Thursday, August 18, 2022

International awards for Massey dairy scientists

Riddet Institute scientists from Massey University in Palmerston North have won two of the four top prizes in an inaugural International Dairy Federation award. 

Riddet Institute postdoctoral fellow Debashree Roy came second equal and research officer Nick Smith was third in the International Dairy Federation Professor Pavel Jelen Early Career Scientist Prize. 

Winners of the prizes were announced this week and will receive their prizes at the upcoming IDF World Dairy Summit, to be held in India in September 2022.

Dr Debashree Roy was second equal for her entry titled Composition, structure, and dynamic digestion behaviour of milk from different species. 

Her research looked at how milk composition and structure impacts the release of nutrients at various stages of gastric digestion of different mammalian milks, such as cow, goat, and sheep milks. 

“Milk is a uniquely designed nutritious food by nature and there is still so much to discover and learn from it,” Roy says. 

She says her research answered some important scientific questions about the digestion mechanisms of milk from different mammalian species during coagulation in the stomach, and how that influences the rates of delivery of proteins and fats during digestion in the body. 

Nutritional information discovered about the different milks can also help consumers find products tailored to their needs. 

“The results obtained have important consequences for developing bio-inspired dairy products with improved digestion characteristics, for controlling the release of nutrients, and to meet the special dietary needs of consumers of all age groups,” Roy says.

Smith’s third-place entry, Understanding dairy’s contribution to a sustainable food system, used a data science and modelling approach to unpick the quantity of food nutrients that come from dairy in our current food system.

Read: Red meat more nutritious than alternatives – study

He has been involved in the development of the DELTA Model, a global food system mass balance capable of calculating the nutrition available globally from the food system today, and under various future scenarios. 

Smith says the contribution dairy made to calcium intakes was significant, with dairy supplying 49% of global food calcium while also making large contributions to vitamins B2 and B12, and indispensable amino acids.

“The nutrients provided by milk are currently of major importance to global nutrition. Any change to this status – either increasing or decreasing this contribution – must take the full nutritional consequences of this change into account, alongside the other considerations of sustainability.”

The IDF Professor Pavel Jelen Early Career Scientist Prize was created to acknowledge the work of scientists and/or technologists in the dairy science and technology field and aimed toward early-career scientists, including graduate and postgraduate students, who are less than three years since graduation from their highest degree attained.

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