AAOC -India Conference Report

AAOC -India Conference Report

03

The AOAC INTERNATIONAL-India Section welcomed almost 200 delegates from various organizations and countries to its 4th annual conference in New Delhi held at “The Park” Hotel on 11-12 November, 2016. The annual event, now in its fourth year, has gained attention for providing thorough scientific inputs to the food industry, its associated stakeholders, and academic sectors. Through this two-day conference, the aim was to bring together researchers and scientists working on various facets of analytical sciences, along with food laureates, entrepreneurs, executives, journalists in order to network, collaborate, share best practices and explore the future of the analytical chemistry.

Speakers and delegates presented, and exchanged ideas at global level over two-packed days through technical presentations, plenary sessions, workshops, posters, exhibits and one to one discussions. The conference allowed multinational companies to actively showcase their products at the venue. It also enabled people to meet business partners, generate new ideas, gather knowledge, foster collaborations and meet skillfully trained analytical community. Ranging from the analysis of non-food to foodborne contaminants, nutritional parameters, microbiological methods, analytical mass spectrometry and applied chemistry in food safety to separation science and methodologies of all kinds, the lectures and posters constructed a broad collage of the present state of the art in the field of analytical sciences.

Overall, this conference was designed to suit the food industry, government regulatory bodies, researchers and the graduate students who are working in the field of food safety or interested in it.

Day 1: Friday, November 11, 2016

Presidential Address

The conference opened with the Presidential address of Dr. Kaushik Banerjee in which he informed the attendees about the activities undertaken by the Section in the past one year, which included several training programs in collaboration with the National Referral Laboratory, ICAR-National Research Centre for Grapes, Confederation of Indian Industries, and leading instrument manufacturers, where hundreds of people received training on the latest regulatory analysis of food contaminants and nutritional parameters. He also highlighted the recent initiatives of the India Section in organizing web seminars attracting enthusiastic participation of the Indian analytical professionals. Dr. Banerjee accented on building up a food safety culture in a multi-cultural nation like India and stressed the need of all-inclusive education of analytical practices. He stressed upon developing the India Section as an effective technical partner for the national regulatory bodies, such as, FSSAI and NABL. He thanked all the sponsors for supporting this event: Waters and ThermoFisher scientific (Platinum); Shimadzu and PerkinElmer (Gold); Merck (silver) and the Gulf Bioanalytical Group of companies, R-Biopharm, Biomerriux, and Synergia (Bronze) and finally, Agilent Technologies (for co-sponsoring the poster event). Additionally, he expressed his thankfulness to the Royal Society of Chemistry for endorsing the poster session. He concluded his address by giving a clarion call to all scientists, researchers, academicians, students, laboratory personnel and entrepreneurs for erasing boundaries on the map of knowledge so that everyone continues to celebrate analytical chemistry and support its practitioners in building a safer planet to dwell in!

Inaugural Session

The inaugural session began with the lighting of lamp by Mr Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO FSSAI, Dr. S.K. Saxena, Director, Export Inspection Council, Government of India, and Dr. Erik Konings, the immediate Past-President of the AOAC INTERNATIONAL. Other dignitaries who graced this ceremony were Dr. Kaushik Banerjee the President and Dr. Deepa Bhajekar, the Past-President of the AOAC-India.

Keynote Sessions

In his keynote speech, Mr. Agarwal, CEO-FSSAI congratulated the Executive Committee for developing a common and neutral platform for efficient networking of the analytical community of the country. He stressed upon popularization of the low-cost and rapid food analytical methods for implementation in the food testing laboratories in the country. He also urged the India Section to take the lead in facilitating the capacity building drive of the government in developing the competence of 5000+ food analysts in the country, and also help in implementing stringent food quality and safety standards that are in harmonization with the international regulatory bodies.

