Green Food – The Tesla of Food?

IMAGINE a plant-based hamburger patty that not only looks and tastes just like meat but bleeds as well. Or how about trying some meatless chicken strips with the same fleshy and fibrous texture as cooked poultry. There is a strong chance that the above scenario may soon become a reality.

Several Silicon Valley funded companies are on a mission to change the way people eat by creating new plant-based food that they say will be healthier, less expensive and tasty as real meat, egg, dairy and other animal-based products. More importantly, these healthier option all have a much lower environment impact.

One of a handful of tech startups that has embarked on a programme to develop animal products as well as cheese and eggs from plants is Impossible Foods. The company’s founder, Dr Patrick Brown says that its mission is to “give people the great taste and nutritional benefits of foods that come from animals without the negative health and environmental impact.”

The Standford University biologist and physician founded Impossible Foods because he knew that people would never give up the foods they love. Generally, many people are not keen on eating vegetables. They prefer to eat meat or dairy products. He believes that the answer is to mimic the taste of meat and other animal-derived foods with plants and take the animal out of the equation.

Animal farming, he says, is not only destructive but unsustainable. “Yet the demand for meat and dairy products is going up. What we are doing is reinventing the entire system of transforming plants into meat and milk.”

According to the United Nations, livestock uses about 30 percent of the world’s landmass and produce about 14.5 percent of greenhouse-gas emission. Furthermore, animal farming is also one of the biggest consumers of water. With the world’s population expected to rise to more than 9 billion by 2050, the demand for meat and other food production are expected to increase.

It is interesting to note that the crop of Silicon Valley funded startups are not targeting vegetarians and vegans but those who love meats and dairy products. This means, the companies have to replicate the meaty flavours and textures that meat lovers prefer.

 

The secret to a burger’s taste is haem, a compound found in all living cells, including plants. It is especially abundant in haemoglobin in blood and in muscle tissues as myoglobin. It also gives a burger its red colour.

During the cooking process, haem acts as a catalyst that helps transform the amino acids, vitamins and sugars in muscle tissue into numerous volatile and flavourful molecules. To create the meaty flavour in its burger patties, the company uses a heme protein equivalent to one found in the roots of legumes. According to Dr Brown, this is “the molecule that makes meat meat.”

According to a recent article in The Economist, a study by the Humane Research Council in the US states that about most vegetarians and vegans (about 2 percent of American’s population) go back to eating meat. As the article points out, this may not be an option in the future as there will come a time when it will be impossible for food production to meet the needs of the growing population, unless there is a change in the way we eat.

This being the case, there is a strong possibility the people may eventually shift to plant-based foods.

Lastly, we hope readers can share your good practices and let’s make the world a better place. Till then 🙂

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5 Top Inventions by Women That Changed The World

WOMEN are behind a large number of inventions than they are generally given credit for. In fact, the inventive spirit in women can be traced back hundreds of years. The first patent granted to a woman was in 1637. Here’s a sampling of women inventors and their inventions:

 

1) Mary Anderson – Windshield Wiper

Mary Anderson may be a name many of us have never heard before but all those who drive vehicles use her invention. 1903 was the year that brought about a change in how people travelled in frosty weather. That year, Anderson a native of Birmingham, Alabama, was visiting New York City via a trolley car. Her intention of catching a glimpse of the Big Apple turned into disappointment when the snowy weather became a nuisance. She not only had a hard time seeing through the windscreen that was heavily covered with snow but noticed that drivers were also having difficulty seeing through the sleet and snow. They would have to reach through the window to wipe the snow and sleet off the windshield by hand. She immediately put her thinking cap on. After getting her formula right, Anderson filed for a patent for the first windshield wipers in 1903.

 

2) Stephanie Kwolek – Kevlar

Stephanie Kwolek saved an untold number of lives. A modern-day alchemist, she led the development of a synthetic material called Kevlar which is five times stronger that the same weight of steel. Many police officers owe their lives to her as Kevlar is a material used in bullet proof vests. The eureka moment came while Kwolek was working on specialty fibers at a DuPont laboratory in Wilminton. She is the only female employee of DuPont to be awarded the company’s Lavoisier Medal for outstanding technical achievement. She was recognised as a “persistent experimentalist and a role model.”

