The author Miloslav Kaláb studied chemical engineering in Czechoslovakia and during his studies (1948-1952) he worked as a raw sugar factory analytical chemist in 1950 and 1951. After graduation in 1952 as an M.Eng., he was a research chemist at a Food Research Institute in Bratislava (now the capital of Slovakia) and 2 years later he studied pectic substances as a postgraduate student at the Slovak Academy of Sciences. As a Ph.D. after graduation in 1957, he studied purification of effluents from sugar factories. In 1959, he joined the Faculty of Medicine at Palacký University in his home town of Olomouc (Czech Republic). As a biochemist, he was a member of various medical teams, which explains his publications on various topics from dermatology to gastroenterology to enzymology etc. The enzyme arginase was the subject of his thesis to achieve the position of a "docent" (equivalent to the position of "associate professor" in Canada). He also lectured biochemistry at the Faculty of Science, where be held the position of the Chairman of the Department of Organic and Biological Chemistry. With the liberalization of the political regime in Czechoslovakia, many university students were visiting western Europe. These possibilities were not open to their teacher when he was younger, so he wanted to join the new trend and to learn about life in the West. His former superior at the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Dr. Vladimír Pelikán, was very supportive as well as all university, political, and union authorities including the university president.
Miloslav (Miloš) arrived in Ottawa on September 6, 1966, 2 years above the age limit of 35 years for post-doctorate fellows, to study pig blood serum lipoproteins in the laboratory of Dr. W. H. Cook at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) at Sussex Drive. His wife Drahomíra with sons Pavel (Paul) and Petr (Peter) joined him in March 1967. Allowing an entire family from Czechoslovakia to stay in a Western country was a very unusual situation, as the state authorities were concerned that such family may not return. It was a puzzle even for Canadian authorities, particularly since Miloš was not a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. However, the fact that he used a part of his post-doctorate fellowship pay to pay off the remainder of the mortgage on his and his wife's new house in Olomouc may have indicated that the family would return home after the completion of the fellowship. In 1967, his fellowship at the NRC was extended for another year. In contrast to his colleagues from western countries, who had to find new jobs after the termination of their fellowships, Miloš would return to his position in Olomouc, where he would have been promoted to tenured university professor after his return.
In Ottawa, nine years old son Pavel was keen to go to the nearest Canadian school immediately after his arrival and he was accepted in Grade 3, the same grade he was in Czechoslovakia. Four years younger Petr was accepted in a kindergarten, where a few months later he even participated in a Christmas play. This all was done clandestinely since officially their mother was supposed to school Pavel at home according to a curriculum brought from Olomouc. The only school the boys were allowed by Czechoslovak authorities to attend while abroad, was the school at the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa. It was incredible how quickly both boys learned English. Pavel soon became a member of the School Safety Patrol, supervising a road crossing in front of the Cambridge Street school.
Miloš bought a used 6-cylinder Ford Falcon immediately after arrival in Ottawa from a departing post-doctorate fellow, so he gained some experience driving in Canada. In Olomouc, he was driving an Opel Olympia (1937) since he was 16 years old. The family thus travelled a lot in Canada - as far East as the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, and along the east coast of the USA from Providence Town, Massachusetts, camping at the Hammonasset Beach in Connecticut, driving downtown Manhattan in New York to the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations Organization Building, along the Broadway, visiting Harlem, camping at Virginia Beach in Virginia, visiting the Kennedy Space Center and camping at Daytona North Beach in Florida. A grand tour to Key West and the southernmost tip of the USA was planned in 1968 but only a much shorter trip to New York City was announced to a US Immigration officer. He noted that the family was very courageous daring to travel that far in "an old lady's shopping car". - When returning at night from the Keys to Miami, the family was hit by a tropical storm coming from the Gulf of Mexico. Soon much newer cars were stopped on the highway shoulder whereas the Falcon was going and going and going, back to the same motel in Miami, which the family had left in the morning. However, before entering the city, Miloš entered an empty parking lot of a supermarket, where he drove the Falcon with his right foot on the gas pedal and the left foot on the brake pedal to heat and dry the brakes remembering that this maneuver following driving through deep water near Olomouc saved him from an accident several years ago.
