science overcomes nature
We can now rest easier and humanity can advance unfettered.
Scientists solve unpopped popcorn: To pop or not to pop lies in the hull
|INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (AP) – Eat your way to the bottom of almost any bag of popcorn and there they are: the rock-hard, jaw-rattling unpopped kernels known as old maids.|
The nuisance kernels have kept many a dentist busy, but their days could be numbered: Scientists say they now know why some popcorn kernels resist popping into puffy white globes.
It’s long been known that popcorn kernels must have a precise moisture level in their starchy center – about 15 percent – to explode. But Purdue University researchers found the key to a kernel’s explosive success lies in the composition of its hull.
Unpopped kernels, it turns out, have leaky hulls that prevent the moisture pressure buildup needed for them to pop and lack the optimal hull structure that allows most kernels to explode.
“They’re sort of like little pressure vessels that explode when the pressure reaches a certain point,” said Bruce Hamaker, a Purdue professor of food chemistry. "But if too much moisture escapes, it loses its ability to pop and just sits there."
The findings may help popcorn breeders select the best varieties – or create new ones – with superior hulls that yield few, if any, unpopped kernels. But for now, there’s no way to screen out potential old maids before they end up in bags of popcorn.
Hamaker and his associates compared the microwave popping performance of 14 Indiana-grown popcorn varieties and examined the crystalline structure of the translucent hulls of both the popped kernels and the duds.
In the varieties popped, the percentage of unpopped kernels ranged from 4 percent in premium brands to 47 percent in the cheaper ones.
The findings could be good news for people who savor the snack and those who grow the 17 billion quarts of popcorn sold each year in the United States.
Wendy Boersema Rappel, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based Popcorn Board, said popcorn processors are always looking for ways to improve their product, including reducing the number of old maids.
“It’s one of life’s annoyances – it’s not rocking anyone’s world, but our members always like to improve their product,” Rappel said.
Hamaker said two popcorn manufacturers have already expressed interest in Purdue’s findings.
The research, funded by Purdue’s Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research, which Hamaker directs, has been published online and will appear in the July 11 edition of the journal BioMacromolecules.
Cripes, I could have told them that.
|Quote (Willy @ April 22 2005,19:31)|
|Unpopped kernels, it turns out, have leaky hulls that prevent the moisture pressure buildup needed for them to pop and lack the optimal hull structure that allows most kernels to explode.|
Cripes, I could have told them that.
Yeah, but then they would have lost their federal funding and Professor Hamaker would have been unable to buy his mistress that new Jag to keep her quiet.
Ain’t science wonderful!
I’m waiting for the payoff when I can go the cinema and have a full container of popcorn all the way to the greasy bottom of the bag.
You guys don’t understand. Orville Redenbacker went to Purdue, popcorn research is part of the school’s historic mission. Gezz, you guys don’t appreciate contributions to the good of humanitiy!
TomS - Purdue '96
I was always told by my old man that, a crow shit me on a fence post, and my mother found me, and took me home… lol…
It was his way of explain’n the Birds-and-the Bees… It could be true… I havn’t figuered it out yet… hehe…
[EDIT] What’s this pollen all about, anyway? Is corn a by-product?
Heh, Bill, my little sister always claims (since we are so different) that I was found somewhere by our parents. When they got her, their REAL child, I was old enough to know my name and adress so they couldn’t get rid of me
Kids today… They are so clever… They know everything … When they are born… Gene, evolution… or something…
If only I had paid more attention to what my parents told me…
I had a twin brother… We both got lost one day… But I was smart enough to find my way home… I know he’s out there somewhere… lol… hehe… Think about it… A world with two of me?? Holey Moley…
|Quote (woxnerw @ April 23 2005,21:41)|
|I had a twin brother.. We both got lost one day.. But I was smart enough to find my way home.. I know he's out there somewhere.. lol.. hehe.. Think about it.. A world with two of me?? Holey Moley....|
FWIW it sounds pretty harmless to me. Oh well, what do I know ?