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Concept: Boiling


A novel way of cooking rice to maximize the removal of the carcinogen inorganic arsenic (Asi) is presented here. In conventional rice cooking water and grain are in continuous contact, and it is known that the larger the water:rice cooking ratio, the more Asi removed by cooking, suggesting that the Asi in the grain is mobile in water. Experiments were designed where rice is cooked in a continual stream of percolating near boiling water, either low in Asi, or Asi free. This has the advantage of not only exposing grain to large volumes of cooking water, but also physically removes any Asi leached from the grain into the water receiving vessel. The relationship between cooking water volume and Asi removal in conventional rice cooking was demonstrated for the rice types under study. At a water-to-rice cooking ratio of 12:1, 57±5% of Asi could be removed, average of 6 wholegrain and 6 polished rice samples. Two types of percolating technology were tested, one where the cooking water was recycled through condensing boiling water steam and passing the freshly distilled hot water through the grain in a laboratory setting, and one where tap water was used to cook the rice held in an off-the-shelf coffee percolator in a domestic setting. Both approaches proved highly effective in removing Asi from the cooking rice, with up to 85% of Asi removed from individual rice types. For the recycled water experiment 59±8% and 69±10% of Asi was removed, on average, compared to uncooked rice for polished (n=27) and wholegrain (n=13) rice, respectively. For coffee percolation there was no difference between wholegrain and polished rice, and the effectiveness of Asi removal was 49±7% across 6 wholegrain and 6 polished rice samples. The manuscript explores the potential applications and further optimization of this percolating cooking water, high Asi removal, discovery.

Concepts: Water, Coffee, Rice, Cooking, Coffeemaker, Boiling, Coffee percolator, French press


On Mars, locally warm surface temperatures (~293 K) occur, leading to the possibility of (transient) liquid water on the surface. However, water exposed to the martian atmosphere will boil, and the sediment transport capacity of such unstable water is not well understood. Here, we present laboratory studies of a newly recognized transport mechanism: “levitation” of saturated sediment bodies on a cushion of vapor released by boiling. Sediment transport where this mechanism is active is about nine times greater than without this effect, reducing the amount of water required to transport comparable sediment volumes by nearly an order of magnitude. Our calculations show that the effect of levitation could persist up to ~48 times longer under reduced martian gravity. Sediment levitation must therefore be considered when evaluating the formation of recent and present-day martian mass wasting features, as much less water may be required to form such features than previously thought.

Concepts: Water, Mars, Liquid, Gas, Evaporation, Sediment transport, Boiling, Atmosphere of Mars


Rough structures created from bulk materials at the surface could have superior durability. Superhydrophobic colorful surfaces were fabricated through chemical etching of the fiber surfaces, followed by diffusion of fluoroalkylsilane into fibers. The obtained superhydrophobic textiles show strong durability against severe abrasion, long-time laundering, and boiling water.

Concepts: Water, Cooking, Torus, Boiling, Simmering


A simple, rapid (10 seconds) and scalable method to fabricate superhydrophobic polypropylene (PP) fabrics is developed by swelling the fabrics in cyclohexane/heptane mixture at 80 ºC. The recrystallization of the swollen macromolecules on the fiber surface contributes to the formation of submicron protuberances, which increase the surface roughness dramatically and result in superhydrophobic behavior. The superhydrophobic PP fabrics possess excellent repellency to blood, urine, milk, coffee and other common liquids, and show good durability and robustness, such as remarkable resistances to water penetration, abrasion, acidic/alkaline solution and boiling water. The excellent comprehensive performance of the superhydrophobic PP fabrics indicates their potential applications as oil/water separation materials, protective garments, diaper pads or other medical and health supplies. This simple, fast and low cost method operating at a relatively low temperature is superior to other reported techniques for fabricating superhydrophobic PP materials as far as large scale manufacturing is considered. Moreover, the proposed method is applicable for preparing superhydrophobic PP films and sheets as well.

Concepts: Water, Liquid, Polypropylene, Materials science, Distillation, Separation process, Boiling, Simmering


A facile boiling water synthesis protocol has been developed to synthesize thiolated Ag nanoclusters with a core-shell Ag(0)@Ag(i)-thiolate structure, which was formed through condensation of Ag(i)-thiolate complexes on the surface of an in situ formed Ag(0) core. The as-synthesized thiolated Ag nanoclusters feature strong luminescence via aggregation-induced-emission (AIE).

Concepts: Water, Synthesis, Heat transfer, Distillation, Cooking, Boiling, Simmering


Inhibitors of amyloid β (Aβ) aggregation have the potential to serve as lead compounds for anti-Alzheimer’s disease (AD) agents because Aβ aggregation is a key step in AD pathogenesis. Recently, we developed a novel microliter-scale high-throughput screening (MSHTS) system for Aβ aggregation inhibitors that applied fluorescence microscopic analysis with quantum dot nanoprobes, and attempted to comprehensively screen the inhibitors from spices using this system (Ishigaki, Y. et al., PLoS One, 8, e72992, 2013). In this study, we tried to evaluate the inhibitory activities of 11 seaweed extracts on Aβ aggregation using the MSHTS system. The half-maximal effective concentration (EC50) of the ethanolic extracts from all seaweeds exceeded 4.9 mg/ml, indicating that the extracts inhibit Aβ aggregation although this activity was significantly lower than that displayed by members of the Lamiaceae, a family of herbal spices that showed highest activity among 52 spices tested in our 2013 study. On the other hand, the EC50 of boiling water extracts was 0.013-0.42 mg/ml which was comparable with the EC50 of the extracts from the Lamiaceae family. These results suggest that the extraction efficiency of the inhibitors by boiling water extraction was higher than that by ethanolic extraction. Moreover, analysis of fluorescence micrographs, which were obtained from the MSHTS system, revealed that the morphology of the Aβ aggregates coincubated with boiling water extracts differed from control aggregates, suggesting that the MSHTS system is also useful for screening substances that affect the morphology of aggregates.

Concepts: Water, Chemical equilibrium, Drug discovery, Inhibitor, Cooking, Drug discovery hit to lead, Boiling, Simmering


Ninhydrin undergoes an unprecedented condensation reaction with various 2-aminobenzamide derivatives in boiling water to afford 11a-hydroxy-11,11a-dihydrobenzo[e]indeno[2,1-b][1,4]diazepine-10,12-dione derivatives. These hitherto unreported products are easily isolated in high yield by a simple filtration step. An interesting “ortho effect” was observed in the condensation reaction of ninhydrin with 2-amino-N-phenylbenzamide derivatives having an ortho-substituent in the N-phenyl moiety wherein the corresponding expected 3'-phenyl-1'H-spiro[indene-2,2'-quinazoline]-1,3,4'(3'H)-triones were obtained.

Concepts: Chemical reaction, Water, Acetic acid, Heat transfer, Distillation, Cooking, Boiling, Simmering


The Flint Water Crisis (FWC) is divisible into four phases of child water-lead exposure risk: Phase A) before the switch in water source to the Flint River (our baseline); Phase B) after the switch in water source, but before boil water advisories; Phase C) after boil water advisories, but before the switch back to the baseline water source of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD); and Phase D) after the switch back to DWSD. The objective of this work is to estimate water-lead attributable movements in child blood lead levels (BLLs) that correspond with the four phases in the FWC. With over 21,000 geo-referenced and time-stamped blood lead samples from children in Genesee County drawn from January 01, 2013 to July 19, 2016, we develop a series of quasi-experimental models to identify the causal effect of water-lead exposure on child BLLs in Flint. We find that the switch in water source (transitioning from phase A to B) caused mean BLLs to increase by about 0.5μg/dL, and increased the likelihood of a child presenting with a BLL ≥ 5μg/dL by a factor of 1.91-3.50, implying an additional 561 children exceeding 5μg/dL. We conservatively estimate cohort social costs (through lost earnings alone) of this increase in water-lead exposed children at $65 million, contrasted with expected annual savings of $2 million from switching water source. On the switch from Phase B to C, we find BLLs decreased about 50% from their initial rise following boil water advisories and subsequent water avoidance behaviors by households. Finally, the return to the baseline source water (Phase D) returned child BLLs to pre-FWC levels further implicating water-lead exposure as a causal source of child BLLs throughout the FWC.

Concepts: Causality, Water resources, Water supply, Water crisis, Flint River, Boiling, Genesee County, Michigan, Flint, Michigan


Access to clean water is a grand challenge in the 21st century. Water safety testing for pathogens currently depends on surrogate measures such as fecal indicator bacteria (e.g., E. coli). Metagenomics concerns high-throughput, culture-independent, unbiased shotgun sequencing of DNA from environmental samples that might transform water safety by detecting waterborne pathogens directly instead of their surrogates. Yet emerging innovations such as metagenomics are often fiercely contested. Innovations are subject to shaping/construction not only by technology but also social systems/values in which they are embedded, such as experts' attitudes towards new scientific evidence. We conducted a classic three-round Delphi survey, comprised of 107 questions. A multidisciplinary expert panel (n = 24) representing the continuum of discovery scientists and policymakers evaluated the emergence of metagenomics tests. To the best of our knowledge, we report here the first Delphi foresight study of experts' attitudes on (1) the top 10 priority evidentiary criteria for adoption of metagenomics tests for water safety, (2) the specific issues critical to governance of metagenomics innovation trajectory where there is consensus or dissensus among experts, (3) the anticipated time lapse from discovery to practice of metagenomics tests, and (4) the role and timing of public engagement in development of metagenomics tests. The ability of a test to distinguish between harmful and benign waterborne organisms, analytical/clinical sensitivity, and reproducibility were the top three evidentiary criteria for adoption of metagenomics. Experts agree that metagenomic testing will provide novel information but there is dissensus on whether metagenomics will replace the current water safety testing methods or impact the public health end points (e.g., reduction in boil water advisories). Interestingly, experts view the publics relevant in a “downstream capacity” for adoption of metagenomics rather than a co-productionist role at the “upstream” scientific design stage of metagenomics tests. In summary, these findings offer strategic foresight to govern metagenomics innovations symmetrically: by identifying areas where acceleration (e.g., consensus areas) and deceleration/reconsideration (e.g., dissensus areas) of the innovation trajectory might be warranted. Additionally, we show how scientific evidence is subject to potential social construction by experts' value systems and the need for greater upstream public engagement on metagenomics innovations.

Concepts: Scientific method, Bacteria, Futurology, Surrogate, 21st century, Drinking water, Waterborne diseases, Boiling


Low pressure cooking has recently been identified as an alternative to ambient and high pressure cooking to provide food with enhanced organoleptic properties. This work investigates the impact of cooking process at different pressures on the molecular and sensory profile of a vegetable broth. Experimental results showed similar sensory and chemical profiles of vegetable broths when boiling at 0.93 and 1.5 bar while an enhancement of sulfur volatile compounds correlated with a greater leek aroma was observed when boiling at low pressure (80°C/0.48 bar). Thus, low pressure cooking would allow preserving the most fragile volatiles likely due to the lower water boiling temperature and the reduced level of oxygen. This study evidenced chemical and sensory impact of pressure during cooking and demonstrated the flavor profile of culinary preparations can be enhanced by applying low pressure conditions.

Concepts: Oxygen, Water, Thermodynamics, Gas, Atmospheric pressure, Volatile, Cooking, Boiling