Tag: Food Technology

Scientists Engineer Cancer Fighting Purple Tomatoes
Designed-by-Evolution

Purple GM Tomatoes Prevent Cancer

Normally, when we select for characteristics in fruits and vegetables, it’s to bring them closer to some modernist ideal: corn that’s sweeter, lettuce that’s crisper, cucumbers that are perfectly green and straight. However, a new strain of tomato out of the UK may soon topple the spherical red fruit from its iconic position. These purple GM tomatoes owe their unusual hue to a dark purple-blue pigment called anthocynanin. Not only does this antioxidant double the shelf life of tomatoes in the supermarkt, it also extends the lives of mice that are genetically predisposed to cancer. A tomato that cuts down on food waste and the incidence of cancer? Even if pasta and pizza will never look the same, maybe it’s time to pass the purple.

Via John Innes Centre. Photo via Natural Eater.
Thanks to Peter Klomp for the heads up!

3D printed food
Food Technology

3D Printed Food, Meet Willy Wonka

There has been talk of 3D printed food for a long time. We saw meals materialized out of thin air in Star Trek. A few years ago, a beautifully designed food printer was featured on this blog, if only in an artist’s impression, with the end product being a brownish drop of liquid. But when will this elusive printer finally be here, in real life? It turns out it already is.

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tofu_talarico
Design-for-debate

Sitting on Tofu

Tofu is a soy-based food typical of Asian cuisine, rich in protein, known and appreciated especially by vegetarians and vegans. We already know this. What we didn’t know is that, if dehydrated, tofu also becomes a good material to build furniture. 

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Microchip
Augmented-Bodies

Implantable Microchip Controls Appetite

UK scientists have designed an implantable microchip that attaches to the vagus nerve, which helps to control a variety of body functions from heart rate to hunger. The chip, which is just a few millimeteres in size, is designed to read electrical and chemical signatures of appetite. The device then sends electrical signals to the brain to reduce or stop the urge to eat.

The work could provide an alternative to weight-loss surgery. Sir Stephen Bloom, one of the researchers involved in the project, says that the chip could provide an alternative to “gross surgery” and reassures potential patients that “There will be a little tiny insert and it will be so designed as to have no side effects, but restrict appetite in a natural way”.

Although this might sound revolutionary, there are other groups working on the vagus nerve to combat obesity. American companies such as EnteroMedics and IntraPace both use vagus nerve stimulation to try to reduce food consumption.

Via: BBC. Image credit: Fresh Healthy Vending. Related: Implantable Silicon-Silk Electronics, Battery-Free Implantable Neural Sensor, Phone Tooth.

Color labeling candy bars for health
Biomimicmarketing

Green Colors Make Food Seem Healthier

Green: It’s the color of spring leaves, little frogs and, apparently, health. According to a new study, consumers overwhelmingly rated candy bars with green nutrition labels as healthier than those with red labels, even when all the data remained the same. While green is perceived as a “green light” to go ahead and eat a sugary snack, the color green is also heavily pushed in biomimicmarketing to imply a product is wholesome and natural – and therefore better for you.

Via the Washington Post.

image from Shutterstock
Food Technology

Paint by Numbers, then Eat It

“The Book Club”, a London-based venue, is teaming up with the company “Animal Vegetable Mineral” to create a workshop in which participants are able to create an “expression using all the senses” and then eat it. Along with chocolate model making and “sugar graffiti”, the workshop will include “edible painting-by-numbers”.

The team has created edible paint, inks and sugar-based sprays to daub onto specially designed images of “things like sandwiches and dogs”. This event presents new forms of expression and interaction with the process of preparing and eating food, and points out future directions for food culture. One day we might be seeing an eat-by-numbers based upon in-vitro meat paint. Imagine painting a charming cow out of beef paint and then chowing down on your masterpiece!

Facebook event page here.

early egyptians brewing beer
Augmented-Bodies

Did Booze Make Us Modern?

Psychiatrist Jeffrey P. Kahn believes that beer, far from being an agent of late-night chaos and early morning regrets, is what gave our ancestors modern civilization. Beer, he writes, triggered the leap from rule-bound hunter-gather groups into the creative, complex societies we’ve been enjoying for the last 10,000 years. Is there some truth in this statement, or is it no more solid than a foamy head of ale?

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soylent
Food Technology

“Soylent” Liquid Meals Will Save the World

Rob Rhinehart has found a way to stop eating. Tired of spending time, money and energy on preparing meals, this young American decided to find a new way to survive without actual food. He created a unique mixture called “Soylent”, which contains nothing but the elements the body needs: iron, vitamins, fat, calcium and dozens of other nutrients. This is minimalism in eating: Nothing in this beige milkshake-like beverage can be identified as coming from any recognizable food.

Rhinehart followed a strict Soylent diet for several weeks and was amazed by the results of the experiment. He felt and looked healthier, and saved money and time. You can read the whole story on his website, and even find the recipe to make your own Soylent shake.

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shutterstock_67658812
Food Technology

Q&A with CEO of In Vitro Meat Company “Modern Meadow”

Andras Forgacs, the CEO of in vitro meat (IVM) manufacturers Modern Meadow set up a Reddit AMA (“ask me anything”) a week ago to discuss the merits of his product. Below are a few extracts from the question-and-answer session:

Q. How confident are you that you can get it identical to a real steak within, say, 10 years?

A.Real steak is a big stretch. It won’t be the first product since steak is very hard to make for now. Instead, the first wave of meat products to be made with this approach will likely be minced meats (burgers, sausages, etc.) and pates (goose liver pate, etc.). Also seafood is an early possibility since the texture requires may be easier to achieve than premium cuts.

While I doubt anyone will make commercial quantities of premium steak within 10 years, we will eventually get there but it will be an Nth generation product.

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