Use of sensors and other on-line automation systems is becoming crucial to production efficiency. Integrating this information with other plant systems and controls can be the bottleneck in today's modern food plant.

Hear and learn key automation options and integration techniques, as well as many other issues, at Food Engineering's Plant Tech '99 conference, May 23-26. For more information, call (800) 358-0746.

Storing carbon dioxide in the soil to combat global warming may sound far fetched, but the Department of Energy's (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Lab (Richland, WA) says it is possible. The procedure could potentially remove 40 to 80 billion metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere over the next 50 to 100 years. This is not a cure for global warming, the DOE warns, but a way to buy time until technology is on line to reduce greenhouse gas generation.

Talk about on-line automation -- Iowa State University's (Ames, IA) Institute for Physical Research and Technology can now determine the "doneness" of baked bread using a pulse of air. Motion resulting from air pulsed on to the top of a loaf is detected by transducers on the opposite side. A time domain acoustic interferometer picks up the arrival time of the signal and relates that information to product elasticity, which is used to determine product doneness.