ICUMSA News n°2 – 1988


Now that the 19th Session Proceedings are available and the Referees and their Associates virtually in place, it is time to consider seriously the goals to be sought for the 20th Session in 1990. We have approximately two years before Referees will be completing their reports for our next meeting. It is therefore important that planning and discussion take place without further delay so that enough time remains for method development and collaborative testing.

Goals for 20th Session

The most important goals as I see it is to have agreement on what methods are appropriate for the analysis of each of the products supervised by the General Referees. This is not to say that we have not always had such agreement, but because the differentiation between products was not as clear as it is now, it is appropriate to review these matters. In the past there may not have been sufficient appreciation of the commodities traded and the realities of the marketplace. The new General Refereeships are intended to provide a proper forum for discussion of issues affecting the analysis of particular products. For example, those people and the countries engaged in the trading of white sugar should all enter into the discussions on methods affecting that product. In the first instance we will be attempting to put our house in order by bringing methods up to a high standard of method format with appropriate collaborative testing where that has not already been carried out. We will also look towards the future asking ourselves about the direction the analysis of this product should take.

With the achievement of the above goal in respect of each of the products with which ICUMSA is concerned, we then have the basis for issuing a new methods book. I do not believe we should wait until all product methods have official recognition before publishing a new book of methods. This is always a lengthy and continuing process. Because new instrumental methods emerge all the time any book of methods will have some things which are becoming out of date as soon as the book is issued. This is as it shou be, because we are a dynamic organisation which welcomes new developments as an opportunity to make improvements to existing methods. The question of how frequently we should issue a new methods book should be discussed. Also, the question of how the public can become informed of our methods without having to buy the book needs to be considered.

The task of writing a history of our organisation in time for our centenary is another goal to receive attention in the present Session. Because this project is still in the conceptual planning stage those who wish to have an input should register their interest without delay.

Appointment of Steering Committee

As foreshadowed previously, a Steering Committee has been appointed to oversee the allocation of the 19th Session Recommendations among the new subjects and to consider priorities in the light of the above goals and the resources available to do the work. Dr A. Emmerich, Mr J. Dutton and Dr M.A. Clarke have agreed to serve on this committee with the President, as Chairman. Because it is too cumbersome to conduct an extended dialogue between the President and all National Committees, it is envisaged that the matters being considered by the Steering Committee will be given wide publicity and those people with an interest or point of view to express should contact the Steering Committee where due consideration can be given to the various opinions before decisions are taken.

In the case of the allocation of the 19th Session Recommendation, a Circular has already been sent out to the Chairman of National Committees and Referees setting out the President’s view on where each might be assigned. This view is to be considered a preliminary assessment and to provoke discussion. People who wish to contribute to this discussion are invited to write to me or other members of the Steering Committee.

Working Group on Collaborative Studies

In the last issue of ICUMSA News, Dr M.A. Clarke presented a report of the outcome of the IUPAC Workshop on the Harmonization of Collaborative Analytical Studies held in Geneva on May 4-5, 1987. Dr Clarke presented the Final Report of the ICUMSA Working Group in August and copies of this report are available from the Chairmen of National Committees or from the General Secretary. The conclusions of this working group can best be summed up in the three resolutions put to the Commission for consideration. These resolutions are:

R e s o l u t i o n 1

That the recommendations of the May 1987 IUPAC Workshop on Harmonization of Collaborative Analytical Studies be accepted as minimum requirements for collaborative chemical analytical studies (always under the assumption that these recommendations are accepted by ISO and AOAC).

R e s o l u t i o n 2

That a Methods Review Committee be established to review the format and procedures of all collaborative studies proposed by ICUMSA referees, to ensure that these are in accordance with IUPAC requirements, and therefore eligible for acceptance by ISO and AOAC, and that this Methods Review Committee be within the province of Referee for Subject 3, Methods format and collaborative studies.

R e s o l u t i o n 3

That existing ICUMSA Official Methods (as of the 1977 ICUMSA Methods Book and from 1982 and 1986 ICUMSA Sessions) be examined to determine their accordance with IUPAC requirements, and that those methods meeting these requirements be published as soon as possible, to encourage their acceptance by ISO and AOAC, and that this examination be initiated by the Referee of Subject 3, Methods format and collaborative studies.

The above resolutions seem very logical and can probably be implemented immediately even if they are not officially adopted until 1990. Future discussion of this report and matters arising from it should be directed to Mrs Godshall, Referee for Subject 3, Method format, collaborative testing and statistical treatment of data.

Referee Appointments

I wish to advise the appointment of Dr Donald F. Day of the Audubon Sugar Institute as Referee for Subject 10, Enzymatic and immunological methods, and of Mr Stanley E. Bichsel as Referee for Subject 18, Sucrose.

It is with regret that Dr Margaret Clarke has indicated that she was unable to continue as General Referee for Subject 7, but I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Charles Tsang of SPRI to fill that vacancy.

The appointment of a General Referee for Subject 09, Starch derived sweeteners, is still being discussed and it is not intended to make an appointment for Special Projects until some project is nominated.

A History of ICUMSA, The First 100 Years

by RonPlews

The published Proceedings of ICUMSA states on its dustjacket that the Commission is the only international organization concerned solely with the analytical methods for the sugar industry and, as such, in 1997 this will have been true for one hundred years. It seemed appropriate, therefore, to celebrate this special anniversary with a publication describing the work and progress of ICUMSA since its inception. The President has charged me with the responsibility of editing this unique history. Ten years appears to provide ample opportunity to collect, collate, consult and write such a volume, but it is important that the task be started now.

The subtitle “The First 100 Years” has been coined deliberately to indicate that the Commission is not a relic of the past or in any way an anachronism but, on the contrary, intends to remain in the forefront of analytical chemistry and physics associated with sugar and the industry. With the help and commitment of its members the Commission will continue to extend its influence on the legislation and governing bodies of analytical methodology throughout the world since, like so many organizations of scientific culture, ICUMSA has proved over many years that there are no political barriers to international co-operation in the pursuit of scientific advancement. If the work is to succeed it is essential that contributions be made by many current and former members who can recount or highlight the various ways in which the movement has developed. The help of ICUMSA’s elder statesmen will be particularly useful.

At this very early stage the format and content of the book is embryonic and suggestions on these aspects will be welcome. I believe the work should be essentially a serious record of scientific achievement without being simply a collection of facts. Perhaps there should be space devoted to humour of conventions where personal experiences may be recounted. A chapter which chronicles the presidents of ICUMSA with a profile of each may also be considered. Copies of relevant reports or correspondence not included in the Proceedings, will be of great value. Photographs (and/or negatives) which convey the spirit of comradeship which has existed within the Commission throughout its existence will also be welcome. Any thoughts or reactions to these suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

I am grateful for the help and suggestions already received from David Gross, Charles Davis, Albert Carruthers, Murray Player, John Dutton, and John Watson. In particular, Charles Davis advises that events should be examined in the context of the time in which they happened and not in the context of the present. He also suggests that it is advisable to develop the history as a sequence of events revealing themes and trends rather than a series of isolated incidents. Dr Emmerich has also agreed to lend his support, and his contributions from Braunschweig records of earlier meetings will be invaluable.

It would be helpful if each National Committee would agree to take on the responsibility of contributing an article on the involvement of its particular country. For example, it would be useful to know when each particular country joined ICUMSA and what particular contribution each feels it has made towards developing analytical methods. If an ICUMSA Session has been held in a particular country, perhaps the programmes and documents can be contributed to the pool of resource material.

Some subjects have come and gone yet others are in the spotlight now just as they were several generations ago. Maybe some of the arguments are still the same. We need the contribution of members to bring to light what has been done and the reason it was done. Documenting the development and progress of ICUMSA since 1897 promises to be a fascinating challenge and with the aid of colleagues from all over the world there is every reason for the project to be a resounding international success.

Comments should be sent to: Mr Ron Plews, Tate & Lyle Sugars, Thames Refinery, GB-London E16 2EW.

Editor: R. Pieck, Klein Spanuit, 9, B-3300 Tienen, Belgium, January 1988 Tel. 016/81 24 36 -Tx 222 51 -Fax 016/82 03 17