Researchers have unearthed nine small figs from a burned building near Jericho, Israel. The catch? The fire occurred more than 11,000 years ago, according to archaeologists, which means the figs, which were charred and preserved by the fire, are from the same time frame. That would make figs the earliest known cultivated fruit crop, and possibly the first domesticated food production anywhere. Cultivated fig trees appeared about 1,000 years before other Middle Eastern crops like wheat and chickpeas.
A germ of an idea
Probiotics aren't just for yogurt anymore. Chemical-products manufacturer BASF is working with another German company, OrganoBalance, to develop oral care products with bacteria. According to BASF, a particular strain of lactobacillus binds with Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria that causes tooth decay by adhering to the surface of teeth and converting sugar into acids that erode enamel. The first probiotic oral hygiene products will be released in 2007, the company said. But that's not all. Other strains of lactobacillus apparently have shown promise in fighting underarm and foot odor. Just like our guts, our skin is populated with microorganisms. If the unhealthy strains outnumber the beneficial ones, appearance and health of skin can suffer, according to Dr. Christine Lang, managing director of OrganoBalance.
Navel gazing allowed
Naturals retailers might want to take a cue from Kroger. The conventional supermarket chain has launched a Web site to help consumers get creative with produce. At MakeTheMost.com, visitors can find information on how to select, store and use fresh produce. The site offers recipes and nutrition information, as well as video demonstrations for handling and preparation. The site also hawks "Produce Experience Events," in-store cooking demos that familiarize shoppers with seasonal produce and cooking methods.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 10/p. 76