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Color Me Spoiled

Is your lunch fresh enough to eat? Now the plastic wrap can tell you

Consumers often throw away perfectly edible food because they think it has “gone bad.” As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that food scraps constitute 12 percent of municipal landfills, making food the single largest component of the country’s waste stream.

To help prevent consumers from prematurely throwing away food, researchers are developing a plastic wrap that will change colors when the food is no longer safe to eat.

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The Future of Farming

Aquaculture, which relies on a balanced ecosystem of fish and plants, could be the future of urban farming

One of the biggest challenges to conquering world hunger is the shrinking availability of farmland. That is why farms of the future need to occupy less space, rely on fewer pesticides, and produce food that travels blocks, not miles, to combat climbing fuel costs.

The solution may be aquaponic farming, a revolutionary system of mini vertical farms where fish and plants live symbiotically.

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Fishy Business: Genetically Engineered Salmon

New genetically engineered salmon grows twice as fast as its traditional counterpart (fish above are the same age)

The idea of genetically modified food may give some of us the creeps. But humans have been genetically modifying crops and livestock for thousands of years through selective cultivation and breeding. So, chances are that most of the food you eat has been engineered in some way. And now, for the first time, a fish whose DNA has been altered might be swimming into your local grocery store.

AquAdvantage is a new type of transgenic Atlantic Salmon that has been modified with growth genes from two other fish – the Chinook salmon and the eel-like Ocean pout. Produced by bioengineering company AquaBounty Technologies, it promises to be cheaper and more readily available than conventional salmon.

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Happy Earth Day!


As you probably know already, today (Thursday, April 22) is Earth Day, which means it’s time to celebrate the achievements of environmental engineers everywhere.  So here’s a collection of news items highlighting the efforts of engineers to improve the state of our home planet. For more information about Earth Day events in your area, check the official Earth Day Network site.

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Engineering Students Help Rebuild Haiti


When it comes to helping the global community recover from natural disasters, engineers are at a distinct advantage. Not only can they build survivor-seeking robots and provide food and clean water for those affected, but they also have the ability to analyze the aftermath of a storm or a quake and help communities be better prepared for such events. Engineering students and professionals across the country are now using their skills to help rebuild the countries of Haiti and Chile after their recent devastating earthquakes.

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