/* ---- Google Analytics Code Below */

Friday, May 24, 2019

Deriving Scent from DNA?

Way back when we were looking at scent  and flavor in consumer products, we talked to scientists about the possibility of extracting these measures from DNA of component natural plants and flowers.    Were told no it was not possible.  It seems not to be there yet today, but some interesting advances taken towards doing this.   Some clear commercial possibilities as well as understanding our natural world

Science has brought back the scent of a long-dead flower in Engadget By Nick Summers, @nisummers

Well, sort of.

We've lost some parts of our natural world. Swathes of plants and animals have been consumed by evolution, shifting climates or the often-damaging expansion of humankind.

For a moment, though, London's iconic Barbican center will let you smell a fragment of our lost history. In the corner of a new AI exhibit, a cuboid hood dangles from the ceiling. Inside are four nozzles that slowly release carefully-chosen fragrances into the air around you.

Bark. Pine. Mint. I'm no smell expert, but these are the words that sprang to mind as I slowly inhaled the odors.

The artificial blend is, for now, our best guess at what Hibiscadelphus wilderianus, a tree that once stood on the Hawaiian island of Maui, used to smell like. A small rock sits to the right of the nozzles, hinting at the ancient lava fields where the last specimen was plucked from in 1912. It's a modest visual aid, which is why some virtual environments are included in a short documentary that plays on a loop nearby. Taken as a whole, the installation is powerful enough to drown out the rest of the exhibit and, for a brief moment, transport you to another time and place entirely.

The project was a multi-year collaboration between, among others, Ginkgo Bioworks, a company that specializes in made-to-order microbes, the International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF), Sissel Tolaas, a prolific smell researcher, and Dr. Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, a multidisciplinary artist and synthetic biology researcher. As Scientific American explains, it all started when Jason Kelly, the CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks, heard about Scent Trek, an initiative by flavor and fragrance giant Givaudan to capture the molecules around exotic flowers and fruits.   ... "

No comments: