Alt-Seafood in Asia: Research Finds Consumers “Will Accept No Compromises”


Enlarge image . . . . .

GFI APAC has commissioned a series of surveys examining consumer attitudes to alt-seafood in Asia. Results showed that participants were curious about plant-based and cultivated seafood, but also sceptical about the benefits.

Across the four countries surveyed — Singapore, Thailand, Korea, and Japan — respondents expressed concern that alt-seafood would not be as fresh or natural as the conventional variety. Consumers in these countries are accustomed to buying fresh-caught fish on a daily basis, and are less trusting of prepackaged products.

“Plant-based and cultivated seafood present new oceans of opportunity for forward-thinking food companies”

While survey participants acknowledged the sustainability of alt-seafood, they were not prepared to accept any compromises on taste, texture, or health benefits. Many felt that the alternatives currently available fall short in these areas.

This means that considerably more investment will be required to improve the quality and cost of alt-seafood products. Since seven of the largest seafood-consuming markets are in Asia, satisfying the region’s consumers will be of key importance in the transition to alt-proteins.

Source: Vegconomist

 

 

 

 

Breakthrough in Search for Tinnitus Cure

After 20 years searching for a cure for tinnitus, researchers at the University of Auckland are excited by ‘encouraging results’ from a clinical trial of a mobile-phone-based therapy.

The study randomised 61 patients to one of two treatments, the prototype of the new ‘digital polytherapeutic’ or a popular self-help app producing white noise.

On average, the group with the polytherapeutic (31 people) showed clinically significant improvements at 12 weeks, while the other group (30 people) did not. The results have just been published in Frontiers in Neurology.

“This is more significant than some of our earlier work and is likely to have a direct impact on future treatment of tinnitus,” Associate Professor in Audiology Grant Searchfield says.

Key to the new treatment is an initial assessment by an audiologist who develops the personalised treatment plan, combining a range of digital tools, based on the individual’s experience of tinnitus.

“Earlier trials have found white noise, goal-based counselling, goal-oriented games and other technology-based therapies are effective for some people some of the time,” says Dr Searchfield.

“This is quicker and more effective, taking 12 weeks rather than 12 months for more individuals to gain some control.”

There is no pill that can cure tinnitus.

“What this therapy does is essentially rewire the brain in a way that de-emphasises the sound of the tinnitus to a background noise that has no meaning or relevance to the listener,” Dr Searchfield says.

Audiology research fellow Dr Phil Sanders says the results are exciting and he found running the trial personally rewarding.

“Sixty-five percent of participants reported an improvement. For some people, it was life-changing – where tinnitus was taking over their lives and attention.”

Some people didn’t notice an improvement and their feedback will inform further personalisation, Dr Sanders says.

Tinnitus is a phantom noise and its causes are complex. It has so far defied successful treatment.

While most people experience tinnitus, or ringing in the ears at least on occasions, around five percent experience it to a distressing degree. Impacts can include trouble sleeping, difficulty carrying out daily tasks and depression.

Dr Searchfield says seeing his patients’ distress and having no effective treatment to offer inspired his research. “I wanted to make a difference.”

The next step will be to refine the prototype and proceed to larger local and international trials with a view to FDA approval.

The researchers hope the app will be clinically available in around six months.

Source: University of Auckland

 

 

 

 

Israeli Company Is Developing the First Yogurt Made from Cell-cultured Milk Fat

Nicole Axworthy wrote . . . . . . . . .

Biotechnology startup Wilk (previously called Biomilk) is developing the world’s first yogurt made from cell-cultured milk fat. In its first stage, the product will be used as a proof of concept for the use of cultured milk ingredients in food production—showing that there is an alternative to the reliance on animals for dairy milk.

The yogurt will be the first food product to incorporate a cell-cultured milk ingredient and serve as proof of the viability of Wilk’s cell-based technology to minimize the need to use animals in future dairy production. While other key players in the industry try to tackle the environmental and ethical issues of the traditional dairy industry by producing alternatives such as plant-based and fermentation-based products, Wilk is aiming to undercut dairy by producing cell-cultured vegan milk that is identical to the real thing.

