The Future of Food is Tiny

April 24 2008 / by juldrich / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Business & Work   Year: General   Rating: 10 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

Cross-posted from www.jumpthecurve.net

The famous artist Leonardo da Vinci once offered the following pearl of wisdom: “Study the art of science and the science of art.” It is advice that food scientists have taken to heart in spades. However, as a result of advances in the new emerging field of nanotechnology – which is briefly defined as manipulating atoms at the molecular level in order to make new products – scientists and other food professionals will now be required to apply their understanding of science to a level that is so infinitesimally small that it is hard to grasp. One nanometer is roughly 100,000 times thinner than a human hair.

But to professionals in a field where it is not uncommon that a pinch of a spice or a few extra seconds of heat to an ingredient can make the difference between a good meal and a great one, it will be important to understand that at the nanoscale the weird world of quantum mechanics kicks in and materials and ingredients begin to manifest entirely new characteristics, and it is scientists ability to manipulate these new and enhanced characteristics that lies at the heart of the fields ability to transform virtually every aspect of food. (For a good, short primer, I recommend this recent article describing Nestle’s use of nanotechnology to create foods with optimal stability, nutrient delivery, flavors and aromas.)

A New Sharper Knife

Today, the food scientist must concern him or herself with issues of health and nutrition, good and bad fats, sanitation, packaging and, of course, pairings, aromas, textures, sensations and flavors. The ability to apply modern science to culinary problems in these latter areas has sometimes called “molecular gastronomy.” Nanotechnology will require culinlogists to take this skill to a new and smaller level. (cont.)

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The Future of Farming: Reaching for the Sky (and down in the basement)

March 05 2008 / by Venessa Posavec / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Environment   Year: 2010   Rating: 5

When you think of a farm your mind may invoke images of rolling fields, tractors and perhaps a cow or two. But in the future – not so! Farms are movin’ from the country and into your nearest metropolis faster than you might think.

Due to unpredictable weather patterns that destroy millions of tons of crops each year and a growing human population set to peak at about 9 billion, some future-focused innovators are looking for better ways to keep food on the table. Two neo-farm prototypes currently evolving on separate continents share a common concept: urban farming as the future of sustainable agriculture.

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7 Sci-Fi Stories in which Biomass Saves Humanity's Ass

October 14 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Biotechnology   Year: 2008   Rating: 5 Hot

There’s an interesting post over at the Energy Roadmap titled Investors betting on biological future for biofuels – We can ‘grow’ energy!.

It got me thinking — is our salvation really in the hands of these small microbials? Do science fiction writers have it right?

War of the Worlds
An invasion of Martians threaten to obliterate humanity. Humans are forced to run, unable to combat the technologically advanced tripods the Martians are manning. All seems lost until tripods start falling down for unknown reasons. Eventually, all the Martians have died due to a lack of immunities against Earth’s bacteria.

Red Planet
Earth, due to overpopulation and pollution, has seeded Mars with oxygen-producing algae in the hope of being able to eventually move to the planet. Astronauts are sent to the planet to find out why oxygen production has stalled and discover a native bug which feeds on the algae and produces oxygen. Running out of air, the astronauts remove their helmets expecting to die but find oxygen.

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Portable Food-In-A-Pill Helps Soldiers and Civilians in Emergencies, Will Metabolize Your Own Fat

November 06 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2020   Rating: 4 Hot

For those emergency situations where food might be scarce (or even destroyed by enemy fire) comes the Meal Ready to Take (MRT), a device loaded with enough food pills to sustain life for a week. Depress the top button for a full-sized meal.

Although we are told it time and again, not very many of us prepare for disasters. Likewise, soldiers in the field trust that they’ll have enough food in their backpack or vehicle to last them the duration of the mission. So how many water bottles do you have in your place in case of emergency? A half gallon at best? And food? It’s for this reason the MRT is essential to any disaster preparedness kit and in the field of battle.

Inside each pill is enough vitamins and nutrients to constitute about half a meal for a person on a 2,000 Calories a day diet. While it may not feel like you’re eating a meal due to the size (your stomach will still gnaw at itself), you’ll still notice a difference in your energy levels. Your stomach may be empty but your body is still getting the sustenance it needs to survive.

Where does the rest of the meal come from?

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