One of the bonuses of working the Labour Day holiday yesterday (besides the crazy overtime pay) was getting to dabble in non-tech areas. Y’see, when you work a holiday in the CBC’s special sections area, you’re the only one there so you end up caretaking the Money, Consumer, Health and Technology sections.
Here’s a cool story I came across for the Health/Consumer sections: scientists at the University of Alberta are trying to replace chemical food preservatives with natural alternatives. That means that rather than using a bunch of unpronounceable chemicals and a whole lot of things ending in “ose,” scientists are looking to things like mango pits and the fatty acids found in wheat and barley to prevent harmful bacteria from forming in food.
“If you replace chemicals with a natural preservative, without compromising safety, the [food] quality is better,” says Michael Gaenzle, a professor in the department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science at the university.
This is a pretty nifty development that’s clearly being driven by consumer demand. Because we’ve got so much food here in the developed world, people are demanding healthier options – yet they’re not willing to give up convenience or cost. This sort of research seems to be addressing all of these concerns.