Wine fanciers speak of the "foxy" aroma of wines made from labruscana grapes, which are cultivated descendents of the so-called fox grape species (Vitis labrusca) native to New England. Now a Cornell University researcher, Terry E. Acree, has found that the molecule responsible for the foxy odor is almost an identical twin of a molecule produced in the anal sac of the Japanese weasel, which had previously been said to have a "grape" smell.
Flying in the weightlessness of space causes the body to cut its production of growth hormone by up to one-half, according to Wesley C. Hymer of Pennsylvania State University. In adults, growth hormone helps maintain muscle, bone and the immune system, all of which have been found to weaken after prolonged weightlessness. This suggests that doses of the hormone might help on long flights.
Genetically engineered cranberries -- the first perennial fruit species to be so altered -- are growing at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Researchers there and at Agracetus, a biotech company, gave the plants a bacterial gene that confers insect resistance, thus reducing the need for pesticides. The gene comes from Bacillus thurengiensis, or "Bt," which contains natural toxins.
A bottle of beer contains about two bottles of carbon dioxide, the gas that makes the bubbles. It stays dissolved in the beer because the beer is kept under a pressure of about 30 pounds per square inch -- about the same as in a car tire.