Chemistry

In the lead up to the World Barista Championships, University of Bath scientists say brewing more flavorsome coffee could be as simple as chilling the beans before grinding.

A team from the University working with renowned Bath coffee shop Colonna&Smalls found that chilling roasted beans before grinding resulted in narrower distribution of small particles, which during the brewing process allows access to more flavor from the same amount of coffee.

Coffee is among the most valuable traded commodities globally, worth $17.9T USD to the US economy in 2015 alone. This discovery could have big implications for the coffee industry and might even allow domestic coffee connoisseurs to brew tastier beverages.


While Greenpeace is using black hat tactics to take out companies that don't submit to their efforts at racketeering, the pro-science community recognizes that renewable wood could be used to replace oil.

Much of te present-day chemical industry is based on oil; products from plastics to detergents and to medication have their origins in oil and its constituents. Yet oil reserves are finite, so scientists have been looking for ways to manufacture these products from sustainable materials, such as wood.


Technological advances have made it rather easy to detect food fraud. The seafood industry, in particular, is rife with dishonesty. In 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported that 93 percent of fish samples labeled "red snapper" were actually some other species, like tilapia.

Hot molecules, which are found in extreme environments such as the edges of fusion reactors, are much more reactive than those used to understand reaction studies at ambient temperature.

Detailed knowledge of their reactions is relevant for modeling nuclear fusion devices and simulating the reaction that takes place on a spacecraft's heat shield at the moment when it re-enters Earth's atmosphere. In a new in EPJ D paper, Masamitsu Hoshino from Sophia University, Tokyo, and colleagues reveal a method for controlling the likelihood that these reactions between electrons and hot molecules occur, by altering the degree of bending the linear molecules, modulated by reaching precisely defined temperatures.


Thanks to science and technology, food is no longer a luxury, it is a commodity. If anti-science groups spent less time scaring uneducated people and more time caring about humanity, there would be enough food to feed 10 billion people right now, just by reducing food waste.

Right now, almost 50 percent of the world's fruit and vegetable crops are lost, much of it due to perishable foods, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. A new study has one interesting solution - an odorless, biocompatible silk solution so thin as to be virtually invisible that keeps fruit fresh for more than a week without refrigeration. 


This month, the International Agency for Research on Cancer will issue another paper suggesting a chemical causes cancer - probably one of the compounds in coffee - and journalists will read what IARC actually claims about calculating risk and assume IARC calculates risk. Then, after blowback from scientists who do not consult for Environmental Defense Fund or were not hand-picked to be on the IARC committee, IARC will state they don't talk about risk.

There is a difference between hazard and risk, of course. Caffeine is far more hazardous than BPA, glyphosate or aspartame but, like with those three compounds, you'd have to drink 7,000 cups of something containing them per day to get a toxic effect.

In the world of chemistry, one minus one almost always equals zero.


Soy isoflavones and peptides may inhibit the growth of microbial pathogens that cause food-borne illnesses, according to a new study from University of Guelph researchers.

Soybean derivatives are already a mainstay in food products, such as cooking oils, cheeses, ice cream, margarine, food spreads, canned foods and baked goods.

The use of soy isoflavones and peptides to reduce microbial contamination could benefit the food industry, which currently uses synthetic additives to protect foods, says engineering professor Suresh Neethirajan, director of the BioNano Laboratory.

U of G researchers used microfluidics and high-throughput screening to run millions of tests in a short period.


A range of diseases -- from diabetes to cardiovascular disease, and from Alzheimer's disease to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- are linked to changes to genes in the brain, and a new study has found that hundreds of those genes can be damaged by fructose, prevalent in foods like honey. 


Humans may have the most complex breast milk of all mammals. Milk from a human mother contains more than 200 different sugar molecules, way above the average 30-50 found in, for example, mouse or cow milk.

The role of each of these sugars and why their composition changes during breastfeeding is still a scientific puzzle, but it's likely connected to the infant immune system and developing gut microbiome.