Friday, July 24, 2020

We Need More Acid Rain

From Reuters:
Why cleaner air may be bad for your sourdough bread
Less acid rain is good for the environment, but potentially bad for bread, cereals and pasta. 
A decline in U.S. power plant emissions over the last 30 years means the air has less sulfur, a crucial nutrient for wheat and many other crops that researchers are now working to replace with fertilizer applications.

For decades sulfur seeped into the soil via acid rain, a toxic precipitation that is harmful to human health but helped crops and made for tastier bread.

Bread’s delicious structure is mainly thanks to the gluten in wheat. Gluten gives bread its elastic nature and allows pizza dough to be stretched and tossed in the air. But gluten is held together by sulfur-to-sulfur bonds. Without enough sulfur, bread has a harder crust and poor crumb structure — resulting in something more like a brick than a baguette.

In Kansas, the sulfur deficit is plainly visible each spring as wheat plants in some areas emerge from their winter dormancy and resume growing. Most wheat fields are green, but some have a distinctive yellowish tint, the result of new leaves emerging from the tops of wheat plants low on sulfur.
European farmers have been applying sulfur for years, after research in the mid-2000s showed sulfur-deficient wheat when combined with other ingredients in baking can form acrylamide, a chemical linked to cancer....

If a couple oversized bets don't pan out, yours truly has been informed we will be pivoting to cooking tips.