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Good wood

There’s wood pulp in our food - and we like it

You won’t find “wood pulp” listed plainly on any food ingredient labels, but don’t be so quick to turn your nose up at the idea. The powdered cellulose derived from wood pulp already can be found in several shredded or grated cheese products, keeping them from clumping in the packaging when exposed to moisture. And now food scientists are researching how incorporating more wood-based products, mostly pulp and dust, can enhance how other foods feel and keep. 

Finnish researchers have found that the hemicellulose extracted from the pulp of birch trees and then added to many yogurts—the actual name of that ingredient is “xylan”—is one way to keep yogurt feeling smooth.

Pulp undies for Christmas?

Just in time for holiday gift giving, lovers of wood and wood products will enjoy MeUndies, underwear made from Lenzing Modal, a material extracted from the European beech tree.

According to the Lenzing website, the material is CO2 neutral and made using Edelweiss technology, which is based on oxygen-based chemistry. More than half of the beech wood used by Lenzing is from Austrian forests.

Distributed by MeUndies, the beech-based undergarments are offered in both men's and women's styles. According to the company's website, "the low rigidity of the beechwood fibres allow for unparalleled, natural softness", while the cellulosic properties of the fibre "naturally inhibit odour-causing bacterial growth".

Wood's good for your health

Recent studies, along with evidence emerging from Europe and Asia, suggest that the use of wood indoors lowers stress reactivity of the sympathetic nervous system. This is associated with lower blood pressure, lower heart-rate, lower psychological stress, lower susceptibility to illness, and a better ability to focus attention.

The reason for this effect is biophilia, the innate attraction of humans to life and life-like processes. Simply being in the built environment produces a low level of stress since urban living is relatively new on an evolutionary scale.

Reach for the stars: wooden skyscrapers and climate change

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Michael Green: The beauty and impact of a wooden skyscraper
Michael Green is Vancouver-based wood architect with his own architecture and interior design studio. He created a tall wooden tower for Vancouver along with an instruction manual for building wooden ...