Editorial: Fine tuning – spectrum of science

When I stand in front of the refrigerated counter in the supermarket, I always look at the selection of plant-based meat substitutes. I don’t consider myself a vegetarian, but I am aware that meat consumption in the western world needs to be reduced – not only for health or ethical reasons, but also for environmental reasons. And in the end it’s all about the taste. So why not give a soy sausage or burger a try? That’s why I regularly test products that are actually getting closer and closer to the original. You can still notice the difference in blind tasting, but in the next few years this could become negligibly small through continued optimization. However, it will be some time before there is a deceptively real imitation steak.

A cheese substitute, on the other hand, should come out of the retort very soon, as our article describes from p. 44: Milk proteins from appropriately modified microbes can already be produced on a large scale in bioreactors and processed into a vegan imitation. And even certain plant-based foods, the production of which is often not very environmentally friendly, are on the agenda. Examples are the heavily water-consuming cultivation of avocados or coffee, provided they are cultivated on freshly cleared land. In laboratories, cell cultures are obtained from the original fruit, multiplied in large numbers and processed in such a way that a usable commercial product is ultimately created, such as avocado paste or roasted coffee powder. A detailed fine-tuning of the manufacturing processes is also necessary here in order to minimize the difference to the prototype as much as possible.

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You can see the result of a completely different kind of fine-tuning in the outer appearance of this issue. Six years have passed since our »relaunch« in autumn 2016, for which the layout was developed from scratch. As is so often the case, it takes a certain amount of time to determine which changes meet expectations in the long term and which do not. Basically, the layout has proven itself, but in some points potential for optimization crystallized. I hope that the rather subtle, but effective changes we believe will find your approval and increase your enjoyment of reading the texts; we look forward to feedback to redaktion@spekter.de.

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