Advanced applications of chemo-responsive dyes based odor imaging technology for fast sensing food quality and safety: A review

Website Link (Article by Kang et. al. 2021)

Abstract

Public attention to foodquality and safety has been increased significantly. Therefore, appropriate analytical tools are needed to analyze and sense the food quality and safety. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are important indicators for the quality and safety of food products. Odor imaging technology based on chemo-responsive dyes is one of the most promising methods for analysis of food products.

This article reviews the sensing and imaging fundamentals of odor imaging technology based on chemo-responsive dyes. The aim is to give detailed outlines about the theory and principles of using odor imaging technology for VOCs detection, and to focus primarily on its applications in the field of quality and safety evaluation of food products, as well as its future applicability in modern food industries and research.

The literatures presented in this review clearly demonstrated that imaging technology based on chemo-responsive dyes has the exciting effect to inspect such as quality assessment of cereal , wine and vinegar flavored foods , poultry meat, aquatic products, fruits and vegetables, and tea. It has the potential for the rapid, reliable, and inline assessment of food safety and quality by providing odor-image-based monitoring tool.

Practical Application

The literatures presented in this review clearly demonstrated that imaging technology based on chemo-responsive dyes has the exciting effect to inspect such as quality assessment of cereal , wine and vinegar flavored foods, poultry meat, aquatic products, fruits and vegetables, and tea.

Future Trend and Conclusion

The foregoing contents suggest that imaging detection paves the way for detecting and differentiating complex components. In odor imaging technology based on chemo-responsive dyes, chemo-responsive dyes are generally utilized as probes to interact with given analytes. This interaction with odorants could be quantified by digital imaging.

To solve the associated problem, related studies have employed a cellphone camera to capture imaging data as imaging-collecting tool of imaging technology based on chemo-responsive dyes. In current studies, Zaragoza et al. (2015) used a cellphone camera as the imaging tool to collect signals. Askim and Suslick (2015) developed a portable hand-held device system for imaging detection. Based on this, a small, less expensive hand-held device for use of imaging technology based on chemo-responsive dyes was developed to ensure food quality and safety.

Currently, applications of NIRs and hyperspectral imaging have been explored for food quality detection and monitoring. Therefore, it is possible to combine spectroscopy methods and imaging technology based on chemo-responsive dyes to capture more information. There is a need to capture the odor information in samples by imaging method and the subsequent use of spectroscopy methods for the detection of the response signal via data processing to present a way forward. This might solve the problem of fewer variables available for screening in imaging methods. The model established by imaging technology based on chemo-responsive dyes is more stable and accurate in the near future and can be used for quantitative analysis of food detection.

Odor imaging technology based on chemo-responsive dyes has also been applied in many other fields such as chemistry (R. Wang et al., 2021) and environment science (Song et al., 2017; Li et al., 2020). Odor imaging technology provides a facile, efficient, and sensitive approach for the rapid detection and identification of chemical substrates.

In summary, the technique is simple, cheap, and more time-efficient when utilized with miniature devices such as NIRs. Thus, the industrialization of this technology would economize the investment of equipment funds when applied in food science and other fields. Moreover, it is friendly to the environment with reproducibility. It is also competent for detecting flammable, explosive, and toxic compounds, which indicated the suitability of the proposed approach in environmental quality. However, further studies are still needed to facilitate the applications of the advanced evaluation technologies in various industries.

This work presents a comprehensive insight into imaging technology, including the sensing principle, imaging principle and application for food quality and safety. The implementation of nanotechnology in the sensor field for rapid sensing gives impetus to the development of imaging technology based on chemo-responsive dyes. The response signal of the technology is timely and easy to be characterized by color imaging method.

Imaging technology based on chemo-responsive dyes has proved itself as a leading detection technique with no or less sample preparation, nondestructive and rapid nature. In order to break through the lack of intelligence and dexterity of imaging equipment, it has emerged to replace the camera as an imaging device for data collection. To make imaging technique more analytically useful, the trend in future will be oriented toward imaging technology based on chemo-responsive dyes combined with spectroscopy methods with higher developments for the application in the food industry.

GMO Controversy and Its Lessons for the Cell-Cultured Meat Industry

Website Link (Article by Camille Bond)

The introduction of GMO crops in the 1990s was a moment of opportunity for international agriculture—yet communications with consumers went wrong.

GMO crops have been called frankenfoods, mutants, and carcinogens. According to the Pew Research Center, roughly half of U.S. adults believe that GMO foods are less healthy than GMO-free foods. The Non-GMO Project reports that its butterfly graphic is “the fastest-growing label in the natural products industry.”

Now Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder at Synthesis Capital, an investment management firm focused on food system transformation, David Welch has a researcher’s outlook on the rollout of GMO crops. He spent his undergraduate years studying plant biology at UC Berkeley. In his later experience as a research assistant, some of his work focused on genetically modified crops like barley and maize.

Last week, I got on Zoom with Welch to unpack the parallels between the launch of GMO crops and the advent of cell-cultured meats today.

Avoiding a communication breakdown

Around the time when GM crops were first introduced to the public, the scientific community was still debating the safety implications of modified foods. Welch believes that some of that early discourse sowed the seeds of public uncertainty about the safety of GMO foods. Even once the scientific community had reached a consensus, it was difficult to clear up the confusion that had already been created.

I’m not suggesting that you should stop negative discussions from taking place, and I think it’s fine to have some dissenting views,” says Welch. Yet the lack of clear communication regarding the underlying science of GMOs likely had an impact on public acceptance, an important lesson for the cell-cultured meat industry: “There’s an opportunity for the industry to work closely together to make sure that the science is communicated in a non-confusing way.”

Welch hopes to see companies, governments, and academics work together to develop a common language for describing cell cultivation concepts. That language could help to smooth out issues in the regulation and labeling arena, which has already proven to be a contentious zone for plant-based products.

Importantly, that common language would also help to standardize communications with the public—“so that you don’t have 20 companies talking about the science in 20 different ways, which then creates confusion,” says Welch.

Regulation and mistrust

Even in the U.S., where some GM ingredients have been widely adopted, the regulation of modified crops is notoriously arduous.

It’s a very expensive and multi-year process to get a GMO crop approved in basically any country,” says Welch. “And I think there’s some evidence through consumer research that that leads to distrust in the technology. People think, if they have to regulate this so stringently, then it must be dangerous.”

Here, he says, lies a potential parallel between GM and cell-cultured meat technologies. In the U.S. and most other countries, the alternative meat industry is still awaiting a regulatory framework. That framework could ultimately affect consumers’ views of cell-cultured meats.

I’m not suggesting that we should have no regulation,” says Welch. “I think that the regulatory authorities and the companies need to work together to create a regulatory pathway that is safe, but not so onerous that the public perceives the technology as very risky because there’s so much regulation attached to it.”

The future of food work

One of the other tensions that existed with GM crops was how they were rolled out into the market and the impact that had on some farming communities,” says Welch. From the beginning, seeds for GMO commodity crops were controlled by a few large companies, a trend that has only intensified since the technology was first introduced. “Those companies ended up with a lot of control over the farmers, and I think that’s had negative effects on some farmers.”

There’s another lesson there for cell-cultured meat companies: Many consumers’ perceptions of alternative meat products could well be affected by the industry’s impact on their own communities.

I think it’s important for the entire food industry to start talking about this,” says Welch. “I believe there’s going to be a future where there are far more alternative meats than conventional meats on the market. And we need to think about what that means for all of the people who are employed through the conventional meat and seafood industries, and what the future looks like for them in terms of new jobs.”

As cell-cultured meat makes its first forays into the U.S. market, producers are sure to face communications challenges. However, Welch notes that there are also opportunities to build trust with consumers by being transparent about the cell cultivation process.

The way we currently produce meat and seafood, there’s that hidden step between the field—if the animal ever lived on a field—and the point where it gets to your plate,” he says. “I think it’s really exciting that consumers will be able to see how their meat is being made much more openly in the future.”

Designing cleaner meat alternatives

Website Link (Article by Jeff Gelski)

The plant-based meat alternative category gushes with sales. Demand for products perceived as clean label remains a steady and strong stream.

For the two trends to converge, food companies may seek to eliminate certain chemical-sounding ingredients like methylcellulose and whittle down the ingredient list by finding ways to avoid using flavor-maskers and flavor-enhancers.

Plant-based products still enjoy a halo, regardless of what’s on the ingredient statement,” said Melissa Machen, senior technical services manager for Minneapolis-based Cargill. “Long ingredients lists and unfamiliar ingredients have not stopped the meat alternative space from posting phenomenal category growth. That said, the industry isn’t standing still. Many customers would like to reduce the number of ingredients in their formulas and replace less-familiar ingredients with options that consumers will recognize.”

Data show clean label potential in plant-based meat alternatives. Allied Market Research, Portland, Ore., forecasts the global meat substitute industry to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 7.2%, increasing to $8.82 billion in sales in 2027 from $4.51 billion in 2019. Research from FMCG Gurus, a market research company based in St. Albans, United Kingdom, showed 83% of flexitarians said it’s important meat substitutes are 100% natural.

Sixty-nine percent of consumers said simple, recognizable ingredients influence their purchasing decisions, and 66% said they are looking for labels with the shortest ingredient list, according to ADM’s Outside Voice research.

This demonstrates how attentive consumers are to the ingredients used in plant-based offerings as they look for reassurance that what’s listed on product labels is real and authentic,” said Ross Wyatt, manager, product development and applications for Chicago-based ADM. “It also underscores the importance for product developers to use as few ingredients as possible that are also recognizable in plant-based meat alternatives to entice and appeal to flexitarians.”

Ingredients to omit

Ingredients that may not be considered consumer-friendly include methylcellulose, sodium acid pyrophosphate, potassium chloride, modified food starch, xanthan gum and modified cellulose, said Brock Lundberg, PhD, president of applications and R&D for Fiberstar, Inc., River Falls, Wis.

However, the one ingredient that many meat alternative companies are trying to replace is methylcellulose,” he said.

No one-to-one ingredient replacement exists for methylcellulose because of its unique functionalities, but Fiberstar offers a Citri-Fi citrus fiber system, which uses a process free from chemical modifications, Dr. Lundberg said.

The Citri-Fi portfolio includes the 100 series, which provides water-holding and emulsification properties,” Dr. Lundberg said. “This creates juicy and succulent meat substitutes. Moreover, there is the Citri-Fi TX line, which is a texturizing citrus fiber. The coarse granules provide cold binding in addition to meat-like texture and bite. These citrus fiber products can be used with other ingredients, including native starches, functional proteins and enzymes to create clean label meat alternative products.”

Consumers are not familiar with methylcellulose and do not understand its function in meat alternative formulations, Ms. Machen said.

Methylcellulose has unique properties that allow for a firm, heated texture and soft, uncooked texture, just as you would experience with a meat or poultry product,” she said. “Cargill and many other ingredient suppliers are working to find viable alternatives to this highly functional ingredient, but it is a difficult task. Replacing methylcellulose will almost certainly require a blend of different ingredients to replicate its functional properties.”

Ready-to-cook products like a raw burger patty will present more challenges than thermally processed options where processors have more control over cook temperatures for better ingredient gelling, Ms. Machen said.

Despite the obstacles, we are making progress,” she said. “We continue to experiment with combinations of modified starches, fibers, hydrocolloids and high-gelling plant protein powders to create systems that form firm gels when hot, but soften when cooler.”

An ingredient potentially perceived as more natural is offered by Chinova Bioworks, Fredericton, NB. Chiber may be called “mushroom extract” or “white button mushroom extract” on the ingredient list, said Natasha Dhayagude, chief executive officer of Chinova Bioworks. It has been shown to replace artificial preservatives like sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate, according to the company. Chiber provides broad spectrum protection against bacteria, yeast and mold, and it has no sensory impact on final products, according to the company.

This is an attractive label positioning for brands to use as it is transparent and easy to understand for consumers compared to artificial preservatives that are not label friendly, hard to pronounce and complicated,” Ms. Dhayagude said.

Chinova Bioworks has tested Chiber in a variety of meat alternatives ranging from sausages to burger patties to chicken alternatives.

A huge hurdle plant-based meat producers face when going up against the animal meat industry is moving from frozen, where shelf life is easier to achieve, to refrigerated, where finding a decent shelf life is far more challenging,” she said. “Chiber is an effective solution that works to extend the shelf life of refrigerated plant-based meats while also improving quality and freshness.”

Other possible applications for Chiber include dairy products, plant-based dairy alternatives, sauces, spreads and dips, and beverages. Chinova Bioworks plans to expand into baked foods as well.

Improving plant protein taste

The quality and characteristics of the plant protein source affect how much formulators will need to rely on flavor maskers, texturants or mouthfeel enhancers.

Creating plant-based meat alternatives is much like putting together a puzzle, and targeting appealing consumer attributes like clean labels with short and recognizable ingredients is an important piece,” Mr. Wyatt of ADM said. “To ensure we’re mitigating formulation challenges and long ingredient lists, we first start with high-quality, neutral-tasting plant proteins. By leveraging these sources, we are able to avoid the off-notes that can be created when working with plant proteins.”

A trained sensory panel has evaluated ADM’s pea protein powder for aromatic and other flavor off-notes, including undesirable grassy and earthy, bitter, and sulfuric off-notes.

Moreover, our beans and pulses are high-quality, and we use a unique processing technique that maintains the integrity of the clean bean flavor to prevent off-notes,” Mr. Wyatt said.

Cargill offers Puris pea protein with a clean flavor profile, Ms. Machen said.

We’ve worked with customers who were adding so much flavor masker to overcome plant protein flavor shortcomings, they were using twice as much seasoning as they’d use in a similar meat product, along with high rates of flavor enhancers,” she said. “Using a higher-quality plant protein allows developers to balance out those flavor systems, resulting in a much better-tasting end product.”

Scott Cowger, vice president and national sales manager for Cereal Ingredients, Inc., Leavenworth, Kan., said he has noticed the improved taste of plant protein sources. CII sources plant protein isolates and concentrates to create its texturized vegetable protein ingredient.

We have done some experimentation with flavor masking, but for the most part most of our suppliers have done a pretty good job through the concentration or the isolation process of eliminating a lot of the extra aftertaste or leftover flavor profiles,” he said. “It’s getting a whole lot better, and I think a lot of it has to do with just time and experimentation. Ideally what we want to provide is some type of extruded texturized product that has no flavor and just let our customers flavor (their products) accordingly so they don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to cover up the flavor.

We’re working with a supplier on the different extraction processes to lower the sodium content in the pea isolate,” he said. “Hence, make it a cleaner label.”

Color selection may assist in clean label formulation as well, said Marty Gil, key account manager for GNT USA, Tarrytown, NY.

Selecting natural colors that are bright and vibrant is one way to potentially reduce the number of ingredients in a plant-based meat alternative because a dynamic shade will hold its own and eliminate the need for additional ingredients to boost color and entice the consumer,” he said.

Non-GMO ingredients that are familiar to consumers such as vegetables, fruits and other edible plants may replace ingredients that might not be perceived as clean label.

Dr. Lundberg pointed to ingredients that provide multiple functionalities, including water-holding, emulsification, texturizing and cold-binding.

There are plant-based functional fibers such as Citri-Fi citrus fiber that can provide most of these functionalities,” he said. “Fiberstar, Inc. has optimized solution sets using citrus fiber to keep ingredient labeling clean and short while minimizing any off flavors from additional ingredients.”

Vitessence Tex crumbles from Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., add chewy texture while increasing the protein content of plant-based meat alternatives, said Karen E. Constanza, marketing manager, meat and meat alternatives for Ingredion. The company’s Novation functional native starches provide texture and stability in meat alternatives.

Additionally, our meat alternative experts have developed food system solutions that provide a range of functionality based on ingredient synergies such as gelation, binding, water-holding and freeze/thaw stability,” Ms. Constanza said. 

Controlling Moisture in Foods Using Packaging

Website Link (Article by Claire Koelsch Sand)

Moisture content affects food texture, nutrient, and flavor profiles and impacts the quality and safety of food. The reaction rates of lipid oxidation, microbial growth, and browning are altered when food moisture content changes. Moisture loss can result in economic loss too, in foods such as produce that are sold by weight.

Effective packaging can play a major role in maintaining product moisture to extend the shelf life of food. Moisture loss and gain from packaged food occurs due to poor seals, pinholes, and punctures, as well as from water vapor permeation through the actual package material itself. Selecting packaging materials with sufficient puncture, tear, burst, and tensile strength can help prevent moisture loss and gain during distribution and handling.

Water Vapor Permeability

The water vapor permeability (WVP) of a package describes the rate at which water vapor passes through a package when it is exposed to a given water activity or relative humidity (RH) gradient. Water vapor permeation is a function of the solubility and diffusion of water vapor in a package material.

It is divided into three steps with the driving force from high to low water activity or RH:

  1. Water vapor adsorption onto the package
  2. Water vapor diffusion through the package
  3. Water vapor desorption from the package

The first and third steps of water vapor permeation are concerned with the solubility of water vapor in the package structure. Henry’s law of solubility conveys the relationship between the concentration of permeant within the package material and the permeate in the adjacent air—which can be the package headspace or the air external to the package. A low solubility to water vapor means the package material does not readily adsorb or desorb water vapor. When solubility is low, less water vapor is available for subsequent diffusion through the package material.

The second step of water vapor permeation is diffusion through the packaging material. Fick’s law of diffusion assumes the package material is not altered by the adsorption, diffusion, and desorption of a permeant such as water vapor. RH gradient and boundary conditions are established to define the boundaries at which this assumption is true or the Flory-Huggins equation is applied. For example, many packaging materials, such as ethylene vinyl alcohol, are hygroscopic, so their WVP values are reported as a function of different boundary conditions or RH gradients. This is also useful in predicting the shelf life of products with a known initial water activity and water activity at the end of product shelf life.

Decreasing Adsorption of Water Vapor

Inhibiting the adsorption of water vapor onto a package surface is more efficacious than later addressing the reduction of subsequent diffusion through the packaging. And focusing on lowering the solubility of water vapor in the package can allow for the use of packaging materials that are not commonly thought of as moisture barriers, such as paperboard. Packaging that has direct food contact, along with the outside surfaces of a package, can require resistance to water vapor. Packaged foods distributed and stored in a high moisture climate or that are in contact with liquid on a retail shelf, for example, need moisture resistance on the package exterior to ensure the structural integrity of the package. In addition, inner layers of packaging need to be highly moisture resistant when they are in direct contact with high water activity food.

