||Technology in Australia 1788-1988
Table of Contents
I Technology Transported; 1788-1840
II Technology Established; 1840-1940
III The Coming Of Science
i Education for Food Technology
ii Research Institutes
IV From Science To Technology: The Post-war Years
V Products And Processes
Research Institutes (continued)Fundamental studies in the 1960s led to the development of specially tailored flocculants, increased settling rates and dramatic reductions in settling times with concomitant reductions in costs. The outcome was the SRI subsider, a unit which reduced costs, increased yields of sugar and has applications in the mining industry. Other basic work over a longer period has led directly to improved pan design, including a continuous pan. Direct contact heating of juice has been successfully accomplished and several units are operating. Extra heating surface is required but scale is eliminated and steam consumption reduced. These are only examples of SRI work and the Institute collaborates with the Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations where other innovative work is carried out.
Inevitably, the sugar industry has a strong emphasis on chemical engineering, but SRI has been active in the biological field also, with projects on the micro-flora of sugar mills, enzymic saccharification of bagasse and the biological treatment of distillery waste.
The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) was established in 1955 'to promote research and other scientific work in connection with the winemaking and viticultural industries and other trades and industries allied therewith or accessory thereto'. Regretfully it has had to restrict its studies to oenology but it has a good record of published research papers and it provides technical assistance to subscribing vintners. AWRI has long provided pure yeast cultures and more recently pure cultures of Leuconostoc oenos for controlled malo-lactic fermentations. It has amassed a great deal of analytical information about Australian wines, including that on the role of metals in wine stability. A significant improvement in the quality of the spirit distilled from grape marc has been achieved through the study of the nature of offensive volatile components. The Institute carried out pioneering work on the stabilization of wines by ion exchange and has developed analytical methods leading to better quality table wines. Its work on the reactions of phenolic components of young red wines and their control by wine-making practices has led to a significant improvement in Australian red wines and the effectiveness overall of AWRI's contribution to the industry is reflected in the world recognition of Australian wines which has developed in the last 15-20 years.
In 1958 the Army (now Armed Forces) Food Science Establishment (AFFSE) was established at ottsdale, Tasmania, next door to a vegetable dehydration factory. Its purpose is to provide laboratory and pilot plant facilities for the development of service ration packs, but because of the highly specialized nature and small production runs, especially of trial packs, AFFSE also includes small-scale production facilities. It has contributed to some specialized technologies in Australia, notably freeze drying and the introduction of retortable pouches of limited application. It maintains valuable links with the Commonwealth Defence Science Organization and the United States Quartermaster Corps Laboratories.
Finally, reference should be made to the stimulation of food science and technology in specialized areas by funds provided by industry levies through the Australian Dairy Research Committee and the Australian Cattle and Beef Research Committee, now the Meat Research Committee. These funds have supported much work in CSIRO and Departments of Agriculture but have also stimulated in universities work in food science which otherwise would not have been done. Much of that work has been translated into technology.
Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Armed Forces Food Science Establishment (A.F.F.S.E.), Scottsdale; Australian Dairy Research Committee; Australian Wine Research Institute, Adelaide; Commonwealth Defence Science Organisation; Meat Research Committee; Sugar Research Institute, Mackay
© 1988 Print Edition page 121, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher