ICUMSA News n°64 – April 2009

Message from the President

It is with great sadness that I have to report that our Honorary Life President, Dr Murray Player, passed away on 21 March 2009. The following obituary has been prepared by Murray’s wife Beatrice, Ross Urquhart and John Dutton. 

In Memoriam: Dr. Murray Richard Player 1938–2009 

Dr. Murray Player died suddenly on 21 March 2009 just days before his 71st birthday.

Murray was born in Dalby, Queensland, Australia on 30 March 1938. His forebears emigrated from Cornwall, England in 1839 and originally settled in South Australia before moving to the Darling Downs farming region of southeast Queensland.

Murray graduated from the University of Queensland in 1961 with a First Class Honours B.Sc. degree in Industrial Chemistry, the University Medal and a University Blue in Fencing. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering in the USA at the University of Michigan. While in the USA he met and married Beatrice, a computer systems analyst employed at University Hospital.

Murray joined CSR Limited in 1956 after completing his secondary education. He commenced his tertiary studies part-time but was then sponsored by CSR Limited to attend University full-time and later to undertake his Ph.D. studies in USA. Murray worked in factories in Australia and Fiji, and in Research and Development on cane sugar milling, sugar refining and alcohol production. Commencing in 1972 he was appointed to a series of roles including Inspecting Chemist, Production Inspector, advisor to Fiji Sugar Corporation’s mills, and Manager Research and Technology. In 1985 he was appointed Chief Technologist, Sugar Division. In 1988, to this duty was added that of Manager, Central Laboratory, a position he held until his retirement in 1999 after 43 years of service.

During his working life Murray was involved in numerous technical associations. He was a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Chemical Engineers, an executive member of the University of Sydney Chemical Engineering Foundation, a visiting member of the School of Chemical Engineering and Industrial Chemistry at the University of New South Wales, a Director of the Sugar Processing Research Institute (SPRI) and a member and past President of the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists.

He wrote and presented technical papers to various associations and published papers in many technical journals. He will perhaps be best remembered for his work on analytical methods and in particular on the Polarisation of Raw Sugar and his work on the use of Wet Lead.

Murray attended all ICUMSA Sessions starting with the Ankara Session in 1974. He was the Referee for Polarisation of Raw Sugars from 1975 to 1986, a Vice-President from 1980 to 1986, and President from 1986 to1998. At the Berlin conference in 1998 he was elected Honorary Life President

After his retirement Murray continued to take an active interest in the work of ICUMSA. He attended the 2004 conference in Atlanta, Georgia and in October 2008, both he and Beatrice attended the conference at Delray Beach, Florida.

Murray’s 12 years as President of ICUMSA were marked by fundamental changes in the organisation. During that time he reorganised all ICUMSA Subjects by establishing General Subjects dealing with specific industry products. These were supported by Scientific Subjects dealing with specific analytical methods. Along with this change, he presided over the production of a completely new Methods Book. This was loose-leaf format in contrast to Sugar Analysis: ICUMSA Methods published as a bound volume in 1979, which had become out-of-date, with no method of updating. With the new Methods Book being loose-leaf, the introduction of new methods and updates to existing methods became straightforward. Work continues on the Methods Book introduced by Murray. Its success can be judged by the fact that today it contains about 100 methods for sugar analysis, is recognised worldwide, and many of the methods have been translated into four or more languages.

Murray was also instrumental in introducing a regular newsletter, ICUMSA News, which is published in the main sugar journals. This allows members to keep up-to-date with activities between ICUMSA Sessions. He also presided over the publication of The History of ICUMSA – The First 100 years, 1897–1997. Murray was also appreciative of the support given him by individual members and recognised this by presenting Awards of Merit to 16 members during the 22nd Session in Berlin in 1998.

In May 2000, Sugar Industry Technologists Inc. (SIT) presented Murray with the prestigious Crystal Award for Achievement in Sugar Technology at their conference in New Orleans.

During his life, Murray made a major contribution to the sugar industry and all who knew and worked with him will miss him as a person and as a colleague He is survived by Beatrice and their two sons, Mark and Adrian.

SUPS – Sugar Proficiency Testing Scheme

The 2009 SUPS scheme year has seen the introduction to the scheme of three new samples, several new analytes and a trial for the analysis of molasses.

Also new software will be introduced in time for round 84 called PORTAL. This software aims to provide a flexible and user friendly interface which will give participants greater benefits including; up to 10 analyst results can be reported for each analyte, participants will be able to see the performance of each method for every analyte and customisable trending of participant data. Trend graphs can help participants to identify problems such as bias, concentration and matrix related issues.

More information can be obtained by contacting the organisers at

Method Status

The voting of the options mentioned in ICUMSA News no. 63 took place during February and the clear preference was to adopt the term Official (Reference) for those methods that are preferred when more than one Official method exists. The next step with this process is to publish the Method Status Flowchart on the website and in the Methods Book, and also to ask Referees to work towards proposing which methods should receive this new status. The aim is to discuss these during the next meeting in 2010.

GS2, Acid Beverage Floc method development – Karen Pardoe 

The GS2 Referee is looking for volunteers to review two new methods for Floc in white sugar. The methods were presented at the ICUMSA meeting in October 2008 and will be published in the Proceedings. One method is based on testing sugar in a clear beverage matrix for Floc potential and the other method is based on testing for protein content as an estimation of Floc potential. The initial review work to be done is to assess the format of the methods and then test how suitable the method is for routine laboratory use. Please contact the Referee ( for further details.

New GS7 Referee

Following Mr Londhe’s decision to retire as Referee for General Subject 7, Laurent Corcodel has accepted this position. I would like to thank Mr Londhe for the work that he has done for ICUMSA and wish Laurent good luck with his efforts in continuing the progression of methods within GS7.

Geoff Parkin

President, ICUMSA