In the laboratory, Miloš completed 3 scientific papers and submitted them for publication. In Czechoslovakia, the prevailing opinion was that everything was absolutely perfect in the West. The following situation shows one particular "imperfection". Laboratory supervisor Bill asked Miloš to provide amino acid analysis of a low-density lipoprotein's apolipoprotein moiety. When he was given the results, he noted sarcastically that the results obtained by a guy from a communist country were nothing but garbage because his own analysis done with his Japanese post-doctorate fellow several years ago produced completely different results. He ordered his technician Jean to repeat the analysis - and the results were as bad as those obtained by Miloš. "These guys from Eastern Europe are infecting this society", Bill mused, "so I will have to do it all by myself". Jean was hurt, of course, and very curious to see the results which Bill obtained a few days later. Amazingly, they were exactly the same as those obtained by Miloš and Jean. Bill decided to throw all three sets of results into the garbage and not to publish them because they would contradict his earlier data obtained with that great guy from Japan. So it happened that Miloš produced "only" three scientific papers on lipoproteins, all published in 1968 during his fellowship.
In August 1968, the Kaláb family was preparing to return home. They had airline tickets to Prague for August 25 with short stops for sightseeing in London, Paris and Curych on their way back to Czechoslovakia. Miloš was supposed to start lecturing on September 1. The family's belongings, brought from Czechoslovakia and also those purchased in Canada and the USA, were packed in 11 large cardboard boxes and provided with appropriate statements from the Czechoslovak Embassy which would free the family from having to pay any import duties. All boxes were shipped on August 19, 1968 from a post office at Besserer Street in Ottawa.
In the evening of August 21, a Czech post-doctorate fellow staying a few street blocks away from the Kaláb family brought devastating news: Czechoslovakia was invaded by the armies of the Warsaw Treaty. What now? It appeared as if the world has collapsed but life was going on. The landlord allowed the Kaláb family to stay in the 1-bedroom apartment as long as they would need it. The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) extended the fellowship for Miloš for 3 months expressing hope that he will be able to find a job, a Canadian Immigration official changed the status of the family from "visitors" to "landed immigrants" and extended their visa, and the Czechoslovak Embassy extended the passports and exit visas and advised the family to have their classification changed to "landed immigrants". The university in Olomouc extended the stay for Miloš in Canada for another year.
In the laboratory, Bill was no more hostile to a guy from Eastern Europe but started helping Miloš to find a job. He referred him to the federal Department of Health and Welfare. Miloš would test chemicals imported from other countries whether they corresponded to Canadian standards and he would be paid an annual salary of $7800 subjected to income taxes. His post-doctorate fellowship provided him with a non-taxable annual support of $7200. It was clear that the offer was too low to maintain a family of four. Bill recognized it, called his contact and Miloš made another trip to the laboratories at Tunney's Pasture. The interview was the same but the offer was increased to $10,000. "How do you feel now, Miloš?" Bill asked. "Could you make yet another call, please?" Miloš asked.
It should be mentioned here that some time earlier, at the beginning of August 1968, Miloš was curious to know why there were great differences between the Canadian and the Czechoslovak cottage cheeses. He assumed that maybe it would be possible to convince a large state dairy manufacturing firm near Olomouc to start producing Canadian cottage cheese and thus, there could be some useful cooperation of his Department with the food industry. At the NRC, he was advised to contact Dr. D. B. Emmons at the federal Department of Agriculture. "I was tempted to forget about this crazy idea of introducing Canadian cottage cheese to Czechoslovakia not having any idea of milk processing", Miloš said later, "my specialization was sugar manufacturing. Yet, I called Dr. Emmons and he was very pleased that a guy from Eastern Europe was interested in his expertise". Dr. Emmons was the recipient of the American Dairy Science Association's Pfizer Award for his research of cottage cheese. He spent two days with Miloš, brought him to several dairies in Ottawa and the vicinity, gave him his book on cottage cheese manufacture, and waved him goodbye.
Desperately searching for a job, Miloš called Dr. Emmons whether he would know about a job for him - and he received an incredibly encouraging answer: "Maybe, there would be a job at this Food Research Institute (FRI)". Interestingly, no salary was mentioned, except that in the laboratory a young scientist, Henry, mentioned that he hoped that it will be no higher than $12,000 because otherwise he would "raise the roof at the NRC". This was very good to know. Miloš was really hired for the FRI dairy department and one morning at the NRC, he received a call from the Public Service Commission. There were only two telephone lines in the lab and all staff gathered around Miloš. Finally, the staffing officer said: "You are being hired as an RES-02, Dr. Kaláb, and your starting annual salary will be $15,500. Your starting date will be December 2, 1968. All the best to you, Sir".
Everybody around Miloš wanted to know "how much?" and he was buoyed: "Eleven thousand dollars, one thousand better than at Health and Welfare, that's great!" Everybody congratulated him, including Henry, and the roof over the NRC stayed intact.
Miloš revealed his "little white lie" only about 15 years later to friends associated with neither the NRC nor the FRI. Some argued that Miloš was not supposed to lie and his lie showed a spot on his character. The others understood his way of thinking: Had he said the truth, Henry would be bitter and furious and the other collaborators might question, why a stranger from Eastern Europe would be paid more than an established Canadian scientist. With the "$11,000" sum, everybody was satisfied and wished Miloš good luck.
