6th ESST/VDZ Conference & Exhibition

The 6th Conference of the European Society for Sugar Technology (ESST) and Verein Deutscher Zuckertechniker (VDZ) took place in Pozna, Poland, from the 26 to the 29 of May 2019. Organized this year by Joachim Rüger, President of the VDZ’s Nord branch, the congress was the largest ESST event ever.

Pozna is a centre of trade, sports, education, technology and tourism. It is an important academic site, with about 130,000 students. Pozna also hosts the Pozna International Fair – the biggest industrial fair in Poland and one of the largest fairs in Europe.

A total of 373 participants from 22 countries was registered for the meeting held in the Earth Hall of the Pozna Exhibition area. The guest program was attended by 25 participants. These numbers make it the most well-attended ESST conference in the history of the organization.

ESST Council meeting

During the ESST Council Meeting, ESST Vice-President Bram Fetter took over the tasks of the absent President Gary Punter. Fetter noted that the first ESST-financed research project at the University of ód has been successfully finished by Dr. Maciej Wojtzack. Currently, the Scientific Committee is discussing new projects to be established in cooperation with interested universities. Outgoing ESST President Gary Punter, who has been serving ESST in this position since 2017, did not seek reelection since he recently retired. The proposal to enlarge the Executive Board by one member to five members was accepted by Council. The Council elected the following Executive Board members for the 2019–2021 term:

President Bram Fetter

Treasurer Arend Wittenberg

Board Member 1 Pascal Hamon

Board Member 2 Wolfgang Kraus

Board Member 3 Steve Williams

The ESST currently comprises the following members: 15 sugar manufacturers, 6 Sugar Technologists Associations, and the 56 Supporting Members.

Scientific Committee Meeting

On May 26, the ESST Scientific Committee held its regular meeting for the first time under its new President Piotr Wawro. Members discussed the proposals for new research projects to be supported by ESST.

During the meeting, three presentations were illustrated:

– Stefan Meldau: “Heterogeneity of sugar beets-challenge for recoverable sugar analysis of grower’s field samples”;

– Anne Hartwig: “PDW-Spectroscopy in the sugar industry”;

– Svatopluk Henke: “Current and future research in the field of physico-chemical properties”.

The Scientific Committee elected two new members: Christa Hoffmann (IfZ Göttingen), and Ricco Kügler (Nordzucker). Walter Hein resigned from the Scientific Committee after his retirement.

Scientific sessions

The conference was opened by Presidents of VDZ and ESST, Thomas Kuhlmann and Bram Fetter, respectively. This was followed by 21 presentations and a Poster Session with 11 posters, illustrated for five minutes each. The abstracts of the papers have been published in Sugar Industry No. 6 and are available on the web at www.esst-sugar.org.

The main themes of the conference included:

– Beet quality and its effect on the process

– Digitalization and sugar industry

– Green energy

There were three invited Plenary Presentations by Peter Rein, Anne-Katrin Mahlein and Alexander Pöhler.

The well-known cane sugar technologist Peter Rein spoke on technological developments in the cane sugar industry over the last ten years.

Two plenary Sessions were devoted to “Digitalization”, which was one of the themes of the conference. Ann-Kartrin Mahlein, the Director of the Institut für Zuckerrübenforschung in Göttingen, spoke on “Innovations in agriculture– how can sensors and robots support growing sugar beet?”

Optical sensors are able to non-invasively and objectively measure changes in the plant physiology during growth or when plants exhibit stress due to drought or disease. Several studies showed that hyperspectral sensors are valuable tools for characterizing plants on different scales from the tissue to the canopy level. She gave an overview on the basic principles of optical sensors and possible applications for plant monitoring.

Alexander Pöhler discussed the “Potentials of digitalization in the sugar industry.” He gave a general assessment of new digital technologies, currently being developed, regarding their usage in sugar factories and the results of the pilot implementations

ESST Awards

Since its 2013 meeting, the ESST Board has been presenting two awards: the ESST Science Award and the ESST Best Paper Award. The aim of these awards is to encourage sugar technology R&D, to reward high-quality scientific contributions to ESST and the international sugar technology network, and to share results with others. In 2017 the ESST Board awarded Jan Maarten de Bruijn, the long-term President of the Scientific Committee.

For 2019, the ESST Board awarded the ESST Science Award to Pavel Kadlec and Zdenk Bubník from the Prague University (see page 377).

For the first time, all participants were offered the chance to vote online for the Best Paper Award, which is given out by the conference. Cordula Kohout from Aric (Agrana) won the award with the paper “Modern molecular biological methods for microflora characterization in sugar beet factories” that she wrote with her colleagues. Cordula Kohout is Project manager at ARIC and PhD-Student in Food Microbiology (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna). She obtained her Master in biological chemistry with focus on food chemistry 2016 from the Vienna university.

7th ESST/VDZ Conference

The next ESST/VDZ conference will take place from May 10 to 13, 2021. The exact location is yet to be determined.

Pavel Kadlec and Zdenek Bubník won the ESST Science Award

Pavel Kadlec was born in eské Budjovice, South Bohemia (Czech Republic), in 1940. In 1962, he completed his studies in Chemical Engineering at the University of Chemistry and Technology (UCT) Prague. He then worked for two years as a chemist and technologist at the Hodonín sugar factory. In 1964, he started to work on his PhD thesis in food chemistry and technology at UCT Prague. In 1967, he successfully defended a thesis on “ion exchange membranes in the sugar industry.” From 1966 to 1977, Dr. Pavel Kadlec has worked as assistant professor, teaching laboratory courses and lectures of Sugar Technology. In 1977–1989, he was associate professor of Sugar Technology, and in 1988 he defended his Dr. Sc. thesis on the “Properties of pure sugar and technical sugar solutions in sugar production” at UCT Prague. He became professor of Sugar Technology in 1989. Between 1993 and 2000, he served as Dean of Faculty of Food and Biochemical Technology at UCT Prague.

In 1994, he was elected Member of the Scientific Committee of ESST (previously CITS) from which he resigned in 2015.

In his scientific work, Professor Kadlec focused on analytical methods in laboratory control of sugar factories; computation of technological schema of sugar production; measurement, computation, and evaluation of physical properties of sugar solutions and byproducts.

He is the author and-co-author of 158 original papers. Professor Kadlec authored and co-authored several books for students, food professionals, and technologists.

Zdenk Bubník was born in Písek, South Bohemia (Czech Republic), in 1952. Between 1970 and 1975, he studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Chemistry and Technology (UCT) Prague. He then worked as a technologist at the Mlník sugar factory for three years. In 1978, Zdenk Bubník went back to UCT to work as assistant professor in the Department of Carbohydrates and Cereals. In 1983, he obtained his PhD defending a thesis in Food Chemistry and Technology. Between 1994 and 2001, he was associate professor, and from 2002 professor of Sugar Technology at UCT Prague. In 2000, Professor Bubník became Head of Department of Carbohydrates and Cereals at UCT, a position he kept until 2017.

In 1999, he was elected Member of the Scientific Committee of ESST (previously CITS). Since 1990, he is associate referee for ICUMSA Subject S4. In his scientific work, Professor Bubník concentrates on the physical properties of sugar and ethanol solutions as well as physical methods for the purification of sugar and carbohydrates. He is further interested in waste water treatment of food industries. Together with Professor Kadlec, Professor Bubník is the co-author of the 8th edition of the Sugar Technologists Manual.