For 2019, the AACC International — Cereals & Grains Association European Section, Cereals&Europe (C&E), journeyed from the “Phoenix city,” Warsaw, Poland, to the charming Mediterranean city of San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy, for the 18th European Young Cereal Scientists and Technologists Workshop (18th EYCSTW). The workshop was held April 14–17 and was hosted by the University of Camerino (UNICAM). UNICAM was the first university in Italy to introduce quality control procedures in its institutional activities according to the international norms (UNI EN ISO 9001:2000) established by the French certifying company GROUPE AFAQ. Of 8,000 registered students, 10% are international students from 43 different countries. UNICAM consists of five university schools and four campuses (Camerino, Ascoli Piceno, Matelica, and San Benedetto del Tronto). During the workshop, attendees had the opportunity to visit the Camerino and San Benedetto del Tronto campuses.
Sunday, April 14, participants were welcomed at the Le Soleil Entrance Hall and equipped with their room keys and the workshop program by the local organizers, Prof. Elena Vittadini (UNICAM) and Dr. Fatma Boukid (C&E student representative). To give the attendees the chance to get to know each other, a “meet-and-greet” dinner was organized in the hotel dining room. The ambiance was very friendly, and participants began networking and socializing.
Monday, April 15, the attendees started their day at the Le Soleil Entrance Hall with a great breakfast. Afterward, participants and organizers went to the conference room on the UNICAM San Benedetto del Tronto campus, where the lectures for the first day of the workshop took place. San Benedetto del Tronto enjoys a wonderful Mediterranean climate, and from the windows of the conference room, attendees had a magnificent view of the seafront promenade, Palms’ Riviera. To kick-off the workshop, Prof. Vittadini officially welcomed the young cereal scientists from Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, Hungary, Finland, China, and the United States. Next, Dr. Peter Weegels (C&E chair) and Dr. Boukid gave a talk presenting the great opportunities offered by the AACCI — Cereals & Grains Association, the AACCI Students Association, and C&E for cereal scientists. Under the umbrella of the first session, Innovation in Ingredients, participants gave captivating presentations followed by an introspective discussion. After lunch, Prof. Gianni Sagratini (UNICAM) delivered an interesting presentation titled “Legumes as a Source of Nutraceuticals,” during which he shared the results obtained in his lab during the past 10 years. The second session, Quality Analysis, was held in the afternoon and offered participants the opportunity to explain the use of conventional and unconventional analytical tools to study the main components of cereals (i.e., starch and proteins). After spending the day at the university, attendees returned to the hotel, where they had the chance for a quick rest. During the evening, a special dinner was held in the fish restaurant Pallottini Maria, where typical Italian foods were prepared especially for the occasion. Participants enjoyed delicious Italian foods, stories, jokes, and pictures. Captured moments from the 18th EYCSTW were shared on social media!
Tuesday, April 16, the participants and organizers woke up early, enjoyed breakfast, and took the bus to the conference room on the UNICAM Camerino campus. UNICAM Rector Claudio Pettinari welcomed the participants in the main headquarters of the university and gave a speech encouraging young cereal scientists to go forward and help make the world a better place. After this inspiring speech, Dr. Emanuele Zannini (University of Cork, Ireland) gave an outstanding keynote lecture titled “Quinoa for Feeding a Changing World: From Science to Fork,” during which he shared his experience in the field as a researcher in an international lab and as a local entrepreneur. A second keynote lecture, “Gluten Sensitivity: A New Emerging Disorder,” was given by Prof. Massimiliano Cuccioloni (UNICAM), who offered new insights on the possible role of amylase-trypsin inhibitors found in cereals. Next, the floor was given over to the participants, who presented their findings during the Health and Wellness session. For lunch, participants and local organizers enjoyed the most typical of Italian foods and beverages, pizza and beer. They then quickly headed out to visit Pasta Di Camerino, where the owners of the company offered a special tour covering the different production departments of the company. Curious attendees asked lot of questions regarding processing, facilities, and trends in the pasta market. As soon the tour ended, attendees headed out to the second destination, CERMIS (Research and Experimentation Center for Plant Improvement, Tolentino, MC). The head of the CERMIS lab, Michele Piccinini, met the participants halfway for a visit to the center’s trial fields. Step-by-step, he explained the procedure for genetic improvement of cereals. The visit then moved to his lab, where he thoroughly explained the analytical procedures and instruments used for quality assessment of cereals. After the tour, participants returned to the hotel, where they enjoyed delicious food and good company.
The Wednesday, April 17, Innovation in Processing session was led by the participants, during which very informative presentations were delivered followed by a very interesting discussion. For the closing session, Dr. Weegels gave the Best Oral Presentation Award for the 18th EYCSTW to Gaetano Cardone (University of Milan, Italy).
The 18th EYCSTW was a perfect appointment for a meeting between the sciences and youth. Once again, C&E organized a great event with interesting topics. Our sincere thanks and appreciation go to our hosts, the staff of UNICAM, for their great contribution and hospitality. I also would like to express my sincere gratitude to C&E for providing a valuable opportunity for young scientists to share and network. A special thanks also goes to our sponsor, GoodMills Innovation.
The 18th EYCSTW has come to an end, see you next year for the 19th EYCSTW in Dublin, Ireland!