In the following keynote address, Dr. Erik Konings presented the philosophy of the AOAC as an all inclusive organization for the international analytical community. He explained the significance of various sections around the globe and expressed his vision of the India section in technical partnership with Indian government, academia and industry in terms of analytical sciences. He also highlighted the recent agreement and combined initiatives of AOAC-ISO-IDF in harmonizing various food analytical methods, their global acceptability, and effective implementations.

At this ceremony, Dr. Saxena spoke about the pivotal role that this section can play in the rapidly emerging landscape of food regulations by driving method harmonization, capacity building programs. He also encouraged the proposal of partnership between the AOAC-India and FSSAI.

Technical Session 1: Challenges in Food Safety Regulatory Compliance

As the occurrence of foodborne diseases is increasing and international food trade is disrupted by frequent disputes over food safety and quality requirements, a country like India needs stringent regulatory rules in planning, organizing, and implementing its national food control programs. Given this, the first technical session began with the talk of Dr. S.K. Saxena, Director of the Export Inspection Council, Government of India. His talk, titled as Analytical Challenges in meeting regulatory compliance for export of food and Agri products, focused on the role analytical sciences are playing in implementing effective food control systems in India. He elaborated on challenges that the food control authorities are confronted with: increasing and emerging foodborne hazards; rapidly changing technologies in food production, and marketing; and the need for harmonization of food safety and quality standards with global markets. He urged the AOAC-India to initiate need-based capacity building programs to support the regulators and the industries in identifying fit-for-purpose analytical techniques and implementation of quality control practices to ensure equivalence and mutual recognition of test results at national vis-a-vis international levels.

Followed by Dr. Saxena, Dr. Paul Young, who is the Senior Director for Government Affairs at Waters Corporation. In his lecture entitled Food Safety Capacity Building is a Shared Responsibility – The Global Food Safety Partnership Creates a Platform for Collaboration, Dr. Young cited the Article 9 of the SPS agreement and explained how it creates a mandate for the signatories to offer technical assistance to their trading partners. Despite the fact that the purpose of training is to bring about behavioral change, seldom is any consideration given to assessing the successful implementation of lessons learned. He further discussed how the World Bank led Global Food Safety Partnership establishes a Public-Private Partnership model for delivering scalable, sustainable and measurably successful training around food safety systems.

In the following talk, Environmental persistence of veterinary drug residues – a neglected cause of residues, Dr. Glenn Kennedy, Scientific Consultant in Veterinary Drug Residue Analysis and the Former Head- Chemical Surveillance Branch, Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute, Belfast, UK, depicted the potential sources of “accidental” residues and related regulatory implications. The conference delegates were intrigued with his deliberations on how drug residues might enter the food chain via direct and indirect sources. He cited an example, how the drug residues in horse dung when used as manure traversed to grass/fodder, and then found a place in cow milk. Some of the other examples that he cited included chloramphenicol in certain plants, semicarbazide in shrimp shells, zeranol in moldy feed, etc. Besides, he highlighted the complexity of cross species contaminations of drugs (e.g., phenylbutazone), especially which are not allowed in food animal production.

At the end of this session, Dr. Banerjee and Dr. Ranjan Mitra presented the idea of formation of four Working Groups on Analysis of Food-borne Contaminants, Analysis of non-Food-borne Contaminants, Tolerances for Nutritional Declaration on Foods and Food Supplements, and Microbiological Methods. They urged all to join these working groups and contribute to the best possible extent in fulfilling the mission of serving the community by providing fit-for-purpose analytical methods and services for assuring quality measurements.

Technical Session 2: Ensuring Food Safety through Harmonization of Analytical Methodology

In the beginning, there was a welcome address by Dr. Ranjan Mitra, President-Elect, India Section of AOAC INTERNATIONAL. Dr. Mitra accentuated that as food safety remains a high priority for industry stakeholders, regulatory bodies and consumers, innovative analytical methodologies are being developed in response to emerging food safety issues. And, these advances have to be made in the light of changing regulations, and more rigorous method-validation standards. Therefore, this panel was entrusted to review the question on harmonization of analytical techniques as well as building consensus not only to ensure food safety, but also to fit them into regulatory standards.

This session commenced with the lecture of Dr. A. Laxmaiah, Head, Division of Community Studies, National Institute of Nutrition, ICMR-Hyderabad. In his lecture, Dr. Laxmaiah discussed the Indian nutritional scenario and presented a brief account of the prevalence and determinants of micronutrient deficiencies among different population groups of the country, and also the control measures. He stressed upon the roles and expectations from analytical and diagnostic laboratories, and explained how analytical chemistry has become more integrated with other disciplines such as toxicology, regulatory affairs, and public communication of risk in determining the safety thresholds of trace contaminants in foods.

In the same panel, later, Dr. Murali Reddy, Section Manager, Food Safety & Analytical Research, Abbott Nutrition, Abbott Laboratories, Columbus, USA, presented The role of analytical chemistry in food safety: past, present, and future trends, in which he outlined the role that analytical chemists play in dealing with food safety. Referring to the relevant literature, he discussed the past, present, and future trends in deliberating this subject. His presentation encompassed the evolving role of analytical scientist in matters related to safety increasingly spans areas such as: development of fit-for-purpose analytical test methods, universally harmonized validation principles, an understanding of detection threshold versus medically relevant threshold, laboratory proficiency programs, dispute resolution testing, and risk communication to the general public.

In this session, the audience members also listened to the regulatory management and governance in the industry. While Ms. Navita Yadav, a Scientist at the Bureau of Indian Standards, narrated India’s standard development process with special reference to food and agriculture, Ms. Rini Narayan, an Accreditation Officer at the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), presented the scenario of public and state laboratories in India along with the information on the upgradation of Blueprint. To communicate and promote the issues relating to scientific development and associated regulatory concerns, Ms. Narayanan urged the laboratories from private and government sectors (including research institute) to join hands and formalise the objectives, including timely knowledge exchange, harmonization in method validation techniques, laboratory QA programmes, PT programmes, technical support, national and International issues related to food safety, training program, certified reference materials and regulatory compliance, among many others.

What followed next was a talk by Dr. Jennifer Burgess, Director, Food & Environmental Marketing Operations, Waters Corporation presented a comprehensive Omics Approach to Food Science & Safety, who also deliberated the methods for the study of authenticity, nutritional quality and the impact of food on human health. She highlighted how food researchers are facing increasingly complex challenges due to the globalization and the movement of food and related raw materials. She commented that in order to address the analytical testing demands, there is a need for advanced methods, instrumentation and informatics solutions to convert complex raw data into useful information. High resolution mass spectrometry has been long deployed in the world of metabolomics and proteomics for the study of human and animal disease and health, she argued. In recent years, the application of these workflows to study the metabolic profile of foodstuffs has coined the phrase “foodomics”. Omics workflows applied to food science and safety applications including the determination of rice authenticity and the impact of heat treatment on milk were presented in her lecture.

Next, the attendees listened to Dr. Ashutosh Kumar Mittal, a Senior Principal Scientist at Abbott Nutrition R&D (Syngene International) and Dr. Priti Amritkar, Director Quality Envirocare Labs Pvt. Ltd. who presented the current status of the first collaborative study of the AOAC India Section on Vitamin B12. While addressing the issue of lack of availability of analytical methodologies for infant formula and adult nutritionals in the country, Dr. Mitra highlighted the need of method validation and extension of the AOAC official methods to the matrices of typical Indian relevance. Dr. Amritkar depicted the role that Vitamin B12 plays in humans and presented an update on the current status of the single laboratory validation on Vitamin B12 in selected matrices. It was intriguing to note that the first collaborative study of the India section is on the verge of completion.