Lowering the solubility of water vapor and raising the water contact angle can improve the moisture resistance of internal and external packaging layers. The water contact angle, used as a guide to measuring hydrophobicity, ranges from 72 to 102 for polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyethylene terephthalate. Materials with a water contact angle exceeding 150 are considered superhydrophobic and include waxes.

To determine the amount of water adsorbed into the surface, the Cobb test involves placing water in direct contact with the package and measuring adsorption. The basic principles of the Cobb test are often adjusted, and actual adsorption of water from food is measured for the actual shelf-life time period and temperature of contact. Correlations for accelerated conditions allow for more rapid results.

Because water adsorption aids in surface printing and adhesion, however, reverse printing on the underside of the package layer will facilitate high external moisture resistance and provide a surface suitable for printing and sealing. 

Techniques for altering the package material surface to decrease water vapor adsorption include grafting, etching, deposition, and macrocoatings. Water vapor permeability of paper-based packaging, for example, is improved with chemical grafting of compounds and oxygen plasma etching to enable deposition of thin layers.

While chemical vapor deposition allows for thin coatings, more advanced methods have been adapted for packaging applications. These methods focus on enabling controlled areas of low adsorption capability on the package surface, and this allows for superior water vapor barriers, printing, and sealing. For instance, nanosurface and macrosurface roughness and low surface energy are created by a silica coating followed by chemical modification via 1H, 1H, 2H, 2H-perfluorooctyl-triethoxysilane and the deposition of polyhydroxybutyrate followed by argon plasma modification. This allows for defined and more selective water contact angles on the package surface. On a macroscale, the addition of macrosized hydrophobic curcumin to biopolyethylene and cellulose stearoyl esters on paperboard increases the water contact angle and improves barrier properties twofold. 

Lipids—including wax, fatty acids, and glycerides—are insoluble in water, have extremely low solubility, and are used as package coatings, although high concentrations can present challenges with paperboard recycling processes. Fillers such as starch are added to lipid coatings to enable more consistent coatings and reduce cracking.

The most common commercial lipid coatings are triglycerides. They are used in frozen applications to reduce freezer burn and coat the inside of ice cream cones to prevent moisture gain by cones when they are filled with ice cream.

Impairing Diffusion of Water Vapor

If moisture is adsorbed on the surface of packaging, it then can diffuse through the package structure. Water vapor solubility and diffusion through metal- and glass-based food packaging is effectively zero. Technology to reduce water vapor diffusion through paperboard and polymers is well-researched and focuses on increasing the tortuous path for water vapor diffusion.

The efficacy of incorporating nanoparticles is based on their ability to retard diffusion through paperboard and polymers at low concentrations. The water vapor barrier properties of nanocomposites can be predicted using the Nielsen, constrained polymer, Maxwell, and other models that incorporate the ratio of the volume of nanoparticles to the primary packaging material as well as the aspect ratio, shape, and orientation of the nanoparticles. While the Nielsen and constrained polymer models assume that particles can be modeled as rectangles and are dispersed perpendicular to diffusion, Maxwell’s model assumes spherical nanoparticles.  Although models assume no interaction between nanoparticles and the main package material, nanoparticles can alter the primary material to result in even more improved water vapor barrier properties.

Nanoparticles within packaging structures are ordered dispersion with a high surface area and large aspect ratio. Nanocomposites with aspect ratios of 100–200 improve the WVP by a factor of more than 10, while aspect ratios of 1,000–2,000 reduce WVP further.

Nanoparticles in use include carbon nanotubes, graphite, graphene, inorganic nanoparticle nanocomposites, and nanoclays. Nanoclays are commonly modified using quaternary ammonium salts to improve compatibility and interfacial interaction between the main packaging and nanoclay. Since nanoclays absorb water and swell, they are not widely used when a superior moisture barrier is needed. Hybrid polymer-clay films, such as crystalline siloxane-based lamellae, improve the water vapor barrier over 100 order of magnitude. Graphene is known to have lower permeability than clay counterparts, and 1% (by weight) of graphene can triple the WVP barrier properties of packaging materials (Xu et al. 2019).

Lipids have been used to slow the diffusion of water vapor through an edible film substrate. An abundance of research has demonstrated that the addition of lipids into packaging substrates made from edible chitosan, methyl cellulose, whey protein, pea starch, and the like can be accomplished.

However, despite the advancement of research on the incorporation of lipids into edible films via electrospinning, nanotechnology, and optimized aspect ratios, most of these edible films are not effective water vapor barriers for food. This is predominantly because the film substrate itself is very hygroscopic as well as brittle, requiring plasticizers and additives that further unfavorably impact the barrier properties. Even when lipids are dispersed within the hygroscopic substrate, the resultant water vapor barrier has limited use as a moisture barrier. WVP values are often reported in narrow water activity gradient boundary conditions that deceptively suggest the films exhibit moisture barriers similar to those of more commonly used packaging.

Since the value proposition has been unfavorable, implementation is limited. Coating ingredients within heterogeneous food systems to restrict moisture migration, however, has been successfully used for many years. The result has been food innovations with different textures within a composite food, along with extended shelf life of many heterogeneous foods, such as cheese sandwich crackers.

Designing to Control Moisture

To extend shelf life, absorption of residual moisture away from fruits and vegetables commonly is accomplished by incorporating sachets that include sodium carbonate with and without calcium hydroxide and sodium carbonate or silica gel. Moisture-absorbent pads and packaging can adsorb moisture that has wept from meat and seafood, reducing nefarious odors and microbial growth. Embedding moisture absorbers into packaging materials has been an area of much research in the past 50 years, with applications including agricultural grain packaging to reduce aflatoxin in dry corn.

Package design also plays a role in controlling moisture. Antifog packaging design reduces water droplet formation by decreasing the contact angle between the droplet and the film surface. Designs that isolate water within a separated area within a package also extend product shelf life and reduce microbial growth.

Predicting the Required Barrier

The required moisture barrier can be predicted when the allowed moisture or water activity change is known for a food product. This moisture change limit can be dictated by quality, food safety, or economic parameters. For example, the amount of moisture gain or loss allowed before a ready-to-eat cereal has an increased rate of oxidation leading to rapid rancidity is the moisture change limit in the cereal. One factor that governs moisture gain in cereal is the sugar content, and a lower sugar content cereal requires less of a moisture barrier than a high sugar cereal. Cereal with both a low sugar and a low unsaturated fat content requires less of a moisture barrier than cereal with a high sugar and a high unsaturated fat content.

The barrier requirements or shelf life can be determined using well-known static predictive models when moisture sorption isotherms that describe the relationship between the rate of moisture loss and water activity, mode of deterioration, and food moisture content are known. However, using dynamic modeling aided by computational science results in more accurate predictions.

Dynamic modeling incorporates the reality of altered RH gradients and temperature changes that occur during distribution, changing the rate of moisture loss due to food surface drying, package permeability, microbial growth, and reaction rates within foods. Critically, boundary conditions to which the permeation values apply are very relevant to food packaging. For example, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal has an initial water activity of about 0.25 and can be exposed to a variable humidity and temperatures ranging from -20°F to 80°F. If water vapor permeation values are reported at 75°F and a 0%–100% RH gradient in distribution and handling, more information is needed to perform predictive modeling. Specifically, the activation energy and Arrhenius relationship across this range of temperatures needs to be known and applied to equations (Barbosa-Cánovas 2020).

This is especially relevant because polymer films and coatings undergo a glass transition temperature phase change. Food also undergoes a phase change as the temperature changes, and this alters corresponding deteriorative reaction rates. When both package and food chemical reactions within food, as well as permeation through packaging, can be altered with temperature changes, predicting the required water vapor barrier can be complex. Mathematical models need to be built to determine a range of required water vapor barriers.

Moisture Control With Resealable Packaging

Moisture control packaging is an area of extensive research and development, focusing on enabling resealable moisture-resistant packaging and the control of moisture. Peel and reseal technology, as well as various zipper and adhesive-related efforts, have extended shelf life after the package has been opened.

Further advances are needed to enable reseal of thin packaging materials with a lower tensile strength, as well as reseal features for rigid and semirigid polymer and paperboard packaging that don’t add appreciably more packaging. This is a design innovation challenge that potentially can allow for more resealable packaging to maintain food quality and safety and reduce consumer-derived food waste.

Cell-cultured coffee developed in Europe: ‘We have proved lab-grown coffee can be a reality’

Website Link (Article by Flora Southey)

Europe’s first cup of joe developed from cellular agriculture has been brewed in Finland, with both taste and smell hitting the mark.

Cellular agriculture is commonly associated with the production of meat, dairy, and egg proteins. Now, researchers in Finland are turning their attention to another F&B staple: coffee.

The project responds to increased global demand for coffee beans and sustainability challenges facing the sector.

A ‘pressing need’ for alt coffee

Coffee is the third-most drunk beverage in the world, behind water and tea, and global consumption is on the rise. Yet, production is struggling to keep up, and the International Coffee Organization expects supply will barely meet world demand this year.

This does not bode well for the future of the sector, with the possibility of global demand for coffee tripling by 2050.

At the same time, the sector faces several key sustainability challenges. As farmers increase acreage to meet growing demand, deforestation is a concern.  Price swings are placing coffee farmers’ livelihoods at risk, while rising temperatures as a result of climate change are making it more difficult to grow Arabica coffee.

Creating coffee cells at the VTT laboratory. Image source: VTT

According to the Finnish Technical Research Centre (VTT), there is a ‘pressing need’ for alternative ways of producing coffee. A VTT research team, led by Dr Heiko Rischer, has found a potential solution in cellular agriculture.

How is cell-based coffee made?

Cellular agriculture is perhaps best known for its applications in cell-based meat and seafood. However, it is also leveraged to recreate dairy proteins without the cow, and egg proteins without the hen.

In coffee, the cellular agriculture concept is the same, Dr Rischer explained. “Instead of cultivating animal cells, it is the cultivation of plant cells in this case.”

Once the coffee cell lines are established, they are transferred to bioreactors where they produce biomass. In the same way that growth media is used to feel animal cells in lab-grown meat production, nutrient media is used to grow plant cells cultures.

“However, the nutrient media for plant cell cultures are much less complex than those for animal cells,” ​Dr Rischer told this publication.

In being less complex, the medium also less expensive. This is an undeniable boon for the future of cell-cultured coffee, as the significant cost of growth media in lab-grown meat is one of the sector’s key hindrances.

“Scaling up is also easier because plant cells grow freely suspending in the medium while animal cells grow attached to surfaces,” ​the research team leader added.

The undifferentiated coffee cells, or biomass, are then analysed, before being harvested and dried. The dried powder is then roasted and brewed to make filter coffee.

Does it taste and smell like coffee?

The new coffee has been evaluated by VTT’s sensory panel, and initial results look promising.

“In terms of smell and taste, our trained sensory panel and analytical examination found the profile of the brew to bear similarly to ordinary coffee,” ​Dr Rischer revealed.

“However, coffee making is an art and involves iterative optimisation under the supervision of specialists with dedicated equipment. Our work marks the basis for such work.” 

The experience of driving the first cup of VTT’s cell-cultured coffee was ‘exciting’, said the research team leader, who estimates lab-grown coffee production could be ‘ramped up’ for commercial production, with regulatory approval granted, within the next four years. Cell-based coffee is a new food and would require Novel Food approval before being marketed in Europe. It is a similar story in the US, where FDA regulatory approval would need to be sought before commercialisation.

Cell-based coffee potential

The VTT researchers are not the first to believe in the potential of cell-based coffee, the idea having been first published in scientific literature in 1974 (P.M. Townsley). However, they have now proved that lab-grown coffee ‘can be a reality’, according to Dr Rischer.

“Growing plant cells requires specific expertise when it is time to scale and optimise the process. Downstream processing and product formulation together with regulatory approval and market introduction are additional steps on the way to a commercial product,” ​he added.

Of course, without a competitive price point the approach will not be successful. Future piloting will provide the exact numbers for calculating production costs, we were told, but thanks to the lower cost of media and high scalability potential, Dr Rischer expects the product to be ‘certainly lower’ than for cell-based meat.

“The costs will be significantly affected by economy of scale.”

Concerning appetite for cell-based coffee in Europe, initial non-representative surveys suggest consumers are open to cellular agriculture.  

recent survey​ in France and Germany, for example, indicated that although awareness around cultured meat was low, 44% of French and 58% of German respondents said they would be willing to try cultured meat. Thirty-seven percent of French consumers and 56% of Germans said they would be willing to buy it themselves. For Dr Rischer, the ‘true impact’ of this scientific work will happen through companies who are willing to re-think food ingredient production and start driving commercial applications.

