Past Events

Putnam Museum Open House and Mole Day Celebration

The Putnam Museum provided free Museum admission to ACS members and their families to kick-off a partnership between the Putnam Museum and the Local Section. The Section received an ACS Innovative Project Grant to partner with the Putnam Museum to provide interactive chemistry demonstrations at the Putnam and support the development of a new exhibit at the Putnam, “History of the Future”. In addition to Museum admission, a reception was held to kick off the partnership.

Date: October 23rd

Location: Putnam Museum and Science Center

Virtual Seminar - Best Queso Scenario

Professor Max Holle from Monmouth College presented a seminar on the microbiology and food safety of fresh, Hispanic-style, cheese on April 27th.

Abstract:

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.

Virtual Chemistry Trivia Night

St. Ambrose University hosted a virtual chemistry trivia night on March 31st. Teams included the chemistry clubs from Monmouth, St. Ambrose, and Loras competing with the non-student members. Dr. Andy Axup hosted the event and created many fun questions to stump the participants. Ultimately, the chemistry clubs were unable to beat the combined experience of the non-student members, who had the highest score at the end of the night.

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.