Tag Archives: Genetically modified organism

Zea Mays

Botanical Name: Zea Mays
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Tribe: Andropogoneae
Genus: Zea
SpeciesZ. mays
Subspecies: Z. mays subsp. mays
KingdomPlantae
Order: Poales

Synonym:  Maize.

Common Name:  Corn

Habitat: Zea Mays or maize is native to South America; also cultivated in other parts of America, in the West Indian Islands, Australia, Africa, India, etc., and now in France and many other countries in the world.

Description:
Zea Mays is a monoecious plant. Male flowers in terminal racemes; spikelets, two-flowered glumes nearly equal, herbaceous, terminating in two sharp points; females, axillary in the sheaths of the leaves. The spikes or ears proceed from the stalls at various distances from the ground, and are closely enveloped in several thin leaves, forming a sheath called the husk; the ears consist of a cylindrical substance, a pith called the cob; on this the seeds are ranged in eight rows, each row having thirty or more seeds. From the eyes or germs of the seeds proceed individual filaments of a silky appearance and bright green colour; these hang from the point of the husk and are called ‘the silk.’ The use of these filaments or stigmata is to receive the farina which drops from the flowers, and without which the flowers would produce no seed. As soon as this has been effected, the tops and ‘the silk’ dry up. The maize grains are of varying colour – usually yellow, but often ranging to black.

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A coarse annual, culms 60-80 cm high, straight, internodes cylindrical in the upper part, alternately grooved on the lower part with a bud in the groove. The stem is filled with pith. Leaf-blades broad. Has separate staminate (male) and pistillate (female) inflorescences. The staminate inflorescence is a tassel borne at the apex, the pistillate flowers occur as spikes (cobs) rising from axils of the lower leaves. The ovary develops a long style or silk which extends from the cob and receives the pollen from the tassel.

Cultivation :
Requires a warm position a well drained soil and ample moisture in the growing season[16, 33]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 to 6.8[200]. Requires a rich soil if it is to do well[201]. Corn is widely cultivated for its edible seed, especially in tropical and warm temperate zones of the world[200], there are many named varieties. Unfortunately, the plant is not frost tolerant and so needs to be started off under glass in Britain if a reasonable crop is to be grown. There are five main types:- Sweetcorn is of fairly recent development. It has very sweet, soft-skinned grains that can be eaten raw or cooked before they are fully ripe. Cultivars have been developed that can produce a worthwhile crop even in the more northerly latitudes of Britain if a suitable warm sunny sheltered site is chosen K. Popcorn is a primitive form with hard-skinned grains. When roasted, these grains ‘explode’ to form the popular snack ‘popcorn’. Waxy corn is used mainly in the Far East. It has a tapioca-like starch. Flint corn, which shrinks on drying, can have white, yellow, purple, red or blue-black grains. It is not so sweet and also takes longer to mature so is a problematic crop in Britain. There are many other uses for this plant as detailed below. Dent corn has mostly white to yellow grains. This and Flint corn are widely grown for oils, cornflour, cereals and silage crops. Corn grows well with early potatoes, legumes, dill, cucurbits and sunflowers, it dislikes growing with tomatoes.
Propagation:
Seed – sow April in individual pots in a greenhouse. Grow on quickly and plant out after the last expected frosts. A direct outdoor sowing, especially of some of the less sweet varieties, can be tried in May.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Oil; Oil; Pollen; Seed; Stem.
Edible Uses: Coffee; Oil; Oil.

Seed – raw or cooked. Corn is one of the most commonly grown foods in the world. The seed can be eaten raw or cooked before it is fully ripe and there are varieties especially developed for this purpose (the sweet corns) that have very sweet seeds and are delicious. The mature seed can be dried and used whole or ground into a flour. It has a very mild flavour and is used especially as a thickening agent in foods such as custards. The starch is often extracted from the grain and used in making confectionery, noodles etc. The dried seed of certain varieties can be heated in an oven when they burst to make ‘Popcorn’. The seed can also be sprouted and used in making uncooked breads and cereals. A nutritional analysis is available. The fresh succulent ‘silks’ (the flowering parts of the cob) can also be eaten. An edible oil is obtained from the seed, it is an all-purpose culinary oil that is frequently used as a food in salads and for cooking purposes. The pollen is used as an ingredient of soups. Rich in protein, it is harvested by tapping the flowering heads over a flat surface such as a bowl. Harvesting the pollen will actually help to improve fertilisation of the seeds. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute. The pith of the stem is chewed like sugar cane and is sometimes made into a syrup

