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Monsanto corn finds competition in rootworms

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Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

Widely grown corn plants that Monsanto Co. genetically modified to thwart a voracious bug are falling prey to that very pest in a few Iowa fields, the first time a major Midwest scourge has developed resistance to a genetically modified crop.

The discovery raises concerns that the way some farmers are using biotech crops could spawn superbugs.

Iowa State University entomologist Aaron Gassmann’s discovery that western corn rootworms in four northeast Iowa fields have evolved to resist the natural pesticide made by Monsanto’s corn plant could encourage some farmers to switch to insect-proof seeds sold by competitors of the St. Louis crop biotechnology giant, and to return to spraying harsher synthetic insecticides on their fields.

“These are isolated cases, and it isn’t clear how widespread the problem will become,” said Dr. Gassmann in an interview. “But it is an early warning that management practices need to change.”

The finding adds fuel to the race among crop biotechnology rivals to locate the next generation of genes that can protect plants from insects. Scientists at Monsanto and Syngenta AG of Basel, Switzerland, are already researching how to use a medical breakthrough called RNA interference to, among other things, make crops deadly for insects to eat. If this works, a bug munching on such a plant could ingest genetic code that turns off one of its essential genes.

Monsanto said its rootworm-resistant corn seed lines are working as it expected “on more than 99% of the acres planted with this technology” and that it is too early to know what the Iowa State University study means for farmers.

The discovery comes amid a debate about whether the genetically modified crops that now saturate the Farm Belt are changing how some farmers operate in undesirable ways.

These insect-proof and herbicide-resistant crops make farming so much easier that many growers rely heavily on the technology, violating a basic tenet of pest management, which warns that using one method year after year gives more opportunity for pests to adapt.

Monsanto is already at the center of this issue because of its success since the 1990s marketing seeds that grow into crops that can survive exposure to its Roundup herbicide, a glyphosate-based chemical known for its ability to kill almost anything green.

These seeds made it so convenient for farmers to spray Roundup that many farmers stopped using other weedkillers. As a result, say many scientists, superweeds immune to Roundup have spread to millions of acres in more than 20 states in the South and Midwest.

Monsanto became the first company to sell rootworm-resistant biotech corn to farmers in 2003. The seed contains a gene from a common soil microorganism called Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, from which crop biotechnology has been used to mine several genes for making insecticidal proteins.

One of the genes Monsanto developed makes a crystalline protein called Cry3Bb1. It rips apart the gut of the rootworm but is harmless to mammals, birds and most beneficial insects. Competitors, which use other Bt genes to attack the rootworm, estimate that roughly one-third of the corn grown in the U.S. carries Monsanto’s Cry3Bb1 gene.

Monsanto said it generated world-wide sales of $4.26 billion from corn seed and biotechnology traits, about 40% of its overall sales, in its last full year.

Until insecticide-producing corn plants arrived, Midwest farmers typically tried to keep pests like the corn borer and the rootworm in check by changing what they grew in a field each year, often rotating between corn and soybeans. That way, the offspring of corn-loving insects would starve the next year.

Some farmers began to plant corn in the same field year after year. The financial incentive to grow corn has increased in recent years in part because the ethanol-fuel industry’s exploding appetite for corn has helped to lift prices to very profitable levels for growers.

According to Dr. Gassmann, the Iowa fields in which he found rootworms resistant to the Cry3Bb1 toxin had been producing Monsanto’s Bt-expressing corn continuously for at least three years. Dr. Gassmann collected rootworm beetles from four Iowa cornfields with plant damage in 2009. Their larvae were then fed corn containing Monsanto’s Cry3Bb1 toxin. They had a survival rate three times that of control larvae that ate the same corn.

Dr. Gassmann found that Monsanto’s Bt toxin still had some lethal impact on the larvae from the problem Iowa fields, and that the bugs were still highly susceptible to a rootworm-resistant corn plant from a competitor that uses a different Bt toxin, called Cry34/35Ab1.

Scientists in other Farm Belt states are also looking for signs that Monsanto’s Bt corn might be losing its effectiveness. Mike Gray, a University of Illinois entomologist, said he is studying rootworm beetles he collected in northwest Illinois earlier this month from fields where Monsanto’s Bt-expressing corn had suffered extensive rootworm damage.

The government requires that farmers who plant the genetically modified corn take certain steps aimed at preventing insects from developing resistance. Farmers are told to create a refuge for the bugs by planting non-modified corn in part of their fields. The refuge, which can be as much as 20% of a farmer’s field, is supposed to reduce the chances that two toxin-resistant bugs mate and pass along that trait to their offspring.

