more top stories »


Pomelo fruit inspires high-strength hybrid metal

Here's an interesting fact about the pomelo fruit: even though a mature fruit can weigh up to 2 kg (4.4 lb), they remain intact after falling from heights of over 10 meters (33 ft). The secret lies in the structure of their peel. Scientists have copied that structure, to produce a new type of aluminum composite that's stronger than straight aluminum. Read More
— Science

Grapesort system automatically obsesses over wine grapes

Wine grapes may soon be joining oranges and strawberries, on the list of "Fruits That Are Now Inspected and Sorted by Machines." As part of the Grapesort project, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation has helped create an automated system that not only gives bum grapes the boot, but also divides up the good ones according to quality. Read More
— Science

UV-LEDs make bygones of strawberry mold and decay

A truism as old as strawberry picking is the observation that the juicier and tastier the strawberries, the more quickly the berries turn to a mushy heap of rot and mold, even in the fridge. An answer to longer fruit storage may come with research showing that selective UV light inhibits both decay and the growth of mold. With new LEDs able to produce specific types of UV light, we might see gadgets for use in the fridge that keep produce fresher longer. Read More

All-in-one tool peels, splits, and slices bananas

Bananas are one of the tastiest and most convenient fruits available. They're easy to carry, come with their own cover, and are sweet enough to eat without the need to be cooked or affected in any way. However, they can be a little messy, especially if they're being eaten in any way other than simply peeled and chewed. The 3-in-1 Banana Split Tool from Amco Houseworks is a cheap and cheerful addition to the arsenal of any finicky fruit fan. Read More

Spray-on coating helps keep bananas from spoiling

Just about everyone loves bananas, but there is one problem with the things – they have a way of becoming overripe before they can be eaten. Yesterday, however, a scientist from China’s Tianjin University of Science and Technology announced the development of a spray-on coating that is capable of keeping picked bananas fresh for almost two weeks. Read More

Stretchy Bowl saves space, keeps fruit fresher

We're all encouraged to eat more fresh fruit - whether by parents, partners, or physicians - but it isn't always the easiest advice to follow. Fresh fruit doesn't stay fresh for long, especially if it sits in a bowl with other types of fruit that are closer to being past their best. It's also difficult to know what size of bowl you need to own in order to accommodate the differing numbers and types of fruit you are storing at any one time. Stretchy Bowl is an effort to solve both these issues. Read More
— Good Thinking

Inexpensive sensor measures ripeness of fruit

As fruit matures, it releases a gas known as ethylene, that causes the ripening process to begin. Once that process is under way, more ethylene is released, kicking the ripening into high gear. Currently, produce warehouses use expensive technologies such as gas chromatography or mass spectroscopy to measure ethylene levels, in order to gauge the ripeness of fruits that are in storage. A scientist from MIT, however, is developing small, inexpensive ethylene sensors that could be used in places such as supermarkets. There, they could let shopkeepers know which batches of fruit need to sold the soonest, in order to minimize spoilage. Read More
— Environment

Pilot plant converts fruit and veggie waste into natural gas for cars

Some readers might remember the Mr. Fusion unit in Back to the Future that Doc Brown fills with household garbage, including a banana peel and some beer, to power the iconic time-traveling DeLorean. While we're still some way from such direct means of running our cars on table scraps, researchers at Fraunhofer have developed a pilot plant that ferments the waste from wholesale fruit and veg markets, cafeterias and canteens to make methane, which can be used to power vehicles. Read More