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Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science
Medicinal Plants, Phytochemistry and Applied Botany
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Plant intelligence for better swarm robots

Plant intelligence for better swarm robots | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

John Innes Centre scientists will participate in new €2 million EU-funded research to programme more "intelligent" and adaptable robot swarms.The collaborative research will also be useful for improving other complex systems that can be challenged by their environment, such as smart phone networks.

 

"Plants achieve exquisite organisation and spatially-controlled division of labour," said Dr Veronica Grieneisen from the John Innes Centre."They form complex patterns and deal with conflict or damage by acting locally but for the benefit of the whole."


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Triple boost for added fibre products

Triple boost for added fibre products | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Improved bowel health, increased satiety and enhanced calcium absorption add to mounting evidence for the health benefits of certain added fibres in the diet, according to Tate & Lyle.
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Grass: It's What's For Dinner (3.5 Million Years Ago) : NPR

Grass: It's What's For Dinner (3.5 Million Years Ago) : NPR | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
A team of researchers spent years analyzing teeth from fossils of early humans as well as their ancient forebears, such as Australopithecus, the diminutive creature that walked upright, climbed trees, and lived a sort of part-ape, part-human-like lifestyle. What the team looked at specifically were the amounts of certain isotopes of carbon that get taken up from our food and deposited in our teeth. These isotopes reveal what we and our ancestors were eating.
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Human activity echoes through Brazilian rainforest

Human activity echoes through Brazilian rainforest | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
The disappearance of large, fruit-eating birds from tropical forests in Brazil has caused the region's forest palms to produce smaller, less successful seeds over the past century, researchers say.
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World first clinical trial supports use of Kava to treat anxiety

World first clinical trial supports use of Kava to treat anxiety | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

A world-first completed clinical study by an Australian team has found Kava, a medicinal South Pacific plant, significantly reduced the symptoms of people suffering anxiety. During the eight-week study, 75 patients with clinically diagnosed Generalised Anxiety Disorder were given Kava or placebo, and anxiety levels were regularly assessed. Results showed a significant reduction in anxiety for the Kava group compared to the placebo group at the end of the 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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WHO approves synthetic source of artemisinin - SciDev.Net

WHO approves synthetic source of artemisinin - SciDev.Net | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
GM-produced artemisinin is deemed to be comparable in quality to the plant-derived version, but should be cheaper to produce.
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Cardioprotective effects of cocoa: Clinical evidence from randomized clinical intervention trials in humans - Arranz - 2013 - Molecular Nutrition & Food Research - Wiley Online Library

Cardioprotective effects of cocoa: Clinical evidence from randomized clinical intervention trials in humans - Arranz - 2013 - Molecular Nutrition & Food Research - Wiley Online Library | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
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Antioxidant-rich diet may reduce the risk of heart failure, but what about supplements?

Antioxidant-rich diet may reduce the risk of heart failure, but what about supplements? | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
A diet rich in antioxidants may reduce a woman’s risk of heart failure by 42%, suggests new data from 33,713 Swedish women.
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Broccoli variety has ‘reliably higher’ levels of healthy compound

Broccoli variety has ‘reliably higher’ levels of healthy compound | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
A recently developed variety of ‘super broccoli’ reliably yields higher levels of the potentially healthy phytonutrient glucoraphanin, according to new field trials and genetic studies.
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Leaf-like material 'traps bedbugs'

Leaf-like material 'traps bedbugs' | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

A material designed to mimic the hooked hairs found on the underside of leaves could help trap and control bedbugs, the Journal of the Royal Society Interface reports. The researchers were inspired by an age-old remedy formerly used in Bulgaria and Serbia where kidney-bean leaves were strewn on the floor next to beds to trap the bugs. The greenery was burned the next day. Bedbugs have no evolutionary link with bean plants - although the general idea that plants have developed to trap insects like aphids and spider mites is known.

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What Makes Rain Smell So Good?

What Makes Rain Smell So Good? | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
A mixture of plant oils, bacterial spores and ozone is responsible for the powerful scent of fresh rain
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Old smartphones called in to save Indonesian forests - tech - 05 June 2013 - New Scientist

Old smartphones called in to save Indonesian forests - tech - 05 June 2013 - New Scientist | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

A chainsaw revs in a remote swathe of the Indonesian rainforest. Within minutes, rangers appear as if from nowhere, stopping illegal loggers in their tracks and saving countless trees. How did they know? A tip off from a recycled cellphone hanging hundreds of metres away in the forest. A forest project that uses solar-powered smartphones hanging from trees to listen for the sounds of chainsaws could help stop illegal logging.

