Wake Up and Smell the Cell-Cultured Coffee!

Coffee cells have been successfully produced by scientists in Finland using cellular agriculture. The innovation, coming from the land that drinks the most coffee per capita in the world, could help make the future production of coffee considerably more sustainable.

Scientists at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland produced the coffee cells in a bioreactor utilizing cellular agriculture – the process in which cell cultures floating in bioreactors can be filled with nutrient medium and used to produce various animal- and plant-based products. The team claims that the first batches produced smell and taste like conventional coffee.

Increasing demand, coupled with sustainability challenges and ethical concerns, is rendering traditional coffee agriculture wholly unsustainable. Development and market entry of such cellular agriculture, however, currently hinges on regulatory approval. At present, Singapore is the only state with advanced legislature, while Qatar is also not far behind. In the US, the USDA has called on stakeholders in the cell-cultured field to present comments and information while labeling legislation is reviewed.

“At VTT, this project has been part of our overall endeavor to develop the biotechnological production of daily and familiar commodities that are conventionally produced by agriculture. For this, we use many different hosts, such as microbes, but also plant cells,” stated Research Team Leader, Dr. Heiko Rischer from VTT.

“In terms of smell and taste, our trained sensory panel and analytical examination found the profile of the brew to bear similarity to ordinary coffee. However, coffee making is an art and involves iterative optimization under the supervision of specialists with dedicated equipment. Our work marks the basis for such work,” added Rischer.

Source: Vegconmist

Gut Bacteria Might be an Indicator of Colon Cancer Risk

A study published today in the journal Cell Host & Microbe reported that the increased presence of certain bacteria in a gut biome indicates a greater likelihood that colon polyps will become cancerous.

In his research, William DePaolo, associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, tracked 40 patients who had undergone routine colonoscopies and had biopsies taken near the polyps to identify bacteria present at relatively higher levels compared with those of patients who were polyp-free. All the patients were between the ages 50 and 75, and 60% were women.

“The rising incidence of colorectal cancer is a major health concern, but little is known about the composition and role of microbiota associated with precancerous polyps,” the study states.

DePaolo’s research team found that a common bacteria, non-enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis, was elevated in the mucosal biopsies of patients with polyps.

The research also found distinct microbial signatures distinguishing patients with polyps from those without polyps, and established a correlation between the amount of B. fragilis in the samples and the inflammation of small polyps.

Upon closer examination, DePaolo found that the B. fragilis from patients with polyps differed in its ability to induce inflammation compared to the B. fragilis from polyp-free individuals.

“The whole idea is that most people look at advanced colorectal cancer and think of the microbiome, but it’s hard to determine if the microbiome has changed and when it changed,” DePaolo said. “So we took an earlier look at the disease and asked when might the microbiome may be pushing a polyp toward cancer.”

Also, when people think of the microbiome and its role in disease, they often think of compositional changes where a potentially dangerous bacteria takes over, he added.

“What our data suggests is that, in order to survive within an environment where metabolic and inflammatory changes are occurring, a normally healthy gut and related bacteria may adapt in such a way that causes it to contribute to the inflammation rather than suppress it,” DePaolo explained.

Only 5% of the polyps in the colon actually turn out to be cancerous, he said. He said polyps seem to develop in the same areas of the colon repeatedly – and he theorized that in fact new screenings for colon cancer could look for key bacteria inhabiting the gut – and the amounts of this particular strain of B. fragilis – before pre-cancerous polyps even develop.

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer in the United States, and its incidence is rising among younger adults. If a screening were available to test the microbes, before a polyp even appears, it could be a key factor to drive these rates down, DePaulo suggested.

The next step, he said, is to expand the study to 200 patients to determine whether a fecal sample might be used as a surrogate for the mucosal biopsy.

Source: University of Washington

What’s for Lunch?

Vegetarian Set Lunch at Vegecafe Lotus in Toyohashi, Japan

The main dish is Pumpkin and Pea Croquette.

What Helps Your Heart More, Losing Fat or Gaining Muscle?

Alan Mozes wrote . . . . . . . . .

Shedding excess weight does much more for the long-term heart health of young people than building muscle, new research suggests.

