High altitude organic gold: the production network for Ophiocordyceps sinensis from far-western Nepal.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Feb 20;:
Authors: Pouliot M, Pyakurel D, Smith-Hall C
ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Ophiocordyceps sinensis (Berk.) G.H.Sung, J.M.Sung, Hywel-Jones & Spatafora, a high altitude Himalayan fungus-caterpillar product found in alpine meadows in China, Bhutan, Nepal, and India, has been used in the Traditional Chinese Medicine system for over 2000 years. Heightened demand in China over the past 15 years, coupled with limited production, has led to a price hike and increased economic importance of harvests to rural households throughout the species' range. There is, however, limited knowledge on the actors and profit distribution in the O. sinensis production network, especially from the distribution areas on the southern flanks of the Himalayas. Filling in this knowledge gap is essential to the identification and design of public interventions.
AIM OF THE STUDY: To describe and quantify the O. sinensis production network originating from Darchula District in far-western Nepal.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data was collected, for fiscal year 2014-15, in spring and summer 2016 using standardized collector (n=56) and trader (n=45) questionnaires in Darchula District, and central wholesaler (n=9) questionnaires in cities of Nepal. All questionnaires contained quantitative and qualitative components focusing on key elements of the production network, i.e. value creation, enhancement, and capture; and network and territorial embeddedness.
RESULTS: Trade is sustained and significant even at the margins of the distributional range, with 384.1kg of O. sinensis harvested in and traded from Darchula District in 2014-15, having a collector value of approximately USD 4.7 million and constituting the dominant household-level source of income for collectors. The functioning production network is characterised by conflicts in relation to value creation, a high share of value capture by collectors, limited value enhancement, and a high degree of network and territorial embeddedness.
CONCLUSIONS: O. sinensis income is of major economic importance for rural households at the margin of its distribution range in Nepal. Production networks operated by informal actors establishing trust-based relationships allow responses to cross-border market signals, enabling the flow of rural and remote environmental resources to urban centres of demand. There is scope for public interventions, e.g. to determine the drivers of demand.
PMID: 29474899 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Promiscuous hydrogen in polymerising plasmas.
Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2018 Feb 23;:
Authors: Saboohi S, Griesser HJ, Coad BR, Short RD, Michelmore A
Historically, there have been two opposing views regarding deposition mechanisms in plasma polymerisation, radical growth and direct ion deposition, with neither being able to fully explain the chemistry of the resultant coating. Deposition rate and film chemistry are dependent on the chemistry of the plasma phase and thus the activation mechanisms of species in the plasma are critical to understanding the relative contributions of various chemical and physical routes to plasma polymer formation. In this study, we investigate the roles that hydrogen plays in activating and deactivating reactive plasma species. Ethyl trimethylacetate (ETMA) is used as a representative organic precursor, and additional hydrogen is added to the plasma in the form of water and deuterium oxide. Optical emission spectroscopy confirms that atomic hydrogen is abundant in the plasma. Comparison of the plasma phase mass spectra of ETMA/H2O and ETMA/D2O reveals that (1) proton transfer from hydronium is a common route to charging precursors in plasma, and (2) hydrogen abstraction (activation) and recombination (deactivation) processes are much more dynamic in the plasma than previously thought. Consideration of the roles of hydrogen in plasma chemistry may then provide a more comprehensive view of deposition processes and bridge the divide between the two disparate schools of thought.
PMID: 29473064 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Honey: Single food stuff comprises many drugs.
Saudi J Biol Sci. 2018 Feb;25(2):320-325
Authors: Khan SU, Anjum SI, Rahman K, Ansari MJ, Khan WU, Kamal S, Khattak B, Muhammad A, Khan HU
Honey is a natural food item produced by honey bees. Ancient civilizations considered honey as a God gifted prestigious product. Therefore, a huge literature is available regarding honey importance in almost all religions. Physically, honey is a viscous and jelly material having no specific color. Chemically, honey is a complex blend of many organic and inorganic compounds such as sugars, proteins, organic acids, pigments, minerals, and many other elements. Honey use as a therapeutic agent is as old as human civilization itself. Prior to the appearance of present day drugs, honey was conventionally used for treating many diseases. At this instant, the modern research has proven the medicinal importance of honey. It has broad spectrum anti-biotic, anti-viral and anti-fungal activities. Honey prevents and kills microbes through different mechanism such as elevated pH and enzyme activities. Till now, no synthetic compound that works as anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal drugs has been reported in honey yet it works against bacteria, viruses and fungi while no anti-protozoal activity has been reported. Potent anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous activities of honey have been reported. Honey is not only significant as anti-inflammatory drug that relieve inflammation but also protect liver by degenerative effects of synthetic anti-inflammatory drugs. This article reviews physico-chemical properties, traditional use of honey as medicine and mechanism of action of honey in the light of modern scientific medicinal knowledge.
