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The Effectiveness of Different Palate Relievers Against a Hot Chili Pepper Sauce

Avendaño-Rodríguez et al. | Jun 11, 2016

The Effectiveness of Different Palate Relievers Against a Hot Chili Pepper Sauce

Cuisine with hot chili peppers can be tasty, but sometimes painful to consume because of the burning sensations caused by the capsaicin molecule. The authors wanted to find the palate reliever that decreases the burning sensation of capsaicin the most by testing water, soft drink, olive oil, milk, and ice-cream as possible candidates. The authors hypothesized that olive oil would be the best palate reliever as it is non-polar like the capsaicin molecule. The authors surveyed 12 panelists with low, medium, and high spice tolerances and found that across all levels of spice tolerance, milk and ice-cream were the best palate relievers and soft drink the worst.

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The effect of wild orange essential oil on ascorbic acid decay in freshly squeezed orange juice

Sebek et al. | Feb 25, 2022

The effect of wild orange essential oil on ascorbic acid  decay in freshly squeezed orange juice

The goal of this project was to see if the addition of wild orange essential oil to freshly squeezed orange juice would help to slow down the decay of ascorbic acid when exposed to various temperatures, allowing vital nutrients to be maintained and providing a natural alternative to the chemical additives in use in industry today. The authors hypothesized that the addition of wild orange essential oil to freshly squeezed orange juice would slow down the rate of oxidation when exposed to various temperatures, reducing ascorbic acid decay. On average, wild orange EO slowed down ascorbic acid decay in freshly squeezed orange juice by 15% at the three highest temperatures tested.

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Analyzing honey’s ability to inhibit the growth of Rhizopus stolonifer

Johnecheck et al. | Jun 06, 2023

Analyzing honey’s ability to inhibit the growth of <i>Rhizopus stolonifer</i>
Image credit: Johnecheck et al. 2023

Rhizopus stolonifer is a mold commonly found growing on bread that can cause many negative health effects when consumed. Preservatives are the well-known answer to this problem; however, many preservatives are not naturally found in food, and some have negative health effects of their own. We focused on honey as a possible solution because of its natural origin and self-preservation ability. We hypothesized that honey would decrease the growth rate of R. stolonifer . We evaluated the honey with a zone of inhibition (ZOI) test on agar plates. Sabouraud dextrose agar was mixed with differing volumes of honey to generate concentrations between 10.0% and 30.0%. These plates were then inoculated with a solution of spores collected from the mold. The ZOI was measured to determine antifungal effectiveness. A statistically significant difference was found between the means of all concentrations except for 20.0% and 22.5%. Our findings support the hypothesis as we showed a positive correlation between the honey concentration and growth rate of mold. By using this data, progress could be made on an all-natural, honey-based preservative.

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Are Teens Willing to Pay More for Their Preferred Goods?

Johnson et al. | Sep 28, 2019

Are Teens Willing to Pay More for Their Preferred Goods?

Each day we are flooded with new items that promise us a better experience at a better price. This forces buyers to continuously chose between sticking to what they know, or trying something new. In turn, companies need to be aware of the factors affecting consumer choices, that too within the different fractions of society. In this study the authors investigate the effect of survey-based price setting on profits made based on African American teen purchases, and how African-American teen loyalty to a particular brand affects their willingness to pay a higher price than the market average for their preferred brand items.

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Development of Two New Efficient Means of Wastewater Treatment

Bao et al. | Feb 06, 2014

Development of Two New Efficient Means of Wastewater Treatment

The water we use must be treated and cleaned before we release it back into the environment. Here, the authors investigate two new techniques for purifying dissolved impurities from waste water. Their findings may give rise to more cheaper and more efficient water treatment and help keep the planet greener.

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Isolation of Microbes From Common Household Surfaces

Gajanan et al. | Jan 27, 2013

Isolation of Microbes From Common Household Surfaces

Microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi live everywhere in the world around us. The authors here demonstrate that these predominantly harmless microbes can be isolated from many household locations that appear "clean." Further, they test the cleaning power of 70% ethanol and suggest that many "clean" surfaces are not in fact "sterile."

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Machine learning-based enzyme engineering of PETase for improved efficiency in plastic degradation

Gupta et al. | Jan 31, 2023

 Machine learning-based enzyme engineering of PETase for improved efficiency in plastic degradation
Image credit: Markus Spiske

Here, recognizing the recognizing the growing threat of non-biodegradable plastic waste, the authors investigated the ability to use a modified enzyme identified in bacteria to decompose polyethylene terephthalate (PET). They used simulations to screen and identify an optimized enzyme based on machine learning models. Ultimately, they identified a potential mutant PETases capable of decomposing PET with improved thermal stability.

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