Open Access
Volume 30, 2023
Article Number E1
Number of page(s) 5
Section News
Published online 08 June 2023

Société Française pour l’Étude des Lipides (SFEL) celebrates its 80th anniversary this year 2023. Its current legal form dates from September 8, 2011 according to the statutes signed by Anne LE GUILLOU its then President and Alain RANCUREL its Treasurer. Its current purpose is to “bring together specialists in the production, processing and use of oils, fats and derivatives in order to promote the acquisition and extension of knowledge in these branches of industry, to establish and maintain friendly relations between the members of the association”. It also aims to award the Chevreul Medal created in 1963 in memory of the creator of fat chemistry who lived and worked for many years in this magnificent place where we are currently the Verniquet amphitheater of Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris. It was also in 2011 that SFEL joined 66 rue La Boétie in Paris in the premises of the Fédération Nationale des Industries des Corps Gras (FNCG).

From 2011 to date, the following people have been involved in the life of the association:

  • As Presidents: Philippe GUESNET since 2021, Frédéric FINE (2019–2020), Michel LINDER (2017–2018), Fabrice TURON (2015–2016), Pierre VILLENEUVE (2012–2014) and Anne LE GUILLOU (2009–2012);

  • As General Secretary: Claire BERTON-CARABIN currently and since 2019, Claire BOURLIEU-LACANAL (2016–2018), Elmira ARAB-TEHRANY (2017), Michel LINDER (2015–2016), Anne LEGUILLOU (2013–2014), and Jean-Claude ICART (2008–2012);

  • As Treasurer: Bernadette DELPLANQUE (2019–2023) linchpin of the current Chevreul days with Philippe GUESNET (2017–2018), and Alain RANCUREL (2003–2016) true memory of our association.

All in all, a happy collaboration of researchers, academics, teachers, business executives, technical and interprofessional centers in the lipids and fats sector.

The highlight of this period 2011–2023 was undoubtedly the 2017 Congress of Nancy “Lipids & Brain, Lipids in Alzheimer disease” organized by the team of Michel LINDER of the University of Lorraine on a theme of great scientific and practical interest, with a public conference given by Stephan CUNNANE Chevreul Medalist 2017 in the sumptuous and prestigious setting of the major salons of the City Hall of Nancy overlooking Place Stanislas. Also “Lipids & Brain” 2015, 2011, 2007 in Paris organized by the respective teams with the Chevreul Medals attributed to Michael CRAWFORD (2015), Nicolas BAZAN (2011) and Stanley RAPOPORT (2007).

Before 2011 and since 1973, the name of SFEL was Association Française pour l’Étude des Corps Gras (AFECG). Its purpose was to bring together specialists in the study and manufacture of fats and derivatives, with a view to promoting knowledge of scientific or technical problems of general interest in these branches of industry, and to establish and maintain all friendly relations between members. It can therefore be seen that at the time the object was focused on the industrial sector since its origin, it was only in 2011 that the field of production was explicitly integrated into the object. The AFECG was hosted by the Fédération Nationale des Industries des Corps Gras (FNCG) at 118 avenue Achille Peretti in Neuilly. The successive Presidents of this period have been successively:

  • Jacques SOULIER (1991–1992) University of Perpignan;

  • François LOURY (1993–1994) Cargill Company;

  • François MORDRET (1995–1997) Institut des Corps Gras ITERG;

  • Georges VERMEERSCH (1997–1998) Sofiprotéol;

  • Michel PARMENTIER (1999–2000) University of Lorraine;

  • Jean-Luc PERRIN (2001–2002) Astra Calvé;

  • André POUZET (2003–2005) CETIOM which has since become Terres Inovia;

  • Alain HUERTAS (2005–2007) LESIEUR;

  • Bernadette DELPLANQUE (2008–2009) University of Saclay;

  • Anne LE GUILLOU (2009–2012) Danone;

In this period 1990–2011 the loyalty of the other animators is to be emphasized:

  • Paule POTTIER, Astra Calvé General Secretary from 1989 to 1998;

  • Jean-Claude BARRUET, General Secretary from 1999 to 2007;

  • Jean-Claude ICART, OCL General Secretary from 2008 to 2012;

  • Christian FOURES, Soproga-Sanofi Treasurer from 1983 to 2000, i.e. 17 years;

  • Alain RANCUREL, Pharmascience Treasurer from 2003 to 2016, i.e. 13 years.

