Chinese Scientists Develop Rice that Can Grow in Seawater

Ben Kentish wrote . . . . . .

Scientists in China have developed several types of rice that can be grown in seawater, potentially creating enough food for 200 million people.

Researchers have been trying to grow the grain in salty water for decades but have only now developed varieties that could be commercially viable.

The rice was grown in a field near the Yellow Sea coastal city of Qingdao in China’s eastern Shandong province. 200 different types of the grain were planted to investigate which would grow best in salty conditions.

Sea water was pumped into the fields, diluted and then channelled into the rice paddies.

The scientists expected to produce 4.5 tonnes of rice per hectare but the crops exceeded expectations, in one case delivering up to 9.3 tonnes per hectare.

“The test results greatly exceeded our expectations,” Liu Shiping, a professor of agriculture at Yangzhou University who is involved in the project, told Xinhua.

There are one million square kilometres of land in China where crops do not grow because of high salinity. Scientists hope the development of the new rice will allow some of these areas to be used for agriculture.

If even a tenth of these areas were planted with rice, they could produce 50 million tonnes of food – enough to feed 200 million people and boost China’s rice production by 20 per cent.

The new type of rice was developed by a team led by 87-year-old Yuan Longping, who has spent decades trying to breed rice to grow in different conditions. The Chinese government has been investigating how to grow rice in salty waters since the 1970s.

Mr Yuan said: “If a farmer tries to grow some types of saline-tolerant rice now, they most likely will get 1,500 kilogrammes per hectare. That is just not profitable and not even worth the effort.

“Farmers will have an incentive to grow the rice if we can double the yield.”

The saltwater rice is currently on sale for around 50 yuan (£6) per kilogramme – around eight times more than ordinary rice. Despite the cost, six tons of the grain have already been sold, with consumers praising its flavour and texture.

The rice is also thought to have several health benefits, including being high in calcium.

Source: Independent

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Seafood Stew with Vegetables and Saffron

Ingredients

2 lbs haddock fillets, with skin on, bones removed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
24-30 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
1 carrot, cut into thin (1/8-inch) julienne (1/4 cup)
1 large bulb fennel, tops reserved, bottom stalks peeled if stringy and cut into 1/8-inch julienne (1-1/2 to 2 cups)
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 tbsp finely grated orange peel
1/2 tsp Spanish saffron threads
1-1/2 cups fish stock
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
garlic bread to serve

Method

  1. Cut fillets into small pieces. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange the fish in a large baking dish with mussels around them.
  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Heat a large saute pan. Add oil, garlic, onion, carrot and fennel. Cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to get limp.
  3. Add tomatoes, orange peel, saffron and stock. Bring to a boil. Pour mixture over fish and mussels and cover. Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or until fish is cooked and mussels have opened.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, lift the fish out of the pan and place on a large platter; surround with mussels. Scatter vegetables around and over the fish.
  5. Stir butter into broth and season with a bit more pepper. Add salt if necessary. Garnish with fennel tops and serve with garlic bread.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Met Home magazine

Video: TED-Ed – Why Is It So Hard to Cure Cancer?

We’ve harnessed electricity, sequenced the human genome, and eradicated smallpox. But after billions of dollars in research, we haven’t found a solution for a disease that affects more than 14 million people and their families at any given time. Why is it so difficult to cure cancer? Kyuson Yun explains the challenges.

Watch video at You Tube (5:22 minutes) . . . .

Tips to Add Fruits and Veggies to Your Breakfasts

Fruit fits easily into breakfast, but vegetables can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you wake up your kid’s fruit and vegetable appetite:

  • Stir things up. For a quick breakfast, add raisins or chopped dates to instant oatmeal, or stir blueberries, strawberries or sliced banana into whole-grain cereal with fat-free milk.
  • Get scrambling! Add fresh or frozen chopped spinach, mushrooms and diced tomatoes to scrambled eggs or omelets. Really, any veggies will work!
  • Make a breakfast sandwich. Top a whole-wheat English muffin with either reduced-fat peanut butter and banana slices, or hummus, sliced cucumbers, tomato and fresh spinach.
  • Batter up. Add grated carrots or zucchini to pancake, quick bread or muffin batter.
  • Drink your produce. Whir carrots and fresh orange juice in a blender for a refreshing breakfast beverage.
  • Say “Olé!” Make a breakfast burrito by wrapping low-fat cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs and diced bell peppers in a whole-wheat tortilla. You also can make a vegetable-and-cheese quesadilla in a nonstick pan with a scant amount of canola oil.
  • Pick a fruit pizza. Spread reduced-fat dinner rolls in a pizza pan and bake. Top the pizza with orange sections or slices of kiwi, apples or strawberries, and drizzle fat-free vanilla yogurt over the top.
  • Make a quick white or sweet potato hash. Grate the potatoes—they cook faster that way. Place the potatoes in a glass bowl and microwave about three minutes or until hot; drain any juice. Heat a skillet or frying pan on the stove and then stir-fry the potatoes with a teaspoon of olive oil until crispy.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Recommended a Better Vaccine for Shingles

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . .

On the heels of approval of a better vaccine for the painful condition shingles, adults over 50 should plan to roll up their sleeves — again.

The new vaccine, Shingrix, will likely be recommended even for those already inoculated with an older vaccine.

An advisory panel of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Wednesday that all adults 50 and older receive the new two-shot vaccine, just days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of Shingrix.

Shingrix, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, is more than 90 percent effective in preventing shingles, a painful skin disease that afflicts about one of every three people in the United States during their lifetime.

If the CDC adopts the panel’s recommendation, Shingrix will supplant the only other shingles vaccine available, the single-dose Merck product Zostavax.

“The new shingles vaccine represents a major step forward,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior associate with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. “The efficacy of this vaccine is significantly higher than Zostavax, and those vaccinated with Zostavax should benefit from revaccination with Shingrix.”

Shingles is a painful itching rash caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same bug behind chickenpox. The virus lies dormant in the nerve tissue of people who’ve had chickenpox, and years later can reactivate as shingles.

Anyone who’s had chickenpox can develop shingles, but about half of all cases occur in people 60 and older, according to the CDC.

Shingrix is 97 percent effective in preventing shingles in people 50 to 69 years old, and 91 percent effective in those 70 and older, according to a briefing provided to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices prior to its decision Wednesday.

By comparison, Zostavax is 70 percent effective in your 50s; 64 percent effective in your 60s; 41 percent effective in your 70s; and 18 percent effective in your 80s, the briefing states.

Shingrix is also better than Zostavax in preventing nerve pain that continues after a shingles rash has cleared — about 90 percent effective versus 65 percent effective, the briefing stated.

“The shingle attack itself is severe and painful to most people, and then there’s the possibility that the skin lesions clear up but nerve pain continues,” said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “That can be really chronic, unremitting and difficult to treat.”

Based on these results, the advisory committee voted 8 to 7 to recommend Shingrix for people 50 and older. It also said people previously inoculated with Zostavax should come back to get the new vaccine.

Dr. Talia Swartz is an assistant professor of infectious diseases with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Swartz said, “The reason for the close vote is that while Shingrix is much more effective, it is also associated with more reactions. While they are not serious reactions, they may be temporarily inconvenient, including fever and muscle pain.”

The advisory committee vote closely followed the FDA approval of Shingrix on Monday.

It’s not clear at this point whether people who’ve received Zostavax should come back immediately for Shingrix or wait. The point did not come up during the panel’s discussion, Glaxo spokesman Sean Clements said.

The pharmaceutical company expects the CDC to clarify the timing of re-vaccination with Shingrix if it supports the advisory committee recommendation, Clements said.

Horovitz said he also hopes for clarification on whether someone who has received Zostavax will only need a single dose of Shingrix, or the full two-dose regimen.

Zostavax patients who wait a bit likely will not have to pay as much for their Shingrix vaccination, Swartz said.

Vaccine maker GSK estimates that Shingrix costs about $280 for two doses, according to The New York Times.

“Shingrix is more expensive and not yet covered by insurance,” Swartz said. “Pending official endorsement from the Centers for Disease Control, insurance companies will likely begin covering Shingrix.”

Shingrix is a non-live herpes zoster vaccine that contains a booster intended to generate a strong and long-lasting immune response.

That booster and the fact that the vaccine is a two-dose series are likely why it has superior protection, Adalja said.

Source: HealthDay


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