With recent government approval of potatoes that don't bruise and apples that don't brown, a new generation of genetically modified foods is headed to grocery shelves.
European laboratories testing food for dioxins now have lower-cost, smaller-footprint alternatives for confirming levels of toxic contaminants, thanks to a new European Union regulation. Thermo Fisher Scientific worked closely with national reference labs in the EU to support the development of the new regulation, which permits use of gas chromatograph-triple stage quadrupole mass spectrometers (GC-MS/MS) for confirmation.
A number of leading international researchers, among others from the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, have recommended that fluorochemicals should only be used where absolutely essential, until better methods exist to measure the chemicals and more is known about their potentially harmful effects.
Scientists in Switzerland have developed a fast and accurate method for determining exactly which proteins cause allergies to milk. The novel approach, which is based on a specialized form of laser desorption-ionization mass spectrometry, is highly personalized and can extend to other foods as well.
Talk about a cosmic caffeine jolt. The International Space Station is getting a real Italian espresso machine. Astronauts of all nationalities have long grumbled about the tepid instant coffee served in pouches and drunk with straws 260 miles above Earth. The pouches and straws aren't going away, but at least the brew will pack some zero-gravity punch thanks to the ISSpresso, which can also make tea and consommé.
Essential oils have boomed in popularity as more people seek out alternatives to replace their synthetic cleaning products, anti-mosquito sprays and medicines. Now scientists are tapping them as candidates to preserve food in a more consumer-friendly way. Recent research has led to new edible films containing oils from clove and oregano that preserve bread longer than commercial additives.
Counterfeit or adulterated olive oil has been a persistent presence on the market, in part because the oil is difficult to track. An invisible label, developed by researchers in Switzerland, could perform this task. The tag consists of tiny magnetic DNA particles encapsulated in a silica casing and mixed with the oil. Just a few grams of the new substance are enough to tag the entire olive oil production of Italy.
Beckman Coulter Life Sciences has announced an agreement with Wyatt Technology Corp. to enable collaboration on products, applications and technical development. The partnership brings together Wyatt’s expertise in protein characterization, light scattering and biophysics with Beckman Coulter’s expertise in particle counting, particle characterization and cell viability measurement.
Researchers at The City College of New York have reported the successful transformation of vegetable oils to a semisolid form using low-calorie sugars as a structuring agent. The findings portend the development of alternatives to structured oil products produced using saturated/trans fatty acids, which have been linked to coronary artery disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Funded by prominent Silicon Valley investors and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Hampton Creek Foods seeks to disrupt a global egg industry that backers say wastes energy, pollutes the environment, causes disease outbreaks and confines chickens to tiny spaces. The company, which just started selling a mayonnaise made without eggs, is part of a new generation of so-called food-tech ventures that aim to change the way we eat.
Oxygen usually enters wine through the cork and interacts with metals, particularly iron, setting off a chain reaction that changes compounds that add often disagreeable tastes and smells to the drink. Penn State Univ. researchers have added chelation compounds that bind with metals to inhibit oxidation, or oxygen's ability to react with trace metals. These compounds, they found, were effective.
Researchers have developed a system that concentrates foodborne salmonella and other pathogens faster than conventional methods by using hollow thread-like fibers that filter out the cells. The machine, called a continuous cell concentration device, could make it possible to routinely analyze food or water samples to screen for pathogens within a single work shift at food processing plants.
Six researchers have spent the past four months living in a small dome on a barren Hawaii lava field at 8,000 feet, trying to figure out what foods astronauts might eat on Mars and during deep-space missions. They emerged on Tuesday with their recipes and without the space suits they were required to wear each time they ventured onto the northern slope of Mauna Loa—an active volcano that last erupted in 1984.
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) this week agreed to expand their current scientific cooperation to include new areas of research, such as energy, health care and clinical measurements, and food safety and nutrition.
According to a presentation this week at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists exposition in Chicago, new technologies and ingredients are improving the taste, appearance and nutritional content of gluten-free food products, a market that is expected to grow to $6 billion by 2017. An estimated one in 133 Americans has celiac disease, an immune disorder triggered by the ingestion of gluten peptides found in wheat, barley and rye.
Ripening fruit, vegetables, and flowers release ethylene, which works as a plant hormone. Ethylene accelerates ripening, so other unripened fruit also begins to ripen—fruit and vegetables quickly spoil and flowers wilt. researchers in Japan have now introduced a new catalytic system for the fast and complete degradation of ethylene. This could keep the air in warehouses ethylene-free, keeping perishable products fresh longer.
Swedish and Spanish engineers have created a system of sensors that detects fruit odors more effectively than the human sense of smell. For now, the device, which has 32 sensors and can process scent data in real time, can distinguish between the odorous compounds emitted by pears and apples, but the system can be tailored to other applications.
Kevin Keener, a professor of food science at Purdue University, looks for new ways to kill harmful bacteria, and has determined that exposing packaged liquids, fruits, and vegetables to an electrical field for just minutes could remove all traces of foodborne pathogens. His method uses electricity to generate a plasma, or ionized gas, from atmospheric gases inside the food package.
Metallized Carbon Corporation, a manufacturer of oil-free, self-lubricating, carbon-graphite materials for severe service lubrication applications, announces that its Metcar Grade M-58 has received approval from the FDA so that it can be used in food contact applications. This will permit the use of Metcar Grade M-58 in dry running, food mixer seals to provide lower seal friction and longer seal wear life.
The Alaskan Brewing Co. is going green, but instead of looking to solar and wind energy, it has turned to a very familiar source: beer. The Juneau-based beer maker has installed a unique boiler system in order to cut its fuel costs. It purchased a $1.8 million furnace that burns the company's spent grain—the waste accumulated from the brewing process—into steam which powers the majority of the brewery's operations.
In the most comprehensive study to date on how storage temperature affects wines with different packaging systems, University of California, Davis researchers found that bag-in-box wine is more vulnerable to warmer storage temperatures than bottled wine.
The food industry is strict in its vigilance toward bacteria in products. Now their efforts may be eased by a new bacteria monitoring method developed by researchers in Germany. The fluorescence of nanoparticles embedded in an agarose growth medium, they report, changes significantly when the pH value changes because of bacterial metabolism. This can be monitored in real time with a simple digital camera.
What does a yogurt look like over time? The food industry will soon be able to answer this question using a new fluid simulation tool developed by scientists at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, as part of a broad partnership with other research institutions. The method distinguishes itself significantly from known simulation methods which use mesh structures where the vertices are locked in a fixed position. In the new method, the mesh structure is replaced by a dynamic structure where the vertices move one at a time.
Scientists at CRANN, a nanoscience institute based at Trinity College Dublin, have partnered with brewing company SABMiller on a project to increase the shelf life of bottled beer in plastic bottles. Their research centered on a nanostructured boron nitride additive that, when added to plastic bottles, will make them impervious to carbon dioxide and oxygen.
According to data from a 2008 Business R&D and Innovation Survey by the National Science Foundation, businesses perform the lion's share of their R&D activity in just a small number of geographic areas, particularly the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area and the New York-Newark-Bridgeport area.
In a report presented this week at the American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia, researchers based in Hong Kong, in cooperation with Starbucks restaurant chain, described their work on development and successful laboratory testing of a new biorefinery designed to change food waste into a key ingredient for making plastics, laundry detergents and scores of other everyday products.
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