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College of Human Ecology

K-State Sensory Analysis experts helping to set up first trained sensory panel at a Thailand university

Thursday, February 7, 2008

MANHATTAN -- With the help of Kansas State University experts Edgar Chambers IV and Delores Chambers, a university in Thailand is establishing that country's first sensory and consumer research center.

"In the past few years we have helped them form the Thailand Sensory Network, an organization for sensory professionals in Thailand. Now, we are helping them set up the first trained sensory panel at a university in Thailand," said Edgar Chambers, a pioneer in sensory analysis and a professor of human nutrition at K-State.

A Thai television station is shooting a documentary of the panel training.

Edgar Chambers and Delores Chambers, assistant professor of human nutrition, direct the internationally recognized Sensory Analysis Center, a part of the department of human nutrition in K-State's College of Human Ecology.

Collaborative potential makes Thailand the ideal place for the Sensory Analysis Center to work, Chambers said. Because of its central location in Southeast Asia and its willingness to cooperate with Western countries, many multinational businesses have regional headquarters and research in Thailand.

The Chambers are helping to establish Kasetsart University Sensory and Consumer Research Center, the first of its kind in Thailand. Kasetsart is the country's leading university for food and agriculture.

The K-State professors are providing expertise on training the panel and sending staff one week a month for the four months of training. The panel should be ready for its first project in May, Edgar Chambers said.

The goal is to be as similar as possible to the panel at K-State to allow for collaborative projects.

"The Kasetsart University Sensory and Consumer Research Center panel also would be able to do work on projects that would be difficult for us to work on a regular basis, such as for products that are difficult to ship as research samples from Asia to the U.S. -- like Asian fruits and vegetables," Edgar Chambers said.

Also involved in the training are Patricia Patterson and Joyce Buchholz, researchers at K-State's Sensory Analysis Center.

The project was made possible, in part, by donations from alumni and friends of the Kansas State University Foundation's Sensory Research Fund, established to conduct innovative projects around the world.

Since 1983, K-State's Sensory Analysis Center has evaluated foods, beverages, cosmetics, fabrics, packaging, paints, health care products and fragrances using consumer testing and/or descriptive sensory analysis for more than 100 domestic and international companies.

K-State, the first university in the U.S. to offer a course in flavor evaluation, remains one of the few universities today offering a broad range of sensory courses and graduate degrees in sensory analysis and consumer behavior.

Sources: Edgar Chambers IV, 785-532-0156, eciv@k-state.edu;
and Delores Chambers, 785-532-0162, delores@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Jane Marshall, 785-532-1519, jpm2@k-state.edu

This article was posted on Thursday, February 7, 2008, and is filed under College News, Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health.