In spite of this incredible luck, Miloš was afflicted by severe depression. He was supposed to be back in Olomouc, his wife would return to her job in the accounting department of the state enterprise producing frozen foods, the boys would attend the same kindergarten and public school which Miloš attended as a young boy and they would again have their two grandmas and two grandpas plus aunts and uncles almost in a walking distance. The family would enjoy their new home overlooking the city near the terminal station of the street car route #2. Who would be giving lectures on biochemistry to "his" students - those studying to become high school teachers and those who would be employed in the chemical industry? Who would be working in "his" new laboratories at the Faculty of Medicine, where everything was shining? Everybody there spoke Czech. Miloš belonged to people who knew that the invasion of Czechoslovakia was the result of a complex situation. Following the 1968 "Prague Spring", there was a hot summer, during which there were some voices heard in Prague demanding that Czechoslovakia abandon the Warsaw Treaty and join the NATO. The world was divided into two large hostile blocks and switching sides was sheer utopia which would not end happily - and it did not.
Now, Miloš was an FRI employee in a very old, almost historical building and he had to take care of his family which he brought to this country at the end of the world. What would happen, if he or his wife or both would die? There was a need to make an agreement with another family in a similar situation. In the lab, Miloš was assigned a ridiculous project: "By 1974, to develop a frankfurter imitation based on skimmed milk powder. The procedure should be as simple as possible, not applying any sophisticated texturization, so the product would compete successfully with the traditional frankfurters (hot dogs) which were made with low-quality meats. The recommended technology would utilize heat-induced gelation of milk..."
An older colleague, Harry, was assigned as an advisor to Miloš who had been given a month to prepare the project. Then the director reviewed his plans. "What material would you work with, Miloš?" he asked. "Skim milk powder", was the response. Harry disagreed and suggested that Miloš should isolate the major milk proteins and test their gelling properties one after another. As a chemical engineer, Miloš defended his approach and the director agreed with him.
In practice, skim milk powder slurries, 10%, 20%, and 30% total solids were placed in dialyzing tubing, 13 mm in diameter and sections about 10 cm long were wrapped in a Saran plastic foil and heated in boiling water for varying periods of time. With the help of the Engineering and Statistical Research Institute, Miloš developed a penetrometer which made it possible to measure the texture of the gels at various temperatures. The director was impatient because one particular company was keen to start building kiosks where the milk-based hot dogs would be offered to the public, similar to the Dairy Queen kiosks. There was no problem to give the "milk hot dogs" a nice pink colour and an attractive hot dog smell - and Dr. Emmons even showed them in television. The problem was their mouthfeel. They tasted like a very bad cheese. They were not juicy, they were not springy and they were prone to developing diarrhea even in people who had no problem digesting milk. Made from milk powder, they contained too much lactose. "Their structure is the problem", Miloš complained again and again. Then Harry came with a suggestion that an electron microscopist be asked to show structural differences between the traditional and the milk-based hot dogs.
Traditional hot dogs are composed of muscle fibres, fat particles, and droplets of gelatin. They are elastic and juicy when heated. Milk-based hot dogs were composed of minute (~200 micrometers in diameter) casein micelles very loosely bound to each other. Attempts to incorporate gelatin droplets dehydrated the droplets and produced hard "sandy" particles. Miloš was fascinated by the micrographs but the microscopist said that his staff will make no additional images and if Miloš wanted more, his staff would teach him how to do electron microscopy. There was a unique situation in Ottawa - a single, well equipped electron microscopy was established to teach all scientists in need of examining their specimens at very high magnification. A scientist and a team of technicians under the supervision of Dr. G. H. Haggis took care of very efficient operations and also performed electron microscopy of specimens obtained by mail. Miloš started taking lessons immediately.
In a few more days, the director called Miloš and chastised him for having abandoned his project of developing the hot dogs and for spending time in the electron microscopy laboratory. The director refused to accept any suggestion that the structure of the milk-based hot dogs must resemble the structure of the meat-based hot dogs so the imitation would resemble the original. "If you do not stop your visits to the electron microscopy laboratory, you will be given a very bad performance appraisal at the end of the year with all negative consequences", the director threatened and added, that one particular company wants to hear when the milk-based hot dog will be ready to be advertized and marketed.
