Archive for the ‘food’ category: Page 203

May 7, 2019

Cryptic mutation is cautionary tale for crop gene editing

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, food, genetics

Even in this “age of the genome,” much about genes remains shrouded in mystery. This is especially true for “cryptic mutations”—mutated genes that are hidden, and have unexpected effects on traits that are only revealed when combined with other mutations. Learning from one infamous cryptic mutation in particular, researchers from CSHL share important lessons for breeding or gene editing in crops.

This story starts with the Campbell Soup Company and a field of tomatoes in the mid 20th century. One particular tomato plant had an unexpected beneficial trait: the fruits separated from the vine right where the green cap and stem touch the rest of the fruit. It turned out that this spontaneous natural mutant was ideal for large-scale production.

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May 6, 2019

Up to 1 million species are facing extinction, according to a new UN report. Without them, we could run out of food

Posted by in categories: existential risks, food, habitats

A new United Nations report on the world’s biodiversity found that between 500,000 and 1 million species face extinction due to habitat destruction.

Read more

May 6, 2019

‘Catastrophe’ as France’s bird population collapses due to pesticides

Posted by in category: food

Bird populations across the French countryside have fallen by a third over the last decade and a half, researchers have said.

Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, the scientists said in a pair of studies – one national in scope and the other covering a large agricultural region in central France.

“The situation is catastrophic,” said Benoit Fontaine, a conservation biologist at France’s National Museum of Natural History and co-author of one of the studies.

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May 5, 2019

EXCLUSIVE: UK to open first ‘body farm’ for forensic research

Posted by in categories: food, sustainability

The farms take donated bodies and bury them or leave them on the surface to decompose. Researchers can also set up and study specific circumstances, for example by placing bodies in water or in a vehicle in the farm. The world’s first and most famous farm opened in 1981 in Knoxville, Tennessee; at least six more sites have opened in the United States. In recent years, researchers have set up body farms in Australia and the Netherlands, and Canada will open one this year.

Sites that allow the study of human remains have long existed in the United States and have started to appear recently in other countries.

May 4, 2019

Multivascular networks and functional intravascular topologies within biocompatible hydrogels

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, mathematics, space travel

In air-breathing vertebrates, the circulatory and pulmonary systems contain separate networks of channels that intertwine but do not intersect with each other. Recreating such structures within cell-compatible materials has been a major challenge; even a single vasculature system can be a burden to create. Grigoryan et al. show that natural and synthetic food dyes can be used as photoabsorbers that enable stereolithographic production of hydrogels containing intricate and functional vascular architectures. Using this approach, they demonstrate functional vascular topologies for studies of fluid mixers, valves, intervascular transport, nutrient delivery, and host engraftment.

Science, this issue p. 458

Solid organs transport fluids through distinct vascular networks that are biophysically and biochemically entangled, creating complex three-dimensional (3D) transport regimes that have remained difficult to produce and study. We establish intravascular and multivascular design freedoms with photopolymerizable hydrogels by using food dye additives as biocompatible yet potent photoabsorbers for projection stereolithography. We demonstrate monolithic transparent hydrogels, produced in minutes, comprising efficient intravascular 3D fluid mixers and functional bicuspid valves. We further elaborate entangled vascular networks from space-filling mathematical topologies and explore the oxygenation and flow of human red blood cells during tidal ventilation and distension of a proximate airway. In addition, we deploy structured biodegradable hydrogel carriers in a rodent model of chronic liver injury to highlight the potential translational utility of this materials innovation.

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May 2, 2019

Reversal of Two Advanced Glycation End Products Achieved

Posted by in category: food

Today, we want to highlight a new study that shows, for the first time, that established AGEs can be reversed via therapeutic intervention.

What are AGEs?

Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are harmful compounds that are created when proteins or fats combine with sugars in the bloodstream in a process known as glycation. AGEs can also be encountered in foods, and foods that have been exposed to high temperatures, such as in grilling or frying, tend to be high in these compounds.

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May 2, 2019

Yara and IBM join forces to transform the future of farming

Posted by in categories: food, robotics/AI

Yara International, a crop nutrition company, and IBM, have signed an agreement to build the world’s leading digital farming platform, providing holistic digital services and instant agronomic advice.

Yara and IBM Services will jointly innovate and commercialize digital agricultural solutions that will help increase global food production by drawing on the two companies’ complementary capabilities.

Yara’s agronomic knowledge, backed by more than 800 agronomists and a century of experience, and IBM’s digital platforms, services, and expertise in artificial intelligence and data analytics.

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Apr 29, 2019

Burger King plans nationwide roll out of vegan Impossible Whopper

Posted by in categories: food, sustainability

‘IMPOSSIBLE WHOPPER:’ The new Impossible Whopper is a plant-based version of the brand’s iconic Whopper sandwich, and has no beef. MORE:

— Burger King announced on Monday that it plans to extend testing of their vegan Impossible Whopper into additional markets across the nation, eventually making the vegan burger available nationwide.

The new Impossible Whopper is a plant-based version of the brand’s iconic Whopper sandwich, and has no beef.

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Apr 29, 2019

Non-thermal plasma: new technology could kill 99.9% of the deadly germs in the air

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, health

You can live without food for three weeks and without water for up to three days. But you can’t live without air for more than three short minutes. It’s not just the abundance of air that matters – the quality is essential, too. Unfortunately, air can be contaminated with dangerous germs known as airborne pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses.

Airborne diseases are very easily transmitted, and can result in respiratory illness that can be life threatening. It’s therefore no wonder that outbreaks of airborne infectious diseases are a major public health concern, and that researchers are working hard to come up with technologies to provide clean air. So far, however, such technologies have had limited success.

Now a new study suggests that non-thermal plasma – a cool gas made up of electrically charged particles, despite having no overall charge – could inactivate airborne viruses and provide sterile air. Although the technology has a long history and many applications (in medicine and food industry), this is a completely new use for it.

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Apr 29, 2019

New approach could lead to a lifetime flu vaccine

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

If the virus that causes flu were an ice cream cone, then the yearly vaccine teaches the immune system to recognize just the scoop – chocolate one year, strawberry the next. As the virus changes each year, so too must the vaccine.

A new approach that teaches the body to recognize the cone portion of the – which stays the same year-to-year – could shake up that yearly vaccination ritual and protect people against pandemic flu like the one that killed 40 to 50 million people in 1918. The team working on this new approach, led by Stanford biochemist Peter Kim, has shown early signs that their technique works in . They warn that they still need to make their more specific and show it works in much larger studies before testing it in people.

“We think it could be very generalizable,” said Kim, who is the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig professor of biochemistry and the lead investigator of the infectious disease initiative at the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub. “It could be important for coming up with a universal that would protect against pandemic flu, as well as for HIV.”

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