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Flavor network and the principles of food pairing

Flavor network and the principles of food pairing | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

The cultural diversity of culinary practice, as illustrated by the variety of regional cuisines, raises the question of whether there are any general patterns that determine the ingredient combinations used in food today or principles that transcend individual tastes and recipes. We introduce a flavor network that captures the flavor compounds shared by culinary ingredients. Western cuisines show a tendency to use ingredient pairs that share many flavor compounds, supporting the so-called food pairing hypothesis. By contrast, East Asian cuisines tend to avoid compound sharing ingredients. Given the increasing availability of information on food preparation, our data-driven investigation opens new avenues towards a systematic understanding of culinary practice.

 

As omnivores, humans have historically faced the difficult task of identifying and gathering food that satisfies nutritional needs while avoiding foodborne illnesses. This process has contributed to the current diet of humans, which is influenced by factors ranging from an evolved preference for sugar and fat to palatability, nutritional value, culture, ease of production, and climate. The relatively small number of recipes in use (∼10E6, e.g. http://cookpad.com) compared to the enormous number of potential recipes (>10E15), together with the frequent recurrence of particular combinations in various regional cuisines, indicates that we are exploiting but a tiny fraction of the potential combinations. Although this pattern itself can be explained by a simple evolutionary model or data-driven approaches, a fundamental question still remains: are there any quantifiable and reproducible principles behind our choice of certain ingredient combinations and avoidance of others?

 

Although many factors such as colors, texture, temperature, and sound play an important role in food sensation, palatability is largely determined by flavor, representing a group of sensations including odors (due to molecules that can bind olfactory receptors), tastes (due to molecules that stimulate taste buds), and freshness or pungency (trigeminal senses). Therefore, the flavor compound (chemical) profile of the culinary ingredients is a natural starting point for a systematic search for principles that might underlie our choice of acceptable ingredient combinations.

 

A hypothesis, which over the past decade has received attention among some chefs and food scientists, states that ingredients sharing flavor compounds are more likely to taste well together than ingredients that do not (for more info, see http://www.foodpairing.com). This food pairing hypothesis has been used to search for novel ingredient combinations and has prompted, for example, some contemporary restaurants to combine white chocolate and caviar, as they share trimethylamine and other flavor compounds, or chocolate and blue cheese that share at least 73 flavor compounds. As we search for evidence supporting (or refuting) any ‘rules’ that may underlie our recipes, we must bear in mind that the scientific analysis of any art, including the art of cooking, is unlikely to be capable of explaining every aspect of the artistic creativity involved. Furthermore, there are many ingredients whose main role in a recipe may not be only flavoring but something else as well (e.g. eggs' role to ensure mechanical stability or paprika's role to add vivid colors). Finally, the flavor of a dish owes as much to the mode of preparation as to the choice of particular ingredients. However, one hypothesis is that, given the large number of recipes we use in our analysis (56,498), such factors can be systematically filtered out, allowing for the discovery of patterns that may transcend specific dishes or ingredients.

 


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Anna V. A. Resurreccion's comment, June 5, 2013 4:41 PM
Interesting analyses of flavors; looking at similarities and dissimilar patterns. Garlilc appears to be common to all but North Aerican diets. I hope the authors will include AFRICA. This study might unlock the key to introducing nutrition in diets of populations worldwide.
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Inkfish: How Science Education Changes Your Drawing Style

Inkfish: How Science Education Changes Your Drawing Style | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

Take a look at these neurons. Ignore the fact that several of the brain cells look like snowflakes and at least one looks like an avocado. Can you pick out the drawings done by experienced, professional neuroscientists? What about the ones made by undergraduate science students?

Researchers at King's College London gave a simple task to 232 people: "Draw a neuron." (Actually, being British, they said "Please draw a neuron.") Some of the subjects were undergraduates in a neurobiology lecture. A small group were experienced neuroscientists who led their own research labs at the college. And a third, in-between group included graduate students and postdocs.

