‘I love you like meat loves salt’

For a long time it was assumed that salt was a necessary additive in food processing, especially meat. In fact, the food industry resisted calls to reduce its use of salt for many years, often launching scathing attacks disputing the mounting evidence that it was bad for us. The quote above, in case you’re interested…
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The hypertension controversy

Suggesting that there might be controversy in the link between salt intake and hypertension in itself might seem a little controversial, given the vast amount of media attention that our salt intake has received over recent years. But controversial it is. Some 45 published papers on ‘salt and hypertension’ were uploaded onto the CAB Abstracts…
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Whitefly and Virus Team Tactics

The notorius ‘B’-biotype whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, can act as a vector for viruses, transmitting them between plants as it feeds. Nothing new there? Yes actually, in an interesting twist, researchers at Zhejiang University, China have found that certain viruses repay the favour by increasing whitefly performance on the infected plant. Comparisons of B whitefly fecundity…
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Slick seabirds

Since the MSC Napoli ran into difficulties two weeks ago, it’s not only the coastguard and Swedish emigrants who are having to repair the damage done.  One RSPCA centre had received more than 420 birds by Wednesday morning and up to 10,000 are expected.  Rescued guillemots are being given specialist care although many have been…
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Goodbye Barbaro

Champion U.S. racehorse Barbaro has been euthanized this week following a battle to recover from injuries sustained last May. The Thoroughbred fractured his leg in three places in a race shortly after a stunning victory at the Kentucky Derby, which he won by the biggest margin in 60 years. Barbaro’s progress following surgery has captured…
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Why salt?

Those of you who were paying attention yesterday will already be aware that I have been doing a bit of salt mining. This is fairly easy to get away with when, like me, you’re new to the database and thus ‘have to get to grips with it’. So I have been plugging in various ‘preferred’…
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Creating the Perfect Catfish

The search is on for the perfect catfish and scientists at the USDA have come up with the answer – fingerprinting fish! The channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) is the most commonly cultured fish in the US accounting for more than half of the nation’s total aquaculture output; catfish production and associated industries are now worth…
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Be (a)ware…

This week in the UK is National Salt Awareness Week 2007! Not that you’d notice it. Compared to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) high-profile campaigns of recent years that have included billboards and TV advertising, the Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), who organised this initiative, seem to be playing it fairly low key.…
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Maryland at Risk of Losing Millions of Trees

The Maryland Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources are cutting down hundreds of ash trees (genus Fraxinus) in parks and forests this week in Prince George’s County, as a strategy to stop an outbreak of the invasive beetle, emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis, Fairmaire). Since being discovered in the US, in 2003, possibly arriving in…
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Successful seed storage

For all you keen gardeners looking for novel ways to preserve your seed harvest this year, there’s no need to worry about not having special cryopreservation equipment or a ready supply of liquid nitrogen.  You can draw on the wisdom of indigenous cultures for some methods to extend storage life.  Take a look at the…
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