BSF’s News Digest February 2024

In the spotlight

Development of the gas chromatography/mass spectrometry-based aroma designer capable of modifying volatile chemical compositions in complex odors ǀ Chemical Senses
The study developed a GC/MS-based VOC collection/omission system that can rapidly change the VOC composition of samples. It incorporates a switching unit and allows easy omission of specific VOCs from VOC mixtures. This system overcomes previous sample preparation limitations and can also be used to create artificial aromas by swapping VOC compositions between samples. It can improve aroma research by identifying key odours from natural products.

New discovery speeds scientists’ push for HLB-tolerant citrus ǀ USDA Agricultural Research Service
Researchers from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) have discovered a genetic marker that could help hybrid citrus trees tolerate citrus greening disease and produce orange-like fruit. The disease, first identified in Florida in 2005, threatens the citrus industry, which contributes $7 billion to the state's economy and employs more than 32,000 people. The team identified a total of 26 flavour compounds and seven chemicals called esters that are essential for the desired flavour profile of orange juice. This genetic discovery could accelerate the search for hybrid citrus trees that can tolerate the disease by combining traditional techniques with modern genetic tools.

Labeling explainer: Naming foods with added flavorings ǀ Michigan State University
A quick overview of naming foods with added flavorings, from the faculty of the MSU Food & Dietary Supplement Labeling Workshop. March 5-6, 2024. Orlando, Florida.

Scientists invent new hybrid food by growing beef inside grains of rice ǀ ScienceAlert
Korean scientists have developed a hybrid food, combining bovine fat and muscle cells with rice grains. The beef-infused rice, grown using cow muscle and fat stem cells, is rich in nutrition and could potentially ease food pressure. The hybrid rice is firmer and more brittle than regular rice, with significantly higher protein and fat content. The production process is still in its infancy, but the team hopes to refine it to reduce time and increase the uptake of cellular material. This grain-based hybrid food could potentially serve as food relief for famine, military ration, or space food.

Unraveling the aroma profiling of Baijiu: Sensory characteristics of aroma compounds, analytical approaches, key odor-active compounds in different Baijiu, and their synthesis mechanisms ǀ Trends in Food Science & Technology
More than 2700 trace compounds were reported in Chinese Baijiu. Among these compounds, odor-active compounds (OACs) can directly exhibit sensory characteristics, which play a crucial role in determining the overall aroma characteristics of Baijiu. The OACs in Baijiu have been extensively studied through sensory evaluation, instrumental analysis, aroma extract dilution analysis (AEDA), odor activity value (OAV), aroma recombination, and omission experiments. The principal pathways for the synthesis of OACs through microbial metabolism.

‘A real game-changer for Europe’: Plans to loosen rules on genomic techniques pass first hurdle ǀ AgTechNavigator
Proposals to loosen EU rules on gene edited crops have passed a significant barrier after the European Parliament's Environmental Committee voted in favour of a proposal to introduce a new regulatory framework for New Genomic Techniques (NGTs).

Berry tasty: the fruits emerging from new breeding and processing ǀ Horizon
The berry sector in Europe is facing a serious threat due to increasingly erratic growing conditions sparked by climate change, making berries more vulnerable to pests, diseases, and droughts. Professor Bruno Mezzetti leads a project called BreedingValue, which aims to increase the genetic diversity of cultivated strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries to make them more resilient while retaining the desirable traits of taste, texture, and smell. Another EU-funded project, FRIETS, is developing new dehydration techniques to increase the shelf life of berries, replace conventional salts and sugars, and create healthier snacks. The project chimes with an EU initiative called Food 2030, aiming to make Europe's food systems more sustainable and healthy.

Fears brie and camembert to go 'extinct' as fungus used to make the cheeses is dying out ǀ LBC
Brie and camembert could disappear from shelves because the fungi that make them are dying off, French scientists have warned. The fungus, originally organically grown in damp cellars, has been cloned to conform to industry tastes, colors, and food safety demands. The fungus's genetic diversity has been significantly reduced, making it difficult for cheese producers to find enough spores to create more cheeses.

The origins of fast food in the ancient Roman Empire ǀ Food Republic
Archaeological excavations of the ancient city of Pompeii reveal that the innovations of fast food are another area of modern cuisine that has unexpectedly ancient origins – quite similar to French toast, actually. Known by ancient Romans as thermopolia, these businesses prepared and sold a variety of meals so that customers could find sustenance without having to cook it themselves — which was not only a convenience but also a necessity for the many families who didn't have kitchens at home. Ancient Roman society relied heavily on thermopolia, or shops that sold hot food, for daily meals. These establishments, often referred to as "hot spots," were essential for the survival of the community, but were often viewed negatively by disreputable individuals.

Fighting food waste: Scientists find way to keep vegetables fresher for longer ǀ Food Navigator
Fighting food waste is one of the most impactful ways we can help to prevent climate change. Now researchers at the University of Bath say they’ve found a way of keeping veggies fresh all the way to our fork.

Scientists use blue-green algae as a surrogate mother for 'meat-like' proteins ǀ
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have not only succeeded in using blue-green algae as a surrogate mother for a new protein—they have even coaxed the microalgae to produce "meat fiber-like" protein strands. The achievement may be the key to sustainable foods that have both the "right" texture and require minimal processing.

The art of olfaction should take its place alongside other art forms ǀ New Scientist
Smell has unrivalled emotional power. As such, the art of olfaction is rightfully being included in a new multisensory performance, says perfumer Mathilde Laurent

See more news: