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An Australian scientist who has pioneered research into olive oil chemistry was recognised with a prestigious international award recently.

Dr Mailer, who is the principal research scientist with the Australian Oils Research Laboratory based at Wagga Wagga, received the prestigious Timothy Mounts Award for his research into the science and technology of edible oils.

Dr Mailer 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 2500 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 the NSW Department of Primary Industries 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 world’s 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.

Director-General of NSW’s Department of Primary Industries Dr Richard Sheldrake congratulated DPI scientist Dr Rod Mailer on his award.

He said that it was wonderful to see the achievements of the department’s research team recognised worldwide.