“Ultimately, all efforts should result in more sustainable and healthy food for the benefit of the consumer and the planet.” 

As it stands, just one cellular agricultural food product exists on the market. Late last year, Eat Just received regulatory approval​ for the commercialisation of its cell-based chicken ingredient in Singapore.

There are several options for commercialisation of a lab-grown coffee product, Dr Rischer continued. “Product development and regulatory approval require significant investment and we want to collaborate with dedicated players from the industry.” 

New Food Freezing Concept Improves Quality, Increases Safety and Cuts Energy Use

Website Link (Article by Kim Kaplan)

Shifting to a new food freezing method could make for safer and better quality frozen foods while saving energy and reducing carbon emissions, according to a new study by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and University of California-Berkeley scientists. 

A complete change over to this new method of food freezing worldwide could cut energy use by as much as 6.5 billion kilowatt-hours each year while reducing the carbon emissions that go along with generating that power by 4.6 billion kg, the equivalent of removing roughly one million cars from roads,” said ARS research food technologist Cristina Bilbao-Sainz. She is with the Healthy Processed Foods Research Unit, part of ARS’s Western Regional Research Center (WRRC) in Albany. 

T­hese savings could be achieved without requiring any significant changes in current frozen food manufacturing equipment and infrastructure, if food manufacturers adopt this concept,” Bilbao-Sainz added. 

The new freezing method, called isochoric freezing, works by storing foods in a sealed, rigid container—typically made of hard plastic or metal—completely filled with a liquid such as water. Unlike conventional freezing in which the food is exposed to the air and freezes solid at temperatures below 32 degrees F, isochoric freezing preserves food without turning it to solid ice. 

As long as the food stays immersed in the liquid portion, it is protected from ice crystallization, which is the main threat to food quality. 

Energy savings come from not having to freeze foods completely solid, which uses a huge amount of energy, plus there is no need to resort to energy-intensive cold storage protocols such as quick freezing to avoid ice crystal formation,” Bilbao-Sainz said.

Isochoric freezing also allows for higher quality storage of fresh foods such as tomatoes, sweet cherries and potatoes that are otherwise difficult to preserve with conventional freezing.

Another benefit of isochoric freezing is that it also kills microbial contaminants during processing.

“The entire food production chain could use isochoric freezing—everyone from growers to food processors, product producers to wholesalers, to retailers. The process will even work in a person’s freezer at home after they purchase a product—all without requiring any major investments in new equipment,” said WRRC center director Tara McHugh, co-leader of this study. “With all of the many potential benefits, if this innovative concept catches on, it could be the next revolution in freezing foods.” 

UC-Berkeley biomedical engineer Boris Rubinsky, co-leader of this project, first developed the isochoric freezing method to cryopreserve tissues and organs for transplants. 

Since then, ARS and UC-Berkeley have applied for a joint patent for applying isochoric freezing to preserving food. The research team is now developing the best applications for this technology in the frozen foods industry, especially scaling up the technology to an industrial level. They also are seeking commercial partners to help transfer the technology to the commercial sector.

UC-Berkeley mechanical engineer Matthew Powell-Palm, one of the lead authors of the study paper, noted that “isochoric freezing is a cross-cutting technology with promising applications in not only the food industry, but in medicine, biology, even space travel.” 

WRRC has also been designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark in 2002 by the American Chemical Society for developing the Time-Temperature Tolerance studies, which made possible the production of stable, safe and high quality frozen food, revolutionizing the industry in the 1950s. 

This research was published in Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews.

World’s first waxed vegan cheese wheels launch in Netherlands

Website Link (Article by Ingredientsnetwork)

World’s first waxed vegan cheese wheels launch in Netherlands
Photo Courtesy of Max&Bien

A Netherlands-based cheesemaker called Max&Bien debuted the world’s first vegan cheese wheel coated in paraffin wax to emulate traditional-style Dutch cheeses. This vegan cheese comes in 1.2-kilogram wheels for cheese and delicatessen stores as well as 150-gram mini-wheels. The cheese itself is made from fermented wheat and comes in three flavors: cumin, truffle and mustard.

With the launch of this new product, Max&Bien is looking to normalize vegan cheese through presentation. By packaging this wheat-based cheese in wheels, the company is hoping to encourage consumers to try slices from a cheesemonger much as they would for typical dairy cheese.

International nonprofit, ProVeg applauded the release of this product and noted that its innovation sets it up for success in the booming vegan cheese market. ProVeg director Veerle Vrindts said in a statement that consumers are interested in purchasing recognizable products, and that by choosing to present its vegan cheese in traditional Dutch packaging, Max&Bien has taken an important step to further the adoption of vegan alternatives.

Vrindts also pointed out that sales of vegan cheese in the Netherlands increased 400% in the last two years. That figure becomes even more impressive when putting it in context with the size of the Dutch cheese market. According to Statista, the Netherlands were the largest cheese product market in 2016. Adding vegan cheeses to the mix only broadens the number of products that the country can potentially export. Due in part to such explosive growth in this new cheese category, retailer Albert Heijn decided last month to double its SKUs of vegan cheese available on supermarket shelves.

In addition to its newest cheese wheels, Max&Bien has an existing line of plant-based cheeses that it sells to retail. One of these existing vegan cheeses is a blue-veined cheese created from fermented nuts that won a vegan cheese award in 2020.

Growing Animal-free Scaffolds for Cell-Cultured Meat

Website Link (Article by Camille Bond)

It’s one thing to grow an amorphous blob of muscle or fat cells in a bioreactor—and another thing to recreate the structure of animal tissue. In order to make a complex product like a steak or a salmon fillet, cell-cultured meat producers need to provide their stem cells with a scaffold to grow on.

In nature, growing stem cells are housed within a structure of proteins and polysaccharides called the extracellular matrix. The cells’ interaction with this environment guides the way that they adhere, differentiate, and migrate.

Both cell-based meat manufacturers and business-to-business suppliers in the industry are experimenting with different scaffolding materials that can mimic the extracellular matrix. Below, we’ll discuss some scaffolding solutions and the startups that are exploring them.

You might notice that all of the materials we mention are animal-free—a significant development as alternative meat companies seek to reduce their dependence on animal inputs.

