Video: What is Ringworm and How Do You Get Rid of It?

Did you know ringworm is not actually a worm?

This video explains what ringworm is, how the culprit feeds on your skin, hair, and nails, and learn how to not be its next meal.

Watch video at You Tube (4:19 minutes) . . . . .


Verifying ‘Organic’ Foods

Organic foods are increasingly popular — and pricey. Organic fruits and vegetables are grown without synthetic pesticides, and because of that, they are often perceived to be more healthful than those grown with these substances. But not all foods with this label are fully pesticide free, and it can be challenging to detect low amounts of the substances. Now, scientists report in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry a new strategy to determine organic authenticity.

The high cost and popularity of organic foods can be an incentive to try to pass off pesticide-treated foods as organic. Pesticide detection can be challenging, or even impossible, especially because some of these substances break down rapidly after being applied, leading to a false impression that a food has not been treated. However, a bit of pesticide on the surface of a fruit doesn’t necessarily signal intentional fraud. The compound might have just blown over from a neighboring field. To help improve the practice of verifying organic foods, Jana Hajslova and colleagues developed a method to analyze the metabolites generated within plants when pesticides break down, using an experimental vineyard as their testing ground.

The researchers used a combination of ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography and high-resolution mass spectrometry to identify and screen the metabolites of seven common pesticides. The team then used the method on the leaves and fruits of treated grapevines at different intervals between planting and harvest, as well as the wine made from the treated fruits. With the technique, the team observed decreasing levels of the initial pesticides as degradation occurred. The group also detected the metabolites of these substances as their levels varied over time. Many metabolites were still detectable at higher levels than the applied pesticide compound in wine made from the treated fruits, meaning that organic wines, not just fruits and leaves, could potentially be verified using the strategy. The researchers say that their methodology, with some refinement, should aid in food regulators’ efforts to crack down on illegal practices in organic farming.

Source: American Chemical Association

Today’s Comic

Would You Eat Genetically Modified Food if You Understood the Science Behind It?

Jonathon McPhetres, a newly minted PhD in psychology from the University of Rochester, admits he’s “personally amazed” what we can do with genes, specifically genetically modified food — such as saving papayas from extinction.

“We can makes crops better, more resilient, and more profitable and easier for farmers to grow, so that we can provide more crops around the world,” he says.

Yet the practice of altering foods genetically, through the introduction of a gene from a different organism, has courted controversy right from the get-go. While genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are considered safe by an overwhelming majority of scientists, including the National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization, and the American Medical Association, only about one third of consumers share that view.

One reason for the divide is that critics of genetically modified food have been vocal, often decrying it as “unnatural” or “Frankenfood” — in stark contrast to a 2016 review of published research that found no convincing evidence for negative health or environmental effects of GM foods.

A team of psychologists and biologists from the University of Rochester, the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and Cardiff University in Wales, set out to discover if the schism could be overcome; that is, to see if consumers’ attitudes would change if the public understood the underlying science better.

The short answer is “yes.” The team’s findings were recently published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

“Political orientation and demographics inform attitudes and we can’t change those,” says McPhetres, the study’s lead author. “But we can teach people about the science behind GMOs, and that seems to be effective in allowing people to make more informed decisions about the products that they use or avoid.”

Previous research has shown that more than half of Americans know very little or nothing at all about GM foods.

In a series of studies, the team discovered that people’s existing knowledge about GM food is the greatest determining factor of their attitudes towards the food — overriding all other tested factors. In fact, existing GM knowledge was more than 19 times higher as a determinant — compared to the influence of demographic factors such as a person’s education, socioeconomic status, race, age, and gender.

The team replicated the US findings in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, where opposition to modified food has tended to be higher than in the United States, and where GM food is highly regulated in response to consumer concerns.

In one study, using a representative US sample, participants responded on a scale of 1 (don’t care if foods have been genetically modified), 2 (willing to eat, but prefer unmodified foods), to 3 (will not eat genetically modified foods). Next, the team asked 11 general science knowledge questions — such as whether the universe began with a huge explosion, antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria, electrons are smaller than atoms, and how long it takes for the earth to orbit the sun. In study 2, participants took an additional quiz about their knowledge about the science, methods, and benefits of GM foods and procedures.

The team found that specific knowledge about GM foods and procedures is independent from a person’s general science knowledge — making the first (GM knowledge) a nearly twice as strong predictor of GM attitudes.

Genetically modified food: A guide to overcoming skepticism

The researchers followed up by conducting a five-week longitudinal study with 231 undergraduates in the US to test, first, if a lack of knowledge about GM foods could be overcome by teaching participants the basic science behind GM technology, and second, if greater knowledge would alter attitudes. McPhetres worked with Rochester colleague Jennifer Brisson, an associate biology professor, who vetted the students’ learning materials.

The team discovered that learning the underlying science led to more positive attitudes towards genetically modified foods, a greater willingness to eat them, and a lowered perception of GM foods as risky.

Their findings, argues the team, lend direct support for the deficit model of science attitudes, which — in broad terms — holds that the public’s skepticism towards science and technology is largely due to a lack of understanding, or absence of pertinent information.

The team’s online modules avoid confrontational approaches “which threaten preexisting beliefs and convictions,” suggesting a relatively simple guide for how to overcome skepticism about GM foods: focus on the actual underlying science not the message.

For McPhetres, the studies tie neatly into his larger research focus on people’s basic science knowledge and general interest in science — and how to improve both.

Knowledge and appreciation of science — “that’s the kind of information that people need to make informed decisions about products they use, and the food they eat,” say McPhetres who’s now heading to Canada for a joint post-doctoral appointment between the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Source: Science Daily

Alone, They Stink. Together They Create Dark Chocolate’s Alluring Aroma

Veronique Greenwood wrote . . . . . . . . .

If there was ever a science experiment you’d want to participate in, it might be this one: sitting in a booth and inhaling the tangy, intense aromas of dark chocolates. But not just anyone gets to join this research. The people doing the sniffing were trained to detect subtle differences in scent, helping chemists uncover just which odor molecules are behind the distinctive smell of these rich treats.

In a paper published last week in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the researchers behind this endeavor reveal that dark chocolate’s aroma comes down to 25 molecules, in just the right concentrations — some of which you might find rather disgusting if you sniffed them on their own.

The sensory panel was part of a study on chocolates with cacao contents from 90 to 99 percent, which are growing more popular, said Michael Granvogl, a chemist at the University of Hohenheim in Germany who wrote the paper with Carolin Seyfried of the Technical University of Munich. While chocolate flavors — which, like all flavors, are a combination of taste and smell working together — have been studied for decades, this was one of the first times chocolate of such high cacao concentrations has come under the microscope. Or rather, perhaps, the sniff-o-scope.

Fed through a battery of analytical machines, the chocolates yielded 77 compounds that could contribute to the chocolates’ aroma. Some were at levels too low to be detected by the human nose. But around 30 others made the sensory cut.

If you looked at a list of what each molecule smells like individually, you might notice something surprising. For instance, acetic acid, the odor molecule present in the highest levels in the chocolates, smells like vinegar by itself. And 3-methylbutanoic acid has a rancid, sweaty stench on its own. Then there’s dimethyl trisulfide, which smells like cabbage.

But these and other compounds, at very particular concentrations, work together to play the elaborate pipe organ that is our olfactory system. Together they attach to receptors in the nose and the back of the mouth to play a specific set of keys, creating a neural chord that says not “cabbage” or “sweat” or “vinegar,” nor even a mixture of these, but “chocolate.” Specifically, in this case, “very dark chocolate.”

Working backward to assemble the chord, the scientists were able to re-create the scent to the satisfaction of the trained sniffers using just 25 of those molecules.

The goal is not necessarily to create artificial versions of familiar food aromas. Understanding what is behind a smell can help make it clear what has gone wrong when a food product has an off-taste or scent.

The study also suggests that the wonderfully diverse world of flavor and aroma may, thanks to our pipe-organ sense of smell, be generated by a relatively small number of molecules working in concert. In other work, Dr. Granvogl’s colleagues have found that with around 226 molecules, they can make mixtures that capture the flavors of about 227 different types of food, from meats, fish and cheeses to chocolate.

“Butter is very easy — you only need four components to mimic butter flavor,” he said.

It is the concentrations of the molecules, not just their identities, that count, he and his colleagues have found. The exact same molecules make up the flavor of peanuts and hazelnuts, for instance.

“If you mix it in different concentrations, you end up on the one side with a hazelnut flavor and on the other side, a peanut flavor,” Dr. Granvogl said.

Source: The New York Times

Video: 3D Printed Plant-based Steak

NOVAMEAT is a startup aiming to provide new solutions to feed the planet’s growing population with plant-based meat products, overcoming the current unsustainable and inefficient livestock system by creating a healthy, efficient, humane and sustainable food supply.

To achieve this vision, NOVAMEAT’s main mission is to develop cutting-edge technology to produce and commercialize plant-based micro-extruded fibrous meat products that are accessible, safe, scalable, and of high quality, thanks to its proprietary technology.

Watch video at You Tube (2:45 minutes) . . . . .

Read also at Plant Based News:

Harvesting The Long-Term Power Of Plant-Based Meat Alternatives . . . . .