Dr. Gray said the confirmation of toxin-resistant rootworms in Iowa could force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revisit its policy of allowing the size of these insect refuges to shrink to as little as 5% of a cornfield as crop biotechnology companies begin to sell seed for corn plants that can make two different rootworm-killing toxins.

Part of what has attracted some farmers to Monsanto’s new SmartStax corn line is that it allows them to plant a smaller refuge. But one of the two anti-rootworm toxins in that variety is the Cry3Bb1 protein at the center of Dr. Gassmann’s study.

The EPA said it is too early to comment on any implications arising from Dr. Gassmann’s paper.

(Wall Street Journal)

Too much Salt & not enough Potassium, increases your risk for Cardiovascular Disease and Death

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Foodfacts.com looks into the recent study of the harms of having to much salt intake in your diet and to little amounts of potassium. Earlier studies had found an association between high blood pressure and high levels of salt consumption and low levels of potassium intake. The combination of high salt — sometimes called sodium — and low potassium appears to convey a stronger risk for cardiovascular disease and death than each mineral alone, the study authors said.

“The combination of high sodium and low potassium is really a double whammy for cardiovascular risk and for mortality,” said lead researcher Dr. Frank B. Hu, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Although sodium and potassium act independently, high potassium levels can counteract some of the effect of high sodium, Hu said. “But the adverse effects of high sodium cannot be completely offset by a high potassium diet,” he said.

For the study, published in the July 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, Hu’s team collected data on 12,267 people who were part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Linked Mortality File, from 1988-2006. In addition to mortality data, this survey contains dietary information.

To find out the role of salt and potassium and the risk of cardiovascular disease and death, the researchers looked at the levels of these minerals and the ratio between them. Over an average of 14.8 years of follow-up, 2,270 people died. Of these, 825 died from cardiovascular disease — which includes stroke — and 443 died of heart disease.

After taking into account variables such as gender, race and ethnicity, weight, high blood pressure, education and physical activity, Hu’s group found that high salt intake was associated with a 20 percent increased risk of death, while high potassium intake was associated with a 20 percent decreased risk of dying.

What’s more, high salt consumption coupled with low potassium intake was a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease and heart disease, the researchers added.

“We should continue to reduce the amount of sodium in our diet, especially in processed foods,” Hu said. “We should also promote high consumption of potassium, especially from fruits and vegetables,” he added. “Those things should go hand-in-hand.”

While the study uncovered an association between heart disease and the two minerals, it did not prove a cause-and-effect.

Commenting on the study, Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, said, “The findings are not surprising to me.”

The benefits of potassium to counterbalance the effects of salt for controlling high blood pressure have been known for years, but get little attention, Sandon said. “There have been hints in the past research literature that the ratio of the two may be more important than the nutrients individually,” she said.

Diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables are associated with better heart health, Sandon said. “Fruits and vegetables are your best natural sources of potassium and they are naturally low in sodium,” she explained.

“I agree with the authors that more emphasis should be put on the importance of getting more potassium while lowering sodium intake,” Sandon said.

“The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet does just that and has been around for quite some time now,” she stated. “It encourages people to eat more foods high in potassium (fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy) while eating less sodium-laden foods.”

Sandon noted that this is consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which encourage increased fruit and vegetable intake while lowering intake of foods high in sodium.

Those guidelines recommend that Americans limit their daily salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (about a teaspoon) for most people, and to less than 1,500 milligrams for people 51 or older, and people who have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, regardless of their age.

Information provided by Health Day

7 Anti-Aging Superfoods

Foodfacts.com looks into 7 super foods that can help prevent aging, Can you add years to your life by making smarter food choices? Yes! There are many variables involved in how long you live, but by following a healthy lifestyle, staying active and eating a nutrient-packed diet, you can help slow the aging process and perhaps even stave off age-related diseases, including osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease.

Start right now by including more of these 7 antioxidant-rich foods to your diet. We’ve included interesting facts and delicious EatingWell recipes for healthy aging. Here’s to your good health!

OLIVE OIL

Four decades ago, researchers from the Seven Countries Study concluded that the monounsaturated fats in olive oil were largely responsible for the low rates of heart disease and cancer on the Greek island of Crete. Now we know that olive oil also contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that may help prevent age-related diseases.

YOGURTyogurt

In the 1970s, Soviet Georgia was rumored to have more centenarians per capita than any other country. Reports at the time claimed that the secret of their long lives was yogurt, a food ubiquitous in their diets. While the age-defying powers of yogurt never have been proven directly, yogurt is rich in calcium, which helps stave off osteoporosis and contains “good bacteria” that help maintain gut health and diminish the incidence of age-related intestinal illness.

FISH

Thirty years ago, researchers began to study why the native Inuits of Alaska were remarkably free of heart disease. The reason, scientists now think, is the extraordinary amount of fish they consume. Fish is an abundant source of omega-3 fats, which help prevent cholesterol buildup in arteries and protect against abnormal heart rhythms.

CHOCOLATE

The Kuna people of the San Blas islands, off the coast of Panama, have a rate of heart disease that is nine times less than that of mainland Panamanians. The reason? The Kuna drink plenty of a beverage made with generous proportions of cocoa, which is unusually rich in flavanols that help preserve the healthy function of blood vessels. Maintaining youthful blood vessels lowers risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.

NUTS

Studies of Seventh-Day Adventists (a religious denomination that emphasizes healthy living and a vegetarian diet) show that those who eat nuts gain, on average, an extra two and a half years. Nuts are rich sources of unsaturated fats, so they offer benefits similar to those associated with olive oil. They’re also concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals, including antioxidants.

WINE

Drinking alcohol in moderation protects against heart disease, diabetes and age-related memory loss. Any kind of alcoholic beverage seems to provide such benefits, but red wine has been the focus of much of the research. Red wine contains resveratrol, a compound that likely contributes to its benefits—and, according to animal studies, may activate genes that slow cellular aging.

blueberriesBLUEBERRIES

In a landmark study published in 1999, researchers at Tufts University’s Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging fed rats blueberry extract for a period of time that in “rat lives” is equivalent to 10 human years. These rats outperformed rats fed regular chow on tests of balance and coordination when they reached old age. Compounds in blueberries (and other berries) mitigate inflammation and oxidative damage, which are associated with age-related deficits in memory and motor function.

Article provided by: Eatingwell.com

Poop Burger! Scientists in Japan create Meat out of Human Feces!

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Foodfacts.com is looking into the storythat has been reported by various news outlets including both Fox News and Yahoo, that scientists in Japan have created a meat out of human feces! Yes, you read that correctly, human feces! Is their any truth to the story? We will let you be the judge of that.

Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Okayama Laboratory, has developed meat based on proteins from human excrement. Tokyo Sewage approached the scientist because of an overabundance of sewage mud. They asked him to explore the possible uses of the sewage and Ikeda found that the mud contained a great deal of protein because of all the bacteria.
The researchers then extracted those proteins, combined them with a reaction enhancer and put it in an exploder which created the artificial steak. The “meat” is 63% proteins, 25% carbohydrates, 3% lipids and 9% minerals. The researchers color the poop meat red with food coloring and enhance the flavor with soy protein. Initial tests have people saying it even tastes like beef.
Inhabitat notes that “the meatpacking industry causes 18 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions, mostly due to the release of methane from animals.” Livestock also consume huge amounts of resources and space in efforts to feed ourselves as well as the controversy over cruelty to animals. Ikeda’s recycled poop burger would reduce waste and emissions, not to mention obliterating Dante’s circle for gluttons.

It makes you wonder doesn’t it? How would the nutritional information for a burger made out of human feces compare to a burger made from McDonald’s? big-mac

The scientists hope to price it the same as actual meat, but at the moment the excrement steaks are ten to twenty times the price they should be thanks to the cost of research. Professor Ikeda understands the psychological barriers that need to be surmounted knowing that your food is made from human feces. They hope that once the research is complete, people will be able to overlook that ugly detail in favor of perks like environmental responsibility, cost and the fact that the meat will have fewer calories. So, would you ever consider eating meat made from human feces? Go to our facebook page and tell us what you think!

Information provided by Yahoo.com

**Update**

Is this story a hoax or a scam?
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When we first found this story at foodfacts.com, we were immediately shocked and repulsed. Since then, we have decided to do our own research and find whether or not this story is true. Many may believe at first site that this story is a scientific milestone; turning human waste into an edible protein source. However, others instantly raise skepticism, thinking how one could possible eliminate all waste and toxins from feces and serve it as a dinner, or why they would even want to!

Initially searching for more information on “Okayama Laboratory”, you find that this research establishment is not centered on food technology or sciences, but produces medical devices. I wouldn’t think this type of lab would have safety and sanitation codes allowing large quantities of excrement, but who knows. Also, with such a “miraculous” invention, one would think they would post a press release or somehow mention their ground-breaking science, but there is no word of this “meat poop” listed.

Next, I decided to look up the scientist that is deemed creator of this “meat product”, Mitsuyuki Ikeda. What I found is that it seems he has been made famous just by this story alone. Looking for his name on any search engine will mostly give you results of only the mysterious meat feces. However, if you go a couple pages through the results, you do find what seems to be a personal webpage for a Mitsuyuki Ikeda. Whether or not it’s the same one, we don’t know, but this webpage is centered around environmental education in school systems. Not too related, but at least this guy has some type of science background.

