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August 21st, 2005
In a field somewhere in County Down, Northern Ireland, is a herd of 40 super-cows that could take all the poisonous guilt out of bingeing on ice cream. Unilever, the manufacturer of Persil and PG Tips, is sponsoring a secret research project by a leading British agricultural science institution into how to reduce the levels of saturated fat in cow's milk.
It is also experimenting with nanotechnology, or the science of invisibly tiny things. Unilever believes that by halving the size of particles that make up the emulsion - or fatty oil - that it uses to make ice cream, it could use 90 per cent less of the emulsion.
(Ed.'s note: just shrinking the particle size into the nano-realm does not make it nanotechnology, even by today's materials science standards. For that, the particles would have to exhibit new properties.)
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