An interesting panel coordinated by Ms. Meetu Kapur, Executive Director – Food and Agriculture Centre of Excellence, The Confederation of Indian Industries, attracted experts from various leading organizations, including Export Inspection Council (Dr. S.K. Saxena, Director-EIC), Agricultural and Processed food products Export Development Authority (Mr. Devendra Prasad, Deputy General Manager), Nestle (Dr. Viral Brahmbhatt, Applied Sciences Head, Nestlé R&D Centre India Pvt. Ltd.), and Voluntary Organization in Interest of Consumer Education (VOICE) (Mr. Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer), and discussed the role India Section of AOAC INTERNATIONAL can play in developing science-based, harmonized food safety regulations and standards in order to promote regional and international trade.

AOAC-India’s Poster Session

Like the previous year, the EC conducted a poster session in collaboration with the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). Aligned with the Conference’s themes, six broad threads, namely, ‘Analysis of Food-borne contaminants and Residues’, ‘Analysis of Non-Food-borne Contaminants and Residues’, ‘Microbiological Methods in Food and Residue Analysis of Mycotoxins’, ‘Food Nutrition, Food Allergens, Botanicals and Dietary Supplements’, ‘Food Authenticity’ and ‘General Methods’, were chosen for the posters. Hailing from renowned academic institutions and corporations, a total of 41 participants presented their posters on various topical issues. The energy of the young generation was clearly noticed during this session, which provided a dynamic setting for discussion. A panel comprising three judges (Dr. D.G. Naik, Dr. Anoop Krishnan and Dr. Dipankar Ghosh) reviewed the posters.

Day 2: Saturday, November 12, 2016

Technical Session 3: Analytical Quality Control Techniques in Testing Laboratories

This session opened with the welcome note of Mr. Vishal Arora, Secretary, India Section of AOAC INTERNATIONAL. Mr. Arora highlighted the importance of analytical quality control, which is a prerequisite to ensure the accuracy, precision and consistency of the results of the testing laboratories. He further emphasized that an established, internal quality control program is significant in assuring the reliability of the measurement results in laboratories.

As this panel’s pivotal focus was to discuss more about on analytical quality assurance, it pulled together speakers from a wide range of work experience in testing laboratories, both nationally and internationally. In the opening lecture, External Quality Control Techniques, Mr. N. Venkateswaran from NABL discussed the importance and current initiatives of the NABL in conducting PT programs. He also covered topics detailing the types of PT programs available for the laboratory, including global and domestic inventory of PT providers, accredited to ISO 17043, and also the ISO/IEC 17025 requirements for laboratories which are participating in PT. He further shed light on how to handle unsatisfactory PT results. He urged the India section to focus on organizing workshops on ISO/IEC 17025, 17043, and other related guidelines. He also requested the India section to consider developing itself as a PT provider in the country, which is currently a national requirement, and assured all sorts of cooperations from the NABL authority in this regard.

Following that, Dr. Barbara De Santis from the Italian National Institute of Health presented EU Regulatory control and analytical compliance requirements for mycotoxin in food commodities, in which she presented various regulatory requirements of the European Commission regarding the analytical quality control for mycotoxins in various commodities, and explained the strategies and best practices for regulatory compliance, establishing equivalence of analytical results across laboratories, and facilitating international trade. She also touched upon the specific validation requirements of EU for analysis of aflatoxin in various food matrices.

The succeeding lecture, Analytical methods for quality control and validation of functional claims of millet based food products, by Dr. Saikat Datta Mazumdar, Chief Operating Officer, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad, informed the attendees various nutraceutical and health benefitting properties of millets. He informed the audiences how the demand for consumption of millets and millet based foods has been increasing due to high consumer awareness on health, quality of food and healthy nutrition options, convenience and ready‑to‑eat (RTE) food products. As millets are gluten free with low Glycemic index (GI), they are considered to be diabetic-friendly. The scientific evidence shows that consumption of millets on a regular basis helps prevent a number of lifestyle diseases including cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, and gluten intolerance. Although food products formulated using millet based ingredients are now available in the market making a range of health claims, most of these products are not validated either for the content of millets or the health claims. With this background, the talk focused on the need for evaluating appropriate analytical methods for quality control (aflatoxin contamination, rancidity etc.) and validating functional claims (low GI, gluten free, anti-oxidant rich, etc.). Furthermore, Dr. Datta Mazumdar recommended laboratories for developing low cost methodologies for analysis of parameters, for example, gluten content in food products, especially in millets.

