind is the opportunity for agriculture-food processing companies, like ADM, who really connect the entire supply chain from farm to consumers.  This is a great opportunity in front of us and every one of us along the value chain has a role to play to build a sustainable food system.  

So, the speakers in the session I am chairing are going to talk about sustainability from a variety of standpoints including sustainable agriculture practices, biotechnology, alternative crops, digital transformation of food value chains, and studying the impacts of plant-based products on health and the environment. 

3) Have you attended a Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum before? If so, what have you enjoyed about previous forums? If this is your first forum, what are you most looking forward to?

The global food industry is currently undergoing an enormous transformation fueled by technological disruptions based on plant proteins and other alternative proteins.  I’ve had the opportunity to attend several of the protein and alternative protein summits in the recent past, but this is my first time attending the protein forum organized by the AOCS.  I’ve heard from colleagues that the first protein forum was very comprehensive addressing technology, quality and food safety with respect to all different types of pulses.  This year’s protein forum runs over the course of the month so attendees will have more time to digest each topic from process technologies, human nutrition, plant protein quality to pet foods and sustainable practices in plant protein production. I really look forward to the range of topics this year’s forum is able to cover.

4) If you had one piece of advice for speakers submitting their abstract for review, what would it be?

The program committee of the protein forum has attracted top experts and thought leaders from their respective fields to join us as speakers.   The abstracts and the presentations intend to showcase the latest innovations and technology in the space of plant proteins and sustainability. From these abstracts and talks, we are looking forward to hearing more about the opportunities and challenges affecting the future of plant proteins.   

5) What is one unexpected fact most people who know you would never guess?

We are first-time dog owners.  We recently adopted an adopting an Aussie-doodle puppy who we named Millie, which is one of the best decisions my family has made. It was spurred by the closure of schools and the COVID-19 pandemic in general – we found ourselves at home and unable to go anywhere. So we did what many have done during the pandemic, and we got a puppy. She was 10 weeks old when we got her, and we are in love! Millie is the best way to spend our free time. She is adorable and so full of such energy. She is a part of our family now.

 

 The Plant Proteins and Sustainability session is scheduled for October 23. Find out more about the full technical program.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Young Professional Common Interest Group member spotlight on Jing Zhou

Jing Zhou is a nutrition scientist at Ingredion Incorporated. She joined AOCS in 2019 and started to be actively engaged with the Young Professionals CIG in 2020. She is now the newsletter editor for YP CIG. Before joining Ingredion, Jing pursued a Ph.D. degree in Nutrition Science from Purdue University and has worked in the medical device industry for 2 years.

1) What does a typical day look like for you? 

Being a Nutrition Scientist means you are supporting not only external customers but also cross-functional internal customers. My responsibilities span across all stages of a product’s lifecycle. Emerging nutrition science developments may drive upstream innovations. During product development, nutrition literature review may be needed to determine the product’s safety and support regulatory submissions. For products that have the potential to benefit human health, nutrition scientists will design clinical research and draft manuscripts to publish scientific findings. Unlike the product development scientists who spend part of their day conducting benchwork, most of my work can be completed with a laptop and a phone. A few trips to scientific conferences or to meet external research collaborators may be needed every year. 

2) What excites you about your work?

I am very lucky to wake up every day feeling excited about the knowledge that I am going to gain. This is not a repetitive job that I will ever get bored. I am constantly following new scientific developments in the food ingredient industry. I also enjoy being the subject matter expert in nutrition science and working with cross-functional teams to ensure that the company develops safe, healthy and tasty products for customers.

3) What kind of person do you wish to be when you “grow up”?

I want to be a person who can have a conversation with anyone. Growing up in China and then studying and working in the US (where many cultures meet), I sincerely appreciate diversity. I hope that I will be conscious not to only accept the information that I believe in, but also actively seek to understand other viewpoints.

