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Seligman Travel Bursary recipient, Rachna Sehrawat, reports from 9th Asia-Pacific Drying Conference

Rachna Serhawat

27 Nov 2017

Rachna Sehrawat was awarded the Seligman Travel Bursary to attend the 9th Asia-Pacific Drying Conference held in Wuxi, China. Here, she tells us about her opportunity to attend the excellent conference on drying, dehydration and many others topics.

'It is a matter of great honour and respect for me to be awarded with the Seligman APV travel bursary by SCI to attend the 9th Asia-Pacific Drying Conference (ADC2017), held in Wuxi, China, September 24-27th 2017. ADC2017 was a forum for exchange and dissemination of ideas and recent findings among all parties (Engineers, Scientists and Technologists, as well as sales and marketing personnel) involving in any aspects of drying. It was an initiative to find drying challenges and bridge gaps between academia and industry.

'The conference was four days and included a one day technical visit to a drying industry site, organised by Dr. Min Zhang, Professor of Jiangnan University and Chairman of ADC. On the first day, i.e. 24 September, I got myself registered for the international conference and the welcome reception was organised. It was an opportunity to interact with eminent scientists.  On the second day, i.e. 25 September, there were five plenary lectures and three key note lectures followed by an industrial interaction session. The first plenary lecture was delivered by Dr. Arun Mujumdar - a legend of drying technology (Editor of Drying technology, an international journal). He gave an overview of drying scenarios, focused on global research and development in the sector. Other renowned scientists included Dr. Bhesh Bhandari, Dr. Xiaodong Chen, Dr. Sakamon Devahastin, Dr. Law Chung Lim, Dr. Benu Adhikari and Dr. Prabhat K. Nema who also gave their talks on different aspects of drying. Dr. Sakamon Devahastin gave and emphasised the views on opportunities, difficulties and challenges faced during commercialising drying research projects. The day ended with a Banquet ceremony.

'The third day, 26 September, included 12 oral sessions with presentations from key note speakers, followed by oral presentations (four or five) in each session. Some sessions were running parallel. I gave an oral presentation on 26 September on the topic paper entitled "Effect of Temperature on Antioxidant Activity, Phenolic Compounds and Thiosulphinate Content of Onion Dried in Low-Pressure Super-Heated Steam Dryer". The research work involves the effect of different drying technique on the quality of onion using an advance drying unit fabricated in the NIFTEM; this dryer was designed by my advisory committee and me. Limited studies have focused on the comparative effect of low-pressure super-heated steam and hot air drying of onion. The conference theme was on drying and dehydration so expert peers in this area were present who gave valuable comments, and appreciated the research work. The conference was concluded on the same day.

'On 27 September, technical visits (drying industry) were made to two sites. It was very interesting, a learning experience, and turned out to be very fruitful while observing the manufacturing of different industrial dryers available on the market.

'I would like to acknowledge the Seligman Trust for funding the travel for the scientific advancement of young food researchers. I would sincerely thank SCI staff for managing the whole fellowship programme. For young research scholars, the Seligman Travel Bursary award makes it possible to attend the international forums. I am thankful to Dr. Prabhat K. Nema (PhD Adviser) who encouraged me to apply for the award and the consistent technical guidance. I am also thankful to NIFTEM university for allowing me to use this opportunity.'

Rachna Sehrawat
National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management, India

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