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Food technology


— Biology

Biomimicry Global Design Challenge down to final eight

How to improve food systems by looking to nature for design solutions – this was the brief given to entrants in the Biomimicry Institute’s Global Design Challenge, which announced its finalists this week. The selection committee has drawn up a list of eight teams, each of which has been invited to prototype its solution in an accelerator program that will award US$100,000 to the winner.

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— Biology

Tomatoes taste better after a nice hot bath

Store bought tomatoes are notorious for having an insipid taste, so a team of scientists led by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working on new methods to ensure that future supermarket tomatoes have more flavor. The research suggests this can be achieved by a simple, inexpensive alteration to conventional processing – a hot bath.

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— Biology

Edible coating more than doubles strawberry shelf life

Strawberries may be delicious, but they don't have much of a shelf life. So if you find a great bargain on a flat of them, you can end up throwing half of it away after a few days. In a move that may save many a shortcake, scientists at the University San Nicolás de los Garza in Mexico have developed an edible coating made from pectin that preserves strawberries for longer without affecting their taste.

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Walk-in cocktail creates a boozy atmosphere

Have you ever finished work on a Friday and felt like a glass of your favorite tipple simply won't cut it? Well soon you'll be able to have a whole roomful of it. The Alcoholic Architecture bar is a walk-in cocktail that lets guests breathe in a cloud of alcoholic mist. Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs and eyes.

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— Health & Wellbeing

Electrospun nanofibers may make for better delivery of healthfood supplements

Packing food with nutrients, vitamins and other supplements to improve our health sounds like a simple enough idea, but protecting them as they pass through the digestive system isn't all that easy. While various methods have been employed to encase compounds for more effective delivery, a new technique is showing great promise as a means of keeping them intact. Scientists claim that coating the ingredients in nanofibers created through a process called electrospinning can provide a better safeguard, and could lead to delivery of improved health supplements.

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X-raying meat could guarantee its tenderness

Although many retailers already display the tenderness of meat cuts on their packaging, Norwegian research group SINTEF has developed what it believes is a better system. Instead of relying on human interpretations of tenderness, it uses x-rays to give a less subjective and more accurate rating.

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