Founded in 2020, Wilk makes cell-cultured milk from both humans and animals by collecting mammary gland tissue, isolating the milk-producing cells, and then cultivating them in a bioreactor before producing specific milk ingredients. The startup holds patents on the laboratory production processes that replicate the milk-producing cells of humans and other mammals to create 100 percent real milk and milk components in laboratory settings.

What is cellular milk?

According to Wilk, its new yogurt product will contain the core component of milk fat cultured from cells, which means it retains the inherent nutrients found in real milk fats, including the full complement of macro and micronutrients. “These core properties cannot be replicated through alternative technologies, making Wilk the first company in the world to develop a dairy product containing genuine, cell-cultured milk fat,” Wilk CEO Tomer Aizen said in a statement.

The project is expected to last approximately six months, culminating in the incorporation of cell-cultured animal milk fat into the product. Concurrently, Wilk is working to increase the production capacity of cell-cultured fat in its facilities and establish optimal fat separation methods for use in foods.

In tandem with its advances in developing cell-cultured animal milk fats for dairy products, Wilk is working to accelerate the production of cultured human milk components for infant formula to develop products that are optimized for infants’ growth and development. This provides an alternative to traditional baby formula made from dairy. Last month, Wilk successfully produced human lactoferrin protein in the lab, potentially providing a solution to the baby formula shortage—which, most recently, was due to COVID-19-related supply chain issues within factory farms and baby formula recalls due to contamination.

“We will continue investing our efforts and resources to develop cell-cultured milk and breast milk components that will help our partners produce healthier products in a more sustainable manner,” Aizen said.

Last year, Wilk became the world’s first cell-cultured milk company to go public and is now publicly traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “WILK.” Shortly thereafter, the startup caught the attention of The Coca-Cola Company, receiving a $2 million investment from Coca-Cola’s Central Bottling Company arm (Coca-Cola Israel) to help expedite the arrival of products based on Wilk’s cultured milk to market. Wilk also recently received US patent approval to begin its distribution nationwide.

Source: VegNews

 

 

Aching Backs in Seniors: An Expert’s Guide to Pain Meds

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . . . .

Back and neck pain are often an unfortunate part of aging, but older adults can safely find relief with various medications, a new research review concludes.

The review of 138 clinical trials breaks down the evidence on medication options for seniors with “spine-related” pain — essentially any aches along the neck and back.

An overarching point is, there is no one-size-fits-all remedy, according to senior researcher Dr. Michael Perloff, a neurologist at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center.

Medication choices, he said, depend partly on the underlying cause of the pain. But particularly with older adults, any co-existing health conditions and medications they are taking are also a factor.

“You do have to be careful about medication interactions and side effects,” Perloff said.

At the same time, those issues should not bar older adults from getting pain relief, he stressed.

“If you’re an older person and you’ve been told there are no options for managing your pain, you may need to see a pain specialist,” Perloff noted.

“There’s a lot we can do with the weapons of medication, injections, physical therapy and, in some cases, surgery,” he added.

With younger adults, back and neck aches are often muscle-related. While that can be true for older adults, too, Perloff said, they often have pain related to degenerative changes in the spine — such as wear-and-tear breakdown in the discs or cartilage cushioning the spinal joints.

For that type of pain, common painkillers, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen, can help, the review found.

NSAIDs, like ibuprofen and naproxen (Motrin, Aleve), are more effective than acetaminophen (Tylenol), Perloff said. But acetaminophen may be the safer choice for some seniors, including those who are at increased risk of stomach bleeding, or who have kidney or heart disease.

With NSAIDs, limited use is key. Perloff’s team recommends that older people take them for two or three days during a pain flare-up, but avoid using them for weeks at a time.

“With chronic pain, it’s often up and down,” Perloff noted. “So your treatment needs are different at different times.”

In some cases, pain stems from a pinched nerve. One example is sciatica, where the sciatic nerve is compressed — often by a disc in the lower spine that slips out of place. That can cause pain that radiates from the lower back down the back of the leg.

NSAIDs can help ease sciatica, the review found. But another option, Perloff said, is medication specific to nerve pain — namely, gabapentin and pregabalin.

Those medications come with their own potential side effects, including dizziness and balance problems. So, the review found, any benefits have to be weighed against those risks, especially for older people who are taking other medications that can cause dizziness and falls, such as benzodiazepines.

Among the other findings:

  • Certain muscle relaxants, like carisoprodol and chlorzoxazone, carry a risk of sedation and falls. But some others, including tizanidine and baclofen, can safely ease older adults’ neck or back pain, in low doses.
  • For chronic low back pain, some antidepressants — especially duloxetine (Cymbalta) — have proven helpful in trials. They may be good choices, Perloff said, when an older adult has both pain and depression symptoms.
  • When oral drugs fail, injections of painkillers or anti-inflammatory corticosteroids may help with chronic pain.

The review, published recently in the journal Drugs & Aging, focused on medications. But Perloff said that when his patients have chronic pain — generally three months or more — he’s probably also prescribing physical therapy.

“Physical therapy can be valuable for optimizing and maintaining function,” agreed Dr. Robert Griffin, an anesthesiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City who specializes in evaluating and treating back and neck issues.

Griffin, who reviewed the findings, also pointed to some other options. They include trigger point injections, where medication is injected into painful “knots” in the muscles; radiofrequency ablation, where radio-wave heat is applied to specific nerve tissue, to decrease pain signals from that area; and acupuncture and meditation, which may help ease symptoms or provide help in coping with them.

As for when people should see a health care provider for a painful back or neck, Griffin said “anytime they feel help is needed.”

He stressed, though, that people should seek medical care right away if they have additional symptoms that could indicate a serious health condition. Those include limb weakness, changes in bladder or bowel function, fever or unexplained weight loss.

Source: HealthDay

 

 

Research: Soy Sauce’s Salt-enhancing Peptides

Soy sauce deepens the flavor of soup stocks, gives stir-fried rice its sweet-salty glaze and makes a plate of dumplings absolutely enjoyable. But what exactly makes this complex, salty, umami sauce so tasty? Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have discovered the proteins and other compounds that give soy sauce its distinctive flavors and they say that proteins and peptides help make it salty.

Understanding how foods taste the way they do can help producers tailor their growing or manufacturing methods or modify the final product to boost certain flavors. Decoding the flavors of fermented foods like soy sauce is particularly challenging because they arise from complex processes, including the microbial breakdown of proteins and other compounds, that happen over a long period of time.

Though several compounds in soy sauce are known, no complete profile of its flavor agents has been developed. So, Thomas Hofmann and colleagues wanted to carry out a full assessment of the chemicals behind soy sauce’s flavor profile and test the completeness of this profile by using the compounds to recreate the seasoning’s distinctive taste.

The team started by trying to recreate soy sauce’s taste with a mixture of compounds known to be involved in its flavor. A panel of taste experts found that this recreated soy sauce wasn’t quite right — it wasn’t as salty or as bitter as the authentic product.

The team then searched for other, unknown flavor compounds, hypothesizing that small proteins could potentially be the missing ingredient. Using various chemical and taste analysis methods, they identified a collection of proline-modified dipeptides and other larger, newly identified proteins that enhanced umami and other flavors.

Several of the proteins were discovered to contribute to a salty sensation, which, in soy sauce, had only previously been attributed to table salt and other minerals. After mixing a sample containing over 50 individual compounds, the team was finally able to recreate the complex taste of soy sauce.

This profile could help producers optimize fermentation conditions to boost desirable compounds and tailor the taste of the final product, the researchers say.

Source: American Chemical Society