Tag: Food

“Cruelty Free” Dog Food Grown in Labs Could Give Your Dog A Vegan Lifestyle

Dogs and cats everywhere, rejoice. Bond Pets, a Colorado-based startup, has its eyes set on bringing lab-grown, clean protein to pets nationwide.

Described as “Pet food made from real animal protein, without the animal,” Bond Pets is an entirely new breed of food hoping to make mealtime extra special for cats and dogs.

The developing brand was founded by Rich Kelleman, who was inspired to action after struggling with his wife to find healthy and transparent foods for their pets.

Kelleman found that lots of these foods had bad, unhealthy ingredients in them, and that even the “healthier” brands had sketchy, unclear sciences behind their labels.

Pet foods across the board, expensive and are notorious for being filled with animal leftovers including animal bones, beaks, hair, and manure. Needless to say, these kinds of proteins are dirty and are no good for our pets.

While lab-grown meat is still a new concept to many, the science behind it is already deeply developed.

Kelleman explained, “I thought…it was a bit like science fiction, something that would be cool for the future.” He continued, “I didn’t think it would have practical application now.”

It’s far closer to practical than science fiction, with other brands like Hampton Creek and Memphis Meats working with similar technologies.

Essentially, these folks are able to produce actual animal meat through the use of cells. This means that the animals — who would traditionally be bred, farmed, and slaughtered — are safe.

Ryan Yamka, who works with Bond Pets, says that people shouldn’t be surprised to see a company trying to incorporate pets into the thriving food culture we’re seeing today.

Pet food has always been quick follower to the human food trends,” he said. “So it’s not surprising that you see…what I would call the sustainable- food movement getting into the pet-food side.”

Bond Pets is still developing so it might be a little while before anyone sees their products in stores. However, given time, Bond Pets may change the animal market altogether, for the better.

Clean meat and clean protein is a thriving idea for human beings and there’s no reason our animal companions should be left out.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

Japanese Scientists Use Egg Whites For Clean Energy

The new method will help “bring us closer to our ultimate goal of providing hydrogen from water, according to Yusuke Yamada, a professor at Osaka City University.


Hydrogen is currently mass-produced using natural gas or fossil fuels, which result in greenhouse gas emissions.

It can be produced in laboratories without fossil fuels and scientists have traditionally done this by creating a special interaction of the molecules in liquid.

But free-moving and randomly located molecules and particles in the fluid can interact with the process of producing hydrogen and scientists have for many years looked to find a way to immobilise these particles.

Rose Bengal

Yamada’s team used a protein found in egg whites to build crystals with lots of tiny holes to trap these particles. These lysozyme crystals have a highly ordered nanostructure and improve the efficiency of clean hydrogen production.

The molecular components within the crystals must be manipulated carefully. This is achieved by the application of Rose Bengal, which is commonly used in a dye in eye drops to identify damage.

If you use hydrogen as an energy source, it only releases water in the environment. It is extremely environmentally friendly.

We found protein was a useful tool” to generate hydrogen in a laboratory without using a fossil fuel, said Yamada.

The method was published in the February edition of the scientific journal Applied Catalysis B.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: Popular Science

Pigeons: The Next Step In Local Eating

A vintage postcard of a pigeon plant.

When you look at a pigeon, you might see a dirty, rat-like bird that fouls anything it touches with feathers or feces, but I see a waste-scavenging, protein-generating biomachine.

At a time when rising demand for meat across the globe endangers the food system, and local eating has gained millions of adherents, it’s time to reconsider our assumptions about what protein sources are considered OK to eat.

You see, city pigeons are the feral descendants of birds that were domesticated by humans thousands of years ago so that we could eat them and use their guano as fertilizer, we read in Der Spiegel.

They’re still doing their part, i.e. eating and breeding, but we humans have stopped doing ours, i.e. eating them.

Numbering in the hundreds of millions, they could be a new source of guilt-free protein for locavores in urban centers.

Instead, we’re still trying to kill off our species’ former pet birds, which (as any city-dweller can attest) doesn’t work.

Killing makes no sense at all,” Daniel Haag-Wackernagel, a biologist at the University of Basel, told Der Spiegel. “The birds have an enormous reproduction capacity and they’ll just come back. <

“There is a linear relationship between the bird population and the amount of food available.”

And in the developed world after World War II, there’s always been plenty of food.

This explosion of the pigeon population is due to the large food supply, because after the war food became cheap in relation to income,” Haag-Wackernagel argues on his website.