In his attempts to modify the properties of the heat-induced milk gels, Miloš tried various ingredients. Once he obtained gels which did not decompose in water but were relatively stable and even somewhat "springy". Harry's technicians, Ms. Zenaida Ventura suggested that they may be palatable with soya sauce or a fish sauce and she had both sauces on hand. She was right, the gels were edible. The FRI Management Committee had a meeting, so Miloš brought plates and beakers during the break for the members of the committee to taste his product. "After you have tasted them, please spit them into your beakers", Miloš advised. Eureka, the gels were all eaten!!! "Very good", the director said, "how did you do it?" "I added sodium pyrosulfate into the initial slurry and heated it, then I washed the gels". Jim turned very pale, almost blue, and the committee members seemed to suspect Miloš that he wanted to poison them. He explained that pyrosulfate turned into persulfate and persulfate turned into regular sodium sulfate which is not harmful and even it was completely washed out, but this experiment was not appreciated at all...
When Miloš looked for a job, he did not know for how long the family will stay in Canada. Conservative politicians of the ruling Communist Party of Czechoslovakia started wide purges and the situation was deteriorating rapidly. The fact, that he accepted a job in Canada, would have very negative repercussions on the entire family if they would return to Olomouc. The family thus invited Drahomíra's sister Jindra to Ottawa and then brought her to the Czechoslovak Embassy, where there was still a very liberal communist staff. Miloš and Drahomíra drafted a statement that they were transferring the ownership of their home in Olomouc onto Drahomíra's and Jindra's parents. Attaché Ing. Pechar made it into an official document, provided it with his signature and an official stamp. Now it was clear that the Kaláb family will stay in Canada. In August 1968 they lost all their belongings, now they lost also their house and a hope that they would ever return to Czechoslovakia. Another year later, Jindra and her parents received an official verdict that the donation of the house was illegal and the house was confiscated by the state. Jindra and her parents were ordered to vacate the house unless they would pay its value which Miloš and Drahomíra have already paid in full. The payment had to be done within two weeks in cash while Jindra was forbidden to borrow money from any bank. This condition was undoubtedly imposed so that she would be unable to buy the house back and it could be awarded to some faithful comrade. Jindra, however, raised the money by borrowing small amounts from many relatives. Now she became the owner of the house. (Ing. Pechar was recalled from Canada and arrested).
In the meantime, personal problems combined with his inability to produce an acceptable imitation of hot dogs using skimmilk powder and his director's ban on using electron microscopy in order to understand factors affecting the microstructure of the foods studied, severely suppressed the initial enthusiasm of Miloš with his new position. In spite of the publication of several papers in his series entitled "Heat-induced milk gels", there was no hope that the following bombastic press release will ever materialize: "If Dr. Kalab's research goes well, Canada will be the first country in the world, which will offer her consumers hot dogs made from skimmed milk powder".
Miloš used to say that he has been lucky many times in his life and his luck returned to him in a few months, when the director was promoted and a new director took his position. His name was Dr. John Holme and he deserves to be mentioned here. He came from the food industry and when he met Miloš, he said that he was impressed that there was an electron microscopist on the FRI staff. "Do you have any problem?" he asked Miloš. "Yes, I have, I am unable to force milk powder to behave as meat and to make an imitation of hot dogs". "Do you have a pen, Miloš?" Dr. Holme asked and when Miloš offered him one, he cancelled the project on the spot. "Now", the new director said, "do electron microscopy of foods, so that your studies would be useful for the Canadian agriculture". These words ended one of the most miserable periods in the life of Miloš. A new period started, when Miloš was given absolute freedom to tackle problems of food structure with the advice of experts in the food industry (whom he used to approach) and the advice of electron microscopy technicians.
Miloš entered the new period in his life with one of the first computers in his possession. Computers were a new technology. Only director's secretaries and typists were given access to them. Miloš bought his own new computer, Osborne 1. It was portable with two 5.25" floppy drives and a 3"x3" (7.5 cm x 7.5 cm) monitor. At the advice of his sons, he also bought a larger Zenit b&w monitor and a dot matrix printer. He was thus modernizing his "after-the-hours business" as a freelance translator for the government Translation Bureau. There was a need for translations from Russian, Czech, and Slovak into English and Miloš specialized in scientific and technical translations. The Osborne 1 computer was soon equipped with a modem and his sons, now university students used it to access the university computer rather than waiting in line for a keyboard at the university. Thus, another Osborne 1 computer was bought and Miloš was bringing it to the laboratory every day. He typed his research ideas, bibliographic references etc. in this new way. This made his Director's assistant very uneasy when he was shown a draft of a paper with the title, an introduction, a materials and methods section, and the references section already printed on paper. Miloš explained that the results and discussion sections will be added as his research progresses but the Assistant Director did not like it, according to him it smacked of fraud having some sections already in print while the research had not been completed first. In addition, the Director did not like it that Miloš typed his own drafts and was, thus, unable to assess the work of the institute's typists because he did not use their services. The new director was not bother by the way, Miloš approached his research, he was interested in the essence of the work and he liked to have a short 5 to 10 minute discussion with Miloš almost every morning and that brought some accusations of "favouritism". Dr. Holme was known for his peculiar approach to his staff - he did not treat them depending on their academic titles but on their performance and so he may have been accused by some scientists of treating some technicians better than the scientists.