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HerbalGram: Exploring the Peripatetic Maze of Black Cohosh Adulteration: A Review of the Nomenclature, Distribution, Chemistry, Market Status, Analytical Methods, and Safety

HerbalGram: Exploring the Peripatetic Maze of Black Cohosh Adulteration: A Review of the Nomenclature, Distribution, Chemistry, Market Status, Analytical Methods, and Safety | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

This article reviews issues associated with the complexities of black cohosh adulteration, including botanical and nomenclatural considerations; trade and economic issues; various identification, analytical, and authentication challenges; alleged liver toxicity linked to adulterated products; and other data on economic adulteration of products labeled as black cohosh.

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Catalogue of Organisms: The Wool Plants

Catalogue of Organisms: The Wool Plants | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

Medieval legend in Europe spoke of a strange animal that could supposedly be found far off in central Asia: the vegetable lamb. According to legend, this was an animal much like an ordinary sheep except that it grew directly from a plant, to which it remained attached by the umbilical cord. The vegetable lamb would sustain itself by grazing on nearby vegetation but when this was depleted, as the lamb could not move away from the plant to which it was attached, the lamb would die. How such a pointlessly self-defeating organism was supposed to persist does not appear to have concerned the medieval lexicographers; presumably it was supposed to be allegorical of something.

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Ants And Carnivorous Plants Collaborate For Mutualistic Feeding - Science News - redOrbit

Ants And Carnivorous Plants Collaborate For Mutualistic Feeding - Science News - redOrbit | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

An insect-eating pitcher plant teams up with ants to prevent mosquito larvae from stealing its nutrients.In this new study, researchers demonstrated a flow of nutrients from ants to their plant hosts, and found that plants colonized by insects received more nitrogen than those that did not host ants. Ants appeared to increase the pitchers’ capture efficiency by keeping traps clean, and also protected the plants by actively hunting mosquito larvae that otherwise bred in pitcher fluids and sucked up plant nutrients.

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Physical dormancy in seeds: a game of hide and seek? - New Phytologist

Physical dormancy in seeds: a game of hide and seek? -  New Phytologist | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

Historically, ‘physical dormancy’, or ‘hard seededness’, where seeds are prevented from germinating by a water-impermeable seed coat, is viewed as a dormancy mechanism. However, upon water uptake, resumption of metabolism leads to the unavoidable release of volatile by-products, olfactory cues that are perceived by seed predators. Here, we examine the hypothesis that hard seeds are an anti-predator trait that evolved in response to powerful selection by small mammal seed predators.Seeds of two legume species with dimorphic seeds (‘hard’ and ‘soft’), Robinia pseudoacacia and Vicia sativa, were offered to desert hamsters (Phodopus roborovskii) in a series of seed removal studies examining the differences in seed harvest between hard and soft seeds. Volatile compounds emitted by dry and imbibed soft seeds were identified by headspace gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS).Fourteen main volatile compounds were identified, and hamsters readily detected both buried imbibed seeds and an artificial ‘volatile cocktail’ that mimicked the scent of imbibed seeds, but could not detect buried hard or dry soft seeds.We argue that physical dormancy has evolved to hide seeds from mammalian predators. This hypothesis also helps to explain some otherwise puzzling features of hard seeds and has implications for seed dispersal.


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Plants "Listen" to the Good Vibes of Other Plants

Plants "Listen" to the Good Vibes of Other Plants | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Plants might be able to tell good neighbors from bad ones by the sounds they emit.
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Smoke On The Water

Smoke On The Water | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Some plants live in environments where fire is a frequent enemy to survival. The answer is turn fire to your advantage.
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Lichens and people - Lichen website

Lichens and people - Lichen website | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it

In past centuries it was common practice for some of the European scientific societies to invite essays on particular topics and offer prizes. For its prizes of 1786 the Académie des Sciences, Belles-Lettres et Arts of Lyon invited essays on the subject of the lichens that could be used in medicine and the arts. Prizes were awarded to three essays by Pierre Joseph Amoreux, Georg Franz Hoffmann and Pierre Rémy Willemet.

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Chimpanzees use botanical skills to discover fruit

Chimpanzees use botanical skills to discover fruit | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
(Phys.org) —Fruit-eating animals are known to use their spatial memory to relocate fruit, yet, it is unclear how they manage to find fruit in the first place.
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Super-strong ‘wonder material’ is made with just algae, water, and sunlight

Super-strong ‘wonder material’ is made with just algae, water, and sunlight | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Here are just a few of the things you could make with nanocellulose: a boat that can carry 1,000 pounds of cargo, bullet-proof glass, wound dressings, electronic wallpaper.
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