The diversity of professional origins was already at work for the greater benefit of the association.

The year 1993 marked the 50th anniversary of the AFECG celebrated at the same time for Institut des Corps Gras (ITERG) and for Institut de recherche pour les huiles et oléagineux (IRHO) both founded in the same year 1943. This anniversary was the occasion of a memorable conference by Pierre-Gilles de GENNES on surfactants. Recent Chemistry Nobel Prize in 1991 he was addressed to an informed public as evidenced by the many questions that were put to him. The Chevreul gold medal was awarded to him on this occasion. A beautiful booklet “AFECG Association Française pour l’Étude des Corps Gras 50 ans” remained the witness of this event where the history of the three organizations was presented, that of AFECG by Jean-Pierre WOLFF, that of ITERG by Jean-Paul HELME former Director General of the Institute, that of IRHO which had just joined Centre International de Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD) by Christian BRUNIN and Christian de BERCHOUX of the technical direction of CIRAD.

Before 1979, AFECG had its address at 10A rue de la Paix in Paris. It was the decentralization of ITERG laboratories in Pessac in 1979 that led the General Directorate of ITERG, its central services and the AFECG to be hosted by FNCG located at this prestigious address since the Second World War.

2 The animators of the AFECG during this period 1979–1990 were:

As Presidents:

  • Alain KARLESKIND (1989–1990) Wolff Laboratories;

  • Jean GRAILLE (1987–1988) CIRAD;

  • François ZWOBADA (1985–1986) LESIEUR;

  • André PRÉVOT (1983–1984) ITERG;

  • Jean PORÉ (1981–1982) Sté Houghton;

  • Maurice NAUDET (1979–1980) National Fat Laboratory of Marseille.

As General Secretary:

  • Jean-Pierre LANG (1979–1988) ITERG.

As Treasurers:

  • Christian FOURES (1983–2000) mentioned above;

  • Louis FAUR (1979–1982).

The important event of the period was the Chevreul Congress of 1989 in Angers organized by the AFECG under the authority of Alain KARLESKIND, congress which was a great success and which had as an extension the edition of the Manuel des corps gras in 2 volumes at Lavoisier Editions in 1992. Jean-Pierre WOLFF ensured a colossal work as Editorial Secretary for this book, which remains a reference in our field of activity.

3 We continue to go back in time with the period 1973–1979

The AFECG took in 1973 the name of Association Française pour l’Etude des Corps Gras (AFECG), it was then hosted by ITERG at 5 boulevard de La Tour Maubourg in Paris in the beautiful mansion that you can still admire at this address. Three successive Presidents for AFECG: François POUILLAUDE (1973–1974) LESIEUR, Charles PAQUOT (1975–1976) CNRS Bellevue, Jean KLERE (1977–1978), Astra Calvé. Jean PORÉ mentioned above was the Treasurer of the association from 1973 to 1978. Marie-Thérèse JUILLET was General Secretary from 1973 to 1978, she was a great figure in our sector animating the documentation and scientific communication of ITERG before fulfilling these same functions at Astra Calvé.

4 Period 1969–1973

The name of our association was Association Française des Techniciens des Corps Gras hosted by the Société de chimie industrielle in Rueil-Malmaison. The association had two successive Presidents, two great figures of the profession, Jean-Paul HELME1 (1969–1970) ITERG and Robert FÉRON (1970–1973) Astra Calvé, as General Secretaries René GUILLAUMIN (1967–1968 and 1970–1973) and C. DEFROMONT (1969–1970).

5 The origins of AFECG-SFEL, period 1943 to 1969

From the creation in 1943 to 1969 our association was called Groupement Technique des Corps Gras and was hosted by the Maison de la Chimie at 28 rue Saint Dominique in Paris. It had, during these 26 years, only three successive presidents, Jean RIPERT (from 1943 to 1946) the founder, we will return to him below, then at his death, Georges WOLFF (from 1947 to 1960) creator of the well-known WOLFF laboratories died around 1960, leaving the presidency to Georges TROTTMANN (from 1960 to 1968) LESIEUR Company. Three General Secretaries succeeded one another, Yves BAGOT (from 1944 to 1950), P. MÉRAT (from 1950 to 1961) ITERG and Maurice LOURY (from 1962 to 1966) ITERG. It was under the signature of Maurice LOURY (ITERG) that the historical notices appeared in the directories of AFECG members.

