From the farm to the fork

Sept. 1, 2007
The winemakers of Bordeaux consider the 2005 vintage to be an extraordinary one … perhaps the greatest in the past 50 years, according to some reports.

The winemakers of Bordeaux consider the 2005 vintage to be an extraordinary one … perhaps the greatest in the past 50 years, according to some reports. And while the combination of that year’s weather and soil (called terroir in France) in the Bordeaux region strongly influenced the quality of the grapes, the resulting wine, which is not yet available in stores, is also a product of the centuries old “art” of Bordeaux winemaking. Nowadays though-just as a winemaker may blend several different wines to create a different one-the ancient art of winemaking is increasingly being blended with modern science to provide novel approaches to the overall wine production process. Goals may include, for instance, improved yield or better controlled flavor profiles.

Driven in part by new analysis techniques and increasingly turnkey instrumentation, this blending of art and science is occurring across the entire food production chain, from the farm to the fork. Food safety (detection and identification of contaminants) may be an obvious application of the science, but similar analysis techniques can also identify the origin of food or can be used to determine the freshness of eggs (see cover and page 62). Other developments are creating added opportunities. For example, rugged optical fibers enable a spectrometer to be remote from a hostile test environment, so a portable near-IR reflectance spectrometer with a fiber probe can evaluate beef tenderness in a meat processing plant-taking the art of that assessment away from the experienced farmer or butcher (see page 83).

In a very different arena, the progress made developing turnkey ultrafast laser systems is increasingly bringing the technology to the fore. Many materials processing opportunities using ultrafast lasers are being explored, including their use to produce nanoparticles (see page 74), while other researchers are looking at the potential applications of plasma channels, formed by femtosecond pulses, that guide laser filaments over long distances and may have applications in remote sensing and laser lightning rods (see page 87).

About the Author

Stephen G. Anderson | Director, Industry Development - SPIE

 Stephen Anderson is a photonics industry expert with an international background and has been actively involved with lasers and photonics for more than 30 years. As Director, Industry Development at SPIE – The international society for optics and photonics – he is responsible for tracking the photonics industry markets and technology to help define long-term strategy, while also facilitating development of SPIE’s industry activities. Before joining SPIE, Anderson was Associate Publisher and Editor in Chief of Laser Focus World and chaired the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar. Anderson also co-founded the BioOptics World brand. Anderson holds a chemistry degree from the University of York and an Executive MBA from Golden Gate University.    

Sponsored Recommendations

Request a free Micro 3D Printed sample part

April 11, 2024
The best way to understand the part quality we can achieve is by seeing it first-hand. Request a free 3D printed high-precision sample part.

How to Tune Servo Systems: The Basics

April 10, 2024
Learn how to tune a servo system using frequency-based tools to meet system specifications by watching our webinar!

How Precision Motion Systems are Shaping the Future of Semiconductor Manufacturing

March 28, 2024
This article highlights the pivotal role precision motion systems play in supporting the latest semiconductor manufacturing trends.

Melles Griot® XPLAN™ CCG Lens Series

March 19, 2024
IDEX Health & Science sets a new standard with our Melles Griot® XPLAN™ CCG Lens Series fluorescence microscope imaging systems. Access superior-quality optics with off-the-shelf...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!