Go beyond omega-3, scientist tells researchers

4/12/2009
A scientist at the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES) has called on the industry to back an increase in research into the benefits of eating seafood as a product, not just more work into omega-3 fatty acids. Livar Froyland, principal scientists with NIFES, said that although some of the individual components of seafood have been explored, such as the much-discussed omega-3 fatty acids, there is a real lack of studies into the effects of eating seafood as a whole.

Seafood was not fulfilling its potential as a healthy product, since it was not championing all of its benefits, besides omega-3, he said. This was because governments demand rigorous evidence into the health benefits of a product before it is allowed to be sold as such, and at present such claims cannot be made due to a lack of studies. Speaking at the Norwegian Seafood Export Council (NSEC)’s conference in Brussels in April, he said that without convincing research governments will not open the doors. There has been a lot of research into omega-3, he said, but not about the whole product.

While the cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 are well-established positives of seafood components, the less-established potential benefits such as mental health treatment were as yet largely unexplored, said Froyland, adding that it is known that a lack of iodine is a major contributor to mental retardation and declining mental health. Also, selenium is vital for a healthy antioxidant system in the body, while there are early suggestions protein in fish can help protect against Type 2 diabetes. Yet, these additional claims are as yet largely unsupported in the mainstream literature.

Figures from NIFES reveal in 1999, 60 percent of all global deaths were estimated to have been caused by “lifestyle diseases” such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mental health issues. By 2020, this figure is expected to increase to 73 percent. Given the recognised benefits of products contained within seafood, Froyland asked if this meant the individual components are healthier than the seafood itself. No, he answered, capsules do not replace fish. Seafood was in a great position to help people at risk of such lifestyle diseases, Froyland said, but we cannot extrapolate benefits from research into individual components and claim that the food does the same. We are not realising the full potential of the food, he said.

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Scientists Working To Improve Kerala’s Ayurvedic Medicinal Rice

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Dec 29 (Bernama) — A research project to preserve and sustain the fast dwindling cultivation of medicinal ‘njavara rice’ by improving its genetic qualities has been taken up by the Kerala Agricultural University, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI) on Tuesday.

‘Njavara’ is extensively used in the Indian medicinal system of ‘Ayurveda’ for a variety of cures including those for rheumatism, respiratory and digestive problems.

Though ‘njavara’ was earlier cultivated in many parts of the state like Palakkad, Malappuram and Thrissur in view its demand for medicinal use, its cultivation has now come down to a mere 50 hectares involving a total of around 30 farmers, mostly in Chittur in the state’s Palakkad district.

The reason for the sharp fall in the cultivation of ‘njavara’ is that it requires constant attention, high input cost and that the crop is often subject to the vagaries of climate.

A group of researchers at the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) have prepared a project to bring genetic changes in the basic characteristics of the cereal, which could increase the quality of the variety.

Apart from artificial methods, conventional breeding techniques would be used to advance the basic qualities of the rice variety.

Quoting S.Leenakumari, a professor at KAU, PTI reported that by improving the strain of the traditional variety it could be made stronger to withstand the onslaught of climate and ensure higher output.

The ultimate beneficiary of the project would be farmers who could tap on the increasing demand for the ‘njavara’ rice considering its variety of medicinal applications, she said.

This medicinal variety of rice is of special significance since medical tourism has been gaining strength in Kerala with Ayurvedic resorts attracting people from abroad, including Europe, the United States and West Asia.

According to Ayurvedic experts, Njavara has been cultivated in Kerala for over 2,500 years. It is an inevitable item in many traditional Ayurveda treatments.

“Njavara Kizhi”, a process by which heated ‘njavara’ is applied on the limbs affected by rheumatism, is an effective treatment. It is also a key ingredient for the therapeutic porridge consumed by people during monsoon season in the state.

Without the help of botanical experts, consumers could not identify the original variety by themselves, said Prof Leenakumari.

She also cited that Pokkali rice, another rice variety cultivated in water-logged areas, is sold widely under the label of Njavara rice. Though consumers can be cheated, experts can identify the original from its physical features itself.

While Pokkali rice has long, bold grains, Njavara has slim, slender and medium size grains, she said.

To ensure the authenticity and quality of the cereal, majority of the Ayurveda hospitals grow it in their own herbal gardens.

As part of the KAU project, five pure genetic varieties of Njavara had been identified.

— BERNAMA

Sumber: sini

Pembenihan kelah merah sukar

Oleh Osman Lisut

KUALA LUMPUR: Peningkatan minat orang ramai terhadap kelah (Tor tambroides) dengan menjadikannya ikan peliharaan dalam akuarium semakin menyerlah sejak kebelakangan ini. Ia kerana keunikan ikan berkenaan yang memiliki sisik yang cantik, aktif dan bernilai tinggi.

Serupa dengan jenis ikan kap yang lain, kelah adalah omnivor dan makan bukan saja alga, krustasea, serangga, katak, dan ikan yang lain, tetapi juga buah-buahan yang jatuh daripada pokok-pokok di atas.

Bagaimanapun, spesies ikan yang mendiami sungai serta tasik, dan naik ke anak sungai yang pantas serta dasar sungai yang berbatu-batan untuk bertelur amat sukar untuk dibiakkan walaupun pelbagai usaha dilakukan. Ia termasuk proses aruhan seperti dilakukan terhadap tilapia, keli, haruan, ketutu dan ikan puyu.

Tidak hairanlah, ramai penternak ikan kelah di negara ini menggunakan kaedah tradisional iaitu menjejak anak kelah yang baru menetas di air cetek sungai berbatu dengan berbekalkan lampu suluh. Anak-anak kelah begitu mudah dikesan di tengah malam kerana suluhan lampu memantulkan warna keemasan siripnya dan ia kurang aktif serta mudah ditangkap.

Bagi penternak ikan kelah merah, Othman Abdul Wahab, berkata beliau pernah bekerjasama dengan pegawai penyelidik Jabatan Perikanan Malaysia untuk menghasilkan benih kelah menerusi suntikan hormon ke atas induk ikan, bagaimanapun tidak berjaya.

“Kelah memerlukan suasana semula jadi untuk menghempas perutnya ke batu-batu di sungai berarus deras bagi mengeluarkan telurnya. Namun, apa yang berlaku kolam berbatu palsu atau ‘rock garden’ tidak sesuai dan induk kelah berkenaan tercedera dalam usahanya menghempas telur.

“Kalau usaha itu berjaya dilakukan, daripada 20,000 telur yang dikeluarkan kurang satu peratus saja berjaya menetas. Malah, kalau hidup sehingga dua sentimeter pun kurang daripada 20 ekor, ini boleh dianggap gagal,” katanya kepada wartawan Joran.

Othman berkata, beliau memperoleh benih kelah daripada beberapa peraih dan kaki pancing dari Pahang, Kelantan dan Terengganu, iaitu beberapa bulan selepas musim tengkujuh kerana ketika itulah air sungai mulai turun serta berarus deras.

Katanya, tindakan beliau menternak kelah daripada anak sebesar satu inci hinggalah dewasa bagi menyahut seruan kerajaan dalam usaha mengekalkan populasi spesies yang menghadapi kepupusan.

“Saya cuba mendidik orang ramai supaya tidak menangkap kelah semata-mata untuk dijadikan juadah makan malam atau tengah hari. Sebaliknya, sebagai ikan peliharaan di dalam rumah dan mendatangkan ketenangan apabila melihatnya berenang di dalam akuarium terutama apabila menghadapi tekanan di tempat kerja.

“Dulu, memang tidak dinafikan saya salah seorang pemburu kelah kerana amat menggemari keenakan isinya. Namun, hari ini menjadikan ikan berkenaan sebagai ternakan dan menjualnya sebagai ikan peliharaan,” katanya.

Selain daripada menjual anak kelah merah, Othman turut mengajar cara-cara menjaganya. Ia termasuk penggunaan air, pemeriksaan pH, pemilihan makanan dan rawatan sekiranya ikan peliharaan berkenaan sakit.

Maklumat lanjut mengenai pemeliharaan ikan hiasan atau kelah merah boleh hubungi Othman di 012-6587821.

INFO

# Harga ikan kelah mati RM80 sekilogram, manakala kelah hidup RM150 sekilogram.

# Harga ikan kelah hiasan antara RM500 hingga RM1,000 sekilogram.

Sumber: sini

Info Ikan Kelah 1

Maklumat tentang Ikan Kelah ada di sini

Pelajar Siswazah Biologi Rangkul Hadiah di Kongres Genetik Malaysia ke-8

Pelajar PhD, Faezeh Yazdani Moghaddam, memenangi Hadiah Pertama Pembentangan Poster manakala pelajar Master, Tee Meng Han, memenangi Hadiah Kedua Pembentangan Oral (di kalangan pelajar siswazah) dalam Genetics Resources and Breeding Theme di 8th Malaysia Genetics Congress, di Awana Genting, Pahang, dari 4-6 Ogos 2009 baru-baru ini. Kedua-dua pelajar siswazah tersebut adalah di bawah penyeliaan Prof. Madya Dr. Siti Khalijah Daud dari Jabatan Biologi, Fakulti Sains, UPM.

Kongres Genetik Malaysia ke-8 ini adalah anjuran bersama Persatuan Genetik Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia dan Kementerian Sains, Teknologi dan Inovasi. Kongres ini telah dihadiri oleh 200 para saintis, penyelidik, penggubal polisi, dan pelajar siswazah di seluruh negara. Kongres ini juga telah dirasmikan oleh Menteri Sains, Teknologi dan Inovasi, Y.B. Datuk Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili.

Antara program tetap dan dinanti-nantikan dalam Kongres Genetik Malaysia ialah Mendel Lecture di mana slot ini akan dimuatkan dengan public lecture oleh saintis terkemuka dalam bidang genetik, termasuk 2nd Mendel Lecture pada tahun 1996 oleh penerima Nobel Laureate Prof. Dr. James Watson iaitu penemu struktur DNA yang terkenal. Pada kali ini, the 8th Mendel Lecture telah diberikan oleh Datin Paduka Prof. Dr. Khatijah Mohd Yusoff, Timbalan Ketua Setiausaha (Sains), Kementerian Sains, Teknologi dan Inovasi (MOSTI).

Citral in lemongrass for anti-cancer uses

Recently, it was found that a key component in lemongrass, called citral, prompts in vitro cancer cells to commit suicide via apoptosis.

To further understand how citral works in targeting cancer cells, one has to look into other potential plant candidates that produce cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase, a compound involved in the production of citral.

To learn more, please go to:
www.mgrc.com.my/genomics_news/citral.shtml.

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