The large reason we believe this story is a hoax is because of the unprofessional nature of the accompanying video, “Solution to the Global Food Crisis – Let them eat TURD BURGERS!?”. The title alone makes you doubt the credibility behind this story, but they also show a few other components that just seem strange, like at 1:33 of the video, when the scientist open up the refrigerator labeled sh*t burger, and again later on lifts a sh*t burger bag. Another part shows the scientist going over his calculations and scientific process, with a pointer shaped like a giant finger, just weird.

What are your thoughts? Is this news story fake or real? Check it out below.

Food for Health – 5 Powerful Food Types To Boost Your Health

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Food for Health – 5 Powerful Food Types To Boost Your Health

Foodfacts.com is teaming up with our friends over at foodforyourhealing.com to give you 5 Powerful Food Types to boost your health! In the effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eating food for health is one of the most important nutrition choices. Choosing the right food for health involves both knowing what to look for when you are grocery shopping, as well as what your body needs. There are five important food types that should be taking into consideration. Let’s look at what these types of foods are and the benefits they offer your body.

1. Anti-anaemic Foods

The first food type is anti-anaemic foods. When eaten regularly these foods will help control or even prevent the onset of anaemia, a condition wherein there is a deficiency of iron, an essential component of haemoglobin in our blood. Haemoglobin is a protein molecule found in red blood cells that carries oxygen. We obtain most of our iron from our diet and therefore need to include these foods in our health meal plan. Some anti-anaemic foods to choose from include pistachios, mustard greens, curry powder, asparagus, green peppers, lentils and liver.

2. Anti-carcinogenic Foods

Anti-carcinogens are substances that can help reduce the risk of contracting cancer. With cancer rates being as high as they are, it’s not difficult to see why eating foods that contain anti-carcinogens is crucial to our overall health and well-being.

As a general rule of thumb when choosing anti-carcinogenic foods, look for those that are low in saturated fats and high in omega-3 fatty acids. A very popular example is salmon. Also look for foods that are high in fiber as these help to prevent colon cancer, as well as prevent hormonal aberrations that promote the development of prostate cancer in men. Plant proteins and foods with a higher calcium content fall into this category as well. In addition to salmon, some examples of anti-carcinogenic foods include mustard greens, garlic, olive oil, carrots, blueberries, and broccoli.

3. Antioxidant Foods

The third group of foods are known as antioxidant foods. Basically what antioxidants do is help to protect and strengthen our immune system. Everyone has heard of “free radicals” in the buzz about the benefits of antioxidants. Free radicals are molecules that are created when oxygen interacts with cells in our bodies, damaging them and resulting in molecules missing an electron. These highly unstable molecules aggressively seek out electrons from nearby tissue cells in the body, damaging their DNA and killing them. This leads to many ailments and health conditions, including atherosclerosis and cancer. Antioxidants help prevent free radicals from attaching to our cells by capturing and neutralizing them.

When trying to eat a diet high in antioxidant foods, you need to eat more fruits and vegetables, as these foods contain antioxidants in the highest quantities. Some foods that are high in antioxidants are blueberries, apricots, broccoli, mustard greens, green peppers, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes.

4. Diuretic Foods

Foods containing diuretics assist your body with fluid removal. This prevents bloating and water retention in your body, and can also help relieve symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome in women. Diuretic foods can also accelerate with the removal of toxins from our bodies via our excretory system. However, when eating natural diuretics it is best not to overdo it. If eaten in excess, they can result in the removal of nutrients from the body. Examples of these foods include celery, dandelions, parsley, melon, tea, asparagus, coffee and artichokes.

5. Laxative Foods

Lastly are healthy foods containing laxatives. Laxatives enhance our bodies’ ability to excrete stool and relieve and prevent constipation. Nearly everyone has heard of that old constipation remedy of eating prunes. However prunes are not the only type of natural laxative out there, and it’s important to know some of the other laxative food options in order to keep your bowels functioning efficiently. It may seem unimportant, but proper bowel function plays a major role in preventing a host of intestinal conditions. Some natural food laxatives include apples, bananas, broccoli, turmeric, ginger, cauliflower, tomatoes and avocados.

After going through all five of these critical food groups, it’s pretty easy to see the similarities between them. Eating good food for health therefore includes eating a whole lot more fruits and vegetables, and a whole lot less fatty meats. This is the only body you’re ever going to get, so it’s vital to take proper care of it!

Article provided by FoodForYourHealing.com