DaNAgreen

They are developing extracellular matrix stand-ins for both clinical and food applications. On its website, the South Korean startup describes Protinet™-P, its scaffolding product for cell-cultured meat manufacturing, as “a food that incubates food.” Protinet™-P scaffolds are completely edible, as they’re made from isolated plant proteins.

DanNAgreen currently offers its products in custom sizes and shapes. The company plans to spend the next few years scaling up production.

Seawith

A cell-cultured meat company also based in South Korea, is using algae-based scaffolds to grow its products. Along with being nutrient-rich, algae is relatively easy and inexpensive to grow. In The Spoon’s recent interview with Seawith, we learned that the company credits its algae scaffolding with the development of thicker cell-based steaks.

The company hopes to start selling its cell-cultured meat products to restaurants by 2023, though the team is awaiting regulatory decisions from the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

Excell

They are exploring the use of fungal mycelium as a scaffolding substrate. Mycelium contains the polymer chitin, which can be made to mimic some of the polysaccharides found in the natural extracellular matrix. Some fungi also have a meaty taste and texture, so it’s possible that mycelium-based substrates could enhance the sensory experience of eating cell-cultured meat.

Excell is currently offering mycelium scaffolding culture kits to researchers and product developers, and collecting feedback on how its products perform.

Matrix Meats

They are approaching the challenge in a different way. The company uses an electrospinning technique to build nanofiber scaffolds. As FoodNavigator has reported, Matrix’s scaffolds can be made of a combination of different materials, which could allow cell-based meat producers to grow cultured muscles and fats together on a single structure.

Matrix works directly with cell-cultured meat startups to develop custom scaffolding solutions for their products. Client companies can control the scaffolding material, fiber size, and other factors.

These innovations with plant and fungi-based scaffolds could just be the start. Animal-derived collagen has been widely studied as a cellular scaffold material (which makes sense, as collagen is one of the proteins found in the natural extracellular matrix)—and it may be possible to make animal collagen scaffolds without using actual animals. Researchers have managed to produce animal collagen using gene-edited tobacco plants, and recombinant collagen produced by bacteria and yeast also look promising.

Advancements in animal-free scaffolding should help cell-cultured meat producers to cut costs and reduce their environmental impacts. (And this isn’t just a hypothetical: With its algae scaffold, DaNAgreen has been able to produce cell-based steaks at near price-parity with conventional products.) We’re likely to see much more innovation in the field as cell-cultured companies explore hybrid production options.

Five Reasons Why Tiger Nut Flour Is The Trendiest Alternative Flour

Website Link (Article by Daphne Ewing-Chow)

Tiger nut (or chufa nut) flour, which is ground from tubers that grow on the yellow nutsedge plant, is gaining popularity globally as the perfect substitute for wheat flour, given its gluten-free properties, its status as a super food and its natural sweet taste.

The flour, which is made by grinding tiger nut tubers and sieving the powder through a fine screen, acts like almond flour, adding moisture and chewiness but with a sweeter taste.

Ancient ingredients are becoming mainstream again

With the heightened buzz for ancient foods, tiger nuts have been getting a fair amount of attention of late. Researchers at Oxford University have found that between 1.4 million and 2.4 million years ago, early hominins, mankind’s ancient ancestors, in East Africa survived primarily on tiger nuts.

According to Gabriele Macho, the lead author of the Oxford study, “’Tiger nuts, still sold in health food shops as well as being widely used for grinding down and baking in many countries, would be relatively easy to find. They also provided a good source of nourishment for a medium-sized hominin with a large brain. This is why these hominins were able to survive for around one million years because they could successfully forage – even through periods of climatic change.” How’s that as an incentive for Paleo eaters?

It is a ‘Super Flour’

As a Super Food, Tiger nut flour is rich in calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, iron and zinc, vitamins C and E and folic acid, as well as unsaturated fats and proteins. It is low in carbohydrates, which makes it ideal for Paleo and Ketogenic diets, and is high in fiber and antioxidants. It is thought to help with weight loss by reducing blood sugar spikes and maintaining a full feeling for longer periods than other foods with equivalent calories and, as a prebiotic, it stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.

Our mission is to empower our audience with guilt-free snacks that they can eat throughout the day, while also fueling their bodies with various nutrients, like prebiotics and fiber,” says Nicholas Naclerio, Founder of Mmmly, a ‘reinvented’ low-carb functional cookie made from tiger nut flour. “We also use natural sweeteners, like apples and monk fruit, that allow the cookie to be low in sugar, while still tasting delicious, and include agave fiber, almonds and hazelnuts, all of which have many nutritional and healing benefits.”

It is delicious and versatile

Tiger nut flour is ideal for gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, vegan, keto and paleo diets and can be cooked, baked or fried. While the moist, chewy texture is ideal for a number of applications and recipes, the milky sugary taste is perfect for baked goods as well as sweet breads and tart shells and can be used to add ‘bulk’ to no-bake treats.

Spera Foods, manufactured in Holland Michigan, capitalizes on the naturally sweet taste of tiger nut flour in its tiger nut flour mixes such as Tiger Nut Flour Waffle and Pancake Mix, Tiger Nut Granola (in blueberry turmeric, chocolate cherry and cinnamon flavors) and Tiger Nut Cake and Cupcake mix.

From a savory perspective, tiger nut can be used in breads, pizza crusts and as a binding agent in vegan foods such as plant-based burgers. Late July offers Organic Sea Salt Tortilla Chips that are grain-free and corn-free, made simply of tiger nut flour, cassava flour and chia seeds. Vegan Jamaican Toma-Tis Restaurant & Grill located in Long Island New York, offers patrons vegan stewed peas, made of kidney beans and tiger nut, and curried “goat,” made from tiger nut flour bonded with flax seed.

Tiger nut flour is also the perfect flour substitute for health foods.

I made great use of tiger nut flour as the personal chef on a Yoga Wellness retreat in Costa Rica,” says Barbados-based plant-based chef and health coach, Anne-Marie Leach. “I love the similarities to almond flour when baking as well as the fact that it’s gluten free, nut free and grain free. It was perfect in the rose chia baked donuts that I served as a delicate sweet afternoon tea treat for the guests.” 

