Scientists Solve Unpopped Popcorn !


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Hum

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. :huh:

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.

source:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/04/21...t.ap/index.html

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theyarecomingforyou

I want their job!!! :woot:

Next on the list of things to do: can chairs be made out of chocolate? :p

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Max

Part of me says "How about scientists work on a cure for cancer instead of popping popcorn?"

The other half of me says "Hell yeah! No more freaking teeth-chipping mofo's at the bottom of the bucket!"

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Makeshift Hammer

It took scientific research to figure this out? :D Have they never boiled an egg before? Pressure builds up, shell cracks. Jesus, how dumb are the supposed academics going to become.

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Bobster

^ LOL! This is cool news! No more hurting your teeth when watching a movie! :D

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Gabureiru

Science at its best :yes:

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Fred Derf

[Thread Moved to NFN]

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casao
It took scientific research to figure this out? :D  Have they never boiled an egg before?  Pressure builds up, shell cracks.  Jesus, how dumb are the supposed academics going to become.

585809888[/snapback]

The entire purpose of science is to explain now just why something isn't happening, but why the why happens:

We knew there wasn't enough pressure, because of the wrong balence of moisture. Now we know exactly why this happens, and, more importantly, how to fix it.

I know it's a minor thing, but you have to put it into perspective: Some scientists just aren't smart enough to work on cures for cancer, and some scientists are in COMPLETELY different fields.

And hey, atleast they're not making bigger and better bombs =)

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Fighter-X

Nice! I never go to the bottom because I can never eat enough to get there on my big bucket. The people around me can suffer :devil:

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Valerus

The world has been saved!

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MikeCoz
The world has been saved!

LMAO cool news

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SkyyPunk

ok these guys are on a roll...set them up with the cure for cancer scientists!! :)

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bigbluepride35

Can anyone say useless research? I hope no government grants were given to this research project. Sadly, I wouldn't be all that shocked if they were.

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matt95110

Wow I'm glad that they solved that important mystery. Now they can focus on less urgent matters, like cancer for example.

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The Jorge
Part of me says "How about scientists work on a cure for cancer instead of popping popcorn?"

The other half of me says "Hell yeah! No more freaking teeth-chipping mofo's at the bottom of the bucket!"

585809885[/snapback]

I totally agree(Y)Y)

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