1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

You can't stop progress! Scientists develop synthetic whale vomit.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Blue Emu, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. Blue Emu

    Blue Emu GroFAZ

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2006
    Messages:
    309
    Location:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Scientists at the University of British Columbia have isolated a gene from the DNA of the Balsam Fir Tree which will enable them to replace ambergris with an equally effective synthetic compound; potentially revolutionizing the perfume industry. This news should come as a relief to any whales on the forum.

    http://www.vancouversun.com/life/fa...uld+shake+perfume+industry/6421172/story.html

    Whale vomit, a key ingredient in perfume, could be left out at sea as researchers have isolated a tree compound that could replace the odd ingredient.

    The discovery made by researchers at the University of British Columbia identified a gene in balsam fir trees that could eliminate the need for ambergris — a strong perfume fixative created from a regurgitated mixture of seashells, fish bones and a sticky inner-stomach substance that turns into a rock-like object once it reacts with sea water.

    Joerg Bohlmann, a professor at UBC and lead researcher at the school's Michael Smith laboratories, said enzymes found in the resin of the tree bark, once isolated, were used to create a synthetic compound that replaces ambergris.

    "We are now able to isolate the one biocatalyst that can create the compound without need to harvest from a natural source," said Bohlmann. "This creation of the compound in a lab would ensure that the animal is never hunted if the product cannot be found naturally and as well would protect the balsam fir from extinction."

    The distinctly scented ambergris — bearing a musky, sweet earthy aroma — clings to fabrics and is added to high-end perfumes to help the scent last longer on skin.

    Massimo Marcone, a professor in the department of food sciences at the University of Guelph in Ontario, says although there are synthetic substitutes for ambergris, small companies will continue to use the product for the odour it provides the perfume.

    "The fixatives make the notes of the perfume last longer and less volatile and this can be easily replicated," said Marcone. "But small manufacturers prefer the ambergris because the substitutes miss the complexity of the natural smell. Depending on the grading, a gram of ambergris can cost up to $50."

    Darren Praznik, CEO and president of the Canadian Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association, says the creation of synthetic compounds is vital in producing environmentally sound products.

    "With the difficulty in obtaining compounds in volumes, it is easy to put a group of animals or plants in danger," said Praznik.

    "Fragrance is composed of hundreds of small materials so synthetic molecules should be created."

    Bohlmann said although ambergris is collected by hand along the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, its use in perfume is controversial.

    "This new compound would eliminate the fear of source depletion that is only slowly regenerated," said Bohlmann. "Without fear of losing the plant life, plant-based products could eliminate animal-based products entirely."

    The research will be published Friday in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
    It makes me proud to be a Canadian!
     
  2. Takhisis

    Takhisis excuse me

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    43,374
    Location:
    up yours!
    Yes! Now you can synthesise whale vomit it's one less reason to keep the whales alive!
     
  3. Thedrin

    Thedrin Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Messages:
    2,649
    Location:
    London
    Ambergris is harvested after the whale has secreted it, isn't it? So shouldn't this have no impact on whale slaughter?
     
  4. Leonel

    Leonel Breakfast Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Messages:
    10,348
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I'm curious as to why I haven't heard about huge whale factory farms where they strap in whales of all sizes, force feed them food and make them vomit. They could be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, I don't envy the man or woman who's job it is to make them vomit...
     
  5. KaiserElectric

    KaiserElectric Total Freakin Besties

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    Messages:
    3,454
    Must have been a slow news day.
     
  6. Takhisis

    Takhisis excuse me

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    43,374
    Location:
    up yours!
    Actually, this belongs in Science Talk… wonder why nobody posts there.
     
  7. KaiserElectric

    KaiserElectric Total Freakin Besties

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    Messages:
    3,454
    If this is the sort of stuff that gets posted there, I'm not surprised. :lol:
     
  8. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Messages:
    6,248
    Location:
    Columbus
    :lol: I was going to ask if this was really news for Serious OT. But it's true, Sci/Tech would be the most appropriate forum for this.

    I don't really see how this helps whales, either. It doesn't sound like any efforts have been made to intentionally make whales puke for the sake of perfumes. But, perhaps this is an area where ignorance is bliss.
     
  9. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Messages:
    15,241
    Location:
    Here and there
    Well, there would be less ships prowling around whales looking for ambergris. That means less vibrations to disrupt their communication via whale song. Although I'm not sure how much ambergris is even used nowadays instead of just synthetic compounds.
     
  10. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Messages:
    3,941
    Location:
    Kent
    "Life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours." -Unkown
     
  11. Takhisis

    Takhisis excuse me

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    43,374
    Location:
    up yours!
    In Order to save the whales we must breed with them.

    Source.
     
  12. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,466
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    *After all the trees which produce this compound have been chopped down*

    Scientists have just discovered that one of the primary ingredients for making perfume has been discovered in whale vomit. Now all the trees can be saved!
     
  13. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton How much Parmesan to put on your umbrella?

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2006
    Messages:
    10,094
    :lol: This maid me laugh passionately. :)
     
  14. Phrossack

    Phrossack Armored Fish and Armored Men

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    Messages:
    5,679
    Up next: Horse vomit.
     
  15. ghostmaker650

    ghostmaker650 Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    I don't trust anything man made, I prefer my perfume organic.
     
  16. G-Max

    G-Max Chieftain

    Joined:
    May 20, 2006
    Messages:
    2,556
    If anyone wants to know, this research was funded by tax dollars (or at least by a university that is funded by tax dollars). This is why I don't support public funding of education.
     
  17. Takhisis

    Takhisis excuse me

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    43,374
    Location:
    up yours!
    Wow. So, sometimes stuff like this is produced, sometimes you get vaccines. But let's hack down all of it.
     
  18. G-Max

    G-Max Chieftain

    Joined:
    May 20, 2006
    Messages:
    2,556
    What? No. Vaccines are important enough that they will get private funding. You are aware that sometimes things can get done without government doing them, right?
     
  19. Takhisis

    Takhisis excuse me

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    43,374
    Location:
    up yours!
    Ah, so just because something good can be done by private individuals the government should stand aside. I like that logic.
     

Share This Page