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Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science
Medicinal Plants, Phytochemistry and Applied Botany
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The Gut-Wrenching Science Behind the World’s Hottest Peppers

The Gut-Wrenching Science Behind the World’s Hottest Peppers | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
While contestants take their seats onstage, an emcee recites rules. Competitors have 20 seconds to eat as many chilies as they can. Peppers must be chewed at least three times, to ensure the release of the pain-causing ingredient; the highest concentration of capsaicin is in the lining of the pepper—its placenta—and the seeds. (The chili plant, like any good mother, is protective of its offspring.)
 
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Eve Emshwiller's curator insight, June 6, 2013 12:59 AM

Peppers always get attention.

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Traditional medicine unsustainable in Kenya

Traditional medicine unsustainable in Kenya | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
RT @ICRAF: Traditional medicine unsustainable in Kenya http://t.co/Ikgj03hOE5

Via Luigi Guarino, Eve Emshwiller
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Eve Emshwiller's curator insight, April 24, 2013 5:41 PM

"“Greater consumer demand by a growing population with inadequate access to medical healthcare together with rural poverty is driving an increase in collection of medicinal plants from the wild, especially by women,” explains McMullin."

Stepha McMullin is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the World Agroforestry Centre.

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Why Asparagus Makes Your Urine Smell

Why Asparagus Makes Your Urine Smell | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Our bodies convert asparagusic acid into sulfur-containing chemicals that stink—but some of us are spared from the pungent odor
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The Paradox of Pollinating Floral Parasites

The Paradox of Pollinating Floral Parasites | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Floral scents have evolved to attract pollinators and sometimes also to deter enemies.
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How to make an artichoke: the facts about bracts, part 1

How to make an artichoke: the facts about bracts, part 1 | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Inspired by spring and the appearance of both artichokes and asparagus, Katherine explains artichoke morphology in the first of two posts about bracts and scales. Artichokes don’t exactly look like...
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Greens: why we eat the leaves that we do

Greens:  why we eat the leaves that we do | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Jeanne reveals which branches of the evolutionary tree of plants bear edible leaves and speculates about why that is. Most of the 300,000 + plant species have leaves, and the function of all of the...
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Seedling functional traits of tropical vs. cool-temperate trees

Seedling functional traits of tropical vs. cool-temperate trees | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

They conclude that whereas competition for light favours rapid growth in light-demanding trees native to environments with warm, frost-free growing seasons, frost resistance may be an equally important determinant of the fitness of light-demanders in cool-temperate rainforests, as seedlings establishing in large openings are exposed to sub-zero temperatures that can occur throughout most of the year.

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Booze and Botany – Yes, They Do Mix

Booze and Botany – Yes, They Do Mix | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Amy Stewart is neither a drunk nor a botanist, but she has written a book that combines both elements.
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Maple syrup mechanics

Maple syrup mechanics | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

It's maple syrup making time in the Northeast.  Jeanne explains the mechanics of sap flow, collecting sap for syrup making, and why maples are special in this regard.

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Real education with virtual materials

Real education with virtual materials | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

One potential way of increasing student interest in botany is to focus on course material designed to raise student enthusiasm and satisfaction. Here, we introduce and evaluate virtual microscopy in botany teaching. Virtual microscopy uses high-resolution digital ‘virtual slides’ that allow students to explore microscope sections without the advanced skills required to prepare glass slides.

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Adulteration issues highlighted 2012, Blumenthal says

Adulteration issues highlighted 2012, Blumenthal says | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
The year 2012 might not mark the end of the world.  But in future years as people look back, it might mark the beginning of the end for the adulteration of botanical materials, according to Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American...
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DNA barcoding can ID natural health products

DNA barcoding has proven up to 88 percent effective in authenticating natural health products, according to a new study.
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Ascorbic acid accumulation in Ribes fruit - AoB Blog

Ascorbic acid accumulation in Ribes fruit - AoB Blog | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
We all know that vitamin C is good for us, but where does it come from?
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Genetic structure and domestication of carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) (Apiaceae)

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Understanding the Toxicity of Cassava

Understanding the Toxicity of Cassava | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Cassava requires a lengthy processing to make it safe to eat due to toxins in the plants and tubers that are dangerous to humans.
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Curing ‘Plant blindness’ using an inquiry-based approach

Curing ‘Plant blindness’ using an inquiry-based approach | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

Ever heard of “plant blindness”? No, it’s not a medical condition, but a term coined to describe “the inability to see or notice the plants in one’s own environment”

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Harvesting gum arabic in Sudan – in pictures

Harvesting gum arabic in Sudan – in pictures | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Gum arabic is a rare export success story in the Sudanese agricultural state of North Kordofan (RT @PracticalAction: Gum arabic is a rare export success story in #Sudan...

Via Luigi Guarino
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ScienceDirect.com - Food Research International - Oil bodies: An insight on their microstructure — maize germ vs sunflower seed

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Cucurbita squash diversity

Cucurbita squash diversity | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Jeanne introduces the diversity of some American natives, the squashes in the genus Cucurbita. Spring is officially here, and I have squash on my mind.  We’ve ordered zucchini seeds for the upcomin...
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The case of the poison potato - Boing Boing

The case of the poison potato - Boing Boing | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

Gould’s point isn’t that genetic modification is always better than conventional breeding. It’s not. Instead, they’re both tools — imperfect technologies that could produce unintended side effects. Which one you choose to use depends on what you’re trying to do. But, either way, you can’t say that one is scary and one is safe.

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Medicinal Plants: Past, Present and Future

Medicinal Plants: Past, Present and Future | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

Plants produce thousands of specialized metabolites, many of which have medicinal uses. More than half of the top 150 prescribed drugs in the US have at least one compound derived from plants, and about 80% of the worlds population depends on plants or plant extracts as a major source of healthcare. This lecture looks at the history of medicinal plants, herbal remedies in traditional and contemporary medicine, and ongoing efforts to identify novel medicinal compounds from plants. New approaches, such as metabolomics, metabolic engineering and systems and synthetic biology, are contributing towards the identification, characterization and production of plant-derived medicines.


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Jennifer Mach's curator insight, March 12, 2013 8:50 PM

If you haven't already, check out these great teaching tools-- up-to-date, comprehensive and flexibile. Useful even if you don't teach.

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Study of several dozen compounds based on a fungal chemical shows potent anti-tumor activity

Study of several dozen compounds based on a fungal chemical shows potent anti-tumor activity | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Inspired by a chemical that fungi secrete to defend their territory, MIT chemists have synthesized and tested several dozen compounds that may hold promise as potential cancer drugs.
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Many ‘Grapefruit Seed Extracts’ adulterated with synthetic disinfectants, says nonprofit research consortium

Many ‘Grapefruit Seed Extracts’ adulterated with synthetic disinfectants, says nonprofit research consortium | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

The majority of products containing grapefruit seed extracts may be adulterated with synthetic additives, according to a review from a nonprofit research

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Brain imaging insight into cannabis as a pain killer - University of Oxford

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The researchers found that an oral tablet of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, tended to make the experience of pain more bearable, rather than actually reduce the intensity of the pain.

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