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The Quest for Food: A Natural History of Eating

By: Harald Brüssow

885 pages, 207 illus


Hardback | Jun 2007 | #168383 | ISBN-13: 9780387303345
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1 week Details
NHBS Price: £115.50 $152/€129 approx

About this book

The Quest for Food: A Natural History of Eating is a collection of essays that surveys eating through time, from the perspective of a biologist.

The quest begins in prehistoric times with religion and the exploration of the connection between food and sex. This leads to an investigation of the deep links between food and culture, exploring the basic question of "what is eating?" The second section embarks on a biochemistry-oriented journey tracing the path of a food molecule through the central carbon pathway until it is decomposed into CO2, H2O and ATP. The third section delves into the evolution of eating systems, beginning with the elements of the primordial soup through the birth of single cell organisms such as bacteria and archea. We then follow this evolution in the fourth section through higher developed organisms: from the first organisms in the ocean to the ones on land. The next two sections explore the stories of food from an ecological, then behavioral viewpoint, leading the reader from animals to early hominids, and into human history. The final section takes apart an anthropocentric view of the world by presenting man as prey for the oldest predators: microbes. The text closes with an agronomical outlook on how to feed the billions.

Aus den Rezensionen: "Was hat ein international ausgewiesener Bakteriophagen-Spezialist zur Nahrungsforschung zu sagen? ... Ich hatte ein ausserst interessantes und spannendes Buch verpasst, das zu lesen viel Spass bereitet 'Spass scheint unangemessen fur ein wissenschaftliches Lehrbuch. Aber das will es auch nicht sein. Das Buch ist geschrieben fur wissenschaftlich Interessierte: intelligente Unterhaltung, die ausgewahlte Bereiche der Biologie aus einem neuen Blickwinkel sieht. ... Auflockerung und Spannung erhalt das Buch durch die teilweise 'philosophischen' Anmerkungen des Autors ..." (


Foreword.- A few glimpses of biological anthropology.- Basic concepts on eating.- The central carbon pathway.- De revolutionibus orbium metabolicorum.- Bioenergetics.- The beginning of biochemistry.- Early eaters.- Photosynthesis.- The acquisition of the atoms of life.- Nutritional interactions in the ocean: a microbial perspective.- Early steps in predation.- Increasing complexity.- Animals: enlarging the food space.- Eat or be eaten: Anatomy of the marine food chain.- Life histories between the land and the sea.- The war of the senses: the example of echolocation.- Herbivory.- Choosing food: to eat or not to eat.- A lion?s share?- Going for our blood.- Going for our gut.- From gut to blood: the battle for iron.- An agro(-eco)nomical outlook: Feeding the billions.- Index.

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Harald Brussow is a Senior Research Scientist in Nestle Research Centre's Nutrition and Health Department in Lausanne, Switzerland. He received his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry at Martinsried, Germany and served on the editorial board of two journals published by the American Society for Microbiology.

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