In the same panel, Dr. Debadeep Bhattacharyya, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific, USA lectured on the screening and targeted quantitation of contaminants in food and feed products in his talk, Ensuring a Better Tomorrow: Addressing Critical Analytical Challenges in Food Safety with LC-MS/MS. He highlighted the benefits of MS/MS technology combined with liquid chromatography and/or ion chromatography that provide end-to-end solutions, enabling every food safety laboratory to address their critical analytical challenges, for today, and tomorrow.

In the closing remarks, Dr. Saurabh Arora, Treasurer, India Section of AOAC INTERNATIONAL summarized all the contents of the session’s lectures and reiterated that analytical quality control deserves utmost consideration for upholding the expertise of Indian laboratories worldwide.

Workshops

Workshop 1: Rapid Kits for Food Analysis – A Feasible Alternative?

For the first time, AOAC-India Section hosted a couple of workshops. Rapid assessment tools are need of the hour for checking the microbial and chemical quality of various food commodities under field and processing conditions. In the last one decade, several agencies have conducted research in this area and validated rapid test methods for detection of E.coli, Coliform, Enterococci, Listeria monocytogenes, antibiotics, and also adulterants, a few of which have also been commercialized and available to stakeholders. These tests have great significance keeping in view the current FSSAI legislation wherein standards for microbial, chemical, and other adulterants have been specified in the FSS Act, 2006.

In his talk – Innovative technologies for Rapid Assessment of Milk Quality and Safety – Dr. Naresh Kumar Goyal, Principal Scientist, ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) demonstrated and discussed how rapid tests can be adopted by the industry for accepting raw milk based on prompt quality assessment and also commented on the linkage with pricing and availability of acceptable quality of raw material required for the dairy industry. He also enlightened the delegates about various rapid test kits developed by the ICAR-NDRI.

Dr. Saikat Datta Mazumdar presented the in-house technique developed by the ICRISAT, Hyderabad for rapid analysis of aflatoxins, and also briefly highlighted the agricultural interventions to better manage aflatoxin contamination in groundnut.

Followed by this, Mr. Ramesh Muthukumarasamy, Business Head, Chromatography & Spectroscopy (Middle East, India and S.E. Asia), Gulf Bio Analytical/Hydrocarbon Solutions Indis (Pvt.) Ltd. presented some innovative products developed by Gerstel for quick and intelligent sample preparation for food testing.

Mr. Hemant Giri, Key Accounts Manager from ThermoFisher Scientific, presented a comparative account on food pathogen testing: from time tested technique to time saving advancements.

Mr. Sachin V. Sawant, Product Manager – Chromatography, Merck Life Science Pvt. Ltd. presented new applications of High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography for the analysis of complex samples in food and beverage.

Dr. B.J. Desai from R-Biopharm presented smartphone based aflatoxin testing technique, which is rapid as well as cost effective.

The technical application team of Biomerriuex displayed their innovative solutions for microbiological analysis, and further demonstrated their workflows.

Workshop 2: Demystifying Grand Challenges in Food Analysis

At the outset of this Workshop session, Dr. Anoop Krishnan, from the Export Inspection Council of India, provided a comprehensive account for the tolerances for the nutrition declaration on foods and food supplements. He elaborated on the current provisions with the FSSAI and other national and international agencies, and elaborated their significance in food analysis.

