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#1 2022-02-22 07:18:21

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 18,142

Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

Large Ship Prime is: Large scale colonization ship by RobertDyck

This topic is offered as a way to consolidate posts about green house and other food production systems, storage of food of all kinds, and recycling of edible material.  This topic will NOT focus upon management of human waste.

Posts entered into this topic will (hopefully) remain ON topic, so that a future Large Ship planner can focus and not be distracted by unrelated material.

(th)

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#2 2022-02-22 21:54:27

SpaceNut
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Re: Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

Food storage whether dry, frozen or fresh will need to have a level of access by those eating such as getting a drink that is cold from the refrigerator to getting a frozen freeze pop.

Initially we are going to take on a variety of foods that will need a pretty sizeable area set aside for them.

Some images to give an idea of what we will need.

BC230-Service-Cart-in-front-of-Camshelving-Food-Pans.jpg

Equipment-1C.jpg

Compass-Walk-In-Cooler.jpg

0c6cbdfe1ad344b5803e07b0f0690b67.jpg

iglu-wine-wall.jpg

MCF-8723Pic.png

I am sure that we will need many more of these along with other types.

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#3 2022-02-23 07:11:05

tahanson43206
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Re: Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

For SpaceNut re great start for this new topic...

Thank you for giving this new topic a running start!  The examples you have provided should be helpful to those who will be starting to think seriously about this aspect of Large Ship design.  The experience of the aircraft industry should be helpful.

In addition, the experience of those building and operating the International Space Station should be helpful

The (arbitrary) target mass for the various Large Ship concepts (not including the vessel of kbd512) is 5000 metric tons.

This mass was chosen by GW Johnson to use as a standard for computation of propulsion requirements for a flight to and from Mars.

It is as good as any target, and better than most.  Let's go with it.

Thus, the systems to produce fresh produce, to prepare that produce for use, and storage of dry foods and fresh ones must all blend seamlessly into that 5000 tons of mass.

Humans have plenty of experience (by now) building space systems to meet arbitrary mass requirements, such as the throw weight of a particular rocket.

It will require the same skill set for designers of Large Ship to cooperate in aiming for a collective mass of 5000 tons.

At some point, if this forum continues to build momentum as a thought center for Large Ship, it may be appropriate to create a topic for system integration.

In the mean time, with your help, ** this ** topic has a chance to become a focal point for inspired thinking about how food will be produced, processed, stored and recycled on Large Ship.

Another example that just came to mind was passenger dirigible technology of the 1930's, such as the Hindenburg.  From reports I have read, the "fine dining" of RobertDyck was provided to passengers on the Hindenburg as a matter of course.

The one aspect of the "fine dining" idea that I am confident would apply if Large Ship is funded by Americans is this:

There will be NO class distinctions on Large Ship.  The concept of class distinctions is so thoroughly European (and obviously Canadian as well) that it comes out of European minds as naturally as water flowing from a spring.  Those concepts are NOT going to transfer to Large Ship if it is funded by Americans.

If there is "fine dining" on Large Ship, it will be provided for all, just as is done on US submarines or surface vessels.

(th)

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#4 2023-06-29 06:52:00

RobertDyck
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Re: Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

I made several points in my presentation to the Mars Society virtual convention. Water will be recycled as it is on ISS. Chloroplast based oxygen generator produces starch as a byproduct, so we don't need to ship bulk starch. Mixing starch dissolved in water with an enzyme called amylase will convert the starch to sugar, so we only need to store enough sugar between batches. A.type of mould that grows on starch produces amylase, so we can produce amylase as well. While ISS processes urine to extract all water, the large ship will extract most but not all water. The reason is urine will be put in an electrolysis tank to remove sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide. This will bubble chlorine gas from one electrode, hydrogen gas from the other. The mix of NaOH and KOH can be further separated via another electrolysis tank, with a finer semipermeable membrane. Bubbling chlorine gas and hydrogen gas through a solution of NaOH dissolved in water will result in neutral pH, converting it to salt water. Doing the same with KOH solution will produce potassium salt aka salt substitute. Desalination can concentrate these, and boiling in partial vacuum can crystalize the salt. Bubbling CO2 gas through NaOH solution will produce baking soda. Same procedure to produce dry powder. Combining baking soda with starch and cream of tartar will produce baking powder. Making booze onboard might be something NASA isn't comfortable with, but there are a couple reasons. The precipitate at the bottom of fermentation vats after making red wine can be processed to make cream of tartar. Only red wine.

For a space capsule on a mission to the Moon, none of this is practical. Mars Direct is a larger spacecraft and a mission to Mars is two years round trip, not two weeks, so recycling oxygen and water is not only practical, it's necessary. But the rest of the stuff I just mentioned is not practical on a vessel the size of Mars Direct. But on the Large Ship it is.

Furthermore, what's left of urine after electrolysis can be decomposed by bacteria. Some research into this will be necessary so it doesn't take 6 months. Once decomposed it can be used as fertilizer in a hydroponics system. Human urine is rich in urea, uric acid and creatinine. These break down to nitrogen fertilizer. Urine is extremely rich in nitrogen, you have to be careful how much you add to any hydroponic or greenhouse system.

The Large Ship can have an aquaponics system. That's hydroponics integrated with aquaculture. Fish poop is used as fertilizer for hydroponics, stems and leaves and other parts of the plants that humans cannot eat will be fed to the fish. Anything that cannot be fish food will be composted to become fertilizer. Same with food waste: what can be fed to fish will be, the rest will be composted.

Hydroponics will not use artificial light. This is in space so full sun 24/7. Illumination will be transparent ceiling on the greenhouse with mirror outside in space shining light through the windows. The windows will have a spectrally selective coating to block UV. Especially important since space has no ozone layer, it has stong UV-C. Also control IR to control heat gain and loss. NASA already developed these window coatings, no need to reinvent the wheel. Vegetables do not require full sun 24/7, so light can be distributed to illuminate a vertical farming hydroponics system. The system must be sized to work in Mars orbit as well as Earth orbit. Sunlight in Mars Orbit is 47% as intense as Earth orbit, but Mars Surface is 53% as intense as the surface of Earth. That's due to Earth's thick atmosphere absorbing some light.

Human feces will be vacuum desiccated using the same system as the toilet Russia developed for Mir2. It was never installed on ISS but the large ship will need it for tight water recycling. Feces will be bone dry and rock hard, then ground into a powder. That powder will be stored, used on Mars as fertilizer. Safely processing feces require too much space and time to be practical on the ship.

Mushrooms can be grown on compost, possibly with a little decomposed urine.

Tilapia have been used for aquaponics already; they taste good, and tolerate extreme crowding. Tilapia are vegetarian so will not engage in cannibalism.

This is expected to produce fresh vegetables for a salad bar only. And of course some fish. The main dish will be prepared from stored food. I was going to say the entrée, but Wikipedia ways that word only means the main dish in America and Canada; for the rest of the French and English speaking world it means a dish served before the main dish. Whatever.

Food storage will be dry to reduce weight. That means dry pasta, which must be cooked before serving. Dry flour, so bread will be baked onboard. Dry beans and split peas, that must be cooked to rehydrate. This isn't new, it's basic cooking that people have done for centuries. Dry food can keep for ten years or more, in some cases decades.

Meat will have to be frozen. Packed in shrink-wrap plastic to prevent freezer burn. Some food will be canned. The canning process means boiling for a certain time to kill all bacteria then sealing air-tight. It doesn't require a steel can. Traditional canning was done in glass Mason jars. However in the late 1980s and early 1990s the food industry experimented with plastic bags. They used heavy plast that wouldn't tear open, and a plastic that could withstand the heat of boiling. Open with just scissors. They used a cardboard sleeve as label but we could print directly on the plastic today. Today canned food in plastic bags are just for hiking or camping, used because they're lighter weight. We would use it on the ship to reduce weight.