“Since this increase in our welfare, society has produced pigeon food in abundance through our wasteful practices.”

It sure sounds like a bad situation, but put the two quotes together in the context of food production. A food source that lives on our trash that is so reproductively prolific that we can’t kill it off?

That’s green tech at its finest! Pigeons are direct waste-to-food converters, like edible protein weeds, that leave droppings that could be used as fertilizer as a bonus.

And yet we expend energy trying to get rid of them.

It wasn’t always this way. In fact, eating pigeons is as American as eating pumpkin pie. Probably more so, on a net weight basis, actually.

A 1917 report to the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture details the story of the American passenger pigeon, extinct kin to our current city birds.

The birds provided our founding fathers with a bountiful feast in 1648 when, according to Massachusets Bay Colony luminary John Winthrop, “multitudes of them were killed daily.

The report describes the many millions of birds that were killed all across the nation through the 19th century.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: Popular Science

How 17th Century Fraud Gave Rise To Bright Orange Cheese

The news from Kraft last week that the company is ditching two artificial dyes in some versions of its macaroni and cheese products left me with a question.

Why did we start coloring cheeses orange to begin with? Turns out there’s a curious history here.

In theory, cheese should be whitish — similar to the color of milk, right?

Well, not really. Centuries ago in England, lots of cheeses had a natural yellowish-orange pigment. The cheese came from the milk of certain breeds of cows, such as Jersey and Guernsey.

Their milk tends to be richer in color from beta-carotene in the grass they eat.

So, when the orange pigment transferred to the cow’s milk, and then to the cheese, it was considered a mark of quality.

But here’s where the story gets interesting.

Cheese expert Paul Kindstedt of the University of Vermont explains that back in the 17th century, many English cheesemakers realized that they could make more money if they skimmed off the cream — to sell it separately or make butter from it.

But in doing so, most of the color was lost, since the natural orange pigment is carried in the fatty cream.

So, to pass off what was left over — basically low-fat cheese made from white milk — as a high-quality product, the cheesemakers faked it.

American cows are mostly grain-fed, whereas almost all cows in New Zealand are pasture-raised.

The cheesemakers were initially trying to trick people to mask the white color [of their cheese],” explains Kindstedt.

They began adding coloring from saffron, marigold, carrot juice and later, annatto, which comes from the seeds of a tropical plant.

The devious cheesemakers of the 17th century used these colorings to pass their products off as the full-fat, naturally yellowish-orange cheese that Londoners had come to expect.

The tradition of coloring cheese then carried over in the U.S. Lots of cheesemakers in Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin and New York have a long history of coloring cheddar.

The motivation was part tradition, part marketing to make their cheeses stand out. There was another reason, too: It helped cheesemakers achieve a uniform color in their cheeses.

But Kindstedt says it’s not a tradition that ever caught on in New England dairy farms. And that’s why to this day, we still see lots of naturally white cheddar cheese from places such as Vermont.

With the boom in the artisanal food movement, we’re starting to see more cheese produced from grass-fed cows.

And as a result, we may notice the butterlike color in summer cheeses — similar to what the 17th century Londoners ate.

We absolutely see the color changes when the cows transition onto pasture in early May,” cheesemaker Nat Bacon of Shelburne Farms in Vermont wrote to us in an email.

He says it’s especially evident “in the whey after we cut the curd, and also in the finished cheese. Both get quite golden in color, kind of like straw, with the beta-carotenes the cows are eating in the fresh meadow grasses.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: Popular Science

To Get Humans To Mars, Making Space Food With Space Poop Is What We Need


Astronauts aboard the ISS drink recycled pee for a reason: we can only bring so much food and water to to space. Imagine how much more we need to take for that year-long journey to Mars.

Since bringing more resources means higher costs — the heavier a spacecraft is, the more fuel it needs, after all — scientists are looking to find ways to make self-sustaining vehicles.

A team of researchers from Penn State University, for instance, have developed a method to make space food with astronaut poop.

Disgusting? Well, the team’s technique doesn’t exactly turn the feces itself into food.

Instead, it uses microbes to break down solid and liquid human waste with anaerobic digestion, a process that doesn’t consume precious oxygen, similar to what happens inside our stomach when we eat.

During digestion, the fecal material produces methane, which is then fed to bacteria (Methylococcus capsulatus) naturally found in soil and already used to make animal pellets using a microbial reactor.

When the researchers tested their technique using artificial poop, the end result was biomass that’s 52 percent protein and 36 percent fats.

That’s what future spacefarers would eat — and what Mark Watney probably would’ve used as dip for his potatoes if he just had the equipment.

Team leader and Penn State professor Christopher House admits that “it’s a little strange,” but it’s like “Marmite or Vegemite where you’re eating a smear of ‘microbial goo.‘” We’ll bet space-poop goo is also an acquired taste.

In addition to being packed with nutrients, the goo is also relatively fast to make: researchers said they managed to remove 49 to 59 percent of the solids in the waste material within 13 hours during their tests.

That’s much faster than current waste management treatment methods, and as House said, it’s “faster than growing tomatoes or potatoes.

The researchers also found potential food sources other than Methylococcus capsulatus during their tests.

When they tried growing microbes in either an alkaline or a high-heat environment to prevent the growth of pathogens, they discovered that a bacterium called Halomonas desiderata (15 percent protein and 7 percent fats) can thrive in the harsh conditions.

Another species of bacteria called Thermus aquaticus can live in environments reaching 158 degrees Fahrenheit, as well.

With a nutritional value that’s 61 percent protein and 16 percent fats, it’s yet another possible source of microbial goo grub for future astronauts.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: Popular Science

Is Butter Really A Carb?

Turns out, one of the most famous lines from our favorite chick flick, Mean Girls, is wrong.

Regina George is trying to lose weight and cutting out carbs, and asks Cady (Lindsey Lohan’s character) if butter is a carb.

Cady famously replies with a condescending “yes”, but it turns out, butter is in actual fact not a carb. Okay, well it is, but it’s a very low carb. Low as in it contains only  0,1g of carbs.

Butter is used in low carb diets like banting. So technically, Regina could have – and should have – had that butter instead of the cheese fries she decided to get instead.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: Popular Science


Scientists Develop ‘Speed Breeding’ To Feed Rising Population

Scientists are engaged in a race against time to breed staple crops that can both survive climate change and yield bigger harvests. Their aim is to feed a growing population in a warming world.

The method used for centuries of growing one crop a year in variable weather conditions and then selecting the seeds from the best plants is no longer viable in fast-changing climatic conditions.

Scientists are concerned that for some years there have been few improvements in yields of grain.

A new system called speed breeding, designed to grow six crops a year, has been developed in glasshouses to accelerate the process.

Using LED lighting to aid photosynthesis, intensive regimes allow the plants to grow for 22 hours a day.

This new form of lighting is a lot cheaper and also more efficient than using the old sodium vapor lamps that produced too much heat and not enough light.

Among the crops that can now be grown up to six generations a year are wheat, barley, peas and chickpeas. Canola, a form of rapeseed, can achieve four cycles.

Using this technology, scientists can study the way plants deal with diseases, and their shape and structure and flowering time, and the growing cycle can be repeated every eight weeks.

It is hoped the technique will yield new varieties of crops that can be grown on a commercial scale within 10 years.

If this could be achieved, it would increase productivity in the same way as the green revolution of the 1960s, when new crop varieties, modern farm practices, and use of fertilizers saved millions of people from starvation.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: Popular Science

At Last, Make Perfect Popcorn With Science

Popcorn has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

But though scientists have long known that expanding moisture within a kernel of corn causes it to burst into all its edible glory, they’ve had to contend with lingering popcorn mysteries.

What’s really going on when popcorn puffs? What makes that popping sound, anyway?

And what’s the perfect temperature for popping corn?

Now, French scientists have answers on both fronts. The BBC reports that a team of physicists used high-speed cameras to observe popcorn as it was heated in an oven.

As they cranked up the oven temp in 10°C increments, they could see every wobble, burst and jump as unpinned kernels turned into popcorn.

At 2,900 frames per second, the physicists were able to see the physical mechanisms that give popcorn its pop. First, it forms a “flake” as internal pressure begins to fracture the kernel.

Then, a compressed “leg” erupts from the kernel, causing it to take off and jump.

They concluded that “popcorn is midway between two categories of moving systems: explosive plants using fracture mechanisms and jumping animals using muscles.”

And when the scientists synced up audio recordings to unravel the mystery of the sound that gives popcorn its name, they learned that it’s not caused by the fracturing kernel or its rebound as it pops, but by a release of pressurized water vapor.

So what’s the ideal temperature for popping corn? When heated to 338 degrees Fahrenheit, only 34 percent of kernels popped.

But by bumping up the temperature another increment to 356F, the scientists found that 96 percent of the kernels popped. At last—better popcorn through physics.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: Popular Science

Can Eating Too Much Make Your Stomach Burst?

I ate so much I’m about to burst!

Someone at your Thanksgiving table likely said this, after you’ve all stuffed your faces with turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and the rest.

But how much would you have to eat in order for your stomach to actually burst? Is that even possible?

Interestingly enough, you can rupture your stomach if you eat too much,” says Dr. Rachel Vreeman, co-author of “Don’t Cross Your Eyes … They’ll Get Stuck That Way!” and assistant professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine.

It is possible, but it’s very, very rare.

A handful of reports over the years document the tales of people who literally ate themselves to death, or at least came dangerously close.

Japanese doctors wrote in a 2003 case report that they believed it was a 49-year-old man’s “excessive over-eating” that caused his stomach to rupture, killing him.

And this 1991 case report describes a similar “spontaneous rupture” in an adult’s stomach “after overindulgence in food and drink.

Normally, your stomach can hold about one or one-and-a-half liters, Vreeman says — this is the point you may reach if you overdo it tomorrow, when you feel full to the point of nausea.

Pathologists’ reports seem to suggest the stomach is able to do OK handling up to about three liters, but most cases of rupture seem to occur when a person has attempted to stuff their stomach with about five liters of food or fluid.

It takes a certain amount of misguided determination to manage to override your natural gag reflex and continue to eat.

Which is, not surprisingly, reports of ruptured stomachs caused by overeating are most common in people with some sort of disordered eating, or limited mental capacity, Vreeman says.

Speaking of strong stomachs, you’d best have one in order to read this next paragraph. If vomiting isn’t happening, all that food and fluid still has to go somewhere.

The increasing volume of stuff in the gut puts pressure on the stomach’s walls, so much so that the tissue weakens and tears, sending the stomach contents into the body and causing infection and pain, Vreeman says.

Surgical intervention is necessary to repair a ruptured stomach and save the patient’s life.

In particular, she says, anorexics or bulimics may be at risk. In fact, Cedars-Sinai, the non-profit hospital in Los Angeles, actually lists this as a “symptom” of bulimia.

In rare cases, a person may eat so much during a binge that the stomach bursts or the esophagus tears. This can be life-threatening.

Other reported cases of spontaneous stomach rupture happen in individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome, a congenital disease that is characterized by, among other things, a kind of disordered eating.

An “intense craving for food,” resulting in “uncontrollable weight gain and morbid obesity.” according to the National Institutes of Health.

In a 2007 study examining the deaths of 152 individuals with the condition, 3 percent of those deaths were the result of gastric rupture and necrosis.

The takeaway here: This really happens, sometimes! Also: This is probably not going to happen to you.

Even if you’re starting to feel a bit sick or tired and overwhelmed from eating so much at Thanksgiving, you’re still far, far away from the scenario where you’re going to make your stomach actually explode,” Vreeman assures.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: Popular Science

Laboratory Cultured Sea Urchins

Sea urchins can be raised from egg to egg in the laboratory.

With proper food, the larvae can be grown to maturity in about 3 weeks. When mature larvae are exposed to the proper chemical cues metamorphosis occurs.

Over the next 5 days the small urchins develop internal organs and then begin to feed. Sexual maturity can be reached in as little as 4.5 months.

By then the urchin is about a centimeter in diameter. Several different approaches to the study of developmental genetics are covered.

These include:

  1. Hybrids between the sand dollars Dendraster and Encope, in which both crosses produce offspring that have predominantly paternal characteristics;
  2. a preliminary description of two mutants, one which produces abnormally shaped blastula that may lead to a significant number of exogastrulae, and another that produces a large number of four- part symmetrical urchins;
  3. urchins produced by parthenogenetic activation and from reaggregated larval cells.

Almost all of sea urchin genetics has been limited either to studies of inter-specific and inter-generic hybrids or to the area of molecular biology.

To some extent, hybrid studies have been forced on the sea urchin embryologist because genetics at a more refined level has not been possible.

Hybrid studies have been useful and they played a particularly important part in the early investigation of the role of the nucleus vs. that of the cytoplasm.

Horstadius (1973) pre-sents an extensive discussion of these early investigations.

In many ways, research at the molecular level is just beginning, in spite of the fact that the literature is already very extensive.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist