Grains under the Microscope
Grain breeding and its implications — plus more — await experts gathering at Albuquerque for AACCI’s annual meeting, Sept. 29 to Oct. 2.
BakingBusiness.com, July 1, 2013
by Laurie Gorton, Baking & Snack

Discovery of unauthorized genetically modified wheat growing in an Oregon farm field sets the stage for the 2013 AACC International (AACCI) annual meeting, Sept. 29 to Oct. 2, at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, NM. Scheduling could hardly be timelier.

Just as the news broke about the experimental wheat, the group added a special premeeting hot topic session to examine current breeding technologies for grains and oil seeds. Attendees will want to arrive in time for the Sept. 29, early afternoon event about “Sustainability, Genetics and Future Cultivars.” Both transgenic and traditional methods will be covered, along with updates about molecular detection methods to manage authentication in the food supply chain. Preregistration for this session is required.

When the 2013 annual meeting gets underway later that day, it will bring together nearly 20 symposia and technical sessions and more than 200 posters, plus an exhibition of 70-some suppliers of ingredients, instruments, equipment and services for the grain-based foods industry.

“The symposia submissions are in,” said Koushik Seetharaman, PhD, chairman, AACCI 2013 Annual Meeting technical program planning committee, and associate professor in the department of food science at University of Guelph, ON, in May. “And I’m excited to say this year's program will continue to focus on shifting our current paradigm of knowledge while also addressing industry challenges.”

For example, whole grains get detailed examination in a special session, “Whole Grains, From Evolution to Revolution,” sponsored by the group’s Milling and Baking Division. Speakers will analyze trends in the market, regulatory matters and product development. Supply and demand — in terms of breeding, processing and sustainability — will be considered as will the challenges of developing whole grain products.

Continuing on the topic of wheat breading, the meeting will present a session on wheat improvement in the 21st century. Other symposia will look at the nutrition and functional benefits of ancient and alternative grains, antioxidants in grains, bioactive components of grains, sustainability in grain processing, mitigation of acrylamide risks, pulses and starch research. Processing of oats and barley will get attention. Two sessions about food safety are planned, one concerning development of safe grain-based food products and the other about facts and myths concerning the global supply chain.

The meeting opens officially with a late afternoon reception on Sept. 29, followed by a general session and an awards ceremony. It heralds newly named AACCI fellows, honors association members who have made significant contributions to the field of grain science and names the winner of the William F. Geddes Memorial Award. The exhibit hall opens immediately afterward. Attendees can also visit booths Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

Several of the group’s divisions and affiliated organizations offer social events and meal gatherings, and a “speed mentoring” social will be held to provide career and research guidance.

David Hahn, PhD, AACCI president and director of technical services and business development for the Northern Crops Institute, Fargo, ND, observed, “Anyone who has ever attended an AACCI annual meeting knows that there is virtually as much science happening between attendees as they network as happens during the actual scientific presentations themselves. The multiple hallway conversations, working dinners and poster-viewing discussions I witness at the annual meeting are proof positive of the value of attending.”

Regular rates for registration apply until Aug. 29. Higher fees will be charged for late and on-site registration. The meeting’s website, www.aaccnet.org/meet, provides both online registration and downloadable forms. This website also links to the housing bureau for discounted rates at the headquarters hotel, the Hyatt Regency, and two others nearby, the DoubleTree and Hotel Andaluz, or attendees can call (505) 346-0522. Be sure to book before Sept. 3, when the hotel discount period ends.