The first dairy food which Miloš examined by electron microscopy was yogurt. In the early seventies, yogurt was almost unknown in Canada (whereas Miloš ate it - with a strawberry jam - as a baby in Czechoslovakia in the thirties). A comparison of a rare commercial yogurt with a yogurt made in the laboratory has brought a disappointment - the "homemade" product was soft and watery. What was wrong? The milk? No, its lack of heating. Commercial yogurt producers heat the milk at 90°C for 10 min., then cool it to 44°C and only then inoculate it with a lactic bacterial culture, which in those times consisted of Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed that heating higher than 85°C leads to an interaction of the casein micelles in milk with β-lactoglobulin in the milk serum. The product of the interaction blocks the sites on the casein micelle surfaces where other casein micelles would get attached, thus forming a large clusters. This is actually the process taking place during the coagulation of mik in the cheese manufacture. When only a few such sites remain unblocked in heated milk, bonding of the casein micelles is limited and results in the formation of branching chains. This structure is much more stable and it holds all the aqueous phase (i.e., water) present in the milk.
In contrast, cheese manufacture needs compacted casein. It is obtained by the coagulation of milk that had never been heated higher than 85°C. Whereas yogurt contains all milk ingredients, cheese used to be devoid of β-lactoglobulin and other whey proteins which were lost in the form of whey. In those times, whey was a useless by-product and was even used as a (nuisance) field fertilizer, until someone many year later started producing pure whey proteins tremendously important for sportspeople, particularly body builders as a food supplement.
These findings excited Miloš who had initially been completely ignorant of dairy science. It was only his curiosity to know why there were differences between cottage cheese made in Canada and in his native Czechoslovakia expressed at a time when he urgently needed a new job. He admired Dr. Emmons, who had the courage to suggest to his Director that Miloš be hired for the dairy laboratory. However, the Director's promotion and departure was essential to a meaningful research which Miloš could pursue. After some time, he considered the findings to be so interesting that he printed large micrographs of the yogurt and cheese structures and lactic acid bacteria and brought them to a local TV station in the hope that the Director of Programming will share his enthusiasm. She asked, pointing to some pictures: "What are these?" "These are images of bacteria in yogurt and cheese". The response was loud and clear: "Take your pictures, Sir, and get out of here. We don't want to be sued by yogurt manufacturers if their sales drop because we have shown that there are bacteria in their products. Goodbye, Sir!"
Undeterred, Miloš sent the micrographs to an American science popularizing magazine. The response was that the readers would prefer, if the images were in colour. It is known the micrographs from electron microscopes are in grayscale, so Miloš started colouring them using a variety of water colours until his colleague Dr. Suk Yiu suggested Adobe Photoshop. Half a year later, the same letter illustrated with the micrographs in colour went again to the magazine. The editor contacted was sorry to inform Miloš that the editor-in-chief had ruled against showing foods under the microscope "in order not to scare the readers". Some colleagues assumed that Miloš produced fraudulent micrographs by using "false colours" although he was not submitting them for publication in a scientific journal. It took some more time before false colours were recognized as helpful in describing images of various structures. Nowadays, few readers would believe how different life was several decades ago.
It was, therefore, a very pleasant surprise, when the famous CBC radio host Mr. Peter Gzowski invited Miloš to speak for 15 min. about his research. The subject was the development of blisters in cheese on pizza. It was amazing. Where did Mr. Gzowski learn about these experiments which were not even completed? The live interview was scheduled for 9:00 at the CBC Radio Studio in the Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa. All staff at the Food Research Institute was ready to listen to the radio, and communications experts were prepared to tape the interview.
In those days, pizzerias were competing for customers by reducing the waiting times. An idea was to increase the temperature of the oven so the pizza would be baked faster. There was a problem that the cheese started to blister. In regular life, the answer would be to return to regular baking temperature and to leave very high temperatures for smelting. Since the pizza industry asked the federal department of agriculture for help, the research objective was to find out, why unsighty blisters develop in cheese. Photographs of pizzas obtained under controlled conditions were provided by the bakers and studied by image analysis in the laboratory for their numbers per pizza, dimensions, and colours. It was puzzling, where did Mr. Gzowski learn about this work and why this topic was selected over the other, considerably more important scientific findings. Miloš was determined to bring general information about these transition of milk into yogurt and cheese to the attention of Mr. Gzowski's listeners.