4) 2020 is filled with uncertainties and challenges, how do you calm yourself down with the chaotic surroundings?

Meditate… Think of what is important for your life. Do not be bogged down by small troubles in life. I love to travel and experience different cultures in person. This year I am stuck at home. However, this gives me time to read books that I did not have time to get to. There is a book that I would recommend to anyone who is puzzled by the chaotic world and desperately wish to find their purpose for life: Man’s Search for Meaning. It is written by a professor of Psychiatry who is also a survivor of the Holocaust. This is not a cliché book, but a book filled with the glory of humanity and wisdom, highly recommend to other fellow young professionals.

Health and Nutrition Division member spotlight on Professor Ignacio Vieitez


Prof. Dr. Ignacio Vieitez
is a Full Research Professor at the Department of Science and Food Technology, School of Chemistry, Universdad de la República (UdelaR) in Montevideo, Uruguay. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the UdelaR, Uruguay. His main area of research includes new green extraction processes based on the use of compressed fluids to isolate bioactive compounds from natural sources such as food and agricultural by-products and plants. Dr. Vieitez's recent project  focused on the inhibitory effects of Cannabis flower extracts, obtained by supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) with and without modifier, on various human tumor cells and non-tumor cells. 

Dr. Vieitez has been an AOCS member since 2010 and joined H&N in 2014. He has served as a session chair for oral and poster sessions at past AOCS annual meetings and will serve again for the 2021 annual meeting. 

Read more about Dr. Vieitez in this recent interview with H&N newsletter editor, Kacie Ho. 

1) What do you love most about your job?

I like research for various reasons…mainly the opportunity to participate in different projects and the opportunity that it offers to meet new researchers and to be able to participate in groups from which you always learn. Research is constantly pushing the frontiers of knowledge. Every new project not only provides insights, answers and details, it also poses new questions. Research is challenging. Sometimes, experiments do not go as well as planned or give you unexpected results. And that is okay; in these cases, you are given the opportunity to question the process, make changes and to think beyond. Research stretches your mind It also challenges and tests you to think of new ideas, new reasons and new possibilities. Research can offer the opportunity to present your studies to colleagues at conferences, to meet other researchers like yourself and to participate in great events.

2) Describe your research/work and explain what big problem your work is trying to solve.

Antioxidants are a specific area of research by themselves because of their role in health. 

Utilization of synthetic antioxidants in foods is mostly limited because consumers are increasingly demanding additive-free or natural products. Obtaining natural antioxidants from natural sources is not an easy task since the extraction and purification processes must be developed in order to decrease the possibility of degradation. 

Our group develops new environmentally clean processes (i.e., mild conditions to avoid degradation of antioxidants) to obtain new antioxidant products using natural raw materials. Extraction of natural products with supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) has gained increasing attention from the food industries because conventional methods involve solvents that are inflammable and/or toxic and high temperatures that could degrade products of interest and produce impurities while CO2 is considered a GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) substance and the technology involved uses moderated conditions.

To help expand the discovery and utilization of new natural sources, we are developing methods to assess the antioxidant activity of new products. Agricultural food by-products can be a source of environmental problems but also a source of inexpensive raw material if high added value products can be obtained from them. Therefore, we have been working on the reutilization and optimization extraction procedures, for instance, olive oil by-products.

3) How has AOCS helped with solving challenges you encounter in your work and/or research?

AOCS has provided opportunities to meet professionals inside and outside of my research field. This has helped me to think about other applications and to be inspired by the ideas exchanged in the community. Also, AOCS membership has provided the possibility to develop new research projects in cooperation with experts in the topics.

4) Do you have any words of wisdom or suggestions for other AOCS H&N members or students who are aspiring towards their future careers?

I strongly recommend participating in various AOCS activities. My experience throughout these years has been excellent. AOCS members have the opportunity to expand their network and get connected with experts in different areas who are advancing the science of fats and oils, with a mix of professionals from industry and academia.