Our weekly serving of off-the-menu items-a few popular favorites from the week, as well as a few morsels that may have slipped your notice.

The Superhero We Need: A Plant to Fight Climate Change

Califiornia’s Salk Institute for Biological Studies is developing a plant that can reduce the effects of climate change by storing carbon dioxide in its roots. This “ideal plant” would not only hold excess carbon dioxide in an expanded root system, but also continue to store the carbon in the ground after the plant decomposed.

A Tale of Tomatoes

Half a decade ago, Campbell’s Soup Co cultivated a variety of tomato plant with a new genetic mutation, one that made the tomatoes easier to pick. The gene was embraced by growers, and introduced to a number of different tomato varieties. But the mutation had unanticipated effects, reacting with an older genetic mutation to slow down the flowering and fruit production of the plants. This story of genetic mutation gone wrong may act as a caution to scientists looking to use CRISPR technology to edit plant traits.

Upcycling at Dubai Design Week

Commissioned by waste management company Bee’ah, designer Ammar Kalo created “After Pressure” for Dubai Design Week, a project that utilizes bales of compressed aluminum to form a communal table. Concrete slabs top the “logs” of compressed aluminum to form a table top and matching seats. Bee’ah and Kalo hope that the project will highlight the possibilities hidden in urban waste.

Drawing Water from Thin Air

After noticing the scarcity of sanitary water available to her in Kenya-and the lack of water at all during droughts- Beth Koigi sought to engineer a solution. The culmination of her efforts is Majik Water, a system that absorbs moisture from the air and turns it into drinking water. The air holds more than six times the amount of all other freshwater on earth, a resource that Majik Water takes advantage of using condensation and solar energy technology.

Reinterpreting Still Life Paintings with Plastic

Created by graphic design studio Quatrecaps, “Not Longer Life” is a visual reflection on plastic pollution. Each painting in the series is a reproduction of a work by a classic master like Monet or Carvaggio, but with plastic waste and packaging incorporated into the piece.