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  • News

    E. coli evade detection by going dormant

    Researchers think they now know why a particularly virulent form of E. coli that swept through northern Germany last May was so hard to trace: The germs responsible eluded detection by going into a self-induced deep sleep.

    Two new studies show that when stressed, E. coli can turn off most signs of life. That’s a problem for food-safety officials because their germ-screening...

    12/06/2011 - 11:04 Nutrition, Earth & Environment
  • Feature

    Big Fishing Yields Small Fish

    Sharks, billfish, cod, tuna and other fish-eating fish — the sea’s equivalents to lions on the Serengeti — dominated the marine world as recently as four decades ago. They culled sick, lame and old animals and kept populations of marine herbivores in check, preventing marine analogs of antelopes from overgrazing their environment.

    But the reign of large predators now...

    03/25/2011 - 11:51
  • News

    Mice robbed of darkness fatten up

    When it comes to weight management, the timing of dining is pivotal, a new study indicates. At least in rodents, food proved especially fattening when consumed at the wrong time of day.

    As nocturnal animals, mice normally play and forage at night, often in complete darkness. With even dim chronic illumination of their nighttime environment, however, the animals’ hormonal dinner bells...

    10/11/2010 - 15:02 Nutrition, Earth & Environment, Body & Brain
  • Science & the Public

    Nano-scale additives fight food pathogens

    CHICAGO. Nano products are all the rage, even in food science. Here, at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting, on July 18, scientists described dramatic success in fighting food-poisoning bacteria by doctoring foods or their packaging with microbe-killing nanoparticles – sometimes along with natural anti-bacterial agents.

    The nano of interest: Zinc oxide. When particles...

    07/20/2010 - 00:39 Technology, Humans & Society, Nutrition, Biomedicine
  • Science & the Public

    The Costs of Meat and Fish

    “Can Meat and Fish Consumption Be Sustainable?” That’s the provocative title of a press release just sent to us by the Worldwatch Institute, a small but by now venerable think tank that focuses on natural resource issues.

    It’s also the theme of a chapter in Worldwatch’s 2008 State of the World report, its 25th annual book-length analysis of resource...

    03/13/2008 - 12:21 Other, Earth & Environment, Nutrition, Humans & Society
  • Math Trek

    Spoil-Proofing Elections

    When Ralph Nader recently announced he was entering the 2008 presidential race, many Democrats groaned. It was his fault, they say, that George Bush defeated Al Gore in 2000. But Nader retorted that the Democratic Party has only itself to blame for the loss in 2000.

    Mathematicians offer a different perspective. The problem, they say, doesn't lie with Nader or with the Democrats. It lies...

    03/12/2008 - 22:28 Numbers
  • Feature

    Nurturing Our Microbes

    Each of us is a metropolis. Bustling about in everyone's body are tens of trillions of microbes. Some are descended from starter populations provided by mom during birth. Additional bacteria, yeasts, and other life forms hitchhike in with foods. By age 3, everyone's gut hosts a fairly stable, yet diverse, ecosystem.

    Most of the tiny stowaways hide out in the...

    02/26/2008 - 12:45 Biomedicine
  • Food for Thought

    It's Spud Time

    As 2007 winds down, thoughts naturally turn towards what might lie ahead. Meals rich in high-carb tubers, perhaps? That's what the United Nations would like everyone to contemplate throughout 2008, which it is designating the International Year of the Potato.

    Farmers now harvest more than 300 million tons of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) worldwide. That makes it the fourth biggest food...

    12/18/2007 - 18:43 Nutrition
  • Food for Thought

    No Peanuts for Your Peanut

    Peanuts are a protein-rich snack food packing plenty of vitamins and trace nutrients. However, these legumes can elicit potentially life-threatening immune reactions within the one in 100 American adults who are allergic to them. Rates of peanut allergy are even higher among children. And the really disturbing news: A new study finds that the age at which this common food allergy first shows...

    12/11/2007 - 08:49 Nutrition
  • Feature

    Lettuce Liability

    Little more than a year ago, supermarkets from coast to coast stripped fresh spinach from produce aisles as a food-poisoning outbreak swept the nation. From mid-August through September 2006, virulent bacterial infections sickened at least 204 spinach consumers. Five died and 30 others suffered acute kidney failure.

    Among more than 3,500 genetically unique...

    12/03/2007 - 19:41 Agriculture