After Mr. Gzowski's introduction of "this crazy science", Miloš acknowledged that cheese is indeed an essential part of every pizza and in order to understand its behaviour during baking, there is a need to know, what cheese is and how it is made. Although English is not his mother tongue, he has mastered it sufficiently well to speak, without a break, about electron microscopic studies, following the clock handle to give Mr. Gzowski 3 minutes for additional questions. Mr. Gzowski asked, what "this crazy doctor" sees in cheese under his electron microscope. Miloš summarized: "The protein body with fat globules dispersed in it and minute microorganisms such as bacteria." Mr. Gzowski immediately interrupted that he would prefer not to see "microorganisms" in foods. "Well, Mr. Gzowski", Miloš said, "microorganisms such as yeasts are an essential part of every leavened bakery product such as bread and they also make sauerkraut". Lactic acid bacteria are essential to the production of so-called "cultured milk products" such as yogurt and cheeses..." As the clock handle came even closer to mark the end of the interview, Miloš asked: "Do you drink beer, Mr. Gzowski, or do you, rather, like wine?" The studio staff, seen through the large window, was already smiling, when Miloš continued that both beer and wine similar to all alcoholic beverages are the products of microorganisms, i.e., yeasts, and without them, Mr. Gzowski would not have his glass of wine.
Both men thanked each other, the interview was over, the lights went off and Miloš returned to the Centre for Food and Animal Research (CFAR) as the former FRI had been renamed, to enjoy the applause of his colleagues.
The study of blisters in pizza cheese was not published because CFAR was shortly after the interview closed and Miloš was retired, but a report on them concluded that residual amounts of the monosaccharide galactose in the cheese were responsible for their development and the only reasonable remedy was to reduce the temperature of the oven.
A reorganization at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada closed the Centre for Food and Animal Research. Its scientists and technicians had been transferred to other centres, such as a new Food Research Program in Guelph, Ontario, or were scattered al over Canada. Some took an early retirement. Miloš was 65 years old, so retirement was the only possibility. Or was it? Before the last door in the empty institute would be locked, Miloš was hired at his request for the next year to work for 11.5 hours per week on electron microscopy of microorganisms and other subjects for the Food Research Program in Guelph. The contract continued to be extended every year until 2004 when Miloš was 75 years old and then his status was changed to an unpaid Honorary Research Associate.
There were three years which were particularly memorable to Miloš and his food microstructure studies:
1982 - Pfizer Award by the American Dairy Science Association for research of cultured milk products. Similar to the Pfizer Award which Dr. D. B. Emmons received many years before Miloš.
1982 - Food Microstructure journal founded in Chicago jointly with Drs. Samuel Cohen, Eugenia Davis, David Holcomb, and Om Johari.
1986 - Lecturing at the National Dairy Research Institute in Karnal, Haryana, India on electron microscopy of milk products.
1989 - Lecturing at the National Food Research Institute in Tsukuba, Japan thanks to a grant from the Japanese Government.
There is information in great detail about the Food Microstructure - Food Structure journal on this website and in the Wikipedia.
Each of the opportunities to meet colleagues with a similar interest in the studies of food microstructure was exciting. There were 3 scientists awarded the UNO positions of FAO consultants to the National Dairy Research Institute in Karnal: Dr. John Sherbon from Cornell University, Dr. Greig Zadow from the CSIRO Dairy Research Laboratory in Australia, and Miloš, who had been asked to make 19 lectures on electron microscopy of milk products. His first 3 lectures filled a large hall as buses were bringing scientists from afar. There was an electron microscopist on staff, Dr. Prasad, who operated a small scanning electron microscope (SEM) in seclusion, completely oblivious to the fact, that Miloš had been sent to the Centre to help him to obtain additional equipment. He refused to discuss his work with Miloš or to show his laboratory. After about 15 presentations, when only a few technicians were in the lecture room, Director General (DG) asked Miloš why he has only been speaking and showing slides all the time without any practical demonstration. "I am sorry, too", Miloš said, "but Dr. Prasad would not allow me to enter his laboratory". The DG asked Dr. Prasad to open his laboratory on the next Friday to him, a few local scientists and technicians and to Miloš. On Friday, the laboratory had been locked and Dr. Prasad headed to New Delhi. The DG ordered the laboratory be opened by force so he and several directors were able to see the SEM for the first time. All asked Miloš to show, how it works. It was hopeless for Miloš to explain that Dr. Prasad added a variety of hardware to the microscope to cope with the local conditions of frequent power failures and that if the DG could not persuade his subordinate to demonstrate the microscope, he cannot expect that a stranger, who never saw it before, would operate it without any manual. The pressure on Miloš was such that he made a small specimen of milk powder, coated it with gold and then inserted it into the SEM. He managed to obtain the image on the monitor which excited everybody in the darkened room, particularly the views at a few different magnifications and from different angles until the monitor turned black as the filament had burnt out. Miloš was able to find another filament in a drawer and then thanked, in his mind, Mr. Sierk Itz in Ottawa, who showed Miloš many basic steps including the replacement of a filament (which was the responsibility of technicians whereas scientists were not to supposed to do anything else but to operate the microscopes and call for help if difficulties were encountered). Soon the directors and scientists viewed additional images on the monitor and it was a late afternoon. The DG closed the door of the laboratory with a wish that all participants of the memorable day meet in the laboratory again on Monday.