Composition:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Fresh weight)

*361 Calories per 100g
*Water : 10.6%
*Protein: 9.4g; Fat: 4.3g; Carbohydrate: 74.4g; Fibre: 1.8g; Ash: 1.3g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 9mg; Phosphorus: 290mg; Iron: 2.5mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 140mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.43mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.1mg; Niacin: 1.9mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Part Used in Medicines:  The Seeds.

Constituents:  Starch, sugar, fat, salts, water, yellow oil, maizenic acid, azotized matter, gluten, dextrine, glucose, cellulose, silica, phosphates of lime and magnesia, soluble salts of potassa and soda.

Medicinal    Uses: 

A decoction of the leaves and roots is used in the treatment of strangury, dysuria and gravel. The corn silks are cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, lithontripic, mildly stimulant and vasodilator. They also act to reduce blood sugar levels and so are used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus as well as cystitis, gonorrhoea, gout etc. The silks are harvested before pollination occurs and are best used when fresh because they tend to lose their diuretic effect when stored and also become purgative.  A decoction of the cob is used in the treatment of nose bleeds and menorrhagia. The seed is diuretic and a mild stimulant. It is a good emollient poultice for ulcers, swellings and rheumatic pains, and is widely used in the treatment of cancer, tumours and warts. It contains the cell-proliferant and wound-healing substance allantoin, which is widely used in herbal medicine (especially from the herb comfrey, Symphytum officinale) to speed the healing process. The plant is said to have anticancer properties and is experimentally hypoglycaemic and hypotensive.

Other Uses:
Adhesive; Fuel; Oil; Oil; Packing; Paper.

A glue is made from the starch in the seed. This starch is also used in cosmetics and the manufacture of glucose. A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. It has many industrial uses, in the manufacture of linoleum, paints, varnishes, soaps etc. The corn spathes are used in the production of paper, straw hats and small articles such as little baskets. A fibre obtained from the stems and seed husks is used for making paper. They are harvested in late summer after the seed has been harvested, they are cut into usable pieces and soaked in clear water for 24 hours. They are then cooked for 2 hours in soda ash and then beaten in a ball mill for 1½ hours in a ball mill. The fibres make a light greenish cream paper. Be careful not to overcook the fibre otherwise it will produce a sticky pulp that is very hard to form into paper. The dried cobs are used as a fuel. The pith of the stems is used as a packing material
In addition to use as a human food, the seed head and whole plant are used forage and silage, an important source of feed for livestock. Corn has become an increasingly important biofuel, both in the form of corn oil (used as bio-diesel) and ethanol (an alcohol fermented and distilled from the processed kernels), which is blended with petroleum-based gasoline in various proportions for use as fuel.

With Although grown in temperate and tropical countries worldwide, the U.S. alone produces more than one third of the global total of dried corn (316.2 metric tons), with China, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina also producing significant amounts. Corn production increased by 42% worldwide over the past decade, associated with the increased demand and prices for corn as biofuel.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maize
http://media.eol.org/pages/1115259/overview
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/corni103.html
http://www.fao.org/ag/agp/AGPC/doc/Gbase/data/pf000342.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Zea+mays

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Spirulina (Blue-green algae)

Other Names:
AFA, Algae, Algas Verdiazul, Algues Bleu-Vert, Algues Bleu-Vert du Lac Klamath, Anabaena, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, Arthrospira maxima, Arthrospira platensis, BGA, Blue Green Algae, Blue-Green Micro-Algae, Cyanobacteria, Cyanobactérie, Cyanophycée, Dihe, Espirulina, Hawaiian Spirulina, Klamath, Klamath Lake Algae, Lyngbya wollei, Microcystis aeruginosa, Microcystis wesenbergii, Nostoc ellipsosporum, Spirulina Blue-Green Algae, Spirulina Fusiformis, Spirulina maxima, Spirulina platensis, Spirulina pacifica, Spiruline, Spiruline d’Hawaii, Tecuitlatl.

Description:
Spirulina is obtained from a plant in form of blue-green algae that springs from warm, fresh water bodies………..CLICK & SEE
Spirulina is a cyanobacterium that can be consumed by humans and other animals. There are two species, Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima.

Arthrospira is cultivated worldwide; used as a dietary supplement as well as a whole food; and is also available in tablet, flake and powder form. It is also used as a feed supplement in the aquaculture, aquarium and poultry industries.

Blue-green algae have a high protein, iron, and other mineral content which is absorbed when taken orally. Blue-green algae are being researched for their potential effects on the immune system, swelling (inflammation), and viral infections.

Chlorella is another form of algae that is sometimes confused with spirulina. The fundamental difference between spirulina and chlorella is that spirulina is many thousands of years older and does not possess the hard cell wall that makes chlorella closer to being a plant than algae.

Chlorella is an excellent way to detoxify  our body from mercury, which most of you are contaminated with if you’ve ever had dental fillings, received a vaccine, used certain types of cookware or eaten fish. Spirulina simply is unable to remove heavy metals like chlorella does, as it lacks a cell membrane.

Chlorella has also been proven to be of benefit to those who suffer from degenerative disease. This report, however, will focus on the specific benefits that can be attributed to spirulina in particular.

“Blue-green algae” describes a large and diverse group of simple, plant-like organisms found in salt water and some large fresh water lakes.

Blue-green algae products are used for many conditions, but so far, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not they are effective for any of them.

Blue-green algae are used as a source of dietary protein, B-vitamins, and iron. They are also used for weight loss, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hayfever, diabetes, stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and other women’s health issues.

Some people use blue-green algae for treating precancerous growths inside the mouth, boosting the immune system, improving memory, increasing energy and metabolism, lowering cholesterol, preventing heart disease, healing wounds, and improving digestion and bowel health.

Blue-green algae are commonly found in tropical or subtropical waters that have a high-salt content, but some types grow in large fresh water lakes. The natural color of these algae can give bodies of water a dark-green appearance. The altitude, temperature, and sun exposure where the blue-green algae are grown dramatically influence the types and mix of blue-green algae in the water.

Some blue-green algae products are grown under controlled conditions. Others are grown in a natural setting, where they are more likely to be contaminated by bacteria, liver poisons (microcystins) produced by certain bacteria, and heavy metals. Choose only products that have been tested and found free of these contaminants.

You may have been told that blue-green algae are an excellent source of protein. But, in reality, blue-green algae is no better than meat or milk as a protein source and costs about 30 times as much per gram.

Protein:
Dried spirulina contains about 60% (51–71%) protein.  It is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids, though with reduced amounts of methionine, cysteine and lysine when compared to the proteins of meat, eggs and milk. It is, however, superior to typical plant protein, such as that from legumes.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine said that spirulina was no better than milk or meat as a protein source, and was approximately 30 times more expensive per gram

Other nutrients:
Spirulina’s lipid content is about 7% by weight,  and is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA),  and also provides alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA), stearidonic acid (SDA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and arachidonic acid (AA).  Spirulina contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinamide), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E.  It is also a source of potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, and zinc. Spirulina contains many pigments which may be beneficial and bioavailable, including beta-carotene,  zeaxanthin,  7-hydroxyretinoic acid,  isomers, chlorophyll-a, xanthophyll, echinenone, myxoxanthophyll, canthaxanthin, diatoxanthin, 3′-hydroxyechinenone, beta-cryptoxanthin, and oscillaxanthin, plus the phycobiliproteins  c-phycocyanin and allophycocyanin.

Vitamin B12 controversy:
Spirulina is not considered to be a reliable source of Vitamin B12. Spirulina supplements contain predominantly pseudovitamin B12, which is biologically inactive in humans. Companies which grow and market spirulina have claimed it to be a significant source of B12 on the basis of alternative, unpublished assays, although their claims are not accepted by independent scientific organizations. The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada in their position paper on vegetarian diets state that spirulina cannot be counted on as a reliable source of active vitamin B12. The medical literature similarly advises that spirulina is unsuitable as a source of B12.

