BSF’s News Digest November 2023

In the spotlight

It's a first: Scientists find ethyl vanillin in a specially-bred strawberry ǀ
University of Florida scientists have found ethyl vanillin—an aroma compound in many artificial vanilla-flavored food products—in a UF/IFAS-bred strawberry. This is a key finding for the food and beverage industry and for the UF/IFAS strawberry breeding program.

Flavoromics: An integrated approach to flavor and sensory assessment ǀ Routlege
This new book describes the tools to do high-throughput, trace analyses that represent both taste and olfaction stimuli. It explains how today's single sample research will generate thousands of data points, which are loaded into sophisticated statistical analysis algorithms to establish what stimuli are responsible for flavor. This cutting-edge equipment will enable us to create flavorings and perfumes that are more realistic and superior.

Engineered odorant receptors illuminate structural principles of odor discrimination ǀ bioRxiv
It is poorly understood how ORs recognize chemically diverse odorants, while a fundamental bottleneck is the inability to visualize odorant binding to ORs.Here, fundamental molecular properties of odorant-OR interactions were uncovered using engineered ORs created using a consensus protein design strategy.

QuantumScents: Quantum-mechanical properties for 3.5k olfactory molecules ǀ Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling
This paper introduces QuantumScents, a quantum mechanics augmented derivative of the Leffingwell data set.

Each of your nostrils smells the world uniquely, study reveals | Science Alert
Thanks to our clever brains, it's not immediately noticeable to us, but our two nostrils are actually working independently in some ways and appear to have their own separate sense of smell.

Gasoline, cigarette smoke, aged cheese: Why do we like strange scents? ǀ Fragrantica
Is it strange that the smell of wet soil can be more appealing than tropical flowers? Don't worry; we're all drawn to unconventional odors like burning rubber, Play-Doh, or chlorine. Is it true that preferences are culturally relative, driven by individual tastes, or universally influenced by molecular structures? Science offers various explanations for these phenomena.

AI can now outperform humans in 5 key cognitive ways ǀ ZME Science
AI has made remarkable progress in five domains: handwriting recognition, speech recognition, image recognition, reading comprehension, and language understanding. However, this doesn't mean AI is strictly better than humans. The convergence of AI and human cognition offers a glimpse into a world where machines assist, augment, and sometimes surpass human capabilities. AI is a tool crafted by human ingenuity.

Scientists just discovered a new human sense of touch ǀ Science Alert
A new study reveals a previously undiscovered way that we can feel light touches: directly through our hair follicles. Before now, it was thought that only nerve endings in the skin and around the hair follicles could transmit the sensation.

Warmer climate, spicier food. But which country is the spiciest? ǀ Big Think
Spiciest food: Ethiopian. Least spicy: Japanese food. In general, a warmer climate means spicier food. This chart shows interesting correspondences and exceptions.

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