On Monday, it was impossible to start the microscope. Dr. Prasad disabled it after having complained in New Delhi that some dilletante from Canada was ruining his electron microscope. The mission for Miloš had ended and he had to report at FAO in Rome about his experience in Karnal and to make suggestions for improvements. In spite of Dr. Prasad's attitude, he recommended that the bottom-quality SEM be replaced with a microscope capable of operating at higher magnifications and that the laboratory be also equipped with a good quality transmission electron microscopy.
About 2-3 months after his return to Ottawa, Dr. Emmons visited Miloš to show him a letter, where Dr. Prasad asked whether he could study electron microscopy in Dr. Emmons's laboratory. He already responded that Dr. Prasad should contact Dr. Kalab on this subject...
The 19 presentations were redundant and practical demonstrations would have been much better. However, an elderly technician, Mr. Bagga, attended them all. It was rewarding that several young scientists presented suggestions for collaboration which resulted in joint papers on the microstructure of Paneer (an unripened cheese) and Khoa (a milk-based dessert). Miloš has been getting requests for advice with SEM from much younger scientists as late as 2016. He refers them to the NDRI laboratory, which is now, 30 years later, a very advanced site of electron microscopic research.
There was an added bonus for Miloš and Drahomíra to their stay in Karnal: The Management of the NDRI gave them (plus John Sherbon and Greig Zadow) a very nice car trip south through New Delhi and Fatehpur Sikri to Taj Mahal in Agra and a boat tour through a bird sanctuary.
Their flight home by Alitalia in February led to 70 km south of Moscow and a turn south to Rome. There was a snowfall in Rome a day before their arrival.
Three years later, in November 1989, Miloš and Drahomíra were on their way to Japan and their destination was the National Food Research Institute (NFRI) in Tsukuba, thanks to a grant which Miloš received from the Government of Japan as a visiting scientist. There were some memorable moments: He was shown his desk in a laboratory, on the top of which was only a notepad and a pencil. "What is this for?" Miloš asked. "It's for you to take notes", was the answer, so Miloš expressed his surprise whether computers are not being used. "Of course, they are, but we did not know whether you would be able to use one", he was told. In a short while he was given a laptop computer which he was allowed to bring to the Guest House for the night. There was a somewhat touchy situation: in November 1989, Miloš was past his 60th birthday. At that time, scientists in Japan used to retire at the age of 60 but they started to receive their pensions only at the age of 65 years. They had to survive the 5 years on savings and some really good ones had a chance to be hired by industrial companies as consultants. Thus, Miloš as always the oldest at any meeting.
One day he was brought to the Materials Research Institute where he was shown how to operate a field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM). Critical point drying and gold coating operations were automated in Tsukuba - his "work" consisted of pushing a button and then taking the samples out of the machines. The SEM was a pleasure to operate and sharp images were obtained at 100,000x magnification whereas in Ottawa, 30,000x was the limit. The real surprise came the next day: Miloš was asked to teach the Japanese scientist at the NFRI what he learned the day before. Communication was not easy and the situation, that a stranger would, one day, get a glimpse of a superior microscope never encountered before, and the next day he would have to pass a fragment of his new "knowledge" to the residents of a neighbouring institute, was quite bizarre.
Miloš made several presentations about his work in Tsukuba and in Tokyo, where he also demonstrated a procedure of encapsulating viscous food samples in agar gel tubes for electron microscopy. It looked almost like a religious ritual with assistants dressing him with a lab coat, handing him Pasteur pipettes and other tools almost like assisting a surgeon. - During one particular presentation on transmission electron microscopy of milk coagulation, a local well-known scientist made some comments which could not have been solved and both participants were advise to solve them after the presentation. The Miloš learned that the Japanes were far ahead - whereas sections 90 nm thin were examined in Ottawa, the Japanese microscopist examined considerably thinner sections of 15 nm - so-called "invisible sections". With casein micelles approximately 100 nm in diameter, the results were significantly different. On all counts, the Japanese had superior instruments and it was regrettable that only a few scientists used in their studies. One them was Dr. Kyoko Saio (1983, 1984, 1985, 1993) in Tokyo, who, as an active participant on the annual meetings organized by Dr. Om Johari and a member of the Editorial Board of Food Microstructure, was as a lady very helpful to Miloš and Drahomíra. The other scientist was Dr. Zenichi Saito (1985, 1988) at the University of Sapporo.
The Government of Japan gave Miloš and his wife a nice trip to Sapporo to speak at the university and then by train along a long area of smoking fumaroles to Hakodate, a large city known for its fish market. On their return flight to Tokyo, Mount Fuji was seen in all its majestic beauty. Dr. Mitsuru Monma was a young scientist who acted as a guide and a guardian angel for the Canadian couple. Although Miloš learned the katakana used for foreign words, the couple would be lost within a few minutes if Dr. Monma would suddenly disappear. It is regrettable that Miloš was unable to return his kindness and be his host in Canada.
One day in the caffeteria, Miloš found in the Times of Japan news about the political developments in Czechoslovakia, the so-called Velvet Revolution because there was no loss of live during the transition from one political regime to another.
Miloš noticed in 2015 that his name and a short list of his most recent scientific papers published in collaboration with the colleagues at the Canadian Blood Services appeared in ResearchGate. This situation encouraged him to search for the reprints of his earlier scientific publications since 1959 and to upload them into the new data base. There would be no more need to keep reprints to send them by mail. Registration for ResearchGate is free and makes it possible to access, at no charge, all papers stored.
Miloš studied chemical engineering in Czechoslovakia and during his studies he worked as a sugar factory analytical chemist. After graduation, he was a research chemist at a Food Research Institute in Bratislava (now the capital of Slovakia) and 2 years later he studied pectic substances in wild apples as a postgraduate student at the Slovak Academy of Sciences, where, as a Ph.D., he used polyelectrolytes in the purification of effluents from sugar manufacture. In 1958, he joined the Faculty of Medicine at Palacký University in his home town of Olomouc (now in the Czech Republic). As a biochemist, he was a member of various medical teams which explains his publications on various topics from dermatology to gastroenterology to rheumatology etc. The enzyme arginase was the subject of his "habilitation thesis" to achieve the position of "Docent" (equivalent to the position of "Associate Professor" in Canada). He also lectured biochemistry at the Faculty of Science, where be held the position of Chairman of the Department of Organic and Biological Chemistry. In 1966, he was awarded a post-doctorate fellowship to study lipoproteins in the laboratory of Dr. W. H. Cook at the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa. On his scheduled return to Olomouc he would have been promoted to tenured university professor. Only several of his publications are available from the time when he worked in Czechoslovakia, most of them obtained thanks to Dr. Dana Šubová, Librarian at the Faculty of Medicine.
During his active career, Miloš was also lucky to have excellent technicians, Mr. Guy Larose, Ms. Beverley Phipps-Todd, Ms. Paula Allan-Wojtas, and Ms. Gisèle Larocque. In addition, he obtained help and advice from the technicians at the Electron Microscopy Unit, Ms. Elizabeth Ford, Mr. Sierk Itz, Mr. Ernie Bond, and Mr. Ann Fook Yang. He has been grateful to Ms. Elizabeth Larmond, Assistant Director for encouragement at the time of his depression caused by the abrupt change in his life and doomed efforts to develop milk-based imitations of hot dogs.
It has been mentioned earlier, Miloš started colouring electron micrographs using Adobe Photoshop to emphasize specific components or structures at a time when such action had been considered unethical by some colleagues. In contrast, the Royal Microscopical Society in the United Kingdom invited Miloš to contribute manuscripts for the infocus magazine which would be illustrated with "colour-enhanced" micrographs. The three papers already published are available in PDF format (Conventional Scanning Electron Microscopy of Bacteria, The Beauty of Milk at High Magnification, and Microscopy and Hygiene) and the fourth paper (Colourful Vegetables - Colourful Micrographs) with co-authors Ms. Denise Chabot and Mr. Keith Hubbard was published in December 2015 but will hopefully be also available on the Internet in December 2016.
Some links to other sites on food microscopy are listed below:
Structure of Dairy Products (Edited by A.Y. Tamime)
Tamime and Robinson's Yoghurt (3rd edition of Yoghurt: Science and Technology).
Books by A.Y. Tamime
Food Microscopy (Microscopy Handbooks) (Paperback)
by O. Flint
Food Microscopy by J. G. Vaughan (Editor) (Hardcover)
Microstructural principles of food processing and engineering - by Jose Miguel Aguilera, David W. Stanley
Molecular Expressions Photo Gallery: Burgers 'n Fries