Carlos Magdalena 'has done things no one else can do’ but a thief has put at risk his work to save a tiny, rare plant. Tom Chivers reports In a little warm puddle in rural Rwanda, a tiny flower used to grow; a water lily, barely half an inch across.
A UW-Madison expert on vanilla orchids crosses the world to ensure that the spice it produces remains a valuable agricultural product.
Madison— To Ken Cameron, vanilla is a lot sexier than its name implies.
The world's leading expert on the biology of vanilla orchids sees the popular spice, not as plain or ordinary, but as a beautifully complex and valuable commodity produced from the world's largest family of plants.
While bottles of vanilla extract fly off store shelves at this time of year as holiday bakers mix it into cakes, pies and cookies, vanilla is much more than a pastry chef's favorite spice.
Deodorants, household cleaners, popular brands of vodka, pill coatings, the finest perfumes, even Coke and Pepsi count vanilla as an ingredient. And, of course, it's the No. 1 selling ice cream.
"I often tell people, 'I'll challenge you that within 10 minutes of waking, you will encounter vanilla,'" Cameron said in his book- and plant-filled office at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he's a botany professor and director of the Wisconsin State Herbarium."
Food security is a particular concern for Asia. The first reason is the sheer size of Asia’s undernourishment problem. According to a recent FAO report, of the 868 million people estimated to be undernourished in the world, 564 million, or 65 percent of the total, reside in countries of Asia (FAO 2012). Undernourished people constitute 14 percent of the population of Asia. The problem is particularly alarming with regard to children. Among several Asian countries the incidence of childhood stunting exceeds 40 percent.
Traditional knowledge, culture can be patented Times of India MUMBAI: Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Traditional Cultural Expression (TCE) reflecting a community's cultural and social identity, handed down generations, may soon be recognized as a...
Eve Emshwiller's insight:
Useful for topic on Intellectual Property, Traditional Knowledge, Biopiracy, and research ethics in ethnobotany course.
Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research. Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research. Home · About us ... Bookmark and Share. Filed under: Publications. Tags: agrobiodiversity, Farmer, knowledge, natural resources management ...
"Archaeologists from the University of the Basque Country have unearthed the tell-tale signs of viticulture dating to the 10th century at the archaeological site of Zaballa, in the Álava province of Basque Country, northern Spain. Zaballa is one of 300 rural settlements in the Álava region that were deserted hundreds of years ago. It’s the one that has been most thoroughly excavated and published."
Diseases are an interesting thing. The development and location of an area can drastically change the types of diseases present, and which are most deadly. If you look at global health maps, such as HealthMap, you can see ...
With the planet losing species 100 to 1,000 times faster than the natural extinction rate, international experts assembling for high-level global biodiversity meetings say knowledge co-production with indigenous peoples has growing importance.
Botanical insecticides inspired by plant–herbivore chemical interactions
From Trends in Plant Science - Saber Miresmailli,Murray B. Isman
Plants have evolved a plethora of secondary chemicals to protect themselves against herbivores and pathogens, some of which have been used historically for pest management. The extraction methods used by industry render many phytochemicals ineffective as insecticides despite their bioactivity in the natural context. In this review, we examine how plants use their secondary chemicals in nature and compare this with how they are used as insecticides to understand why the efficacy of botanical insecticides can be so variable. If the commercial production of botanical insecticides is to become a viable pest management option, factors such as production cost, resource availability, and extraction and formulation techniques need be considered alongside innovative application technologies to ensure consistent efficacy of botanical insecticides.
The Indian Ocean has long been a forum for contact, trade and the transfer of goods, technologies and ideas between geographically distant groups of people. Another, less studied, outcome of expanding maritime connectivity in the region is the translocation of a range of species of plants and animals, both domestic and wild. A significant number of these translocations can now be seen to involve Africa, either providing or receiving species, suggesting that Africa’s role in the emergence of an increasingly connected Indian Ocean world deserves more systematic consideration. While the earliest international contacts with the East African coast remain poorly understood, in part due to a paucity of archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological studies, some evidence for early African coastal activity is provided by the discovery of early hunter-gatherer sites on offshore islands, and, possibly, by the translocation of wild animals among these islands, and between them and the mainland. From the seventh century, however, clear evidence for participation in the Indian Ocean world emerges, in the form of a range of introduced species, including commensal and domestic animals, and agricultural crops. New genetic studies demonstrate that the flow of species to the coast is complex, with more than one source frequently indicated. The East African coast and Madagascar appear to have been significant centres of genetic admixture, drawing upon Southeast Asian, South Asian and Middle Eastern genetic varieties, and sometimes yielding unique hybrid species. The biological patterns reflect a deeply networked trade and contact situation, and support East Africa’s key role in the events and transformations of the early Indian Ocean world.