 Spirulina Helped Save Millions from Arsenic Poisoning:
Bangladeshi researchers conducted a three-month-hospital-based study, where spirulina was given to 33 patients while 17 received placebo doses. 82 percent of those taking spirulina showed tremendous improvement.

An Immune-System Power-Boost — Spirulina’s Impact on Candida and AIDS:
According to a study done by the Department of Aquataculture in Taiwan,4 spirulina shows significant immune-boosting properties. Researchers exposed white shrimp to seawater containing a hot-water extract of spirulina before transferring them to seawater with a pH level of 6.8. The control group was not exposed to spirulina.

The shrimp exposed to the spirulina seawater showed a faster and more promising recovery rate to the high levels of pH than those not given the dose of spirulina first.

Now, let’s take a look at what this immune-system boosting power can mean for  us:

Candida:
If  we have an autoimmune disease such as Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lupus or fibromyalgia, chronic candida yeast can both cause and worsen your symptoms. Spirulina has been shown to encourage and support the growth of healthy bacterial flora in our gut,  which can help keep candida overgrowth under control.

HIV and AIDS:
Drugs such as AZT used to treat HIV and AIDS patients can actually cause the symptoms they are supposed to cure. However, spirulina has been shown to help inactivate the human immunodeficiency virus associated with HIV and AIDS.

Seasonal Allergy:
Millions of people are allergic to pollen, ragweed, dust, mold, pet dander, and a myriad other environmental contaminants, ensuring the makers of Kleenex will always stay in business.

Unfortunately, many people who have allergic rhinitis treat it with prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that often do more harm than good. Antihistamines are designed to suppress our immune system, which leads to decreased resistance to disease and dependence on the drug. Certain asthma drugs have been linked to serious side effects as well.

This is where natural methods such as the use of spirulina come in. According to one study,  patients treated with spirulina reported relief of symptoms commonly associated with allergic rhinitis, such as nasal discharge and congestion, sneezing and itching, when given spirulina.

Blood Pressure Balancing:
According to a study done by the Department of Biochemistry in Mexico,7 4.5 grams of spirulina given each day was shown to regulate blood pressure among both women and men ages 18-65 years with no other dietary changes made during the six weeks the experiment was run.

Lowers Stroke Risk:
In a study done at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology in India, it was found that a dosage of 180mg/kg of spirulina had a protective effect on the brain and nervous system of rats exposed to high amounts of free radicals, compared to rats not given the spirulina before the experiment. This lab test shows the promising effect of spirulina on stroke prevention.

Helps Reduce Cancer Risk:
According to a study done in China,10 selenium-infused spirulina inhibited the growth of MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

Potential Adverse Reactions:
Spirulina is a safe source of protein, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that has been used for centuries. Though there are no known side effects associated with spirulina,  our body may react to it based on  our current state of health. Let’s take a look at some of those reactions,  what they mean, and what you can do to alleviate them.

The most prominent reactions  one may experience are:
*Slight Fever –– The high protein content in spirulina increases metabolism, which may elevate body temperature.

*Dark Green Waste Matter — Spirulina can remove accumulated waste product in our colon, which may cause darker stool. Also, spirulina is high in chlorophyll. This will also turn waste matter green.

*Excessive Passing of Gas — This may indicate that your digestive system is not functioning properly or you have an extreme build-up of gas.

*Feelings of Excitement — Our body is converting protein into heat energy, which may cause temporary feelings of restlessness.

*Breakouts and Itchy Skin — This is caused by colon cleansing process and is only temporary.

*Sleepiness — This is caused by the detoxification process and may indicate our body is exhausted and needs better rest.

Remember, our body may go through an adjustment period with spirulina, and our best bet to reduce reaction is to dose gradually to see how  our body will react.  Water intake should be increased and ,  stress levels should be  reduced, we should eat according to our nutritional type, and get plenty of rest.