It is a sustainable food source

As a forgotten crop, tiger nut has been neglected in favor of staples that are mass produced as monocrops, such as wheat, maize, rice and soya bean, which often wreak havoc on the environment. In some parts of the world, the tiger nut plant is loathed by farmers and is considered a weed because of its ability to survive under extreme conditions— but herein lies an opportunity for sustainable and climate resilient food production.

With proper cultivation, the tiger nut yields an abundant harvest while enriching the soil in which it grows, thus enhancing its carbon sequestering capabilities. It can grow in most climates, soils and conditions, is herbicide resistant and all parts of the plant can be used and eaten.

Tiger House Limited, located in Nkontrodo, Cape Coast, Ghana uses all parts of the nutsedge plant, from which the tiger nut derives, to make tiger nut snacks, tiger nut flour and household products made with tiger nut in a no waste approach to reducing malnutrition and enhancing healthy living in the West African country.

Support development in Africa

While tiger nuts are native to Africa where they are more frequently consumed locally in their raw form, there is a burgeoning market emerging on the continent for value added products and exports. In Nigeria, The Nut Place is an agro-processing company that produces tiger nut flour as its maiden product. 

According to owner and CEO, Chigozie Bashua, “Food insecurity within the country is worsening and processing of food is one of the ways to preserve our primary raw materials.” In the UK, The Tiger Nut Company sources its tiger nut flour from ethical sources in Burkina Faso, and Nordic Chufa, a Danish tiger nut agro-processor buys its tiger nuts from a wholesaler in Spain that obtains its certified organic tiger nuts from farms in Niger and Burkina Faso.

Tiger nut flour is made from one of the most amazing root vegetables,” says Nicholas Naclerio of Mmmly. “With a deliciously subtle flavor profile, amazing macronutrients, and country of origin that anyone would be proud to source ingredients from (Nigeria), it is too hard of an ingredient not to use. Tiger nut is an ingredient that represents the future of food.”

How 3D printing could help save Hong Kong’s coral

Website Link (Article by Rebecca Cairns)

With a reputation as a concrete jungle, few know that Hong Kong is one of Asia’s most biodiverse cities and boasts more hard coral species than the Caribbean. But these corals are under threat from pollution and rapid urban development.

Co-founded in 2020 by marine biology professor David Baker and PhD student Vriko Yu, the company hopes it can help make corals “more resilient” against climate change.

Rock bottom

Found in warm, shallow water, coral reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean floor but host more than 25% of marine life. Corals, invertebrate animals that live in vast underwater colonies that form reefs, have existed in Hong Kong for thousands of years, but pollution and coral mining have decimated the population.

Coral reefs are under threat from climate change and pollution. In Hong Kong, technology to regrow coral can help “reset the clock,” according to startup archiREEF.

Baker and Yu have been trying to restore coral at Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park since 2016 in partnership with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD).

Hoi Ha Wan, now a protected coastal reserve, in the north of Hong Kong, used to be the site of coral mining for construction materials. This created a major barrier to restoration, says Baker as “the hard bottom of the seafloor has been mined away,” leaving only sand and rubble.

The team needed to create a new “bottom” for the corals to grow on. Working with the university’s architecture department, they began developing an artificial coral reef using the university’s 3D printing facility.

This artificial reef is made from tiles that are roughly two feet wide, and mimic the natural shape of platygyra, known as “brain coral.” Its twisting “valleys” attract marine life which can nest or hide from predators, says Yu.

Once placed in the water, the team attach baby corals to the tile with non-toxic glue. The shape of the tile helps the corals grow upwards, attracting marine life that build their homes in the reefs.

More than 130 of these tiles were installed on the seabed in Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park in the summer of 2020, and archiREEF was born.

Commercializing restoration

The 3D-printed tiles are just one small part of archiREEF’s business model. After engaging corporate clients and governments to sponsor a restoration project, archiREEF will identify a site for restoration, install the reef tiles, and continue to manage the site for up to five years, monitoring the growth and the biodiversity of the reef.

Conventional artificial reefs, such as submerged concrete structures, often replace the function of the coral as a habitat for marine life, says Yu, whereas archiREEF wants to provide a “foundation” for the coral to grow on. Eventually, the coral will be strong enough to support itself without the tile — which can then be shattered by divers, or will naturally erode.

Baker says that archiREEF can help regrow coral in areas where it has entirely disappeared, a situation which is becoming more common: scientists predict that warming ocean temperatures and increasingly acidic waters may destroy up to 

90% of coral reefs globally in the next 20 years.

An ‘innovative’ approach

Companies such as Australia-based Reef Design Lab and D-Shape have previously used 3D printing to create underwater habitats. But archiREEF’s use of clay, a non-toxic and natural material, is “innovative,” says Pui Yi Apple Chui, a coral restoration researcher at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Unlike concrete, clay is slightly acidic, like coral and has a similar chemical makeup to real reefs. The 3D printing technology also offers unlimited customization, which the architects at Hong Kong University say enabled them to create more places for the corals to grow and combat specific environmental problems with a bespoke design.

However, Chui also adds that people need to be “realistic” about restoration and consider the cost and accessibility of technology. Places like Hong Kong also need more data on the efficacy of conservation efforts before it can be scaled in a meaningful way, she says, adding: “Restoration should be the last resort; we should protect before we restore.”

Conservation for everyone

Rescuing these reefs can help sustain the planet’s underwater ecosystems, such as seagrass meadows, which benefit from coral reefs, and are important carbon stores.

There are economic benefits to coral reefs, too. According to a 2021 report from the Global Fund for Coral Reefs, coral reefs support the lives of around one billion people through coastal industries such as tourism and commercial fisheries, as well as providing coastal defense from storms.

ArchiREEF still has a way to go before scaling up. The team will observe the test site in Hoi Ha Wan for at least another two years to ensure the corals continue to thrive and survive natural disasters, such as typhoons. However, Yu says the results at the test site so far are promising: in the first six months of observations, four times more coral has survived on the clay tiles compared to conventional artificial reefs.

A further 10 test sites are already planned, which the startup will use to refine the 3D-printing process and explore alternative materials, as producing clay is energy intensive and produces large amounts of carbon dioxide.

While archiREEF’s focus is currently on government and large corporate clients, it hopes to one day engage individuals in its projects, too.

“Restoration is currently restricted to conservation scientists,” Yu says. “But if we’re talking about stakeholders, it’s everybody.”