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Molecular Gastronomy: Understanding physical and chemical processes of cooking and eating. Retrieved July 5, from www. Considered to play a decisive role in many biological processes, the chemical tools to visualize the physical So it should come as no surprise that scientific disciplines like biophysics are being embraced for their ability to reveal the underlying physical and chemical processes that occur during food preparation and consumption.
The study of molecular biology got its start in the s when physicists and chemists became interested in exploring life at its most fundamental level. An egg white is 90 percent water, for example, but if you put it in the microwave for 10 seconds, although it remains 90 percent water its form changes enough so that you could bite into it.
Another quick example that most of us know is that when you slice into an apple it quickly starts to turn brown. But to avoid this, you can sprinkle it with lemon juice. Food transformation and consumption phenomena also tend to generate puzzling questions, which Lavelle believes are actually "promising and appetizing" opportunities to raise interest in science and improve health among students and the general public.
The next step is to "merge human sciences with 'hard' sciences to reach a truly interdisciplinary knowledge of food -- following the Brillat-Savarin definition of gastronomy as 'the knowledge of all that relates to man as he eats,'" said Lavelle. Materials provided by Biophysical Society. The following is an initial overview, by necessity brief and incomplete.
The idea is to develop short supply chains using local materials: for example fruit peels in Europe, algae in northern Europe, and shellfish processing leftovers in India, China, Mexico, and Canada Malinconico et al, , The biopolymers obtained in this way were successfully trialled in the replacement of films for agricultural soil mulching: when sprayed directly on the ground, they form a weed-killing film that in a few months, once its protective function is done, becomes an excellent plant fertilizer.
The films generally used for this purpose today are made with polyethylene PE and ethylene-vinylacetate copolymers EVA. Such films, contaminated by chemical fertilizers and herbicides, are left on the soil or to burn unsupervised by farmers, with a consequent emission of severe pollutants into the air and soil. These same biopolymers, joined by reinforcement fibres made with the waste from the processing of tomatoes, olives, and hemp, may be used to make containers trays or nursery pots to transport the small plants widely used in agriculture.
Made today using polyethylene PE or expanded polystyrene, these containers, if produced with bioplastics, can be placed in the earth along with the plants, and in fact transform themselves into compost. Depending on the plant used and on the nanoparticles they can be enriched with, bioplastics may be obtained that are antioxidant, antibacterial, magnetic, or able to change colour. Also of particular interest are the studies on bioplastics capable of absorbing heavy metals dispersed in water: these promising materials may come in handy in environmental disasters.
Fermentation and bacteria Many research efforts of different kinds are being done to obtain bioplastics thanks to the fermentation of bacteria nourished with food waste. Some are still being trialled, while others have already resulted in patented materials. This is the case of the Italian firm Bio-on, which makes PHAs Polyhydroxyalkanoates — a bioplastic belonging to the family of linear polysters, produced in nature by the bacterial fermentation of sugars — thanks to bacteria fed with brown molasses, a by-product of sugar beet processing.
The bacteria reproduce rapidly and accumulate their energy stores in the Downloaded by [ After growth is completed in fermenters, the recovery process begins: extraction of the microscopic white polymer granules the bacteria have inside them, that are then processed without using organic solvents, and dried.
The organic residues of this process are entirely reused to feed new bacterial colonies. The first item made with the material produced in this way, in , is the Miss Sissi lamp, designed in by Philippe Starck, and manufactured in polycarbonate by Flos.
Cecilia Cecchini, eco-leather made with the fermentation of bacteria. Other companies are also studying how to obtain plant-based polyester. These include the Japanese multinational Torary, which is experimenting with a polyester fibre starting from refinery molasses plants located in India and Brazil. Given the strong impact of the textile industry of synthetic polymers, a fibre made of waste-derived biopolymer might therefore have a major positive effect on the environment. Cecilia Cecchini, materials made with the fermentation of bacteria.
On the other hand, Suzanne Lee, founder of BioCouture, uses a symbiotic mix of yeast and bacteria to grow fabrics similar to vegetable leather. With it, she makes apparel and shoes. It is a material that is not only biodegradable, but is compostable as well. She believes that in the future, clothing materials themselves might be living organisms that could work symbiotically with the body to nourish it and even monitor it for signs of disease. Figure 9. Suzanne Lee, BioCouture made of a symbiotic mix of yeast and bacteria. Afterwards, the sheet can be shaped by vacuum forming.
Figure Thin layers of this material are used to make small items and jewellery. Perhaps the most bizarre experiment is the one by Dutch designer Lieske Schreuder, which causes snails to produce colourful excrement that may be likened to biopolymers, thanks to the coloured paper she feeds them. Lieske Schreuder, threads and titles made of snail excrement.
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Thomas Vailly uses keratin from hair mixed with glycerine and sodium sulphite to make items that age as the human body does: a metaphor for the passage of time. Each operation must be described in detail. Growing design: cultivating objects In his research, Maurizio Montalti, founder of Officina Corpuscoli, went further: he grows objects directly in moulds, by means of a natural process that uses fungi nourished with waste. This project required the use of a species of fungus, easily found in nature, to bond agricultural scraps, fibres and organic materials of various kinds, in order to build base blocks with different properties — mechanical, acoustic, thermal — for use in the field of architecture and design.
The fungi, which consume the nutritional substances in the materials, develop an intricate network of filaments — mycelia — that act as a bonding agent, creating different materials according to the ingredients present and the growing conditions.
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This process was then extended to products. The lamps are grown into their shape over a 3-week period during which the mushroom eats and grows along with the plant fibres into a flexible and soft living textile. After the edible mushrooms are harvested, the waste can be used as a dry and lightweight material that is organic, compostable and sustainable. Prospects for their use in the field of design The mushroom mycelium stabilizes the construction by physically growing the material together, behaving as a glue between the fibres. During the production period, each lamp produces g of Oyster mushrooms that are both nutritious and healthy.
On display there were fabrics, jewels, containers, modular components for building small structures, and even shoes that grow.
Conclusions In comparison with traditional plastics, the potential of the replacement of biopolymers, including those produced from waste, increases as their performance improves and with the possibility of processing them with the machines used for synthetic plastics, such as 3D printers. Moreover, highly advanced experiments are aimed at turning certain biopolymers into electrical conductors, by combining them with graphene nanotubes.
This opens major applicative possibilities in the electronics market as well, from e-paper to flexible smart phones: by using biodegradable microprocessors to manufacture them, the enormous and continuously worsening problem of electronic waste would be solved. This can be a positive factor, a highly positive one, or a real revolution, depending on how they are produced and here, the use of non-virgin resources has enormous weight with respect to their sustainability and on how they are used. This would enable indispensable reflection on human beings and their artefacts, today governed at our latitudes by a hic et nunc overconsumption, by the culture of the eternal present that consumes everything in great haste.
But Nature is not in a hurry. Nature consumes what it needs, and does not even produce waste, because waste becomes raw material for others. Process design for microbial plastic factories: metabolic engineering of Polyhydroxyalkanoates. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 14 5 pp. Bader, C. In 3d Printing and Additive Manufacturing, 3 2 pp. Baud-Berthier, C. Oostkamp: Stichting Kunstboek.