Results tagged “food” from Sunday Mercury - Weird Science

Half of all food 'thrown away'

By Daniel Smith on Jan 11, 13 02:02 PM

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As much as half of all the food produced in the world - two billion tonnes worth - ends up being thrown away, a new report claims.

The waste is caused by poor infrastructure and storage facilities, over-strict sell-by dates, "get-one-free" offers, and consumer fussiness, according to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Each year countries around the world produce some four billion tonnes of food.
But between 30% and 50% of this total, amounting to 1.2 to 2 billion tonnes, never gets eaten, says the report Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not.


Captain Scott and other members of his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole were effectively killed by a slimming diet, research has shown.

The men expended more energy than Olympic athletes as they hand-hauled their supplies on sledges across hundreds of miles of ice and snow.

Their rations were too high in protein and too low in fat, and simply did not deliver enough calories, say scientists. As a result, the polar explorers starved to death.

Tasty tomatoes coming back

By Daniel Smith on Jun 28, 12 02:50 PM


Vintage tomatoes that taste as good as they look could be making a comeback thanks to a genetic discovery.

Scientists have pinpointed the reason why tomatoes bred to attract the eye of shoppers tend to lack flavour.

The key is a gene linked to photosynthesis called GLK1.

Manipulating it could see a return to the superior tasting tomatoes enjoyed by our grandparents, the experts said.

Food clue to upright walking

By Daniel Smith on Mar 21, 12 07:54 PM

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Mankind's ancestors may have started walking on two legs simply because it allowed them to carry more food away in their hands, boosting their chance of survival, scientists believe.

Anthropologists studying chimpanzees found that the great apes, who usually walk on all fours, walk upright and free their hands for carrying when they need to monopolise hard-to-find resources by swiping more at a single attempt in the face of fierce competition.

The team from the University of Cambridge and Kyoto University in Japan believe the benefit of "first come, first served" and getting a bigger share of scarce food supplies could, over a long period of time, have led some of our earliest "hominin" ancestors to evolve into "bipedal" primates walking on two legs permanently instead of four.

Stem cells

Stem cells (Photo credit: BWJones)

Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal is famous for his scientific approach to cooking.
But the beefburger he could be serving up in eight months' time will surpass even his most outlandish efforts.

The "test-tube burger" will be the first beef patty ever created in the laboratory.
Its price tag - 250,000 euros (£207,535) - reflects just how exclusive this culinary experience will be.

The burger's true "chef" is Dutch stem cell scientist Dr Mark Post, from the University of Maastricht.


Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith - a long time ago, in a galaxy far away just north of Watford, Daniel fancied himself as a scientist but turned out to be the worst scientist since that bloke who mapped out all those canals on Mars that turned out to be scratches on his telescope's lens. Luckily, he is now not working on the Large Hadron Collider inadvertently creating a black hole that would swallow the world but is safely behind a desk writing this blog, bringing you the fantastical underbelly of nature... weird science.

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