Important Contraindications for Spirulina:
Even though spirulina is entirely natural and generally considered a healthful food, there are some contraindications  we need to be aware of.  No one should  take spirulina if he or she has a severe seafood or iodine allergy. And, if one is pregnant or nursing or have hyperthyroidism, it is adviced  to  consult with the healthcare provider before taking spirulina.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirulina_(dietary_supplement)
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-923-spirulina%20(blue-green%20algae).aspx?activeingredientid=923&activeingredientname=spirulina%20(blue-green%20algae)
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/01/spirulina-the-amazing-super-food-youve-never-heard-of.aspx

Try to Avoid 7 Foods Experts Won’t Eat

1. Canned Tomatoes.….. 
The expert: Fredrick vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A

The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Acidity — a prominent characteristic of tomatoes — causes BPA to leach into your food.

2. Corn-Fed Beef….

The expert: Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of books on sustainable farming

Cattle were designed to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. A recent comprehensive study found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

3. Microwave Popcorn….

The expert: Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group

Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize — and migrate into your popcorn.

4. Nonorganic Potatoes…

The expert: Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board

Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes they’re treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they’re dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting.

5. Farmed Salmon..

The expert: David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany

Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT.

6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones….

The expert: Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

7. Conventional Apples…

The expert: Mark Kastel, codirector of the Cornucopia Institute

If fall fruits held a “most doused in pesticides contest,” apples would win. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides with Parkinson’s disease.

Source: Yahoo Shine November 24, 2009

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Major Threat to Human Fertility and Very Existence of Human Life On Earth

fertilityA long-term feeding study commissioned by the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety confirms genetically modified (GM) corn seriously affects reproductive health in mice.

Non-GMO advocates, who have warned about this infertility link along with other health risks, now seek an immediate ban of all GM foods and GM crops to protect the health of humankind and the fertility of women around the world.

Feeding mice with genetically modified corn developed by the US-based Monsanto Corporation led to lower fertility and body weight, according to the study conducted by the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. Lead author of the study Professor Zentek said there was a direct link between the decrease in fertility and the GM diet, and that mice fed with non-GE corn reproduced more efficiently.

Other studies have also found that offspring of rats fed GM soy showed a five-fold increase in mortality, lower birth weights, and the inability to reproduce.

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Purple Tomato that Fights Cancer

A purple tomato genetically engineered to contain nutrients more commonly seen in dark berries helped prevent cancer in mice, British researchers said on Sunday.

.CLICK & SEE

The finding, published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, bolsters the idea that plants can be genetically modified to make people healthier.

Cancer-prone mice fed the modified fruit lived significantly longer than animals fed a standard diet with and without regular tomatoes, Cathie Martin and colleagues at the government-funded John Innes Centre in Britain reported.

“The effect was much bigger than we had expected,” said Martin, a plant biologist.

The study focused on anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant found in berries such as blackberries and blackcurrants that have been shown to lower risk of cancer, heart disease and some neurological diseases.

While an easy health boost, many people do not eat enough of these fruits, the researchers said.

Using genes that help colour the snapdragon flower, the researchers discovered they could get the tomatoes to make anthocyanins — turning the tomato purple in the process.

Mice genetically engineered to develop cancer lived an average of 182 days when they were fed the purple tomatoes, compared to 142 days for animals on the standard diet.

“It is enormously encouraging to believe that by changing diet, or specific components in the diet, you can improve health in animals and possibly humans,” Martin said in a telephone interview.

The researchers cautioned that trials in humans are a long way off and the next step is to investigate how the antioxidants actually affect the tumours to promote better health.

But the findings do bolster research suggesting that people can significantly improve their health by making simple changes to the daily diet, other researchers said.

“It’s exciting to see new techniques that could potentially make healthy foods even better for us,” said Dr. Lara Bennett, science information officer at Cancer Research UK.

“But it’s too early to say whether anthocyanins obtained through diet could help to reduce the risk of cancer.”

Click to see :->Pomegranates: the fruity panacea

Berries ‘help prevent dementia’

Darker fruits could fight cancer

Purple tomato ‘may boost health’

Sources: The Times Of India

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