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Rideal Travel Bursary recipient, Fabio Smaniotto, reports from Spain

Fabio Smaniotto

7 Aug 2019

Fabio Smaniotto was awarded a Rideal Travel Bursary to attend the 20th Gums & Stabilisers for the Food Industry Conference, in San Sebastian, Spain. Here, he tells us about his oral presentation, the interesting presentations he attended and the positive networking experience he gained from the conference.

Image: Fabio Smaniotto (centre, back row) with some of the attendees of the 20th Gums & Stabilisers for the Food Industry Conference.

‘The 20th Gums & Stabilisers for the Food Industry Conference I attended in June (11th-14th) presented useful topics on food science and technology from both an industrial and educational point of view. Since my research is about microstructure and microencapsulation in food systems, my attendance to this conference provided an interesting opportunity to report my results to international experts of my research field: in fact, researchers, education scientists, technologists and industry representatives joined this conference. In addition, this event acted for me as a strategic think tank to make constructive dialogues about my research and build up a network for potential collaborations with academic and industrial partners.

‘It was organised by the Food Hydrocolloids Trust, a UK registered charity which was established in 1991. Its objectives are the education of people in the field of hydrocolloids in particular through the organisation of conferences. The international conference “Gums and Stabilisers for the Food Industry” was initiated at Glyndwr University (formerly North East Wales Institute), Wrexham, in 1981 and has been held biennially since then. Alongside, the impact factor of the journal Food Hydrocolloids, which will publish a special issue about the “20th Gums & Stabilisers for the Food Industry Conference”, is steadily growing over the years.

‘The topics of the conference were all related to the hydrocolloid and food science fields and in particular: new sources of hydrocolloids, innovative techniques for characterisation and processing of hydrocolloids, hydrocolloid structure and functionality, encapsulation and controlled release of actives using hydrocolloids, hydrocolloids for stabilisation of emulsions and foams, hydrocolloids in formulation and process design and novel functionality from mixed hydrocolloid systems. I held an oral presentation of twenty-five minutes on Thursday 13th June about “Encapsulation of model actives in fluid gels” and I was attending the other conference events from the 11th to 14th June. Approximately 60 people attended my oral presentation, raising questions related to my experimental set-up and giving me interesting suggestions for my future research.

‘The conference was sponsored by companies, including Elsevier, Du-Pont, Nestlé, Cargill and CP Kelco. An industrial exhibition from several companies making instrument for food-structure characterisation, including Formulaction, LUM and Stable Micro Systems, was held over all the 4 days of the conference. Approximately 200 participants from more than 30 countries and 10 invited speakers joined the conference to present their recent works in the food area. It provided me with a valuable learning experience and it was a great opportunity to interact with them and exchange their findings and views during coffee breaks, social events and conference dinner. I had a great personal interaction with Prof. Julian McClements (University of Massachusetts), who held the plenary lecture: ”Rational design of hydrocolloid-based oral delivery systems for bioactive agents”. His area of research is very closely related to mine and he provided me with several interesting suggestions and thoughts on how to further conduct my PhD project. I also met people from several industrial companies and in particular Roland Ramsch from Formulaction (FR), who gave me very good suggestions about working in the food-science and formulation development fields.

‘I would like to thank my supervisor Dr. Fotis Spyropoulos for giving me the opportunity to attend this conference and for his generous support and guidance. He held an oral presentation during this conference as well and I would like to thank him for introducing me to several people during conference events and for sharing his time with me, also outside the conference venue, in the beautiful city of San Sebastian. Last, but not least, I would like to thank you SCI and RSC for awarding me with the “Rideal Travel Bursary” which covered part of my expenses and helped me to attend this conference. ’

Fabio Smaniotto
PhD Student
University of Birmingham

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