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And Now: Flavor-Shifting Ice Cream

Liz Fenner with cherry-flavored microcapsules used to add a kick to vanilla ice cream

Ever felt paralyzed by the choice between two equally delicious ice cream flavors? Fear not – Elizabeth Fenner, a food science graduate student at the University of Missouri, may have solved your dilemma.

Fenner and associate professor Ingolf Gruen used a technique called “micro-encapsulation” to create ice cream that changes flavors as it melts in your mouth.

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The World’s Sweetest Printer

Researchers at Britain’s University of Exeter have developed a 3-D printer that Willy Wonka would die for. Instead of using metals or plastics as its “ink,” Exeter’s uses chocolate.

Sometimes called additive manufacturing, 3-D printing technologies work off a three-dimensional CAD design of a product, then construct the item by laying down one very thin layer of material at a time. But this is the first time researchers have used chocolate as a medium.

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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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