TAST­ING SCIENCE WORK THAT HAS MANY FLAVOURS

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - TRADES +SERVICES - Laura Tri­este

NI­CHOLAS Archer ended up in a much more ap­petis­ing area of science than he planned af­ter high school.

“I ac­tu­ally wanted to be­come a foren­sic sci­en­tist but at the time CSI had come out and the en­trance scores went up,” he said.

“The idea of hav­ing to go to crime scenes and dead bod­ies was (also) the more off-putting com­po­nent in the end.”

Af­ter spend­ing nine years study­ing molec­u­lar bi­ol­ogy and im­munol­ogy at univer­sity and gain­ing a PhD in 2012, Dr Archer’s job search led him to a post­doc­toral po­si­tion at CSIRO.

“I didn’t have ex­pe­ri­ence in food science, but I did in the bio­med­i­cal side,” he said.

To­day, Dr Archer is a re­search sci­en­tist in CSIRO’s Sen­sory, Flavour and Con­sumer Science team in the Food and Nutri­tion Flag­ship.

In­ves­ti­gat­ing the ge­netic in­flu­ence of how we per­ceive taste is a cen­tral fo­cus to many of the ex­per­i­ments he helps to de­sign and an­a­lyse the re­sults.

“We are mov­ing to­wards a stage where we can de­sign prod­ucts spe­cific to the in­di­vid­ual,” Dr Archer said.

“I like the fact that it’s con­stantly chang­ing and that we can be quite cre­ative.

“It’s chal­leng­ing but it’s some­thing that I en­joy – it’s like solv­ing a puz­zle.”

The other part of Dr Archer’s role in­volves test­ing and analysing the flavours of food prod­ucts.

If a com­pany wants to re­for­mu­late a prod­uct, they would pre­pare the old sam­ples and new sam­ples and com­pare the tastes,” he said.

“We can cre­ate pre­dic­tive mod­els around how the dif­fer­ent com­po­nents in their for­mu­la­tions com­bine to make the over­all flavour.”

Food science has plenty of scope to ex­plore, he said.

“There are di­verse jobs go­ing from re­search and de­vel­op­ment of foods and flavours to qual­ity as­sur­ance.”

Pic­ture: VIR­GINIA YOUNG

CSIRO re­search sci­en­tist Ni­cholas Archer works in Food and Nutri­tion.

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