PMID: 29472785 [PubMed]
Chlorate origin and fate in shallow groundwater below agricultural landscapes.
Environ Pollut. 2017 Dec;231(Pt 2):1453-1462
Authors: Mastrocicco M, Di Giuseppe D, Vincenzi F, Colombani N, Castaldelli G
In agricultural lowland landscapes, intensive agricultural is accompanied by a wide use of agrochemical application, like pesticides and fertilizers. The latter often causes serious environmental threats such as N compounds leaching and surface water eutrophication; additionally, since perchlorate can be present as impurities in many fertilizers, the potential presence of perchlorates and their by-products like chlorates and chlorites in shallow groundwater could be a reason of concern. In this light, the present manuscript reports the first temporal and spatial variation of chlorates, chlorites and major anions concentrations in the shallow unconfined aquifer belonging to Ferrara province (in the Po River plain). The study was made in 56 different locations to obtain insight on groundwater chemical composition and its sediment matrix interactions. During the monitoring period from 2010 to 2011, in June 2011 a nonpoint pollution of chlorates was found in the shallow unconfined aquifer belonging to Ferrara province. Detected chlorates concentrations ranged between 0.01 and 38 mg/l with an average value of 2.9 mg/l. Chlorates were found in 49 wells out of 56 and in all types of lithology constituting the shallow aquifer. Chlorates concentrations appeared to be linked to NO3-, volatile fatty acids (VFA) and oxygen reduction potential (ORP) variations. Chlorates behaviour was related to the biodegradation of perchlorates, since perchlorates are favourable electron acceptors for the oxidation of labile dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in groundwater. Further studies must take into consideration to monitor ClO4- in pore waters and groundwater to better elucidate the mass flux of ClO4- in shallow aquifers belonging to agricultural landscapes.
PMID: 28916282 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
A comparative analysis of vehicle-related greenhouse gas emissions between organic and conventional dairy production.
J Dairy Res. 2017 Aug;84(3):360-369
Authors: Aggestam V, Buick J
Agricultural industrialisation and globalisation have steadily increased the transportation of food across the world. In efforts to promote sustainability and self-sufficiency, organic milk producers in Sweden are required to produce a higher level of cattle feed on-farm in the hope that increased self-sufficiency will reduce reliance on external inputs and reduce transport-related greenhouse gas emissions. Using data collected from 20 conventional and 20 organic milk producers in Sweden this paper aims to assess the global warming impact of farmyard vehicles and the transportation of feed produced 'off-farm' in order to compare the impact of vehicle-related emissions from the different production methods. The findings show organic and conventional production methods have different vehicle-related emission outputs that vary according to a reliance on either road transportation or increased farmyard machinery use. Mechanical weeding is more fuel demanding than conventional agrichemical sprayers. However, artificial fertilising is one of the highest farmyard vehicle-related emitters. The general findings show organic milk production emits higher levels of farm vehicle-related emissions that fail to be offset by reduced emissions occurring from international transport emissions. This paper does not propose to cover a comprehensive supply chain carbon footprint for milk production or attempt to determine which method of production has the largest climatic impact. However, it does demonstrate that Sweden's legal requirements for organic producers to produce more feed on-farm to reduce transport emissions have brought emissions back within Sweden's greenhouse gas inventory and raises questions around the effectiveness of policies to reduce vehicle-related emissions. Further research is needed into the effectiveness of climate change mitigation on food production policies, in particular looking at various trade-offs that affects the entire food supply chain.
PMID: 28831965 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]