Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Fake and Man-Made Jellyfish


Clear, crunchy and counterfeit: China's fake jellyfish
Jellyfish are a popular appetiser in China, known for its crisp but fleshy texture, often shredded and pickled in salt, vinegar and a little sugar. - AFP

A tonne of man-made "jellyfish" has been seized by China's police, adding a new ingredient to the country's long recipe of fake foods.

The marine animal is a popular appetiser in China, known for its crisp but fleshy texture, often shredded and pickled in salt, vinegar and a little sugar.

Fake "jellyfish", made from chemicals, was first found at a food market in Huzhou, in the coastal province of Zhejiang, the local government said on its website

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China Police Seize Tonnes Of Man-Made Fake Jellyfish From Huzhou


While a real alive jellyfish looks like this, what the China police found in the market was fake "jellyfish", made from chemicals.

A tonne of man-made "jellyfish" has been seized by China's police, adding a new ingredient to the country's long recipe of fake foods.

The marine animal is a popular appetiser in China, known for its crisp but fleshy texture, often shredded and pickled in salt, vinegar and a little sugar.

read more


Clear, crunchy and counterfeit: China's fake jellyfish

Jellyfish are a popular appetiser in China, known for its crisp but fleshy texture.

Fake "jellyfish", made from chemicals, was first found at a food market in Huzhou, in the coastal province of Zhejiang, the local government said on its website.

They had a high aluminium content, long term consumption of which can damage bones and nerves, and lead to memory loss and mental decline.

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Man-made jellyfish

Harvard bioengineers have made an artificial jellyfish by growing a single layer of rat heart muscle on a patterned sheet of polydimethylsiloxane.  As you can see from the following video, when placed between two electrodes in water, this synthetic structure can swim exactly like its living counterpart.

he rat muscle contacts when an electric field is applied across the structure, and then the elastic silicone pulls the jellyfish back to its original shape.

“Morphologically, we’ve built a jellyfish. Functionally, we’ve built a jellyfish. Genetically, this thing is a rat,” said Kit Parker, the researcher who led this project.

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What Does It Take to Make a Jellyfish?

Many jellyfish are transparent, and they have seemingly simple movements and few visible interacting parts. They should, therefore, be easy to synthesize with man-made parts, but that's not what bioengineers discovered when they recently built a jellyfish mimic from rat heart cells attached to a silicone frame.

A team of Unites States collaborators produced a structure that, when energized by an external electrical shock, flexed and moved like a jellyfish in a water tank. Nature News posted a video showing their construct in motion.

Just what hurdles did the research team overcome in order to achieve their modest results?

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Artificial jellyfish built from rat cells
A jellyfish made of silicone and rat heart cells 'swims' in water when subjected to an electric field

Bioengineers have made an artificial jellyfish using silicone and muscle cells from a rat’s heart. The synthetic creature, dubbed a medusoid, looks like a flower with eight petals. When placed in an electric field, it pulses and swims exactly like its living counterpart.

“Morphologically, we’ve built a jellyfish. Functionally, we’ve built a jellyfish. Genetically, this thing is a rat,” says Kit Parker, a biophysicist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the work. The project is described today in Nature Biotechnology.

Parker’s lab works on creating artificial models of human heart tissues for regenerating organs and testing drugs, and the team built the medusoid as a way of understanding the “fundamental laws of muscular pumps”. It is an engineer’s approach to basic science: prove that you have identified the right principles by building something with them.

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Artificial jellyfish created from heart cells

The swimming behaviour of the Medusoid closely mimics that of the real thing

The team members built the replica using silicone as a base on which to grow heart muscle cells that were harvested from rats.

They used an electric current to shock the Medusoid into swimming with synchronised contractions that mimic those of real jellyfish.

The advance, by researchers at Caltech and Harvard University, is reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology .

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How Man-Made Jellyfish Could Help Heart Patients
A new artificial jellyfish swims in a tank of salt water in lab. This photo's colors have been altered to make the jellyfish easier to see

A half-inch-long juvenile jellyfish pulses and swims much like any of its compatriots in oceans all over the world. The major difference? It's entirely man-made. "It's a biohybrid robot. It's part animal, it's part synthetic material," said Kevin Kit Parker, a bioengineer at Harvard University who led the jellyfish-building effort.

The ultimate aim of Parker's little jellyfish isn't to build animals, however. It's to build artificial hearts for transplants in the future . Parker, who has long studied heart cells, chose to reproduce a jellyfish first, so he could learn the basics of biological pumps. "The jellyfish was a first step in that we built a functioning pump with designer specs," he told InnovationNewsDaily. "We're going to continue to try it to ratchet it up by building harder and harder things until we're ready for the heart."

His new artificial jellyfish is made from a combination of a thin, silicone material that's used in breast implants and heart cells harvested from unborn rats. Parker and his colleagues from Harvard and the California Institute of Technology analyzed a real jellyfish to learn exactly how the proteins in its body align with each other, then reproduced those alignments in the artificial design. A computer program the researchers wrote helped them quantitatively measure of how well the artificial design matched the natural one

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Man Made Jellyfish, A Poor Imitation Of The Real One

“If man with all his ingenuity can only create a much inferior fake Jellyfish then what is the probability that blind random chance could create the much superior real one, I think we know the answer to that.”

Many jellyfish are transparent, and they have seemingly simple movements and few visible interacting parts.

They should, therefore, be easy to synthesize with man-made parts, but that’s not what bioengineers discovered when they recently built a jellyfish mimic from rat heart cells attached to a silicone frame.

read more

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Wine Fraud: A Vintage Crime