Archive for the ‘food’ category: Page 2

Mar 18, 2024

Can gut bacteria help shape newborn’s immune system? Study sheds light

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, health, neuroscience

Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine have discovered that unique bacteria colonize the gut shortly after birth and make the neurotransmitter serotonin to educate gut immune cells that help in preventing allergic reactions to food and the bacteria themselves during early development.

The study published in the journal Science Immunology on March 15, 2024, revealed that bacteria abundant in the guts of newborns produce serotonin, which promotes the development of immune cells called T-regulatory cells or Tregs. These cells suppress inappropriate immune responses to help prevent autoimmune diseases and dangerous allergic reactions to harmless food items or beneficial gut microbes.

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Mar 18, 2024

Scientists harness food by-products to fight antimicrobial resistance

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

Scientists are embarking on a £1.1 million project aimed at revolutionising drug production by using food by-products to develop new antimicrobial drugs.

Led by the University of Strathclyde in collaboration with the University of Surrey and GSK, the research endeavours to make antimicrobial production more cost-effective and sustainable, thereby addressing the pressing global challenge of antimicrobial resistance.

The project seeks to leverage bacteria, particularly Streptomyces, known for their potential to produce various drugs including antimicrobials. By harnessing food by-products, the team is aiming to device a less carbon-intensive process for biomanufacturing, which could pave the way for a range of medications including anti-parasitic, anti-cancer, anti-fungal, and immunosuppressant drugs.

Mar 18, 2024

Urban humans have lost much of their ability to digest plants

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, food

Cellulose is the primary component of the cell walls of plants, making it the most common polymer on Earth. It’s responsible for the properties of materials like wood and cotton and is the primary component of dietary fiber, so it’s hard to overstate its importance to humanity.

Given its ubiquity and the fact that it’s composed of a bunch of sugar molecules linked together, its toughness makes it very difficult to use as a food source. The animals that manage to extract significant calories from cellulose typically do so via specialized digestive tracts that provide a home for symbiotic bacteria—think of the extra stomachs of cows and other ruminants.

Amazingly, humans also play host to bacteria that can break down cellulose—something that wasn’t confirmed until 2003 (long after I’d wrapped up my education). Now, a new study indicates that we’re host to a mix of cellulose-eating bacteria, some via our primate ancestry, and others through our domestication of herbivores such as cows. But urban living has caused the number of these bacteria to shrink dramatically.

Mar 17, 2024

Diabetes Medication Raises Safety Concerns in Surgery

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

Diabetic medication has garnered popularity within the last few years. It is not necessarily the need for these medications that is associated with its popularity, but a side effect that most individuals desire: weight loss. Since the advent of drugs that promote rapid weight loss such as Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Wegovy, widespread safety concerns are being raised regarding long-term effects and more immediate risks such as complications during surgery.

Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Wegovy are all part of a class of drugs known as semaglutides, which are glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists or GLP1-RAs. GLP1 receptors are expressed on different cells within tissues and organs including the pancreas. GLP1-RAs help the pancreas release insulin and lower blood sugar levels, which makes these medications very helpful for those with diabetes. However, the stomach also has GLP1 receptors. Consequently, it activates these receptors as well and causes the stomach to digest food at a much slower rate. This delayed gastric emptying results in patients feeling full and not eating as much to lose weight. Additionally, previous literature has found that patients on GLP1-RAs have lower risk of adverse cardiovascular effects, such as heart attack. However, there are limitations to this medication associated with surgery.

Surgeons ask patients to fast before a surgery for a myriad of reasons all pertaining to the safety and success of the surgery. One reason includes that under anesthesia any remaining food in the stomach can come up and flow into the trachea leading to a life-threatening condition referred to as “aspiration pneumonitis”. Physicians and scientists are currently working to avoid this event from occurring and are investigating the risk of aspiration pneumonitis in patients.

Mar 16, 2024

Australian farm grows world’s biggest blueberry

Posted by in categories: food, sustainability

The monster fruit is the size of a ping-pong ball and weighs 20.4g, about 10 times the average blueberry.

Mar 15, 2024

Bill Gates says AI won’t magically solve problems that humans aren’t already good at

Posted by in categories: food, robotics/AI

Bill Gates said current AI models need “data that embodies the expertise,” such as in pharmaceuticals or agriculture, in order to succeed.

Mar 15, 2024

Transgenic cows boost human insulin production by 10X

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, genetics

A genetically modified cow has produced milk containing human insulin, according to a new study. The proof-of-concept achievement could be scaled up to, eventually, produce enough insulin to ensure availability and reduced cost for all diabetics requiring the life-maintaining drug.

Unable to rely on their own supply due to damaged pancreatic cells, type 1 diabetics need injectable insulin to live. As do some type 2 diabetics. The World Health Organization estimates that of those who require insulin, between 150 and 200 million people worldwide, only about half are being treated with it. Access to insulin remains inadequate in many low-and middle-income countries – and some high-income countries – and its cost and unavailability have been well-documented.

In a newly published study led by the Department of Animal Sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Universidade de São Paulo, researchers say they may have developed a way of eliminating insulin scarcity and reducing its cost using cows. Yep, cows.

Mar 15, 2024

Genetically modified cow makes milk with human insulin

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, genetics

Some dairy farms could turn into lifesaving insulin factories.

Mar 14, 2024

Cargill’s wind-powered cargo ship completes fuel-saving test voyage

Posted by in categories: energy, food

Results are in from the six-month test of the Pyxis Ocean, a cargo ship outfitted with fiberglass sails as part of a fuel-saving test by Cargill Inc.

The Wayzata, Minn.-based agriculture giant said the partially wind-powered cargo ship saved an average of 3 tons of fuel per day and 11.2 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Cargill calculates that this savings would be the equivalent of taking 480 cars off the road.

In optimal conditions, the ship saved nearly 11 tons per day. That’s roughly a 37% decrease in carbon emissions. According to Ship and Bunker’s global 20 port average, that’s a savings of about $656 per metric ton in fuel. Most cargo ships are fueled by bunker fuel, also known as heavy fuel oil.

Mar 14, 2024

US ditches LIDAR, develops self-driving stealth tech to tackle lasers

Posted by in categories: food, military, robotics/AI, space

Researchers at the US Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) have developed camera-based autonomous driving tools that can work without deploying technologies like LIDAR and RADAR.

The technology can potentially deliver stealth capabilities for the military while finding applications in space and agriculture.

Modern autonomous driving solutions rely extensively on light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors to visualize objects around the vehicle. A software solution then identifies the objects nearby and helps the vehicle’s computer decide whether to halt or slow down.

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