University of MontrealThis day, like most of the days, started much too early! After some breakfast we had to carry our luggage through the pouring rain to the cars that were parked several blocks away in an expensive parking place. Finding the way and driving through Montréal was quite difficult and chaotic. It was clear that the drivers in the French speaking part of Canada used more than only the language from France! But although the traffic was difficult, we finally arrived at our destination, albeit at bit later than planned. The three cars arrived within 15 minute intervals, with the last car arriving approximately 30 minutes late. So instead of 9.30 the visit to McGill started at 10 o’clock.
It started with Tjakko’s presentation about Wageningen University and it’s approach to research. The presentation was followed by Selim Kermasha,, who explained the setup of their university and the department of food science in more detail. Their department can accommodate students of the B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. level. Graduates of one of these programs will have mastered the basics of food biochemistry, - analysis, - microbiology, - harvest technology, -processing and –engineering. They also have a specialization like quality assurance, product development or nutraceutical chemistry for example.
After this quite long introduction it was time for the scientific presentations. The intention was that both our department and theirs would give four presentations, but due to the late start this was reduced to three presentations each. Lidia, Francisco and Mark talked about their research concerning the improvement of cacao-products, the TELFUN-project and BioIT methods. The McGill presentations were by Inteaz Alli, Noha Sarour and Martin Chénier concerning the characterization of glutelins, phenolic lipids as anti-oxidants and microbial safety in the pre-harvest environment. According to the planning, we would get a tour around the Food Science department after the lunch, but due to a lack of enthusiasm and the “pressing” time-limit for the departure of our plane this was skipped. We arrived a early at the airport of Montréal to return the rented cars, so we had more than enough time to check in. This went surprisingly fast, which meant that we had to entertain ourselves for a couple of hours. Some of us had troubles with the airport-security that we could enter the shopping area, but weren’t allowed to leave again for some obscure reason! Fortunately they allowed us to go to our gate in time, again without giving a reason.. The plane arrived late, but due to fast boarding and favorable winds we arrived in London Heathrow within half an hour of the original arrival time. London Heathrow again gave us some hours to amuse ourselves, which many people used to try to catch up some sleep. After waiting quite long for the boarding gate to be announced we finally managed to get in the right plane, which left at approximately the right time.. In Schiphol all our luggage arrived intact and then we left to travel home. Some people went by train while others travelled by taxi. The ‘train-people’ arrived back in Wageningen around 15.30, some 24 hours after getting out of bed the day before! (Clint van Melis)