U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



Agricultural Research (May/June 2013).


It’s a unique scientific niche that touches the lives of everyone.

Flavor chemistry is one of several areas of research conducted at the Agricultural Research Service’s Western Regional Research Center (WRRC) in Albany, California. The WRRC’s achievements in flavor chemistry have earned it the distinction of being named a 2013 National Historic Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The ACS is the world’s largest society of chemists, and its prestigious National Historic Chemical Landmarks program grants landmark status to seminal achievements in the history of chemical science in the United States that have had a significant impact on the chemistry profession and the public.

The WRRC research being cited by the ACS revolutionized the field of flavor chemistry by identifying major flavor compounds and developing both techniques to evaluate flavor constituents and analytical tools and methods to study flavor. The award reflects a huge body of research by a team focused on determining the chemical “essence” of flavors and odors.

“We’re extremely honored to be receiving such an award, and I think it shows the significance of the work that has been done here in the past and that we continue to build on,” said Howard Zhang, director of the WRRC.

The WRRC is the only research center in the 21-year history of the ACS program to receive two historical landmark awards for its research. It also received the award in 2002 for frozen foods research, known as the “Time-Temperature Tolerance studies.”

An event to mark the designation of flavor chemistry research as a National Historic Chemical Landmark will take place at WRRC later this year. More information about the Landmarks program is available at www.acs.org/ landmarks.