Amparo Devesa is Innovation and Quality Director in Importaco. For her over 20 years of experience in science and innovation, she has led new projects, established new analytics techniques while improving the quality of the products of the company. Graduated in pharmacy and human nutrition and dietetics at University of Valencia and Food Science & Human Nutrition at IATA CSIC. On the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, she shares her reflections on the research applied to the food sector.
This year’s celebration of the Day acknowledges all Women Scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. How have you applied your knowledge to face this challenge?
Importaco launched the strategy “Together, overcoming barriers” at the very beginning of the pandemic, a motivational motto encouraging all people in Importaco to give their best under these circumstances. In this way, the Quality and Innovation Management launched new analysis techniques to ensure our working centers were Sars CoV-2 virus free. With this aim, we refined the technique to detect the presence of the virus in surfaces through PCR tests, guaranteeing safe and efficient cleaning protocols.
Your interest in science began when you were studying Pharmacy, How did your passion for the knowledge generation begin?
Science is my passion, and I am very fortunate to have been able to develop my vocation in Importaco. To me, what is most interesting in scientific innovation is contributing to improve the wellbeing of the society.
The scientific guidelines in Importaco are focused in improving the health and the wellbeing of the consumers of our products. This social commitment becomes a motivation for the whole team, that puts in a lot of effort everyday on the search for answers to the challenges related to our products.
In your opinion, what are the biggest scientific challenges in dried fruits and nuts?
The current knowledge of nuts is minimal compared to all we have to discover, which offers a great opportunity. The main challenges in this sector are providing a solution to allergens issues, for example minimizing the presence of potentially allergic proteins; also creating new prevention protocols in order to reduce the use of chemical agents and developing new technologies to improve the product preservation without additives.
What would you say to a student who is thinking about beginning a career in science?
I would tell her this is a passionate area where you can develop all your creativity . This path requires perseverance and persistence, because results are seen on a long term, but they are worthy. This development requires a group of professionals from different disciplines to provide a rich variety of points of view to meet the social challenges that will improve the wellbeing of the people.