Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Evolution of safe food to cover natures diversity...Mushrooms

Food Function and Medicinal Effect of Mushroom Fungi
--Bioactive Biomolecules Obtained from Mushrooms--
Takashi Mizuno
Depar tment o f Appl i ed Bi o logi cal Chemi s try, Shi zuoka Uni versi ty
836, Ohya, Shi zuoka 422 , Japan
Several thousand speci es of mushrooms which are fungi
(Basidiomycetes and Ascomycetes ) inhabi t the ear th, including
1,500 speci es in Japan. Many o f these sp ecies have high value as
gen e r esources to which biotechnology c a n be appl i ed to develop not
only food mate r i als (phys i ologi cal functional food) but also as
mate r ial s fo r the development of medi c ines . Many edible
mushrooms are now being evaluated in terms of the quali ty and
quant i ty of thei r components which relate to the nut ri t ion and
sensory propert ies b o th a s s tati c characteris ti cs bef o re meal s and
the bioregulation function a s dynamic c haracter is tics a f ter meal s .
I t i s necessary to t ake into account not on ly the to xicat ion poss ible
by poisonous mushrooms gathered in the f i e ld but a lso the f ood
sanitat ion pract ice assoc iated with cul t ivat ion, preservat ion,
process ing and s torage o f edible mushrooms .

Our Foods getting Intoxicated

April 2006 -The Special Rapporteur on adverse effects of the illicit movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights, Okechukwu Ibeanu, issued the following statement today on the occasion of World Health Day:
“The Special Rapporteur wishes to draw the attention of the international community to the critical issue of the impact on human rights of chronic, low-level exposure to hazardous chemicals, including pesticides, many of which are contained in everyday household and food products.
The large number of people whose human rights to life, health and food, among others, have been adversely affected by toxic and hazardous chemicals, and the gravity of the suffering of some of the worst-hit individuals and communities, make exposure to hazardous chemicals contained in household and food products one of the major human rights issues facing the international community. They also make the adequate regulation of hazardous chemicals most urgent.
Toxic chemicals constitute serious threats to human rights, especially the right to life of the 47,000 persons estimated by WHO to die every year as a result of poisoning from chemicals like pesticides. Exposure to toxic chemicals occurs in different ways: exposure to everyday household and food products; exposure arising from employment in particular sectors, such as the agricultural or the mining sector; exposure to chemicals in the disposal phase, such as electronic products and end-of-life ships; or exposure as a result of an accident, one of the most extreme illustrations being the case of a catastrophic gas leak from a pesticide plant in Bhopal. Each of these situations raises a variety of human rights concerns, but may require different strategies for prevention and redress to victims.
There is a proliferation of products and foods containing toxic chemicals. In a globalized world, such products are traded internationally or produced locally by subsidiaries of trans-national companies, thereby affecting the enjoyment of human rights of individuals and communities in all parts of the world.
Many of the individual cases brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur relating to hazardous chemicals deal with allegations of irresponsible or illegal corporate behaviour which has direct adverse effects on the enjoyment of human rights by individuals and communities. Such behaviour is too often met with impunity. International human rights law compels States to take effective steps to regulate corporate behaviour in relation to hazardous chemicals and holds private companies accountable for any actions taken in breach of such regulations.
Given the seriousness of this issue, the Special Rapporteur has devoted his last report (document E/CN.4/2006/42) to the analysis of the various human rights -- including the right to life, the right to health, the right to access of information and participation in decision-making processes -- affected by the widespread exposure of individuals and communities to toxic chemicals in everyday household goods and food.
The Special Rapporteur urges States to take serious and concrete measures to counter the harmful effects of chemicals from household and food products on the human rights of their populations; to take measures to assure that the victims of human rights violations arising from actions or omissions by transnational corporations should be allowed to seek redress in the home country jurisdiction, and to ensure that transnational corporations domiciled in their countries be held to account for violating human rights standards”.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

To Recover Ozone layers

Evidence of mid-latitude ozone depletion and proof that the Antarctic ozone hole was caused by humans spurred policy makers from the late 1980s onwards to ratify the Montreal Protocol and subsequent treaties, legislating for reduced production of ozone-depleting substances. The case of anthropogenic ozone loss has often been cited since as a success story of international agreements in the regulation of environmental pollution. Although recent data suggest that total column ozone abundances have at least not decreased over the past eight years for most of the world, it is still uncertain whether this improvement is actually attributable to the observed decline in the amount of ozone-depleting substances in the Earth's atmosphere. The high natural variability in ozone abundances, due in part to the solar cycle as well as changes in transport and temperature, could override the relatively small changes expected from the recent decrease in ozone-depleting substances. Whatever the benefits of the Montreal agreement, recovery of ozone is likely to occur in a different atmospheric environment, with changes expected in atmospheric transport, temperature and important trace gases. It is therefore unlikely that ozone will stabilize at levels observed before 1980, when a decline in ozone concentrations was first observed.


The Calculations estimated for the depletion

Infrared solar spectra recorded between July 1991 to March 1992 and November 2002 with the Fourier transform spectrometer on Kitt Peak (31.9°N latitude, 111.6°W longitude, 2.09 km altitude) have been analyzed to retrieve stratospheric columns of HNO3, NO, and NO2. The measurements cover a decade time span following the June 1991 Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption and were recorded typically at 0.01 cm−1 spectral resolution. The measured HNO315 molecules cm−2 from the first observation in March 1992 to 7.40 × 1015 molecules cm−2 at the start of 1996 reaching a broad minimum of 6.95 × 1015 molecules cm−2 thereafter. Normalized daytime NO and NO2−1, 1 sigma, and (+0.52 ± 0.32)% yr−1, 1 sigma, respectively. The long-term trends are superimposed on seasonal cycles with ∼10% relative amplitudes with respect to mean values, winter maxima for HNO3 and summer maxima for NO and NO2. The measurements have been compared with two-dimensional model calculations utilizing version 6.1 Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) II sulfate aerosol surface area density measurements through 1999 and extended to the end of the time series by repeating the 1999 values. The model-calculated HNO3, NO, and NO2 stratospheric column time series agree with the measurements to within ∼8% after taking into account the vertical sensitivity of the ground-based measurements. The consistency between the measured and model-calculated stratospheric time series confirms the decreased impact on stratospheric reactive nitrogen chemistry of the key heterogeneous reaction that converts reactive nitrogen to its less active reservoir form as the lower-stratospheric aerosol surface area density declined by a factor of ∼20 after the eruption maximum. stratospheric column shows a 20% decline from 9.16 × 10 stratospheric column trends for the full post-Pinatubo eruption time period equal (+1.56 ± 0.45)% yr

Nature Unleashes...Biodiversity

Biodiversity may be a buzzword, but as a concept it sits at the heart of ecological research. Some ecological communities, such as pristine coral reef systems, are astonishingly rich in the number and types of species that they support, whereas others are relatively species poor. Natural communities also differ greatly in the proportion of species performing different ecological functions. What determines such differences and how these differences are related to ecosystem functioning are questions that have occupied the minds of ecologists for decades.

But these questions are so much more pressing now. We live at a time of rapid environmental change, resulting largely from our own activities, and a concomitant, accelerating rate of habitat loss and species extinctions. Like children playing with fire, we do not fully understand, and therefore cannot predict, the ultimate consequences of tampering with global biodiversity.