Scientists this week discussed the latest research into phytochemicals, at a 3-day conference, starting in Norwich, England on Wednesday 26 September. The event is jointly organised by the UK Institute of Food Research and the Royal Society of Chemistry. The conference will also celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Federation of European Chemical Societies (FECS). Each year a senior chemist is invited to give the Annual FECS Lecture, as recognition for meritorious service to chemistry. This year, for the first time, food chemistry is recognised with Professor Gerard Pascal, Chairman of the Committee that advises the European Commission on food related issues, providing the lecture. According to a statement researchers from Norwich will describe their model for simulating carotenoid absorption from the human digestive system in the test tube. A model that uses a series of reaction vessels that simulate the conditions during differentstages of the digestive process. The researchers are interested in how cooking affects carotenoid release, and how this fat soluble nutrient moves into the fatty part of the meal, from where it is absorbed into the body. Dr Kirsten Brandt, of the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, will discuss the use of traditional medicine as a starting point for research to identify active components implants. This approach has been used by the pharmaceutical industry for identifying drugs, and, according to the Institute of Food Research, may also lead us to a better understanding of what constitutes a healthy diet.