Member Spotlight: Meet Chris Dayton

Member Spotlight is a regular INFORM magazine column that features members who play critical roles in AOCS.

Chris Dayton in a scuba suit on a boat
Chris Dayton, on a dive about six miles off the Atlantic coast, near his home in Palm Beach County, Florida, USA.
Fast Facts
Name Chris Dayton
Joined AOCS 1986
Education BS in chemistry, Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)
Job title Manager Oils Technology BLC
Employer Bunge
Current AOCS involvement Senior associate editor of JAOCS; Uniform Methods Committee Chairman; Examination Board Chairman; and member of the Hans Kaunitz Award Committee and of the Processing, Analytical, and Biotechnology Divisions


What’s a typical day like for you?

My day all depends on the type of work that needs to be completed that day. I may spend the entire day in the laboratory troubleshooting a process with the people in Channahon, Illinois, or developing a process that does not currently exist with the scientists in Chesterfield, Missouri or Wormerveer, Netherlands. I may spend the day going through invention disclosures, United States Patent and Trademark Office actions, or review existing patents with the researchers in Budapest, Hungry; or I may be spending my day teaching others more about the chemistry involved in fats and oils processing in Xiamen, China. After hours, I review articles submitted to the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society that are geared toward analytical techniques or processing as a senior associate editor of the journal.

Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of? Why?

The patented enzymatic degumming and enzymatic interesterification (EIE) processing technology that I have been able to develop and implement around the globe, which has enabled the dramatic reduction of trans fatty acids and the elimination of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils from the food market.

What event, person, or life experience has had the most influence on the direction of your life?

I had two very good mentors during my first few years at Central Soya. The first was Irme Balazs, who stressed the importance of working on projects that enable the company to either reduce costs or to develop new technologies that are implementable in the process. The second was Jerry Fawbush. Jerry believed in the work Kerry Staller and I were doing and pushed for its implementation. The result of that work was the enzymatic degumming/physical refining plant in Morristown, Indiana, USA, which was the first successful physical refining plant of soybean oil in the world. Up until then, physical refining of soybean oil had been impossible.


What is the most impressive thing you know how to do?

I can breathe under water. Yes, I am an avid SCUBA diver with multiple technical certifications and have had the opportunity to dive all around the world. I am waiting for an end of the pandemic and travel again becomes possible without long periods of quarantine. I have had a trip to the Chuuk Lagoon in Micronesia postponed twice and two other dive trips threatened thus far.

What skill would you like to master?

I would like to master underwater photography. It is very difficult because the light is always wrong. Typically, the subject (fish) is always moving, and I am also always moving due to the current. I am lucky if I am able to get one or two pictures out of 100 taken on a dive. Some of the pictures others take are absolutely phenomenal.

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