Inhale for health

This research is a bit old (October 2013) but recently caught my eye: Research out of Japan shows that walking in the woods also may play a role in fighting cancer. Plants emit a chemical called phytoncides that protects them from rotting and insects. When people breathe it in, there is an increase in theContinue reading “Inhale for health”

The Scent of a Man

A new study (published here) suggest that scientists unable to replicate  behavioral studies in rats and mice may be due to the presence of male researchers. The presence of male experimenters produced a stress response in mice and rats equivalent to that caused by restraining the rodents for 15 minutes in a tube or forcing themContinue reading “The Scent of a Man”

Smelling in the polar vortex

Since so many parts of the US (mainly the Great Plains, mid-west, and parts of the northeast) are experiencing normal interior Alaska winter temperatures right now, I thought I’d write about what/if we smell when it gets cold. Our ability to smell things is related to temperature because temperature is a key factor in volatilityContinue reading “Smelling in the polar vortex”

Black diamonds

The genome for the Périgord truffle was published in 2010. Considering that these special truffles go for 1000-2000 ($1300-2700) an ounce, the genome has been under-exploited by culinary scientists and molecular gastronomists…until recently when specialists in bioinformatics and proteomics got together to mine the secrets of Brillat-Savarin‘s “diamond of the kitchen”. The resulting paper, released today in the JournalContinue reading “Black diamonds”

Is there a connection between dietary repetition and food preferences?

A Science News Post (brought to my attention earlier in the summer by @elizabethjrowe) presents research trends in food science: the pairing of retronasal olfaction and taste reception in studying flavour and the knowledge pairing of culinary experts and scientists within a relatively new journal Flavour. I am glad that food sensation (for lack of a betterContinue reading “Is there a connection between dietary repetition and food preferences?”

The piggy smell of Eurasian genetic landscapes

Between 6000-4000 years ago (according to study published in Nature Communications), indigenous Mesolithic hunter-gatherers acquired pigs from Neolithic farmers immigrating to Europe. I have been interested in Pleistocene pigs for a while (and their continued association with humans into the Holocene). The reason for my interest is that pigs produce a lot of androstenone (aContinue reading “The piggy smell of Eurasian genetic landscapes”

The Onges of the Andaman Islands and urban smell decay

A recent study by Ramesh Sahani on the changes to nutrition and body metrics (anthropometry) in the Onges of the Andaman islands shows that rapid forced settlement of a foraging population results in highly negative outcomes. Their body metrics now fall in line with overweight/obese body metrics and their diet has shifted radically: protein is nowContinue reading “The Onges of the Andaman Islands and urban smell decay”

Biking through mint-scented clouds

I was reading a great blog post yesterday and got to the part where the author says “My bike just makes me happy on this immediate, cellular level” and quit reading because I needed to be on my sweet Electra Ticino (see below). Biking season is back in full force as are the mint-scented clouds ofContinue reading “Biking through mint-scented clouds”

Smell of the week: Clove

In a continuing series on the spices of mince pies, cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) pick up where we left off last week with the genus Myrtaceae, from which we get our nutmeg and mace. Cloves are also native to Indonesia (the Maluku islands to be specific. Clove oil can come from the leaves, the stem, or buds. This resultsContinue reading “Smell of the week: Clove”

Smell of the week: Nutmeg

In a continuing short series on mince pies, today’s spice is nutmeg. Nutmeg and its aromatically ‘lighter’ sister mace both come from trees in the genus Myristica. On the left is nutmeg in fresh form: the seed is nutmeg and the aril is mace. Myristica fragrans, the most common source, is an Indonesian flowering evergreens thatContinue reading “Smell of the week: Nutmeg”