Obituaries: Professor Arnold Bender

ARNOLD BENDER was a giant in the field of food science and nutrition. He made important contributions to these subjects not only in the basic science but also by building bridges between the two disciplines, between academia and the food industry, bench science and its practical application, scientific research and public understanding.

He was a man of encyclopaedic knowledge, renowned for his rapid recall and his humorous anecdotes. His unassuming authority, and energy, brought him international recognition. He reached the age of 80 last summer and although having been officially retired for 15 years he remained as active, sprightly and physically unchanged as he was at the age of 40, until the last few months when cancer pulled him down.

Bender's final post before retirement in 1983 was as Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics and Head of the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at Queen Elizabeth College, London University (which two years later merged with King's College London). He had been appointed as Senior Lecturer in 1965 by the then Head of Department, Professor John Yudkin, who, having established the first BSc course in Nutrition in Europe there, had been asked to set up another degree in Food Science. Yudkin agreed to do so if he could appoint two senior staff; Arnold Bender and Ian Morton were recruited.

Bender was a born teacher, able to talk fluently and authoritatively off the cuff on a wide variety of topics. Facts were enlivened by amusing snippets, some gleaned from his collection of student exam blunders, the "June Gems". Coming from a background of academic and food industry research, he was in a strong position to link food science with nutrition.

He was born in 1918, and educated at Liverpool Institute High School. His first degrees were in Chemistry and Biochemistry from Liverpool University which he completed - both at first class level - just before the outbreak of the Second World War. During the war he was research chemist with British Drug Houses, working on vitamin A, the stability of fats and the production of antibiotics. He then moved to Sheffield for doctoral work as a Nuffield Research Fellow on the biological effects of X-radiation before being employed as Assistant Lecturer in Biochemistry in the department of the Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Hans Krebs, with whom he collaborated on amino acid metabolism. This work led him into the field of protein nutrition which was a main topic of his subsequent research.

Over the 15 years 1949-64 Bender worked on protein nutrition research in the food industry. This was the period when it was estimated internationally that a significant cause of malnutrition world-wide was protein deficiency partly due to a lack of supplies. He worked first as head of the Nutrition Team in Crookes Laboratories studying problems of protein nutrition and protein sources.

This work culminated in the development, with his colleague Derek Miller (also later appointed to Queen Elizabeth College), of the "Net Protein Utilisation" method of assaying the nutritive value of proteins, which became accepted as the Bender-Miller method. It was so widely used and cited in the scientific literature that it became a "citation classic". Although Miller responded to this accolade by noting that the premiss of a world-wide protein deficiency was later refuted, the method and the associated research was important in the understanding of protein requirements and their relationship to energy or total food requirements.

In 1954 Bender moved to Bovril, where he was head of the Research Department and continued work on protein nutrition, partly with United Nations agencies, and on the amino acid composition of several proteins including meat extracts. From 1961 he was head of Research and Development at Farley's Infant Foods, where he used his knowledge of protein composition in the development of new products for infant feeding.

His expertise in protein nutrition and food toxicology led to appointments on many influential national and European committees such as the Agricultural Research Council Committee on the Protein Quality Evaluation (1955-66); the Department of Health and Social Security Working Party on Protein Requirements (1963); the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food committees on Dietetic Foods, Composition of Foods, Irradiated and Novel Foods, and Naturally Occurring Toxic Substances in Food; and the European Committee for Co-operation in Science and Technology (1980-83).

He was also influential in the building of professional institutions through membership of the council of several learned bodies including the British Nutrition Society, Society of Chemical Industry, Royal Society of Health, and the Institute of Food Science and Technology, of which he was a founding member in 1962. The institute was established to provide a professional body for graduates in these subjects and has been effective in reinforcing the application of science to food. He later became President, and Vice-President, of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFST).

Bender published many academic papers and books including the classic Food Processing and Nutrition (1978), Food Labelling (1991), Dictionary of Food and Nutrition (1995), Meat and Meat Products in Developing Countries (1992) and Nutrition, a Reference Handbook (1997) amongst others. He had the ability, rare amongst academics, to popularise sound science in an emotively charged topic - through such books as Health or Hoax?: the truth about health food and diet (1985).

He also collaborated on several books with his son David, who followed in his father's footsteps as a nutritional biochemist at University College London. (His other son, Brian, is also a scientist, with the Cabinet Office.) In Nutrition for Medical Students (1982), for example, they address a vexing problem that exists in many developed countries: while most of the population may consider the medical profession to be a reliable source of nutrition information, the subject occupies a small place in the medical curriculum.

Following Arnold Bender's wishes there will be no funeral. He will continue to teach, as he did through most of his life, by donating his body to science.

Arnold Eric Bender, nutritionist: born 24 July 1918; Research Fellow, National Institute of Radiotherapy, Sheffield 1945-47; Lecturer, Sheffield University 1947-49; Senior Lecturer in Nutrition, Queen Elizabeth College, London University 1965-71, Professor of Nutrition 1971-78, Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Head of Department of Food Science and Nutrition 1978-83 (Emeritus); married 1941 Deborah Swift (two sons); died Fetcham, Surrey 21 February 1999.

Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
artSistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer, Lord Alan Sugar, Karren Brady are returning for The Apprentice series 10

TV
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder star in 'Girl, Interrupted'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas Pynchon in 1955, left, and Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of his novel, Inherent Vice

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Nicole Scherzinger will join the cast of Cats

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Fans were left surprised by the death on Sunday night's season 26 premiere

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lady Mary goes hunting with suitor Lord Gillingham

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

    Time to stop running

    At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence