Volume 23. Number 1. 2018

Wild Rice from Crocodile-Infested Waters in Australia May Help Boost Global Food Security

Read more... According to Professor Robert Henry from the Queensland Alliance of Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), wild rice could help boost global food security as its valuable traits such as drought tolerance and pest and disease resistance can be bred into commercial rice strains. "Northern Australia's wild rices contain a wealth of untapped genetic diversity and at least two species are very closely related to domesticated rice, so they can be cross-bred with this species," Professor Henry said. The research revealed that in the era when the ancient human ancestor known as Lucy lived in Africa, a genetic divergence occurred in the rice variety that is now found only in northern Australia. This divergence led to the Asian and African rice species commonly used in commercial rice production today.

Professor Henry added that Australian wild rice may have more beneficial health qualities than other rice species. A University of Queensland (UQ) doctoral thesis study on the grain quality of Australian wild rice showed the species had the lowest "hardness" of cooked rices, and a higher amylose starch content. Crop Biotech Update. 24 Jan. 2018

For more details, read the QAAFI news article.

Sugar and Salt Influence the Liking of Food More Than Fat Does

A study published in Food Quality and Preference examines the role fat plays in pleasantness and perception in both a salty and a sweet liquid food product. The researchers explained that fat in food is often combined with a sweet or salty taste.

The researchers had the 47 participants taste creamy tomato soup and custard in four fat concentrations (0%, 7.5%, 15%, 30%), combined with four salt concentrations (0.04%, 0.35%, 0.7%, 1.5%) in soup, and four sugar concentrations (0.56%, 4.5%, 9%, 18%) in custard. The participants then rated the pleasantness, saltiness intensity, sweetness intensity, and fattiness intensity.

The researchers found that fat and salt separately affected pleasantness in soup, while fat, sugar and their interaction affected pleasantness in custard. Sugar and salt were a stronger influencer of pleasantness than fat. Preference for fat in soup was variable, whereas the highest concentration of 30% fat was preferred in custard.

The researchers concluded that salt and sugar are stronger influencers on food liking than fat. Across foods, there is no consistent effect of fat on perception or on liking, therefore the attractiveness of fat in foods cannot be generalized. The attraction to high fat levels in custard, while hardly perceiving differences in fat concentrations, remains unclear and needs further investigation. IFT Weekly. January 15, 2018. Abstract

Fermentation Turns Spent Grain Into “Food” for yeast.

In the beer-making process, when yeast converts grains into alcohol, a significant amount of spent grain remains. Breweries don’t use it, so it is often made into compost or animal feed. A team of scientists from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore developed a way to turn spent brewery grains into a growth medium for the yeast Rhodosporidium toruloides. Specifically, the researchers created a fermentation technology to extract nutrients out of brewer’s spent grains. IFT NEXT Newsletter 16 January. 2018.

Plant-Based Foods vs. Animal Products In Preventing Cardiometabolic Disease

A study published in Current Developments in Nutrition suggests that consuming animal products as a part of a healthy diet—meeting recommendations for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, and not exceeding recommendations for added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat—may not increase cardiometabolic risk. IFT Weekly 4 January 2018.

Eating More Fish May Lead To Better Sleep, Higher IQ In Children

Children who eat fish at least once a week may sleep better and have higher IQ scores, on average, than those who consume fish less frequently or not at all, according a study published in Scientific Reports. IFT Weekly 4 January 2018.

Repeated Exposure Helps Boost Healthy Food Consumption In Children

A study published in Obesity Reviews suggests that varied diets and persistence in exposing infants and children to healthy foods, even when they don’t like them at first, are key to promoting healthy eating behaviors. IFT Weekly 4 January 2018.

Inside The Fight To Label Sugary, Salty And Fatty Foods In Canada

Ottawa drew praise when it announced in 2017 it would label foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fat. But when experts came together to make a short list of designs, the complexities of the plan came to the forefront, and the critics raised their voices.

The new labels are meant to clearly indicate to consumers when a serving contains more than 15 per cent of the daily value of salt, sugar or saturated fat. Once implemented, the program would make Canada a leader in food labelling – and the only country in North America mandating these types of health-related "warning" labels on food. The government and health groups were in favour of a simple design, modelled after a "stop" or "yield" sign. They brought up expert after expert who testified to the benefits of a clear, easy-to-understand symbol.

But the food and drink industry reps were not having it. They termed it the "big, scary stop sign" and accused government of trying to "scare" Canadians. At the same time, they argued the designs were patronizing – overly simplistic, and not allowing for nuance or context. "Frankly, I think taking an approach like this is just not giving Canadians the respect they deserve," said Lewis Retik, a lawyer hired by the food industry to attend the meeting. "They're not idiots." CIFST – Globe and Mail, Nov. 13, 2017.

Harvard Professors Decode 5 Food Myths (See Link)

Many believe that baking is a science while cooking is a forgivable endeavor because it doesn't require as many scrupulous calculations. However, Harvard University would beg to differ. In fact, Professors Pia Sörensen, Preceptor in Science & Cooking, Harvard Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; and Michael Brenner, Glover Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, assert that approaching a recipe from both a chef and a scientist's perspectives are the keys to unlocking some phenomenally tasty dishes. CIFST – Paste Magazine , Feb 13, 2017 -

Snippets - contributions are welcome. Edited and produced by Dr. B Cole. - / Fax +27 (0)86 625 2869 with the help of the Northern Branch Committee.