Natural Food Biopolymers Meeting

10th June 2011

IFR recently hosted a conference on food biopolymers, which helped to celebrate the lifetime contribution made to this field by Professor Vic Morris, who has recently retired. ‘Natural Food Biopolymers: Structure and Bioavailability’ brought together researchers who have worked or collaborated with Prof. Morris during his forty year career, along with post docs and students new to this field.

IFR Director Prof. David Boxer presenting Prof. Vic Morris with an abstract book at the meeting to mark his retirement

Research on Natural Food Biopolymers such as polysaccharides and proteins is currently at a turning point. For the past 40 years or so, research has focussed on the functionality in terms of the molecules’ ability to form and stabilise food structures, to impart physical stability, texture and to some degree taste. However, more recently, the focus is turning towards how such biopolymers can confer health benefits.

This meeting brought together international scientists to help celebrate the contribution made to this field by Prof. Morris by putting into context and discussing how research on natural biopolymers has developed over recent years. This research and accumulated knowledge on biopolymer functionality has provided the means to use these molecules to improve the nutritional impact of the food we eat.

Prof. Morris joined IFR in 1979 from Brunel University, having completed his PhD at London University. Hs brief was to develop advanced molecular biophysical techniques and approaches into food science. This he achieved with great success, notably through the use of novel probe microscopic methods that he developed and pioneered have helped solve previously intractable problems in food science.

He is the author of over 300 research publications, including 2 textbooks, one of which was the first book on Atomic Force Microscopy for Biologists. His research has been recognised by the award of a DSc in Molecular Biophysics at London University, an honorary chair at UEA and ISI ‘Highly Cited Researcher’ status. In 2005 he was awarded the first Food Hydrocolloids Trust Medal.