Seligman Travel Bursary Recipient, Sze Ying Leong, reports from Australia

20 November 2019

Sze Ying Leong was awarded a Seligman APV Travel Bursary to attend the 13th edition of the International Congress on Engineering and Food in Melbourne, Australia. Read her report below.

I am a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Food Science, University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand) since March 2017. It is my pleasure to receive SCI Seligman APV Travel Bursary from the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) to attend the 13th International Congress on Engineering and Food (ICEF13) in Melbourne, Australia from 23 to 26th September 2019.

I presented my research on “The use of Pulsed Electric Fields (PEF) technology for carrot texture modification on human oral processing and in vivo bioaccessibility of β-carotene” at the ICEF13. The main finding from the research is that PEF technology has the potential in modifying the inherent structural properties of plant tissues, which offers opportunity to the better design plant-based foods for controlling their degree of breakdown while facilitating in vivo release of macro- and micro-nutrients during digestion. I would like to thank Mr. Dafu and Professor Indrawati Oey for their contribution in this research and I also acknowledge the funding from the Riddet Institute, a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence, funded by the Tertiary Education Commission, to support this research. After my presentation, I have an opportunity to exchange knowledge and ideas with other scientists working in similar areas.

Sze Ying Leong

Dr. Sze Ying Leong (left) is presenting her research on “The use of PEF technology for carrot texture modification on human oral processing and in vivo bioaccessibility of β-carotene”.

ICEF is considered as a major event in the fields of food engineering and processing technology. Since it is a quadrennial event and held in various international locations in previous years, this is the first time ICEF is happening near the delegates expert in food engineering at the Oceania region. My biggest reward from attending ICEF is gaining thorough insights on the latest food engineering innovations across the food supply chains to add value and enable the sustainable manufacture of healthier food products for the global markets. In particular, I was excited to learn recent research advancements related to my research area, as well as other new research areas that I am not familiar with, such as food packaging, encapsulation technology, sustainability assessment and computer-aided design of food process.

This 4-day conference was well attended by nearly 550 delegates from academia and industry travelling from over 40 different countries. The conference covered 9 keynote presentations, 9 concurrent sessions and 8 short oral presentations regarding food engineering and food science, emerging technologies, modelling in food engineering and food quality, and sustainable supply chains. I particularly enjoyed the presentations about food engineering for digestion tracts by Prof. Xiao Dong Chen, food system development for the astronauts at NASA by Dr. Grace Douglas, the mega new trends by Dr. Christoph Hartmann, digestion kinetics by Prof. Alan Mackie, food process modelling by Prof. Ashim Datta, development of biomimetic plant foods by Dr. Jaspreet Singh, food structure engineering for digestion by Associate Prof. Uri Lesmes, and lastly a concurrent session chaired by Prof. Indrawati Oey and Leandro Buchmann that has provided a great overview regarding the recent research advances of PEF technology and industrial applications.

Sze Ying Leong

Dr. Sze Ying Leong (second from the left) attended ICEF13 together with her colleagues and PhD students from the Department of Food Science, University of Otago. Left to right: Sheba Mae Duque, Prof. Indrawati Oey, Dr. Stephen Giteru, Setya Budi Muhammad Abduh and Dr. Biniam Kebede.

There are a few things that I would like to applaud the ICEF13 organising committee that has greatly enrich my experience at the conference, such as the use of Congress app to obtain latest updates and instant contact sharing with other delegates, the use of e-poster to engage the conference attendees during the lunch time and a good coverage of exhibitors from local and international companies. I have also attended the technical tour at the CSIRO Food Innovation Centre on the last day of the conference. It was an eye-opening experience to visit this world class food manufacturing and research facility equipped with many state-of-the-art conventional and innovative food processing equipment.

Lastly, I sincerely thank the Seligman APV committees for awarding this travel bursary. Without the support of the travel bursary, I would not be able to disseminate my novel findings to the peers and also meeting and networking with delegates with expertise in food engineering from different countries. My experience in ICEF is definitely invaluable for my scientific research in the future.

Dr. Sze Ying Leong
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of Food Science
University of Otago
Dunedin, New Zealand

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