9 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2016
    1. Slower metabolisms were not the only reason the contestants regained weight, though. They constantly battled hunger, cravings and binges. The investigators found at least one reason: plummeting levels of leptin. The contestants started out with normal levels of leptin. By the season’s finale, they had almost no leptin at all, which would have made them ravenous all the time. As their weight returned, their leptin levels drifted up again, but only to about half of what they had been when the season began, the researchers found, thus helping to explain their urges to eat.Leptin is just one of a cluster of hormones that control hunger, and although Dr. Hall and his colleagues did not measure the rest of them, another group of researchers, in a different project, did. In a one-year study funded by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, Dr. Joseph Proietto of the University of Melbourne and his colleagues recruited 50 overweight people who agreed to consume just 550 calories a day for eight or nine weeks. They lost an average of nearly 30 pounds, but over the next year, the pounds started coming back.
    1. Are these really alternatives to fertilizers? I think not. Although these adaptations may help improve nutrient use efficiency of crops (that amount of the nutrient pool in the soil that crops take up), aside from legume nodules they fail as fertilizer alternatives due to conservation of mass, which here can be stated as “nutrients exported from a field must be replaced by an equal import of nutrients.” Nutrients are not created in the field through any mechanism, natural or not. Even nitrogen from legumes is imported from the air. None of these so-called alternatives to synthetic fertilizers create nutrients. They exist to help plants survive (not thrive) in the nutrient limited conditions found in natural ecosystems. Since farmers strive to eliminate such nutrient limitations in their fields, these mechanisms are not so helpful, and they are often switched off when high levels of nutrients are available.
  2. Apr 2016
    1. And yet, in the past five years, the 15 acres of open space have seen plenty of activity. In that time, more than half a dozen farmers have put their hands to a plow in an ill-fated attempt at organic farming. Only one of them is still standing. The same fate of those failed farmers has been repeated all across the county under an agricultural program meant to encourage and support organic farming by providing nearly $1 million in capital expenditures, temporary lease rate reductions, organic certification assistance, weed maintenance and farmer education courses.
    2. According to surveys from the United States Department of Agriculture, organic acreage declined nationally by 10.8 percent from 2008 (4.1 million acres) to 2014 (3.7 million acres). Colorado saw larger declines of 34 percent during that same time, from 153,981 acres in 2008 to 115,116 acres in 2014. A number of reasons have been cited by different experts and farmers, including the recession and a change in USDA methodology that counts fewer growers as organic since many small operations do not pursue certification. The most commonly cited reason is cost: The resource-intense nature of production eats away at profit margins and makes organic less attractive during a time of high conventional profits. "The incentive to grow organically wasn't enough as conventional grown commodities were priced at very profitable levels" during that time, said Bill Meyer, director of the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service mountain region.
    1. Here we have developed a phage-assisted continuous evolution selection that rapidly evolves high-affinity protein–protein interactions, and applied this system to evolve variants of the Bt toxin Cry1Ac that bind a cadherin-like receptor from the insect pest Trichoplusia ni (TnCAD) that is not natively bound by wild-type Cry1Ac. The resulting evolved Cry1Ac variants bind TnCAD with high affinity (dissociation constant Kd = 11–41 nM), kill TnCAD-expressing insect cells that are not susceptible to wild-type Cry1Ac, and kill Cry1Ac-resistant T. ni insects up to 335-fold more potently than wild-type Cry1Ac. Our findings establish that the evolution of Bt toxins with novel insect cell receptor affinity can overcome insect Bt toxin resistance and confer lethality approaching that of the wild-type Bt toxin against non-resistant insects. At a glance
    1. Manure markets tend to be highly localized. In some areas, manure carries enough value as fertilizer that crop producers are willing to pay to receive it; in other areas, livestock producers must pay other farmers to take the manure. About 20 percent of the dairy and hog manure that is removed from farms is sold, as is 36 percent of broiler litter.17 About 60 percent of the hog and broiler manure that is removed from farms is given away for no exchange of money. Prices for manure are determined by the quantities produced in an area relative to the amount of nearby cropland, the mix of crops grown, and the cost of transporting manure. With production shifting to large livestock operations, which are coming under increasing pressure to reduce nutrient applications to their own land, we can expect to see increased manure removals
    1. Conclusions liquid hog manure application was the largest user of energy in this study, mainly due to fuel consumption the most energy efficient system in this study was the grazing system with no manure applied grazing systems were more energy efficient than hayed systems beef production on unmanured land was more energy efficient than on manured land however, beef production on manured land is still more efficient than beef production on land where synthetic fertilizers are applied, even if manure is applied only to P-removal rates
    1. So where exactly might you find a GMO label if it existed? 1.GMOs or foods containing GMOS This is obvious. Actual whole GMO produce such as pest-resistant sweet corn, or disease-resistant squash would be labeled. Processed foods obviously containing these ingredients such as salsa with GM corn or trail mix with dried GM papayas would also be labeled. 2.Meat/Dairy from animals fed GMOs This is a bit trickier, and still up in the air. As Ben and Jerry’s points out on their website, eating a GMO does not make YOU a GMO. For this reason, they have advertised that their ice-cream is “GMO free” for years, even though it is made from the milk of cows fed genetically modified feed. This logic seems fair enough. After all, the gene that makes alfalfa a GMO cannot be found in a pint of Cherry Garcia. 3.Processed foods made with oil/sugar extracted from GMOs As with meat/dairy, this is a toughy. Just as the genes unique to GMOs don’t make it through a cow’s gut, they also don’t show up in high-fructose corn syrup or soybean oil. These processed ingredients are 100% identical to organic alternatives. 4.Foods produced by (or with ingredients produced by) GM microorganisms The production pipeline of some foods and food additives relies on genetically modified fungi or bacteria. Cheese is pretty much universally made using enzymes produced by genetically modified microorganisms. Genetically modified microorganisms can also produce vitamins, which can then be used to fortify cereals. This might explain why several vitamins went missing when Grape Nuts and Cheerios went GMO-free. The GM microorganisms themselves are not present in the final product, so the only difference is a decrease in vitamin A, B12, D and Riboflavin in the GMO-free version.
    1. The New York City Health Department closed the Chipotle at Broadway and West 111th Street this week, with the fast-food outpost not expected to open again until Friday, staff said. The department slapped the eatery with violations for improper refrigeration and evidence of flies, after inspectors visited the restaurant Monday to find its walk-in refrigerator had broken down that same day, employees and DOH officials said.