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John Finley John W. Finley

John W. Finely Presents the 2019 ARS Sterling B. Hendricks Memorial Lecture

By Kim Kaplan
August 27, 2019

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, August 27, 2019—"Evolution and Future Needs of Food Chemistry in a Changing World" is the subject of food chemist John W. Finley's 2019 ARS Sterling B. Hendricks Memorial Lecture delivered today at the Fall American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Diego.

Finley has been a leader in developing low calorie ingredients. He has worked to find ways to block bitter and astringent flavors in beverages, foods and drug delivery systems. Among his other advances, he developed and patented a "bitter blocker" that allowed the sugar content of drinks to be cut by at least 75 percent, reducing the calorie count of the beverage to 35 calories per bottle.

He has had an active program studying anti-inflammatory compounds in the diet and reducing chronic inflammation with dietary intervention.

More recently, Dr. Finley has focused on isolating bioactive compounds including in dietary fiber, phenolics and anthocyanins and on assessing their interaction with the gut's microbiota.

"With the world population approaching 9 billion individuals by 2050, food production must become more efficient. Food production and delivery also must find innovative ways to reduce food waste and environmental pollutants, including green-house gas production," Finley said today. "We must find clear and consumer-friendly communications to explain the utilization of modern technology in food production. Solutions must include sustainably-produced safe and wholesome foods with appealing tastes."

Dr. Finley served as an emeritus professor at Louisiana State University, where he was head of the Food Science program from 2007 to 2014, with an adjunct appointment at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

This memorial lecture was established in 1981 by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to honor the memory of the great scientist Sterling B. Hendricks and to recognize scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the chemical science of agriculture. As an ARS researcher, Hendricks contributed to many diverse scientific disciplines, including soil science, mineralogy, agronomy, plant physiology, geology, and chemistry. He is most frequently remembered for discovering phytochrome, the light-activated molecule that regulates many plant processes.

The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.