The following lecture was delivered by Ms. Charon Willis, Global Food Testing Business Development Manager at SGS, who spoke on food fraud and food authenticity. In her lecture, Combating Food Fraud with Confidence – Challenges Faced by the Food Analysis Laboratories, she discussed the detection possibilities of food fraud, not only why it is important to test and where to start, from an analytical point of view, but in particular highlighting different types of issue, the growing awareness of consumers, the increased pressure and the challenges faced by analysts. She also presented some case studies to explain the techniques and tools for establishing food authenticity.

Titled as Implementing AOAC methods for Heavy Metals and Iodide by ICPMS in food products, the following talk by Dr. Premchand Jain, General Manager, Material Characterisation Business, PerkinElmer, provided a comprehensive outline of various AOAC official methods, their typical applications, and the modern technologies for heavy metal and iodide analysis. He also enlightened the delegates about the AOAC approved analytical quality control practices related to these analytes.

Later in the same session, Ms. Hui Loo Lai Chin, from Shimadzu, Singapore presented Contemporary approaches using cutting-edge gas chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry and databases for the analysis of dioxins contamination and off flavour in food. Dioxins are a group of highly toxic by-products of industrial processes such as waste incineration. These compounds can persist in the environment and body due to their chemical stability and absorption by fat tissues. Gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry is one of the latest approved dioxin confirmatory techniques for the EU regulation 589/2014. A dioxin quantification method (and database) in food products validated in accordance with the criteria stated in the EU regulation was presented.

Technical Session 4: New Frontiers in Food Analytics

This session began with the welcome address by Dr. Venkateswarlu Panchagnula, Senior Scientist and Assistant Professor (AcSIR – academic arm of CSIR, India), Chemical Engineering Division, National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR – NCL).

It commenced with a lecture by Dr. Amit Asthana, Principal Scientist, CSIR-Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, on Potential Applications of Microfluidics and Paper Microfluidics in Food Analysis. He discussed how microfluidics is considered as a potential “game-changer” in the field of chemical science, life science and biotechnology especially when it comes to analytical tools. The field of microfluidics has observed an exponential growth in applications related to food/allergen analysis, in the past couple of decades. The presentation covered an overview of recent developments in the use of microfluidic and paper microfluidic devices in the food and allergen analysis and a brief account of the work related to non-conventional way of fabricating microfluidic as well as paper microfluidic devices.

The last decade has witnessed unprecedented progress in the systems biology (the omics sciences) and microbiome research. The ensuing concepts continue to induce paradigm shifts in our understanding of human health, disease and nutrition. Dr. Dipankar Ghosh, Assistant Professor, Special Centre for Molecular Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, in his lecture Microbiome, ‘Omics and Functional Foods: Integrating New Science and Old Practices, discussed about “functional foods” and underlined their scope far beyond basic nutrition; into mitigation of complex diseases, psychiatric disorders, antibiotic resistance and cancer. The talk also reviewed the current status of the human microbiome, omics technologies and functional foods that may integrate with traditional practices for improved food security in India.

Following Dr. Ghosh, Mr. Richard Fussell, Vertical Marketing Manager- Food & Beverage. Thermo Fisher Scientific, Hemel Hempstead, UK, delivered his lecture on Implementing new technologies into the routine analysis of residues and contaminants in Food; Is now the time? which provided an update on the use of High Resolution Accurate Mass (HRAM) Orbitrap Mass spectrometers for the analysis of residues of veterinary medicines and pesticides in food. He also informed how the UHPLC-HRAM system offers a high degree of selectivity and sensitivity in full-scan acquisition, with a choice of MS2 fragmentation options for identification, while the GC-Orbitrap MS system uses electron ionization with the capability for selected ion monitoring (SIM), if required. Drawing on research data from renowned laboratories, he demonstrated that the high resolution and unrivaled mass accuracy of the Orbitrap technology reduces the risk of false detections and false negative results, produces data compliant with SANTE and U.S. FDA guidelines for identification; and thus how it provides the ultimate confidence in the results, even for complex samples.

