Fermentation is a case of what’s old is new again — an ancient food-processing method turned

Fermentation is a case of what’s old is new again — an ancient food-processing method turned hot trend, with companies churning out products incorporating kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha that are promoted as being probiotics. But do these foods offer true probiotic benefits? The short answer is probably not. But that doesn’t mean these foods are without benefit. First, let’s clear up what “probiotic” means. Scientists define probiotics as live microorganisms (microbes) which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit. Probiotics can contribute to digestive and immune system health and crowd out harmful microbes in the gut (large intestine). They also create some nutrients, including vitamin K and many of the B vitamins, and help our bodies absorb other nutrients. However, most fermented foods do not meet these criteria, and would not give you the same benefit as a probiotic supplement might. Robert Hutkins, a food science professor and researcher at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and author of “Microbiology and Technology of Fermented Foods,” said that most microbes — which include fungi as well as bacteria — in fermented foods have not been ch...

Sigma Aizu factory update: Magnesium machining and Sigma fp body production!

I recently got the chance to visit Sigma Corporation’s lens (and camera) factory in Aizuwakamatsu Japan again. As part of the big product announcement for the new Sigma fp full-frame mirrorless camera, they invited myself, Carey Rose from DPReview and Johnnie Behiri from Cinema5D to attend, and brought us to Aizu for a tour of their factory afterwards. You can read about the new Sigma fp camera on our review page; this story will be about the factory tour. This was actually the third time I’ve been in this factory; in fact the article I wrote about it back in 2013 was the first really in-depth factory tour article I’d done. You can read that account here: A geek’s tour of Sigma’s Aizu lens factory: Precision production from the inside out. On my second visit a couple of years later, I got the low-down on their lens testing process, using their custom-built “A1″ test systems; that story is here: Sigma’s key to quality? Our exclusive look at the A1 system reveals all! My original tour article went through the entire lens manufacturing process at Aizu, from top to bottom. Sigma’s Aizu factory is one of the most vertically-integrated lens factorie...