Tag Archives: Science

Real Good Cheese and Dairy Information

The website of Dairy Science and Food Technology, an information and consultancy service for the food industry, provides useful and applicable information, calculators and reports which are surely of great use to the dairy processor. 

 Science and technology of milk and dairy products

click the image to access the website

The website was established by Dr Michael Mullan who is CEO of the Dairy Science and Food Technology consultancy.

Originally the site was intended as a project aimed at exploring the use of the Internet as a means of communicating with students. Over the years the site has grown and contributions are now invited from the wider scientific community and industry.

DSFT gets around a million ‘hits’ a year and there are hundreds of links back to the site.

The content of the site is illustrated by the navigation menu which includes topics like Cheese Yield, Food Models, Lactic Bacteriophages, Calculators, Links, Packaging and Labelling, Writing Tools, Thermal Processing, Ice Cream and Probiotics.

The nature of information is illustrated by the screen grab below from the Cheese Quality page.

Cheese yield

click the image to access the website

To me this kind of information on the INTERNET is what we need to access, not the generic marketing type information that abounds. Please share the information you use by commenting on this page. 

A Collection of Sorghum & Millet Information

If you need to get to know about Sorghum or Millet or want to get some of developments, this conference publication could be very useful.

Website presenting papers of the Afripro 2003 Conference

Unfortunately this conference is now 10 years old so doesn’t present the very latest state of the industry, but does contain two good reviews which are always relevant and some of the science of the time around food products, nutrition, plant breeding, sorghum based polymers and consumer preferences.

With international researchers like Professors Belton, Rooney and Taylor one can rest assured that the standard and focus of the work was of the highest standard. The web site presents a wide range of papers as well as the questions arising and the way forward through focus group and a prioritised list of research needs.

This conference was the output of a development funded project, so has no direct project follow up. However, there has surely been more work in the technology areas identified and maybe there were activities in ideas/groups born from the conference. I have not been able to find a collection of this type of information and would be interested to hear about your experiences and share further information here.

 

Sensory Evaluation of Food: Principles and Practices

Having a Little Taste | Flickr - Photo Sharing!-2.jpgThis volume covers all the basic techniques of sensory testing, from simple discrimination tests to home use placements for consumers. It provides fundamental theories, psychological and statistical, that form the basis and rationale (more…)

photo by AT Photography on flickr

The Guardian Science Blog on Baking

This article from the Science Blog of the UK Guardian is really worth reading – its a great blend of the physical aspects of making a loaf of bread and some science down to the level of equations and protein structure.

 

The science and magic of breadmaking | Science | guardian.co.uk.jpg

from: Guadian.co.uk
(click image for full story online)

 

This isn’t really for the Food Technologist or the baker to learn about baking, but is rather a gentle and enjoyable read showing the interrelation between biological processes and science.

 

Guide to Indigenous Fruit Processing – Free Technical Manual

This is one more of those amazing sources of information that the INTERNET provides for free. In the past if you were lucky enough to know about it you could probably request a copy. Now you GOOGLE and FTP a PDF for free!

 

Window.jpg

from: CPWild
(click image for full story online)

 

Interestingly the information in this manual is the same proven science and technology!

I know Chris Hansmann well, from having worked together on a Cashew Apple Processing project, through the South African Association of Food Scientists & Technologists (SAAFoST) and for having worked for sister R&D organisations. I am therefore confident of the soundness of the science as well as the applicability of the technology presented.

The manual is comprehensive, starting with some of the principles of preservation, moving into the different processes that are applicable (both from a process and a product viewpoint), covering hygiene and nutritional aspects and ending on recipes to be used with these processes.

This is a book you should put in your Technology Directory/Folder for the time you need some good technical information on fruit processing, whether it be for indigenous or other fruit.

 

Science in Africa – Online Information Resource

Here is a really good online resource – it covers a wide range of scientific subjects from an African angle and also periodically presents really practical series with a do-it-yourself flavour.

 

Science in Africa, Africa_s First On-Line Science Magazine, Home Page-1.jpg

 

For example there was a series on essential oils including processing and how to produce alcohol from waste on a cottage scale.

The Science / Food balance of the French

I found this well thumbed book in a house where I lived in France.

iPhoto.jpg


photo by Dave Harcourt
(Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License)

 

Knowing and having lived the French “obsession” with food for three months I feel it might be interesting to look at its contents a bit deeper. You can be sure its interesting, even if only because it was published in 1935. Although the contrast with a similar British approach might also hold some lessons.

What is the Real Position on Biofuels

Here is the first of my notes on Biofuels – I look forward to inputs and comments!

I am sure I can not answer that question – I think its a bit like the “will Biotechnology really save the poor of the world?” question which has two “sides”, a public who can’t decide and not enough knowledge to settle it. So the sides don’t agree and continue contradicting each other. Its not like the the flat earth discussion, where their are only a handful on the “flat earth side” and enough information for the vast majority public and academic to agree.

So just recently two papers in Science added to the warnings that food crop based biofuels are not a good solution to global warming.

Biofuels Deemed a Greenhouse Threat - New York Times.jpg

 

They look at the global warming effect of the process of converting unused land into agricultural land growing oil seeds or starch rich crops. They claim that this has not been included in previous calculation, a fact which doesn’t seem to be contested by others. One scary quotation from the New York Times article:

The clearance of grassland releases 93 times the amount of greenhouse gas that would be saved by the fuel made annually on that land, said Joseph Fargione, lead author of the second paper, and a scientist at the Nature Conservancy. “So for the next 93 years you’re making climate change worse, just at the time when we need to be bringing down carbon emissions.”

Then just to prove my point about never understanding the real position Biofuels Digest reports on another study! This one amongst others concludes that converting land under soya to maize for ethanol is positive, as it would increase the value of the land reducing the possibility of housing development that would be more harmful!

Analyst says Science magazine article erred on corn ethanol emissions; ethanol may raise needed barrier to land-use conversion for homes.jpg

 

It seems to me that there has been a big oversight in all the evaluations on which decisions were made to use millions of tons of food are to produce millions of tons a year of biodiesel and bioethenol. Note that there is still no agreement on whether the global warming effects of the crude oil used to produce farm implements should not be added to the current calculations.

Are there others unforeseen issues laying in wait and are we being sunk by our rush to eplace fossil fuel with anything that we can call green?

What is surely clear though is that there should be a focus on producing biofuels from the other options which are still way too expensive and require technology development eg cellulosic ethanol, algal biodiesel, biogas. These offer energy and greenhouse gas advantages over the simpler food based biofuels. Maybe further expansion of bioethanol and biodiesel capacity should not receive the subsidies which have allowed this situation to develop.