Wagga Wagga scientist receives prestigious international award

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director-General Dr Richard Sheldrake today congratulated DPI scientist Dr Rod Mailer for winning the prestigious Timothy Mounts Award for his research into the science and technology of edible oils.

"DPI’s research team has put much effort into developing the quality of canola oil and it is wonderful to see their achievements recognised worldwide," Dr Sheldrake said.

Dr Mailer, who is the Principal Research Scientist Australian Oils Research Laboratory based at Wagga Wagga, was nominated for the award by the President of the Australian Olive Association, Paul Miller.

The award was presented to Dr Mailer at the recent annual meeting of the American Oil Chemists’ Society at Seattle.

While at the meeting, attended by more than 2,500 delegates from around the world, Dr Mailer also presented two papers - one on regional variations in olive oil and the other on the effects of harvest timing on olive oil quality.

Dr Mailer has been working on oilseeds at DPI at Wagga Wagga since 1979, looking at oil quality and working with canola breeder Neil Wratten on a breeding program for canola, which has produced 22 varieties to date for the Australian industry.

"We are also doing a lot of work with the developing olive industry and this is a large part of my work which extends Australia wide. Plus we are working on macadamia oil as well as safflower oil, and mustard seed and cotton seed," he said.

"To go to a conference and deliver a paper not only gives you good credibility, it is also an excellent place to network with other people working in the oil chemistry industry."

Dr Mailer was also able to promote the ‘World Congress on Fats and Oils’, which is being held at Sydney’s Conference and Exhibition Centre 27-30 September 2009.

Dr Mailer is chairman of the organising committee for the congress, which is being sponsored by the Australian OilSeeds Federation.

"We will have many of the worlds leading fats and oil experts on human nutrition and health, processing canola and olive oil, at the congress and it will also be a fabulous opportunity to showcase the work we are doing here in Australia," he said.