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Many visitors at Cosun innovation center

24 October 2017
More than thirteen hundred visitors were registered during the Open Day at the Cosun innovation center. There was ample opportunity for local residents, current and former employees and others wanting to look around a brand new laboratory environment to satisfy their curiosity. “I never knew that they could do all this with beets and potatoes," said one of the visitors. "I've heard a lot of interesting things and it was also great fun for the kids.”

Naturally, the candyfloss was much appreciated by the children. But there was also a lot of interest for the more serious aspects. Wearing white lab coats and safety glasses, young explorers used pipettes to carry out experiments. The tasting tests in the sensory laboratory were also popular among the younger visitors in particular.  "It seems easy to just taste. But having to describe exactly what you taste is not so simple. I think it takes a lot of practice to become really good at this.” The leader of the sensory panel confirms this: “In addition to having good sensory skills, you must also be able to give a precise description. That requires a lot of training.”

Visitors followed an indicated route through the building, which included explanations on new products and processes in several areas.  What does it take to make French fries nice and crispy, how do you bake crunchy, golden brown cookies, what can you make from beet pulp, what is inulin and what is it used for? IRS staff members explained the knowledge that is required to take the beet growing industry to increasingly higher levels. From the development of new seeds to combating plant diseases and pests and from the cultivation in the field to harvesting; every aspect is investigated and further improved.

One R&D staff member who explained some of the processes said: “It was fun to hear the kind of questions that people come up with. I hope that it was an educational experience for them and that they now have a better idea of the type of things that we do here. And maybe we have inspired some of the young visitors to become a lab technician or researcher. I can highly recommend it.”