It’s not that gaining muscle while young proved to be a cardiovascular problem. It’s just that losing fat offered bigger heart benefits.

“We absolutely still encourage exercise,” said study lead author Joshua Bell, a senior research associate in epidemiology at the University of Bristol in England.

“There are many other health benefits, and strength is a prize in itself,” he said. “We may just need to temper expectations for what gaining muscle can really do for avoiding heart disease. Fat gain is the real driver.”

The study followed more than 3,200 Brits born in the 1990s. It found those who had primarily lost fat during adolescence and young adulthood were much less likely than those who had gained muscle to develop risk factors such as high glucose, inflammation or “bad” cholesterol by age 25.

Participants had scans to assess levels of body fat and lean mass at ages 10, 13, 18 and 25. Handgrip strength tests were also assessed at 12 and 25.

At 25, participants underwent blood pressure and blood sample testing to assess levels of roughly 200 metabolic factors viewed as “a gateway for heart disease and other health problems,” Bell explained.

Such factors included insulin, C-reactive protein, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, creatinine and branched chain amino acids.

The result: For lowering risk factors for heart disease, “changes in body fat seem to matter much more than changes in muscle,” Bell said. By some measures — such as lowering levels of “bad” cholesterol — fat loss appeared to be as much as five times more protective than muscle gain, he added.

“Muscle gain only seemed beneficial when it happened in adolescence, between 13 and 18 years old,” Bell said. “This is a busy time of growth and maturity, and might be when we should promote some muscle gain as well. [Heart] benefits seem to fade after then.”

His bottom-line message: While muscle is important for outcomes like mobility and independence, fat control seems to be a higher priority when it comes to keeping markers for heart disease in check.

The results were published recently in PLOS Medicine.

Bell stressed that the findings are critical because the seeds of future heart trouble are sown among youths and adolescents, who are otherwise healthy.

While “serious events like heart attacks don’t tend to happen until older ages, heart disease doesn’t happen overnight,” Bell noted.

Lona Sandon is an associate professor in the school of health professions at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and reviewed the study findings.

She said you should aim to prevent excess fat gain from the start, rather than focus on fat loss later.

“Instill healthy eating and activity habits early on to maintain a healthy body weight throughout childhood and adolescence for the best chance of reducing early onset of heart disease risk factors,” said Sandon. “And by early on, I mean in the womb and infancy.”

There should be focus on educating parents about healthy pregnancies and healthy feeding patterns, Sandon advised. “Start with breastfeeding and feeding healthy whole foods and age-appropriate portions during infancy and early childhood,” she said.

Restricting calories during childhood is generally not a good idea, as this is a time of growth, Sandon cautioned. “Calories and quality foods are needed for proper growth and development,” she said.

Instead, exercise and sports can be a great way to keep a growing body trim. “Active play goes a long way toward keeping kids fit without putting the focus on body fat,” Sandon stressed. “Also active kids may be more likely to carry over those active habits into adulthood.”

Source: HealthDay



20 vacuum-packed vine leaves in brine
1/2 cup long grain brown rice
1-1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground sumac
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
salt and ground black pepper
lemon slices and mint sprigs, to garnish


  1. Rinse the vine leaves well under cold running water, then drain.
  2. Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the rice, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until almost cooked. Drain.
  3. Heat 2 tsp of the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the onion and cook until soft.
  4. Stir in the pine nuts and cook until lightly browned, then add the raisins, chopped mint, cinnamon, allspice and sumac, with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the rice and mix well. Leave to cool.
  5. Line a pan with any damaged vine leaves. Trim the stalks from the remaining leaves and lay them flat. Place a little filling on each. Fold the sides over and roll up each leaf neatly. Place the dolmades side by side in the leaf-lined pan, so that they fit tightly.
  6. Mix 1-1/4 cups water with the lemon juice and tomato puree in a small bowl. Whisk in the remaining olive oil until the mixture is well blended.
  7. Pour the mixture over the dolmades in the pan and place a heatproof plate on top to keep them in place.
  8. Cover the pan and simmer the dolmades for about 1 hour, or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the leaves are tender.
  9. Transfer the dolmades to a platter, garnish with lemon slices and mint sprigs and serve hot or cold.

Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Source: The Ultimate Book of Vegan Cooking

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