Pesticide Study Sparks Backlash

By Kai Kupferschmidt

Science – When Ralf Reski read the latest paper from controversial French biologist Gilles-Eric Séralini, he quickly decided he wanted nothing to do with it. Séralini’s report in BioMed Research International describes how pesticides kill cultured human cells, with the hair-raising conclusion that pesticides may be vastly more toxic than assumed by regulatory authorities. Some scientists are criticizing the findings as neither surprising nor significant—but they have touched off a firestorm, with environmental groups calling for changes in how pesticides are regulated. That was too much for Reski. Within hours of reading the paper last week, the plant scientist at the University of Freiburg in Germany resigned as an editor of the journal and asked for his name to be removed from its website. “I do not want to be connected to a journal that provides [Séralini] a forum for such kind of agitation,” he wrote in his resignation e-mail to the publisher, Hindawi Publishing Corporation.

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H7N9 kills 2 more, causing new infections in China

39CHANGSHA – A 59-year-old man having close contact with live poultry died on Monday morning of the H7N9 flu virus, the first of its kind in central China’s Hunan province, local authority said.
A separate statement issued by the health department of Guangdong province on Monday said a patient surnamed Xie died of the virus on Sunday in Foshan after treatment failed.
With the new cases, H7N9 has so far killed 25 people in China since January, and the number of human infections has been 113, with Zhejiang and Guangdong being mostly affected.
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New Programme to Support Animal Welfare at Slaughter

The Pig Site – Funded through the bilateral agreement for implementation of Growing Forward 2, this programme will help businesses comply with the requirements relating to the restraining of animals during slaughter, in order to eliminate the suffering of these animals while taking into consideration the concerns of Canadians regarding animal welfare.

The programme will be allocated a budget of C$450,000 spread over three years, from 2013 to 2016.

“Canada has a strong record supporting the use of best practices in the slaughter industry. We are pleased to partner with Quebec to further promote the development of practices that take animal welfare into account,” said Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz
.
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Brazilian researchers develop technique for mass breeding of stingless bees

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy Elton Alisson
Agência FAPESP – Stingless bees, such as the jataí (Tetragonisca angustula) and the uruçu (Melipona scutellaris), are well known as important pollinators for several crops such as eggplant, strawberries, tomato and coffee.
One of the main limitations on their use for this purpose, however, is the difficulty of producing colonies in sufficient quantities to meet the demands of farmers, as the majority of these species have small numbers of queens.
However, a new technique that could help overcome this limitation was developed by a group of researchers who reared the queens of one of these species in vitro: Scaptotrigona depilis, commonly known in Brazil as mandaguari…>>Continue Reading<<
 
Source and Photo: FAPESP, January 29th, 2014
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Meat Products in the European Union 2013-2023

34The Pig Site - The EU meat sector is expected to be supported by strong demand on the world market driven by favourable economic conditions. In Europe, prospects of improved economic growth should leave consumers with more disposable income allowing for a higher consumption of meat products.

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Agriculture can be an ally to biodiversity conservation

7By Karina Toledo

Agência FAPESP – In addition to producing food, services and energy, agricultural pastures have a secondary but equally important role, a role that should be strengthened: the conservation of biological diversity.

Professor Luciano Martins Verdade, of the Center for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture at Universidade de São Paulo (CENA/USP), discussed this topic during the last meeting of the 2013 BIOTA-FAPESP Education Conference Cycle, organized by the FAPESP Research Program for the Characterization, Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity (BIOTA-FAPESP). Held on November 21, 2013 at FAPESP’s headquarters, the theme was “Biodiversity in Urban and Rural Anthropic Environments.” >>Continue Reading<<

Source and Photo: FAPESP, January 22nd, 2014
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Computer modeling helps to improve the quality and microbiological safety of food

8By Elton Alisson

Agência FAPESP – The foodstuff industries of several countries have utilized a new tool to improve the microbiological safety and quality of their products. Predictive microbiology is a software-based system that uses mathematical models and statistics to predict the behavior of microorganisms in fresh and processed food.

The new method is based on the principle that the ability of bacteria and fungi to multiply in food depends on the properties of the product, such as its composition, acidity, humidity, salt levels and antimicrobials present, in addition to the temperature conditions, relative humidity and atmosphere in which it is maintained. In this manner, the effect of each of these factors can be calculated mathematically using different predictive models… >>Continue Reading<<

Source and Photo: FAPESP, January 22nd, 2014
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