This period was intense in terms of exchange. From 1960, AFECG and ITERG were involved in the staff training and the extension of analytical techniques and in particular that of gas chromatography where André PRÉVOT and François ZWOBADA marked the period by their support and their competence in particular for the conversion of rapeseed into varieties without erucic acid. It is worth noting that the inventor of erucic acid-free rapeseed Keith DOWNEY2, Agriculture CANADA received the Chevreul Medal in 1995 from François MORDRET then AFECG President. The diffusion of gas chromatography had multiple advantages for our sector, particularly in the quality control of oils and fats.

It was in 1963 at the initiative of Professor Emile ANDRÉ, a great admirer of the founder of the fat chemistry, that the Chevreul Medal was created by the association. It has since become a reference in our lipid and fat sector in terms of distinction with an international vocation since each year it was awarded to a French and a foreigner researcher. The list of medalists can be found on the SFEL website and below. The medal is engraved by the Monnaie de Paris based on the profile of Mr. Chevreul, then aged 37, by David d’Angers. In 1993, for the 50th anniversary of the Association, the Chevreul Medal was awarded to the 1991 Nobel Prize in Physics, Professor Pierre-Gilles de Gennes.

The videos of the lectures and articles written by the recipients are available online, on the SFEL ( and the OCL websites (

6 The creation of the Association on April 15, 1943

Two great figures dominated the creation of the Association: Jean RIPERT and Emile ANDRÉ.

It was the drastic reduction in the country’s supply of fats in time of World War II that inspired Jean RIPERT and Emile ANDRÉ to create the Groupement Technique des Corps Gras, whose purpose was to bring together specialists in the study and manufacture of fats and derivatives, in order to promote knowledge of scientific or technical problems of common interest in these branches of industry, to establish and maintain all friendly relations between the members of the Association, to safeguard the rights to the intellectual property of its members.

At that time Jean RIPERT was an entrepreneur deeply attached to science. In 1922, he brilliantly defended a doctoral thesis at the University of Rennes on the alkaloids of Belladonna. His career led him successively in the fields of perfume plants, insecticides with the extraction of natural pyrethrin and then in soap and toothpastes, all areas where he worked to apply the most recent knowledge and techniques. It is this spirit that pushed him to create at the Maison de la Chimie our association and then l’Institut des Corps Gras (ITERG) of which he was also the first President. He died prematurely at the age of 47.

Emile ANDRÉ (1877–1969) in 1943 was already the recognized specialist in the analysis of fatty substances. Chief pharmacist at the Salpétrière Hospital he directed 7 doctoral thesis including that of Marie-Thérèse FRANCOIS3 in 1927 who elucidated the structure of spermaceti, ester of an aliphatic alcohol with 18 carbon atoms and a fatty acid with 22 carbon atoms, and that of Kia-Wo Hou4 (Chinese student) in 1933 who discovered the properties of lipoxygenase in soybean then was named lipoxidase. At the beginning of the Second World War Emile ANDRÉ was entrusted with the direction of the laboratory of metropolitan oilseeds housed initially at Institut National Agronomique and then transferred in 1948 to the CNRS laboratories in Bellevue. It is this remarkable career that earned Emile ANDRÉ to be elected Honorary President of the Association, a position he held until his death in 1969. Member of Académie d’Agriculture de France of which he was President in 1966, Emile ANDRÉ left in the reports of this company very beautiful pages including the history of the peanut5.