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#5 2023-06-29 07:55:18

RobertDyck
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Re: Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

Beer and wine will be made on the ship in fermentation vats. Making beer directly from grain is more efficient, but the ship will not have a barley field. Home beer kits are a can of malt, just add water, sugar and yeast. A 1.7kg (net weight) can of malt will become 23.litres of beer. That's 5 British imperial gallons or 6 US gallons. Water will be recycled and sugar produced on the ship, onlyalt is required. Yes there's yeast but only 8 grams for a 23 litre batch. Yeast is a living organism so a single 8g packet can be grown to ferment a vat of any size. The ship will serve a large number of passengers so larger batches. Instead of 1.7kg cans of malt, think a larger package, stored in a plastic bag in a box similar to grape juice concentrate for home wine kits.

Wine is made from crushed grapes, water, sugar and yeast. In this case wine yeast, not beer yeast. Again production is most efficient to use grapes directly, but the ship will use juice concentrate like a home wine kit. Again a bag in a box, although larger size than a home kit.

Vodka is made by fermenting sugar and water with yeast, then distilling until no flavour remains. Dilute the result with clean water to produce disired alcohol concentration. Some yeast nutrients are required; if starting from grain or potatoes that isn't a problem. If starting with white sugar, the primary nutrient will be diammonium phosphate. That's sold as "yeast nutrients"; it provides both nitrogen and phosphate in a form yeast can metabolize. But yeast also requires other micronutrients.

Rum is made by fermenting molasses, then distilling with a pot still to ensure flavour is not removed. A reflux still can produce higher alcohol concentration but removes much of the flavour. Ingredients: molasses, sugar, water, yeast. Use distiller's yeast because it tolerates fermentation to higher alcohol concentration than wine yeast. Starting with higher alcohol results in higher yield. Micronutrients aren't a concern because molasses provides those.

Traditional brown sugar was made by processing sugar cane. Today it's not made that way, not directly. Sugar cane is processed to make.molasses. Then molasses is blended with white sugar. Less molasses for golden yellow sugar aka light brown sugar, more molasses for brown sugar aka dark brown sugar, and the most for demarara aka demarara style brown sugar. Since white sugar can be made on the ship, we will only store/carry molasses.

Pancake syrup can be made from yellow sugar. 2 cups yellow sugar packed (squeeze to remove as much air as possible), add 1 cup boiling water. You will be amazed how much air still comes out. Add 1 teaspoon immitation maple extract. After stirring, if any lumps of sugar do not dissolve, heat to fully dissolve them. I mix in a pyrex glass measuring cup, the same cup used to measure yellow sugar. No need to dirty a pot. If further heating is required, it can be put in a microwave oven. Yield is 2 cups of syrup. Yup, 2 cups of packed sugar become 2 cups of syrup, even thought you added 1 cup boiling water. Increased density. No preservatives so store in the fridge. Since water and white sugar are produced on the ship, this only required stored ingredients are molasses and immitation maple extract.

Immitation maple extract does not come from maple trees. Gently warm fugreek seeds, but don't toast them. Then soak in vodka for 3 months. When done filter with cheese cloth. Then add vanilla extract. Fenugreek is an herb, a small annual plant that can be grown in a greenhouse. But since the process takes months, it can be done on Earth or Mars.

Artificial vanilla is an industrial process. One way uses a byproduct from pulp production. The few trees on Mars will be grown in greenhouses so very valuable. Paper on Mars will most likely come from hemp, not trees. The most practical way to produce vanilla extract on Mars is from real vanilla bean. Yup, in this case that means the good stuff. Grow vanilla vines in a greenhouse, temperature and humidity optimized for them. Harvest the beans. Cut beans into small pieces and soak in vodka. After about 3 months, filter. Again this takes months so the ship will carry bottled extract.

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#6 2023-06-29 08:27:26

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

tahanson43206 wrote:

The one aspect of the "fine dining" idea that I am confident would apply if Large Ship is funded by Americans is this:

There will be NO class distinctions on Large Ship.  The concept of class distinctions is so thoroughly European (and obviously Canadian as well) that it comes out of European minds as naturally as water flowing from a spring.  Those concepts are NOT going to transfer to Large Ship if it is funded by Americans.

If there is "fine dining" on Large Ship, it will be provided for all, just as is done on US submarines or surface vessels.

The majority of Canadian believe there are no class distinctions in Canada. The rich really *REALLY* disagree. They think they're better than everyone else. I lived in Virginia for 6 months in 1996 and Miami Florida for 10 months in 1999/2000. There are definitely some cultural differences, but not in this regard. If you think there are no class distinctions in the US, then you haven't spent any time with rich bastards. I was very involved with politics in Canada for a few years; I rubbed shoulders with some of them. I suggest you try spending some time with the very rich. "Nouveau riche" like Elon Musk are down to Earth because they came from working families. But those who grew up in old money see themselves as aristocracy at minimum, if not royalty. Yes, it's not supposed to exist in Canada or the US, but try talking to a Kennedy or someone like that.

I definitely agree, no class distinctions on the Ship. However, as a way to pander to rich customers, one small fine dining room. That dining room will have one waiter on duty. Anyone can eat there, but passengers who paid for a luxury cabin can eat there free while anyone in a standard cabin must pay for their meal. Luxury  cabins are club cabins, premium one-bedroom suite, owner's suite, royal suite, or four-bedroom suite.

Other dining rooms will be buffet with robots to bus tables, and free (included) for everyone on the ship.

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#7 2023-06-29 09:12:34

RobertDyck
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Re: Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

Mashed potatoes can be made flakes like Idohoan. Or scalloped potatoes from dehydrated. French Fries do not rehydrate well, so they would have to be frozen.

Raw potatoes can be stored in a chilled environment. I read the best conditions for raw potatoes are 45° to 55°F, 80% to 90% humidity, and dark in an open bag or bin. They will last "several months".

Rice can be stored dried up to ten years, or 30 years at 70° F in an oxygen free environment.

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#8 2023-06-29 10:17:42

RobertDyck
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Re: Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

The only contraversial thing is storage. I suggested long term storage in the cargo hold in the zero-G hub. Kitchens would be kept small. I think anyone who worked on a ship would understand, but those who worked in a restaurant on land expect a walk-in freezer attached to the kitchen.

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#9 2023-06-29 11:13:16

kbd512
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Re: Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

Fresh potatoes lasted for a month aboard the ships I was on, and yes, they were kept in the reefer decks until peeled.  Powered potatoes were never an issue, but they don't taste like real potatoes, either.  Fresh vegetables were also a bit of a storage problem.  Fresh fruit is the most problematic of all.  Frozen or freeze-dried fruits and vegetables were a non-issue.    Rice was served at every meal since we were forward-deployed to Japan.  Rice and frozen chicken or pork were always on the menu in 7th Fleet.

Most meals were going to include rice, eggs or chicken or pork or substitutes, some kind homemade bread or dinner roll or pastry, a sugary flavored drink similar to lemonade or kool-aid, coffee, and milk or substitute.  A standard breakfast included eggs, rice, bacon or sausage, toast or waffles or pancakes, orange juice or milk or black coffee.  A lunch would normally include hot dogs or hamburgers or fried chicken, and of course, coffee.  A dinner consisted of a pork chop or some cut of meat, vegetables, mash potatoes, corn, and more coffee.  I suppose colonials would prefer tea over coffee.  Either way, you need to serve a caffeinated beverage.  It occurs to me that flour or corn tortillas would be easier to mass produce and store than bread.

The Captain's mess might include a glass of wine with dinner, but everyone had to be dressed appropriately for a formal dinner.  This would usually apply to the "rich people" you spoke of- the Captain's guests (normally civilians or government officials) and higher ranking officers, such as an Admiral or his Engineer and XO.  Sometimes junior officers or enlisted men were invited to eat and drink with the Captain following awards for personal achievement.  The Captain himself had his own liquor cabinet, but I never knew of a Captain who drank alone, as this was shared with those distinguished guests.

If we can synthesize hamburger / hot dog / bacon type meats, then unless you have deep pockets for fancier fare, that's probably the extent of what we can realistically provide.  A rich stew with hamburger meat is still better than no meat at all.

By tradition, there were and always will be class distinctions aboard naval vessels.  Whether or not any snobbery is included is up to the moral character of the people involved.  Being "high class" only means something when you behave accordingly.

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#10 2023-06-29 15:26:49

RobertDyck
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Re: Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

I mentioned practical things that can be done in the near term. The only one that requires serious research and development is the chloroplast oxygen generator. But if you want more sci-fi sounding technologies...

A new cultivar of potato. This cultivar would have fewer leaves and stems, requiring full sun 24/7. Not practical for any outdoor farm on Earth, intended only for the spacecraft or indoor vertical farming. The purpose is to increase yield of produce while dramatically reducing space required. And this cultivar would tolerate potatoes picked without killing the plant. Aquaponics in a medium of glass beads, opaque to both visible and UV light but transparent to IR. Potatoes develop a green patch when exposed to light, that green is a toxin. But a video camera that sees IR would be able.to see the potatoes growing. Pick mature potatoes without disturbing the rest of the plant. And develop a robot to harvest potatoes. So multiple harvests from the same plant before having to replace the plant. Again the goal is to dramatically reduce space required. Without this, it's not practical to grow potatoes on the ship.

And a microbe that produces the same proteins as wheat flour. Blend that with starch from the chloroplast oxygen generator to make artificial flour. Grow the microbe in a vat with water, sugar, and yeast nutrients. The protein alone could be used to make vegan protein nuggets, to replace chicken nuggets. Or patties for vegan burgers.

But these are not necessarily. Other technologies are on the critical path.

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#11 2023-06-29 16:54:30

Calliban
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From: Northern England, UK
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Re: Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

All interesting ideas in this thread.  It shouldn't be difficult keeping food frozen on the large ship, as any spacecraft surface not in direct sunlight, will have temperature of 100K.  We don't need heat pumps in space.  Just a heat transfer fluid that won't freeze.

If large ships are routinely carrying thousands of people between Earth and Mars, then it makes sense establishing greenhouses in orbit around both planets that can turn effluent back into food and water.  This avoids the need to ship wastes and victuals up and down gravity wells.  The greenhouses do not need full Earth gravity, pressure or sunlight conditions.  Feacal matter, when properly broken down by anaerobic bacteria, yields a compost that will form soil.  Food can be harvested, processed cooked and frozen in these orbiting victualling yards.  Alcohol could be produced here as well.  Rum may be an early favourite, as sugar cane is highly productive.

The average human consumes 2kg of wet food per day.  So 1000 people on a 180 day crossing, will need 360 tonnes of food.  We want to avoid dragging that mass up and down gravity wells if we can.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-06-29 17:07:02)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#12 2023-06-29 17:32:41

Calliban
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From: Northern England, UK
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Re: Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

RobertDyck wrote:

And a microbe that produces the same proteins as wheat flour. Blend that with starch from the chloroplast oxygen generator to make artificial flour. Grow the microbe in a vat with water, sugar, and yeast nutrients. The protein alone could be used to make vegan protein nuggets, to replace chicken nuggets. Or patties for vegan burgers.

But these are not necessarily. Other technologies are on the critical path.

Considering the central role that wheat products plays in western diet, a microbial flour substitute would be a huge boon to Mars colonisation.  Greenhouse based agriculture will be energy intensive on Mars.  If we can grow a staple on the surface in thin transparent panels, containing tubes through which suspended microbes grow in water, then we can cut the energy and resource requirements of food production considerably.  We can drain the panels at night, avoiding the need for night time heating.  We can vary the growing period per day, depending upon insolation levels.  Microbes grown plastic panels on Mars surface, could make processed food relatively cheap.  Being able to produce food cheaply is a prerequisite for colonising anywhere.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-06-29 17:36:47)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#13 2023-06-29 21:29:11

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

I said the microbes to produce wheat protein would be fed sugar. Chloroplasts in bags of water are oxygen generators. They produce starch as a byproduct. That starch can be converted to sugar with an enzyme called amylase. If you want an algae or cyanobacteria to produce the protein instead, that's different. I suggest feeding it sugar because industry already has a bacterium that's fed sugar which produces protein. Which protein can be changed by introducing the gene for that protein. Several drugs are now made this way. So making wheat protein is not radical new technology.

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#14 2023-07-07 12:59:22

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

I found the technical term. "Retort pouch" is a bag used for canning. Diagrams found by Google claim today they have layers: polypropylene inside contacting food, then nylon as an abrasion resistant layer, then aluminum foil to protect against light and seal in/out gasses, then a polyester outer layer that can be printed. The bags in the 1980s were transparent, so no aluminum; and they had a cardboard sleeve that was printed. I guess there have been some advances. Another diagram on Google said the polyester is PET. And still another diagram did not have the nylon layer. I don't see why an abrasion resistant layer is required as a middle layer, shouldn't the outermost layer do that? Besides, I don't want nylon in any food packaging. One chemical used to make polycarbonate (Lexan) is phosgene. That was a poison gas used during World War 1. A component of nylon is hydrogen cyanide. Due to potential leaching, these are not food safe. Polycarbonate also uses BPA to make it hard; that has been found to be an endocrine disrupter that interferes with female hormones. The latest research found PET can leach phthalates. After all PET is polyethylene terephthalate. Phthalates are also endicrene disrupters; in this case disrupting male hormones. But the inner most layer contacting food is polypropylene, which appears to be safe. Polyethylene is definitely safe, it's made from ethylene gas, and ripe apples off-gas ethylene. But canning requires a material that can withstand boiling water without damage.

Using retort pouches instead of steel cans would reduce shipping weight, and reduce garbage.

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#15 2024-03-08 17:48:51

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Large Ship Food Production Storage Recycling

I suggested potatoes would require some work. Time to grow potatoes and space required are not at all practical for a ship. But that might be reduced. Develop a cultivar that produces much fewer leaves/stems/roots and more potatoes. This would require full sun 24/7. That means exclusive to the ship, or indoor farming on Earth. Furthermore, ensure the plant will tolerate harvesting potatoes without producing the toxin.

Potato leaves and stems have glycoalkaloids, mostly solanine. If tubers (the potato) are exposed to light, they produce a green patch where light strikes it. That green is actually chlorophyll but there's also solanine. So potatoes must grow in the dark. I found a commercial dye that is opaque to visible light and UV, transparent to Near IR. The dye is sold as a powder, or mixed with polycarbonate plastic as pellets ready for moulding. Hollow plastic balls made of this plastic could be used as the growth medium for hydroponics. Chlorophyll and other photo-dyes in plants only respond to 700nm wavelength or shorter. Very slight response to slightly more, less than 5% light absorption, with no light absorption at all above 720nm. This dye is opaque 200nm to 750nm. It allows less than 5% light transmission between 740nm and 750nm, but nothing shorter than 740nm. The manufacturer has other variants that are opaque further into infrared spectrum, but that's not necessary. This will prevent formation of the toxin. CMOS image sensors are sensitive to Near IR, including many smartphones. Visible light is 380nm to 700nm, but you can see red light up to 740nm. It's dim, but visible. Human night vision can even see into the Near IR, but the longer the wavelength the dimmer it appears. CMOS sensors can see 400nm to 1000nm wavelengths. Similar to human eyes, the deeper into IR, the dimmer the image appears. Also similar to human night vision, CMOS colour response is poor in IR, becoming monochrome. But while human night vision tapers to zero at about 800nm, CMOS tapers to zero at about 1000nm. This means a simple video camera, even certain brands of smartphone, can see through these plastic balls in the 750nm to 850nm range. That allows a worker or robot to look for mature potatoes, harvest without destroying the rest of the plant.
Nexus_5X_QE_with_EI_annotation_large.jpg?v=1529209157

Hollow plastic balls would be lighter weight for use on the ship. Oh, but they would float in water. Would hydroponic potatoes require a heavier medium for stability that would sink in the hydroponic solution? With the plastic balls floating on top? Perhaps solid glass marbles, so they're also see-through? But with special hollow plastic balls on top to block visible light?

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