Valedictory Program

India Section of AOAC INTERNATIONAL – Roadmap to Future

While presenting the future roadmap, Dr. Banerjee mentioned that this AOAC-India conference remained to be a prolific ground for learning and networking for those who attended it. He expressed his strong conviction that given the opportunity the India section will emerge as a true technical partner for the FSSAI in the coming days. He further assured that the AOAC-India Section shall continue to co-ordinate need based training programs involving national and international experts. He urged that the stakeholders should collaborate with the AOAC-India Section as technical partners for the capacity building of the nation. The delegates were also requested to contribute their innovative research results as research papers for publications in the Journal of AOAC International. He especially highlighted the potential of the Working Groups and urged all to join and contribute. He also suggested the constitution of national and international advisory committees for the management and review of the functioning of the newly-formed Working Groups. Besides, he informed the audience that the India section is ready to initiate further need based collaborative studies. Furthermore, he mentioned that the India Section will explore the possibilities of developing itself as an accredited PT and QC material provider in the country, considering the national requirements.

Award Sessions

Young Scientist Award

This time, AOAC-India Section initiated a Young Scientist Award to encourage and appreciate outstanding contributions to the field of analytical sciences. The award included memento, a cash Prize of 25000 INR, and a certificate, and also covered the awardee’s registration fees and travel costs to the meeting. Award Committee, who scrutinized applications, comprised Dr. Ranjan Mitra (Chair), Dr. Venkateswarlu Panchagnula (Invited Jury) and Dr. Saurabh Arora (Treasurer).

At the award ceremony, Dr. Ranjan Mitra was happy to call out the first winner’s name: Dr. Dasharath P. Oulkar, a senior Chemist from the NRL, ICAR-NRCG, Pune. In his brief remarks, Dr. Oulkar recounted his biographical details and reflected how his life has been influenced and shaped by great minds over the past years. He also expressed his gratitude towards the AOAC-India section that acknowledges analytical chemistry and other environmentally related studies as important research arenas. Later, Dr. Konings awarded Dr. Oulkar his prize with much delight, and all the audience members celebrated his achievement with a wide round of applause.

Poster Awards

Six best posters were selected on the ground of the originality of the research presented, the rigor of the methodology, its novelty in practical application and overall presentation skill. The awardees were: Mr. Avinash Ghanate (CSIR-NCL, Pune), Ms. Zareen Khan (National Referral Laboratory, ICAR-National Research Centre for Grapes, Pune), Dr. Arnab Goon (ThermoFisher Scientific), Ms. Akanksha Singh Kachhawaha (CSIR- National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur), Ms. Anuja Kulkarni (Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai), Ms. Shweta Suri (G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar) and Dr. Niladri Sekhar Chatterjee (ICAR- The Central Institute For Fisheries Technology, Cochin). All the winners received a memento, and a cash prize of INR 10000 from Dr. Glenn Kennedy.
Among them, the top three presenters (Mr. Avinash Ghanate, Ms. Zareen Khan, and Dr. Arnab Goon) also received the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) award for demonstrating highest research excellence. They received a certificate and a gift voucher from the RSC.

All the poster presenters also received certificates for their participation.

In his valedictory address, Dr. Erik Konings expressed his overall appreciation for the proceedings of the two-day long conference. He appreciated the section’s all inclusive approach in involving the regulators and the members of all the stakeholders of the Indian analytical community. In addition, Dr. Konings approved the Section’s idea of encouraging young minds through the award session. He recommended to liaise with the AOAC INTERNATIONAL in the endeavors of the India Section and further commented that the EC members should regularly consult the AOAC INTERNATIONAL Board members while initiating various activities so that the efforts are aligned, existing knowledge and experience can be shared, and aims fulfilled.

The EC members announced that the next annual AOAC-India Section Conference will be organized in November, 2017, and the venue will be notified soon on the AOAC-India

website (www.aoac-india.org).