College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Chemistry of Milk Topic of February UM Science Café

Chemistry professor and student team up for second presentation of spring semester

FEBRUARY 16, 2017 BY EDWIN SMITH

Susan Pedigo

Susan Pedigo, professor of chemistry and biochemistry

The chemistry of dairy products is the topic for a monthly public science forum organized by the University of Mississippi Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The spring semester’s second meeting of the Oxford Science Café is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 21 at Lusa Bakery Bistro and Bar, 1120 North Lamar Blvd.

Susan Pedigo, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, along with Lemuel Tsang, a senior biochemistry major from D’Iberville, will discuss “The Chemistry of Milk.” Admission is free.

“Through the millennia, human cultures have exploited one biomolecule or another to create a wide range of foods from milk,” Pedigo said. “We will cover a diverse range of topics, including the incredible origin of milk, butter and its close cousin, margarine, and the art of cheese-making.”

Pedigo and Tsang’s 30-minute presentation will tour the chemistry of the proteins, lipids and carbohydrates in milk. They were motivated to discuss this topic to encourage recognition of the beauty and complexity in the ordinary.

“We tend to take milk for granted, but there are a surprising number and a diverse range of edible products made from milk,” she said. “Since it can support the growth and maturation of a new mammalian creature, it has water and all the required nutrients for life: proteins, lipids and carbohydrates.”

Pedigo said that food is really an interest for her.

“Why is some cheese stringy and other cheese crumbly?” she said. “We have been discussing the chemistry of food since Lemuel took biochemistry last year.”

The presentation should be captivating for all, said Marco Cavaglià, associate professor of physics and astronomy and organizer of the Science Cafe series.

“Dr. Pedigo shares knowledge in a fascinating and yet understandable manner,” Cavaglià said. “Her discussion on milk and its by-products should be most enlightening.”

Pedigo earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Colorado, a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota and her doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Iowa. Before coming to UM, she was a postdoctoral scientist at Vanderbilt University

For more information about Oxford Science Café programs, go to http://phy.olemiss.edu/oxfordsciencecafe. For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit https://www.olemiss.edu/depts/physics_and_astronomy or call 662-915-7046.