"A Dozen Suggestions for Enhancing Student Learning by Jim Winship
The key word in this title is "An"—this is "an approach" not "the approach" to teaching about diversity. The dozen suggestions here were derived from an extensive literature review, conversations with a number of people nationwide who are knowledgeable about the subject, the contributions of a dozen UWW faculty during a LEARN Center discussion group on "Teaching about Diversity, Teaching in Multicultural Contexts" in the Spring of 2003, and my own twenty-five-plus years of college teaching, twenty-two of these at UW-Whitewater. At UW-Whitewater, I teach a diversity course that draws students from all four colleges at the university and I also integrate diversity-related content and skill development in the social work courses I teach.
The following list of twelve suggestions is not exhaustive. They are ones that are supported by published literature on teaching for diversity, on effective college teaching, and are ones that both colleagues here at UW-Whitewater and I have found effective in teaching our undergraduate students. Faculty are encouraged to adopt those that fit with their discipline and teaching style, and adapt the exercises, simulations, and other materials on this website to their specific courses. The twelve suggestions are roughly sequential—starting with course planning and the start of a class, followed by ideas and approaches that can be used throughout a semester, ending with the importance of providing and receiving feedback."
This series of posts will highlight the plants that help you celebrate the Yuletide season. From candy canes to lattes, peppermint just tastes like winter. Here’s more on the flora behind the flavor.ob
Peppermint is a sterile hybrid (Mentha × piperita) of watermint (Mentha aquatic) and spearmint (Mentha spicata). Even though it doesn’t produce seeds, it is a prolific propagator via vegetative growth of stolons (plant biology word of the day). In the case of mint, stolons are runners of the root system just below the soil surface that can establish their own root system and plant. Because mint is very good at this, it can be quite invasive once it gets established.
Eve Emshwiller's insight:
Useful link for the module with mentha and yerba buena in Ethnobotany course (comparing medicinal plant use between immigrants and their source countries).
What is a nut, and why is the answer so convoluted? For Thanksgiving, Katherine explores pecans and the very best vegetarian turkey substitute ever: pecan pie.Traditions Thanksgiving is all about t...
Eve Emshwiller's insight:
"Fruit types should be fun, and yet people definitely have entrenched ideas about the right way to classify the fruit of a given species. We botanists seem to get particularly worked up over the definition of a nut ."
This engaging post will be fun to share with students when teaching about plant fruit classification.
"Harold McGee surveys a seething array of microbially transformed treats [mdash] from beard beer and grasshopper sauce to extreme herring and armpit cheese.
Rare is the holiday meal that does not owe many of its pleasures to invisible cooks with tongue-twisting names. Do you enjoy charcuterie and pickles? Bread with cultured butter? A drizzle of vinaigrette on this or that? A bit of cheese? Some chocolates? Wine, beer or cider? Then raise a glass to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Leuconostoc mesenteroides and their ilk, the fungi and bacteria that do the real work of turning blandness into piquant delight."
Eve Emshwiller's insight:
Keep for fermentation topic in ethnobotany class. Hat tip: @emmathegardener (Emma Cooper)
We used supernetworks with datasets of nuclear gene sequences and novel markers detecting retrotransposon insertions in ribosomal DNA loci to reassess the evolutionary relationships among tetraploid wheats. We show that domesticated emmer has a reticulated genetic ancestry, sharing phylogenetic signals with wild populations from all parts of the wild range. The extent of the genetic reticulation cannot be explained by post-domestication gene flow between cultivated emmer and wild plants, and the phylogenetic relationships among tetraploid wheats are incompatible with simple linear descent of the domesticates from a single wild population. A more parsimonious explanation of the data is that domesticated emmer originates from a hybridized population of different wild lineages. The observed diversity and reticulation patterns indicate that wild emmer evolved in the southern Levant, and that the wild emmer populations in south-eastern Turkey and the Zagros Mountains are relatively recent reticulate descendants of a subset of the Levantine wild populations. Based on our results we propose a new model for the emergence of domesticated emmer. During a pre-domestication period, diverse wild populations were collected from a large area west of the Euphrates and cultivated in mixed stands. Within these cultivated stands, hybridization gave rise to lineages displaying reticulated genealogical relationships with their ancestral populations. Gradual movement of early farmers out of the Levant introduced the pre-domesticated reticulated lineages to the northern and eastern parts of the Fertile Crescent, giving rise to the local wild populations but also facilitating fixation of domestication traits. Our model is consistent with the protracted and dispersed transition to agriculture indicated by the archaeobotanical evidence, and also with previous genetic data affiliating domesticated emmer with the wild populations in southeast Turkey. Unlike other protracted models, we assume that humans played an intuitive role throughout the process
Indigenous use of fire for hunting is an unlikely contributor to long-term carbon emissions, but it is an effective environmental management and recovery tool against agribusiness deforestation, a new study from Indiana University and Brazil's...