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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 2

I Technology Transported; 1788-1840

II Technology Established; 1840-1940

III The Coming Of Science

IV From Science To Technology: The Post-war Years
i Chemistry
ii Microbiology
iii Food Engineering
iv Nutrition

V Products And Processes

VI Conclusion

VII Acknowledgements



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From Science To Technology: The Post-war Years

In 1939 the Institute of Food Technologists was founded in America. This was the first clear-cut recognition of the necessity for and value of the application of science in food processing as distinct from the analysis of food, the probing of its individual constituents and the control of micro-organisms, all of which had been going on more or less in isolation. From that point there followed an emphasis on the derivation from the traditional scientific disciplines of a body of theory and practice by which the storage, processing, packaging and transport of food may be successfully achieved.

Australia has contributed to this pool of knowledge but reference has already been made to the relative technological backwardness of the Australian food industry when war broke out in 1939 and to the strange reluctance of the authorities to turn to the already proven pool of expertise in CSIR. As already noted, this changed in 1942.

Fundamental work in food science flourished in CSIRO after the war.[141] Important advances were made in plant physiology and applied quite quickly to the storage and transport of a number of fruits; in microbiology, which among other things demon strated the relationship between the water activity of a system and microbial growth; and in physics, which contributed to a better understanding of both cold storage and transport and to the heating and cooling of canned foods.

The establishment of similar laboratories in Departments of Agriculture for the study especially of fruits and dairy products, increased the amount of basic work in food science. Much of this also was quickly applied and Australian food technology was enriched by the research programmes developed in the schools of food technology which, led by that in the University of New South Wales, emerged in tertiary education.

The change in food marketing from the 1950s has been both the result and the cause of changes in food technology. From the self-service store, first introduced into Australia in Brisbane about 1950, the supermarket rapidly evolved and with it new opportunities for presenting food. The explosive introduction of plastic packaging combined with the frozen food cabinet and the refrigerated dairy case to facilitate the retail selling of frozen foods and the attractive presentation of both old and new products which, because of their perishability, could not otherwise have been displayed. Food technology generally had shown itself to be capable of yielding products of longer life and better texture in more convenient forms and the market in Australia as elsewhere at once began to ask for those attributes in more and more products. A great deal of the technology which made it possible in this country was derived, but Australian food scientists and technologists have made their contributions, especially in some fields such as dairy technology.

Because so much has happened in the last forty years the concluding part of this review must be selective.[142] An attempt is made to indicate the contributions of the older scientific disciplines to Australian food technology, and some technologies not known here before the Second World War are briefly mentioned. The examples used are only some of the developments which have occurred; inevitably they are coloured by the author's personal knowledge and experience. Of the older commodity-oriented technologies, dairy technology has, perhaps, changed the most and in some of these changes Australia has been a world leader. Modern dairy technology is therefore emphasized. The CSIRO Food Research Quarterly began in 1941 and the two journals of food technology, The Australian Journal of Dairy Technology and Food Technology in Australia, span the period from 1945. All should be consulted for records of much that has happened in Australian food technology in that time.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - CSIRO; University of New South Wales

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© 1988 Print Edition page 122, Online Edition 2000
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