2023 AAAS International Travel Award Recipient – Emma Lynch

The 69th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology Conference

From tradition to green innovation

What an incredible opportunity to travel to Padova, Italy to attend the 69th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology (ICoMST) conference from the 20-25th of August, 2023. The theme for this year’s conference was “From tradition to green innovation”, where, like-minded people gathered together, by their passion to improve the (red) meat industry, in the stunning ancient city of Padova. Like all good conferences, we started off with a welcome reception and drinks. Of course, there were platters full of Parma ham for everyone to enjoy! After catching up with some fellow Australian colleagues, it was time to start networking with other delegates from America, Italy and China just to name a few!

Monday morning started with an obligatory photo in front of the ICoMST sign outside the conference centre. We were welcomed by Professor Antonella Dalle Zotte and the official cow bell was rung to mark the official opening of the conference programme. The keynote lecture by Dr Frederic Leroy explored the great debate in human nutrition and the role red meat plays in humans’ diets. Session 2, saw Dr Brad Kim discussing the importance of post-mortem bioenergetics and the role of meat colour – should the threshold for dark cutting be revisited? This topic was up for great debate throughout the conference proceedings.

Day 2 of the conference saw Dr Benjamin Holman and myself put up our poster titled “The confinement odour, quality, and safety of thawed lamb racks, frozen after an initial ageing period of up to 3 weeks”. This was a great opportunity to talk with other delegates about our latest research into Australian lamb bone-in meat products. Furthermore, I attended an Elsevier writing workshop hosted by Dr David Hopkins and other associate editors. They discussed what makes a great paper, experimental design and other tips for publishing in the Journal of Meat Science. This workshop allowed me to ask questions directly to the editor/s about improving my scientific writing and designing experiments. The afternoon finished with two presentations by Dr James Norton investigating a farmyard stress model used to predict biomarkers for high pH in lamb meat and if machine learning could predict meat quality traits. Something to consider in Australia!

On Day 3, we went to Parma and visited Galloni Prosciutti where Galloni Prosciutto di Parma has been produced everyday for more than 60 years! We toured the factory were fresh pork legs arrive, are inspected and all salted by hand! The curing process can take up to 24 months by just using sea salt! After our tour, we sat down and enjoyed another full plate of Prosciutto di Parma! This was a great opportunity to meet some locals and have conversations with likeminded people on the 3-hour bus ride! Day 4, saw another line up of speakers, more networking and the Gala dinner! It was great to catch up with old colleagues from the USA and be introduced to Professor Wangang Zhang and colleagues from China. The last day, finished off strong with Dr Alice Stanton and Dr Isabelle Baltenweck who reminded us the importance of eating red meat for human health and human nutrition, especially in middle to low socioeconomic countries. I also had the privilege to speak with some truly amazing women doing research and sharing how they juggle a wok-life balance! I found this to be inspirational as an early career researcher in science!

My time spend in Padova was amazing! I have continued to build my networking portfolio and gained some invaluable knowledge which I can share with others back in Australia and my students. Finally, I would like to thank the Australian Association of Animal Sciences for the opportunity to attend my first international conference!