Can you imagine eating silk?
According to today’s News Release by Tufts University, silk can keep fruits and other perishables fresh for more than a week without refrigeration.
“Tufts University biomedical engineers have demonstrated that fruits can stay fresh for more than a week without refrigeration if they are coated in an odorless, biocompatible silk solution so thin as to be virtually invisible.” “Fibroin, an insoluble protein found in silk, has a remarkable ability to stabilize and protect other materials while being fully biocompatible and biodegradable.” “Tests showed that the silk coating prolonged the freshness of the fruits by slowing fruit respiration, extending fruit firmness and preventing decay.” For details on how this works, see Silk keeps fruit fresh without refrigeration.
While I feel excited about the promise of a new way to preserve delicate foods, my intuition asks: will the flavor, taste, texture, and nutrition facts of the food be affected? Will the silk coating be harmful in any way to human bodies? After all, these are the things we foodies care about.
I anxiously read the News Release one more time and found “the thin, odorless silk coating did not affect fruit texture. Taste was not studied.” It is wonderful to know that fruits can be as juicy and chewy as without the silk coating. It will be inspiring if, in the near future, we can find out that fruits and other perishables can be kept fresh by silk without losing their original nuances in flavors, tastes, and nutrition facts and without causing health issues to humans.
More challenges await us in food science and technology research. Let’s hope for the best!
A famous fashion designer once said, “Silk does for the body what diamonds do for the hand.” With the new technology of using silk to keep foods fresh, this may certainly sound true, just in a different way.