With ongoing advances in technology and equipment, scientists continue to make strides in extended space travel, preparing to one day make trips to Mars and other planets in the solar system. But if such space missions are to be manned by humans, scientists must develop ways to feed them on these extended journeys. A group of researchers may be able to help in this regard.
Scientists at Washington State University have developed a process to make macaroni and cheese shelf stable for up to three years. The process, which triples the shelf life of ready-to-eat (RTE) macaroni and cheese, involves microwave-assisted thermal sterilization (MATS) and a special plastic protective film that the researchers created. The key to successfully extending the shelf life of RTE food is finding a technology that can prevent oxygen and other gases from coming into contact with the food.
To make RTE macaroni and cheese with a three-year shelf life, the scientists first use MATS to sterilize the food in a layer of the special protective film. Next, they coat the film with layers of metal oxide, which significantly delays gases from penetrating the film. The metal oxide also has an organic overlay that resists microscopic cracks. The combination of these elements makes a high-barrier packaging that preserves the quality of food for an extended period of time.
While the research team is not yet working directly with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), it has worked with the Army to test the product because such RTE meals would be useful to soldiers on long deployments. The researchers have contacted NASA about designing a simulation to test how RTE macaroni and cheese would fare in space. The results are published in the journal Food and Bioprocess Technology.
A new biomarker identified by researchers at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, the University of California Davis, and Mars Inc. allows for more accurate measurement of human flavanol intake, a finding that will enable researchers to study the health benefits of flavanols better.
Researchers at Penn State University developed a composite antimicrobial film that can keep foodborne pathogens at bay and could one day be used to decrease outbreaks of foodborne illness.
Seeking a way to increase grain yield, researchers at The University of Hong Kong, the University of Calgary, and Rothamsted Research collaborated on a study that lays the foundation for improving rice yields by augmenting the size and weight of grains by 10%.
Nestlé Purina has announced the debut of Pro Plan LiveClear—a 100% complete, nutritious, and balanced dry cat food that has been shown to reduce the allergens in cat hair and dander.
Mintel has announced two trends that are impacting the global packaging industry this year: Ahead of the Recycling Curve and In-Store Refill.
Graphic Packaging International (GPI) has launched a new line of PaperSeal trays, offering brands and retailers the opportunity to replace modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and vacuum skin packaging (VSP) plastic trays with a new barrier-lined paperboard alternative.
Bühler and Givaudan are partnering to build an innovation center dedicated to plant-based food in Singapore, which will open later this year.
Cargill is investing $6.4 million to expand its food pilot capabilities at its North American Pilot Development Center in Savage, Minn., enabling bakery customers to increase their speed-to-market with new products.