Be true to organics-they will be true to you

True organic products are gaining momentum. Living more in harmony with the environment and lessorganic-food surrounded and filled with pollutants in our homes, food, environment, water and medicines.
The time has come, the consciousness is shifting and our industries including medicine, foods, education, agriculture must react to the consumers call to wholesomeness.

In La Crosse, Wisconsin the nation’s largest organic farming conference begins today. The organizer Eric Hatling with the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) says interest in organic is rapidly growing among both growers and shoppers. This event will focus 3,000 attendees producers, consumers and environmentalists encouraging them to share growing and marketing tips

Farmers are getting fair prices for their certified-organic products. Consumers want to know more about where their food comes from and how it’s produced.”

Hatling says perceptions and preferences about the food Americans eat are changing. For one thing, buyers don’t want food raised with synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, drugs or hormones.

Americans and people around the world are more concerned about how far their food has to travel before it reaches the consumers table. Freshness of the local products and buying locally supports their home economies.

Organic sales are growing by double-digits yearly even though they cost a little more they are cleaner, pesticide free and full of nutrition. The average commercial food or fruit grown by big farm has decreased in nutrition quality about 30% since the turn of the century.  It is time for more states to kick the pesticide habit, find ways to clean up the soil and go organic. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa are among the top states in organic production, he adds.
References

Excerpts courtesy of  Public news service.org
Midwest Conference Menu Highlights Organics” February 26, 2009
Image: organic tomatoes courtesy of  Greenexpander.com

Odor to make humans disappear- mosquitoes confusants

19-1The image at the right is an
electron micrograph of the head of a female Anopheles gambiae mosquito, showing the parts of olfactory appendages (antennae, maxillary palps and proboscis)

Dr. Leslie Vosshall and two colleagues at Rockefeller University published a series of experiments that seemed to settle the 50-year-old question of how the insect repellent DEET kept mosquitoes at bay (Science, 319:1838-42, 2008).

Vosshal explained their findings “It doesn’t smell bad to insects. It masks or inhibits their ability to smell you.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded the research to understand how and why DEET works. This is critical to creating the next generation of chemicals, which may head off insect-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.
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Laurence Zwiebel of Vanderbilt University (also a Gates’ grantee) and  Ulrich Bernier of the US Department of Agriculture are not sure the findings just didn’t make sense, given everything they knew about this system

In Vosshall experiment,  the response of the mosquito’s olfactory neurons to two separate, attractive odors in human breath. Then, she combined each odorant with DEET in a single odor cartridge and noticed a smaller neural response. Vosshall believes DEET was blocking the mosquito’s olfactory co-receptor.
Another teams experiment another interpretation

Using gas chromatography, Leal confirmed his suspicions this year. When he repeated Vosshall’s experiment using separate odor cartridges that blended DEET and each attractive odor only at their tips, the mosquito’s neural response was no longer diminished. Then, Leal identified a DEET-sensitive odor receptor neuron and showed that mosquitoes avoid passing through a “curtain” of DEET vapors.
Leal’s paper surprised Vosshall, but is unconvinced by Leal’s results, and has been trying to reproduce the effect in her own lab. “Competition in science is good,” she says, “It can be difficult when it’s a small field, and this is a very small field.”

Genomic studies in 2005 have since shown that this co-receptor is found in insects ranging from mosquitoes to moths,  making humans invisible to insects. Using tissue cultures, she uses targeted drug discovery to screen 91,520 compounds from a chemical library, short-listing about 150 that she believes have the potential to be insect “confusants.”

Even Vosshall’s skeptics admit the confusant strategy is fundamentally sound. Zwiebel says his unpublished molecular work confirms the existence of confusants, but when it comes to DEET, he and Vosshall aren’t willing to budge. “We have agreed to disagree on the DEET story,” he says.

Resources

Smells funny? – Brendan Borrell  The Scientist.com Volume 23 | Issue 1 | Page 19.

http://www.the-scientist.com/2009/01/1/19/1/

Mosquitoes smell and avoid the insect repellent DEET – Leal and Zainulabeuddin Syed,  PNAS 105:13598-603, 2008 September 2008.


Image courtesy
of LJ Zwiebel, colorization by Dominic Doyle / Vanderbilt University

Pesticides and children's obesity

“Exposure to pesticides in utero can double a child’s chances of becoming obese, a new Spanish study has concluded. The study, published in the journal Acta Paediatrica, measured the level of the internationally banned (yet still freakishly persistent) pesticide hexachlorobenzene in the umbilical cords of over 400 children born on the Spanish island of Menorca. It found that the kids with the highest levels of HCB before birth were twice as likely to be obese at age six and a half. Previous studies have linked bisphenol A exposure to obesity in animals, and other studies have linked phthalates to obesity in adult men; the Spanish study honed in on the effects of HCB in young and unborn humans. “This is very important. It is the first good study of the effects on the fetus,” said Pete Myers, a scientist at Environmental Health Sciences in the U.S. “Its conclusions are not surprising, given what we know from the animal experiments, but it firmly links such chemicals to the biggest challenge facing public health today.”
sources: Grist: The parallels between accepting obesity and ignoring global warming
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