Wetenschap - 12 april 2001

English Summary

The Executive Board of Wageningen UR has decided that publication of Wb will continue to be done by Cereales publishers.

For a few months the future of the Wageningen weekly hung in the balance. A recent 'quick scan' outlined three options: let Wb be taken over by an external publisher, bring Wb directly under Wageningen UR, or let it remain with the non-profit foundation Cereales. The reasons for choosing the latter option include that it would be almost impossible to find an external publisher with the necessary expertise in house, and subsuming the paper totally under Wageningen UR would bring the journalistic freedom of the paper under threat. There will be a number of changes: the role of the board of directors of Cereales will be reduced to largely financial management, and a new, independent editorial board will be appointed consisting of professionals from the world of journalism and publishing and scientists.

There are plans afoot to sell off the university Aula building.

According to Ad van der Have, head of Buildings and Grounds, the Aula needs renovating, but it may be easier to build a new building equipped with the necessary equipment that can be used by both university and the research institutes. In addition the Aula is difficult to find and parking is not easy. Preliminary discussions with potential buyers including a supermarket, a doctor's practice and church groups have so far proved inconclusive. The Aula was commissioned for the 50 year anniversary of the then agricultural school in 1926, and was financed by alumni, including rich plantation owners in Indonesia.

In a timely PhD thesis on knowledge, leadership and the role of the government in Dutch agriculture since 1945, Eelke Wielinga suggests that the emphasis on technology and subsequently the dominance of a market orientation have helped create a weak agricultural system which means that problems such as the current outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease become full-blown crises.

According to Wielinga, who has worked for the Ministry of Agriculture, it is time for a new paradigm. The agricultural sector should be regarded as a network of people, and thus a living organism, where not only rational statements count, but intuition as well. For example, farmers and the general public know that killing healthy animals is not the way to deal with the foot-and-mouth crisis. Wielinga is optimistic that this outbreak might be the catalyst which leads to change in the system.

Fundamental protein researchers at the Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences (WCFS) have found a way of extracting an intact milk protein from fresh milk.

This opens the way to even creamier creamy desserts, such as mousse, yogurt and the famous Dutch 'vla' (custard). About ten percent of milk protein consists of beta-lactoglobulins, which are useful for providing the creamy consistency in dairy products. It is not yet known how creamy the consistency can be made, as only damaged globulins have been used up to now: the price that has to be paid for removing bacteria in milk by heating. The researchers at WCFS will now concentrate on seeing just how creamy creamy can be.

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