7 French and international Chevreul Medalists

Year French Medalists International Medalist
1963 Mr. E. André Mr. J. Jacini (Italy)
Mr. M. Loncin (Belgium)
1964 Mr. G. Champetier Mr. T.P. Hilditch (Great Britain)
1965 Mr. M. Desnuelle Mr. A.R. Baldwin (USA)
1966 Mr. J. Vizern Mr. J. Martinez-Moreno (Spain)
1967 Mr. C. Paquot Mr. H. Niewiadomski (Poland)
1968 Mrs. M.T. François M. J. Boldingh (Netherlands)
1969 Mr. C. Trottmann Mr. M.E. Frazer (Great Britain)
1970 Mr. R. François Mr. W.O. Lundberg (USA)
1971 Mr. M. Naudet Mr. H.J. Thomasson (Netherlands)
1972 Mr. J.P. Wolff Mr. R. Marcuse (Sweden)
1973 Mr. M. Toy-Riont Mr. J. Baltes (Germany)
1974 Mr. J. Morice Mr. De Smet (Belgium)
1975 Mr. J.P. Helme Mr. J.C. Cowan (USA)
1976 Mr. F. Pouillaude Mr. U. Pallotta (Italy)
1977 Mr. E. Ucciani Mr. Vlès (Belgium)
1978 Mr. P. Metais Mr. A. Jakubowski (Poland)
1979 Mr. D.G. Dervichian
Mr. F. Lachampt
1980 Mr. A. Prevot Mr. J. Pokorny (Czechoslovakia)
1981 Mr. J. Flanzy Mr. A. Seher (Germany)
1982 Mr. M. Ollagnier Mr. E. Fedeli (Italy)
1983 Mr. B. Entressangles Mr. Vos (Netherlands)
1984 Mr. J. Poré Mrs. J. Beare Rogers (Canada)
1985 Mr. A. Uzzan Mr. T. Mounts (USA)
1986 Mr. J. Klere Mr. J. Hollo (Hungary)
1987 Mr. F. Mendy Mr. G. Varela (Spain)
1988 Mr. L. Faur Mr. U. Bracco (Switzerland)
1989 Mr. J.M. Bourre Mr. G. Robbelen (Germany)
Mr. P. Capella (Italy)
1990 Mr. L. Marcou Mr. F. Gunstone (Great Britain)
1991 Mr. A. Karleskind Mr. M. Fondu (Belgium)
1992 Mr. R. Duterte Mr. R. Celades (Spain)
1993 Mr. P.G. De Gennes
1994 Mr. A. Crastes de Paulet Mr. W.W. Nawar (USA)
1995 Mr. A. Lesaichere Mr. K. Downey (Canada)
1996 Mr. G. Gandemer Mr. K. Aitzetmuller (Germany)
1997 Mr. J. Graille Mrs. C. Dobarganes (Spain)
1998 Mr. F. Mordret Mr. F. Luchetti (Italy)
1999 Mr. G. Pascal Mr. O. Korver (Netherlands)
2000 M. G. Vermeersch Mr. F. Spener (Germany)
2001 Mr. M. Renard Mr. J. Macleod (Great Britain)
2002 Mr. G. Robin
2003 Mrs. N. Combe
2004 Mr. Z. Mouloungui Mrs. K. Kövari (Hungary)
2005 Mr. M. Parmentier
2006 Mr. A. Gaset Mrs. V. Ruyz Gutierrez (Spain)
2007 Mr. F. Carriere Mr. S. Rapoport (USA)
2008 Mr. M. Olivon Mr. E. Deffense (Belgium)
2009 Mr. A.J. Dijkstra (Netherlands) Mr. C. Kapseu (Cameroon)
2010 Mr. M. Lagarde Mrs. C. Jacobsen (Denmark)
2011 Mr. P. Guesnet Mr. N. Bazan (USA)
2012 Mrs. F. Lacoste Mr. Uwe T. Bornscheuer (Germany)
2013 Mr. A. Pouzet
2014 Mr. J. Harwood (Great Britain)
2015 Mrs. B. Delplanque Mr. MA. Crawford (Great Britain)
2016 Mr. D. Weitz (USA)
2017 Mr. P. Legrand Mr. S. Cunnane (Canada)
2018 Mr. Thierry Durand
2019 Mr. L. Conte (Italy)
2021 Mr. R. Gibson (Australie)
Mr. Jun Ogawa (Japan)
2022 Mrs. Marie-Caroline Michalski
2023 Mr. Michel Linder Mr. R. Bazinet (Canada)


Jean-Paul HELME was a talented painter who explained with enthusiasm and competence the role of linseed oil-based binders in Renaissance painting schools.


Keith DOWNEY demonstrated the genetic determinism of erucic acid synthesis in oilseed rape and proposed the conversion method, he at the same time disseminated the genetic material throughout the world including France. His name is associated to this major discovery with that of Baldur STEFANSSON, University of Manitoba who discovered the first rapeseed without erucic acid.


L’arachide, CR Ac Ag 1932; pp. 552–561.

© E. Choné, Published by EDP Sciences, 2023

Licence Creative CommonsThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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