Food Science Weekly: Superumamilisticexpialidocious 🧄

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Your top search this week: umami 😋

“Products include umami, saltiness, sourness, sweetness and bitterness, and the umami taste is the most important taste”. – that the very first search results out of 13,303 findings from recent research papers when you look for “umami” on Science Says search engine.

Recent weeks bring us many tasty dishes for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas…the festive season of good food is one of our favourites! It is time to add that pinch of magical umami to our favourite dishes.

“As umami is also part of vegetable taste profiles and umami intensity is affected by the processing of vegetables, umami sensitive people might perceive a more intense umami taste from vegetables, making them more palatable….”” – learn more umami science facts!


Most popular science posts


By Bryan, Food Scientist

A simple, low-temperature Maillard reaction between umami ribonucleotides, sugars, amino acids, and the sulfur-rich oils from onion and garlic can create “super umami” molecules that increase the umami intensity of foods by 60 to 70X! This opens the possibility of exploring new high-potency flavours using simple DIY chemistry accessible to any kitchen. The reaction also creates the opportunity to rationally design intense flavours in dishes and food products … read more and ask Bryan a question.


New applications of oat proteins in food

By Abbey, Food Designer

The use of oat proteins in foods and beverages is still relatively limited, which means there’s a lot of room for growth. The addition of oat proteins can boost the nutritional value of a food product and also provide some antioxidants. Functionally, oat proteins can lead to increased viscosity through starch gelatinization and provide additional water holding capacity.

Application(s) of this insight:
Adding oat proteins to a meat analogue led to improved nutrition, texture, & flavour. Including oat proteins in yoghurt formulations resulted in an increase in viscosity and better sensorial properties… read more and ask Abbey a question. 


Making sustainable food choices is an act of a philanthropist

By Vesna, Food Scientist

The carbon footprints of omnivorous, vegetarian, and vegan diets based on traditional Turkish cuisine were 35.22, 27.8, and 18.5 kg CO2eq., respectively. The vegetarian and vegan diets showed a lower carbon footprint than the omnivorous diet. Agricultural processes associated with food supply were the main contributor to the carbon footprint. Also, cultural aspects were a contributor since habits include eating well-done meat, eating cheese daily, and heavy consumption of bread and yoghurt….. read more and ask Vesna a question


Biological control: What is this?

By Debora, PhD Plant Biologist

The concerns about food production without chemical pesticides are growing. Biological control is an alternative technique to control pests in sustainable agriculture. Is based on the use of organisms – insects, fungi, bacteria, viruses – called biological control agents (BCA), to reduce the populations of pests that affect crops. The damage caused by the pest in an agriculture field can cost more than a third of the production. … read more and ask Debora a question.


Nitrogen: A Way Out

By Anna, Soil Scientist

Nitrogen is essential for soil fertility, but it’s also a water pollutant! Ca. 40% N fertilizer exits arable soils with percolating or running water This tricky N problem will matter even more in a changing climate A warmer climate intensifies the water cycle. Rare, yet extreme precipitations are expected in spring and fall when the risk of N loss is very high. Very moist soil also speeds up N transformation into forms that easily escape the soil….. read more and ask Anna a question.


Fraud across borders; rejecting imported food for food fraud

By Karen, Food Fraud Expert

Did you know that of all the food that is rejected at China’s border, almost one-third of it has been affected by food fraud? The worst-affected food categories are beverages, candies, cookies, meat, offal and pastries. The main types of food fraud seen among the rejected food are artificial enhancements, missing certificates and illegal imports.. …. read more and ask Karen a question

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