IL-IA Local Section of the American Chemical Society


The IL-IA ACS Local Section is a professional organization of chemists in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. We are the local branch of the national ACS, which is the world's largest scientific society and one of the world's leading sources of authoritative scientific information.


Virtual Seminar - Best Queso Scenario

Professor Max Holle from Monmouth College will be giving a seminar on the microbiology and food safety of fresh, Hispanic-style, cheese at 7 pm on April 27th.


Listeria monocytogenes is an opportunistic and zero-tolerance foodborne pathogen that causes listeriosis, a rare illness but with a high fatality rate. Listeriosis outbreaks have often been linked to the consumption of Hispanic-style cheeses (HSC), accounting for 17% of total outbreaks in the U.S. in the past ten years. In particular, Queso Fresco (QF), the most common HSC in the U.S., is characterized by a near neutral pH, high fat (>20%) and low salt (<3%) content, and a short shelf-life requiring refrigeration. In addition, QF is known to support the growth of L. monocytogenes. The development of a miniaturize laboratory-scale queso fresco that accurately replicates the composition of commercial QF has allowed for the incorporation and testing of novel antimicrobials. Endolysins, a class of lytic enzymes derived from bacteriophages, have shown promising results at controlling pathogen contamination in QF. Characterization of these endolysins has shown that PlyP100, the endolysin from GRAS phage P100, is currently the best endolysin for combatting pathogen contamination in QF.

Chemists Celebrate Earth Week

Alan Abbott hosted a CCEW Webinar titled "Shrinking Our Footprint. A recording of the webinar can be viewed here.

Resources for events and ideas can be found on the ACS website:

Our CCEW announcement can be viewed here.

ACS Great Lakes Regional Meeting 2021: Submit Your Abstract!

The Great Lakes Region of the ACS is thrilled to welcome the ACS Central Region to participate in GLRM 2021. Present your research with fellow chemists in the Great Lakes and Central Regions during the 2021 Virtual Great Lakes Regional Meeting (GLRM), June 6-9. The meeting will bring together chemists in a virtual format and include technical symposia, workshops, a career fair, and more!

Don't delay; the deadline to submit your abstract is March 1.

OMg!: Elements of Surprise at the Putnam Museum

The Putnam Museum & Science Center in Davenport has a new exhibit showcasing the periodic table! The section is providing a pass so that members can visit the Museum. Please contact Jennifer Schmidt-McCormack for details.

Recent Events

The Chemistry of Candy

“The Chemistry of Candy” was presented by Dr. Michelle Schwenk, who is the President of Bellis Food Solutions and the President of the American Association of Candy Technologists (AACT). Michelle shared her more than 30 years of experience in the food and confectionary industry. She discussed how the properties of sugar can be manipulated by controlling its physical state and concentration to produce the myriad of confectionary products on the market. Products discussed included hard candy, gummy bears, cotton candy, caramel, fudge, and toffee. 30 people joined us for the virtual presentation.

2020 Undergraduate Research Conference

The Twelfth Annual IL-IA ACS Undergraduate Research Conference was held virtually over WebEx on Saturday, November 7th. Students presented 10 minute talks on their research. After the research presentations, Dr. Floyd Shumaker delivered the keynote address, "Encouraging Scientific Failure".