 

3) Margaret Knight – Square Bottom Paper Bag

When paper bags were first introduced to shoppers, they weren’t all that useful for carrying things. Shaped like an envelope, its use was limited. However, we have Margaret Knight to thank for the evolution of paper bags. Knight realized that paper bags should have a square bottom; when weight was distributed across the base in this way, more things could be carried in the bag. In 1870, she created a widen machine that cut, folded and glued the square bottoms to paper bags. She was granted the patent for the device in 1871. It’s interesting to note that Knight was awarded more than 20 patents.

 

4) Bette Nesmith Graham – Liquid Paper

In the 1950s the electric typewrite had just be introduced. Despite the convenience, secretaries often found themselves retyping entire pages because of one small mistakes. Bette Nesmith Graham was one of them and being a bad typist did not make the situation any better. An idea sparked when she watched workers painting a holiday display on a bank’s window. She noticed that when they made mistakes, they simply added another layer of paint to cover the mistake. She decided to put the idea to test.

Using her kitchen blender, Graham mixed a water-based tempera paint with dye that matched her company’s stationary. Unfortunately, Graham was fired from her job for spending so much time distributing what she called “Mistake Out”. Having more time on her hands, she tweaked her mixture, renamed the product Liquid Paper and received a patent in 1958.

 

5) Josephine Cochrane – Dishwasher

The real impetus for the invention of dishwasher was driven by the frustration over Josephine Cochrane’s servants breaking her heirloom china after fancy dinners. Her machine relied upon strong water pressure aimed at a wire rack of dishes, and she received a patent for the device in 1886.

Like any modern inventors today, she faced the same challenges back then. She claimed that inventing the machine was easier than promoting it. Undaunted, Cochrane sought appointments with large hotels and restaurants. Today, dishwashing machines are common in many homes as more women enter the workplace.

As a final note, wishing all readers a Happy International Women’s Day 🙂

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On The Right Track of Brilliance

LAST YEARS’S Malaysian Young Inventor Exhibition (MYIE) held concurrently at ITEX 2016 has witnessed over hundreds of entries of ingenious creations submitted by the young minds from Malaysian schools.

Among them is the youngest inventor of them all — Ajendra Rajamanickam from MAZ International School, who have bagged the MYIE Silver Medal with his invention – SOS Safe Child GSM System. Recognising the impressive feat achieved by this young genius, we sat down and had an insightful conversation with the inventor about the winning entry.


ITEX: Can you tell us what does your invention do?

AR: My invention, the SOS Safe Child GSM System, allows parents to track their child’s location with their mobile phone, and also the ability to respond immediately when their child is in danger. Parents can also make calls to the device to hear their child for immediate action.

 

ITEX: How did the idea of the SOS Safe Child GSM System came about?

AR: Many parents, including my father, are always concerned whenever their children want to go out and play. This is understandable when there are so many cases of kidnapping and bullying happening daily. One day, the alarm system at one my father’s properties went off and my father was alerted immediately to respond to the situation. That’s when my thoughts sparked: “What if I can have an alarm system, like the one at my father’s property, connected to me when I go out to play?” From that day onwards, I began to work on this conceptual project with my father and finally creating the SOS Safe Child GSM System.

 

ITEX: How would your invention make sense to parents?

AR: All they need to do is to let their children carry the device wherever they go. Even when their children were playing afar, the parents can still be immediately alerted of their child’s condition for them to respond immediately and prevent further harm. It is also simple to operate and most importantly, this might save the life of their child.

 

ITEX: Are you planning to add additional features/improvement to your invention?

AR: Yes! In fact I’m planning to make my invention even smaller in size and increase its capacity to respond and track further.

 

ITEX: Did your invention receive any interest from investors?

AR: Currently I have yet to receive any inquiry from investors, but I did hear some interested parents who want to purchase my invention. I believe in the near future, this device will be highly on demand once the public were aware about it.

 

ITEX: Do you have any interest to commercialising your invention?

AR: Yes, I do. I think my invention will not only benefit parents in safeguarding and protecting their child, but also allows their child to have a secured childhood.

 

As a final note to all young inventors, click HERE to register your interest for this year WYIE (World Young Inventors Challenge) 🙂