Inaugural Food Science and Technology Engagement Day

 

On 24 and 25 February, NUS’ Food Science & Technology Programme (FST) organised its inaugural Open House.  The aim of the event was to provide prospective students a better understanding of the FST programme as well as the career prospects of an FST graduate.

 

The response was overwhelming with over 120 participants from various junior colleges (JCs) and institutions such as Hwa Chong JC, Raffles JC, National JC, Temasek JC, Jurong JC, Nanyang JC, Anderson JC and St Andrew’s JC attending the Open House over the two days. 

 

Prof ZHOU Weibiao, Director of the FST Programme, kick started the event with a welcome address. Thereafter, participants were introduced to different fields of studies in the programme through a series of activities in the laboratories.

 

During the first tour to the Food Chemistry Laboratory, participants were shown how durian oil is extracted from durian pulp. Participants could compare between durian pulp, durian oil and commercially available durian flavours. 

 

At the FST Research Laboratory, participants were introduced to the gas chromatography equipment used in the separation and identification of flavour components. The durian flavour was extracted and trapped, followed by the separation of the extracts of its individual components.  Participants were also shown how the odour characteristics of the individual components could be analysed as they were separated.

 

At both the Sensory Laboratory and Processing Laboratory, participants got to observe how sensory evaluation techniques are used to better understand a food product. They also personally experienced being a subject in the evaluation of some coffee samples. The FST research team explained the different steps in coffee production and its effect on the flavour of coffee, and current on-going research in the laboratory. Participants also learnt the process of making durian wine and other alcoholic beverages.

 

Last but not least, in the Nutritional Analysis Laboratory, participants got to experience a body composition analysis and were provided insights into some aspects of nutrition they would learn as an NUS FST student. 

 

Dr LEONG Lai Peng, Senior Lecturer in the FST Programme, said, “Overall, the students enjoyed the hands-on activities at the laboratories.  It was an excellent opportunity for them to experience for themselves what it would be like as an FST student for an afternoon.”

 

Participants gave positive feedback that the FST Open House was a good form of exposure which effectively piqued their interest in the programme. Others commented that it was an insightful experience and they would attend the University and Faculty level Open House events to learn more about the various programmes. 

 

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Prof Zhou Weibiao, Director of the FST Programme, welcomed the prospective students

 

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Participants were shown how durian oil is extracted from durian pulp

 

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Taking a whiff of the various durian samples 

 

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A participant doing a body composition analysis