Future Food Horizons 2014
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6th-7th November- NoWFOOD Centre, Chester


George John

Dr. George John is a Professor of Chemistry, the City College of the City University of New York (CUNY). After obtaining his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Kerala University (worked at the Regional Research Laboratory (now NIIST), he held several research positions-in the Netherlands, Japan and at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York before joining CUNY. The research in John's laboratory is highly interdisciplinary and encourages blending of fields such as organic synthesis, green chemistry, material chemistry, colloid/interface science and biomimetics.

About George

The intriguing research has led to several high-impact original peer-reviewed articles in coveted journals; among them almost dozen publications were featured as cover page stories over the past seven years. The research has been widely highlighted by scientific publications (Nature, Science, Scientific American, Nature Materials, Nature Chemistry, C&EN 'News of the Week') and the media - The New York Times, Discovery News, Newsweek and MSNBC.

He is on the editorial team of three international journals. He holds more than a dozen patents on inventions related to value-added chemicals/surfactants from renewable resources and biomaterials.

Promotion of public health by delivering healthy food is a subject of research with national importance. Vegetable oils are frequently structured to enhance their organoleptic and mechanical properties. With the risk of coronary heart disease associated with commonly used structuring agents, saturated and trans fatty acids, the food industry is intently looking for better alternatives. The present research aims at utilizing the self-assembly concept of nanotechnology to develop a healthy and amphiphilic oil-structuring agent.

Chosen precursors for oil gelling amphiphiles (medium chain fatty acids and non-reducing sugars) are FDA approved and GRAS materials; hence the amphiphiles are non-toxic and exhibited high cell viability at concentration ~50μg/mL. Advantageously, developed structuring agents are deemed healthy as the utilized sugars have low calorific values and fatty acids are non-hypercholesterolemic & exhibit high plasma clearance in the body. Sugar-based gelators readily formed nanoscale lamellar structures to form a coherent network at very low concentrations (1-3% wt/v), which entrapped and immobilized wide range of lipophilic oils (canola, olive, soybean and grapeseed oil). The efficiency was computed in terms of mechanical, thermal and structural properties and found to be a function of type and concentration of structuring agents.

Talk: Oleogels - A Nanotechnology Approach To Develop Next Generation Multifunctional Oil Structuring Agents