Lifetime of discoveries in dairy nutrition research

Monday 06 February 2017 | From Dairy Australia

Internationally acclaimed dairy nutrition research scientist and biochemist Dr Peter Parodi has been awarded an Order of Australia for his more than 60 years of service to the dairy industry and to science.

Dr Parodi, who passed away in July 2015, worked for the dairy industry from the age of 18 to the age of 81 and changed the way the world thinks about dairy foods. The award has been given in recognition of his trailblazing research into milk fat and scientific reviews about the overall health benefits of dairy products, as well as his significant service to science as a biochemist.

During the 1970s, Dr Parodi published pioneering research identifying and characterising previously unknown minor components of milk, particularly those found within fat. In 1977, he was the first person to identify a novel substance in milk fat, which at that time he called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).  He later named it ‘rumenic acid’ after a cow’s stomach system.

Dairy Australia Nutrition Research and Science Manager, Dr Anita Lawrence, said Dr Parodi’s discovery of CLA in milk fat had led to a whole new area of nutrition research.  

Dr Parodi also wrote many reviews showing there is much more to dairy foods than just saturated fat.  He highlighted the presence of numerous other nutrients within in dairy foods and the overall effect of dairy foods on health.

“These visionary reviews started chains of events leading to today’s recognition of the health benefits of dairy foods,” Dr Lawrence said.

“And he continued working and submitting reviews up to his 81st birthday.”

Dr Parodi’s other achievements include:

  • International Dairy Federation (IDF) award for his lifetime contribution to dairy science in 2007;
  • Danisco International Dairy Science Award in 2008, awarded by the American Dairy Science Association;
  • Loftus Hills Dairy Science Award in 1981 and 1999 (the only person to win it twice) for his contribution to Dairy Science, awarded by the Australian Society of Dairy Technology;
  • Fellow and Honorary Life Member of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. 

“Dr Parodi was a great mentor to younger researchers,” Dr Lawrence said.

“His enthusiasm for nutrition research was infectious. I am so pleased that his important contribution has been recognised with an Order of Australia. The dairy industry is indebted to him for his invaluable research.”

Media enquiries:

Felicity Gallagher — Media Manager, Dairy Australia
03 9694 3809  /  0417 540 059  /  fgallagher@dairyaustralia.com.au