The Year That Was on Serious Eats: Science
Continuing The Year That Was are our favorite food-science stories from 2008.
Things Scientists Made
Test Tube Meat! Wired covered a three-day meeting of the In Vitro Meat Consortium in Ås, Norway, detailing the possibility of test tube meat. Cheaper to produce and more environmentally friendly, in vitro meat production may arrive in grocery stores within 5 to 10 years. In response, PETA announced a $1 million prize to the "first person to come up with a method to produce commercially viable quantities of in vitro meat at competitive prices by 2012."
An "electic tongue"! Spanish scientists developed a portable "electric tongue" that can identify wine characteristics.
Sunscreen for fruits and veggies! Sunscreen isn't just for sentient beings anymore; now there's sunscreen for fruit and vegetable crops. 20 to 40 percent of certain crops are destroyed each season due to overexposure, but thanks to California-based Purfresh, farmers can protect their crops with a spray-on SPF 45 sunscreen that blocks harmful rays while still allowing crops to photosynthesize.
Things Scientists Learned About Humans and Food
Cooking may have made us smarter. Cooking stimulated cognitive spurt in humans about 2 million years ago when the human brain rapidly doubled in size from other primate brains.
Your tongue might be able to taste calcium and it tastes like... calcium. A sour bitterness is the best description, which could explain why certain people don't like collard greens, bok choy, kale, or bitter melon
I, For One, Welcome Our New Robotic Overlords
Robots were big in food news this year, most of the groundbreaking (or not-so-groundbreaking) developments coming out of Japan, not surprisingly: a robotic farming suit, a slow-as-molasses robot dishwasher, a breakfast-cooking 'bot, a bartending automaton, and a pancake-flipper.