President of Polyphenols Applications: Prof. Jan Frederik Stevens

Dear Colleagues,

The 15th World Congress on Polyphenols Applications was held in Valencia, Spain, from September 28 to 30, 2022. The conference participants, 179 in total, represented 31 countries from Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. We divided the topics in five sessions on polyphenols and microbiota, polyphenols and health, technological innovations in extraction, the sensory aspects of polyphenols, and novel technologies for polyphenol delivery to target organs. The conference format consisted of invited talks, short oral presentations (selected from the abstract submissions), and posters. While we offered the opportunity to participate virtually, the majority of the conference participants attended in person.

Dr. Juan Carlos Espin from the Spanish National Research Council delivered the Keynote Lecture. He drew the audience’s attention to the significance of interindividual response to ellagic acid exposure due to host-gut microbe interactions. Other speakers also discussed targeting the gut microbiota with examples from different types of polyphenols. In the session on polyphenols of health a wide range of benefits were highlighted, including the anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hypertensive properties of selected polyphenols and polyphenol-containing foods. A recurring theme was the chemical reactions of polyphenols and their impact on color and flavor, with five speakers in the session on the sensory aspects of polyphenols. In the session on innovations, we heard experts discuss extracellular vesicles, micelles, and cyclodextrin as carriers for delivery of polyphenols to target organs. The morning session on day 3 was dedicated to the analytical chemistry and pharmacology of cannabinoids.

It was encouraging to see that the polyphenol crowd enthusiastically engaged in networking, exchange of scientific ideas, and poster discussions during the coffee, tea and lunch breaks.

Polyphenols Applications Committee awarded the ‘Scientific Contribution’ Award to Dr. Juan Carlos Espin. The conference organizers would like to express their gratitude to Elsevier for making available cash prizes for best short talks and to Wiley for donation of book vouchers the three best poster presenters. 3 short oral presentation and 3 poster presentation award winners were chosen. The award winners were selected by an ad-hoc committee of talk and poster judges.

The conference was concluded with a lively discussion of ideas for the conference next year. We invited attendees to suggest venues for next years’ conference. Following suggestions from the audience, we will schedule a more balanced mix of invited talks and short talks in next year’s program. The audience agreed that we should keep sessions on microbiota, agricultural and cosmetic applications, as well as a session on food byproducts and valorization. Novel topics that were brought to the attention of the discussion panel include polyphenols from the sea, the impact of climate change and environmental stress on content and composition of polyphenols in food, polyphenols to prevent radiation damage in space flights and in medicine, and artificial intelligence as a tool in optimal polyphenol utilization and research. On a broader level, several participants felt that the polyphenol field would benefit from better communication and nomenclature to reach out to the lay public and consumers of polyphenol-containing foods and supplements. Even the term ‘polyphenol’ was questioned on several occasions.

Finally, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Local Organizing Committee led by Prof. Francisco Barba, the Conference Staff, the speakers and poster presenters for inspiring contributions, and the sponsors for generous support of the conference.

We are very grateful to Prof. Andreas Schieber for having organized 15 annual conferences. Prof. Schieber indicated he would like to step aside to give space to others with expertise in the health benefits of polyphenols, an aspect that has gained increasing interest in recent years. When Professors Schieber and Edeas inquired if I would be interested to take on the scientific organization in a leading role, I agreed.

It is an honor and a pleasure to serve as your new President of the World Congress on Polyphenols Applications. I welcome suggestions for new venues and session topics. I hope we can build new relationships and continue a welcoming atmosphere for everyone from anywhere in the world. I feel relieved that we can count on Prof. Schieber’s experience because he will still be involved in the Scientific Organizing Committee.

We hope to see you all at the 16th World Congress on Polyphenols Applications, wherever it may be!

Dr. Jan Frederik Stevens updatedProf. Jan Frederik Stevens
President of Polyphenols Applications
Oregon State University, USA

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