29 Nov 2009

Sugar. 20 Things You Didn't Know About

We eat it, we love it, and it may have been a chemical precursor to life on Earth.

1 The average American eats 61 pounds of refined sugar each year, including 25 pounds of candy. Halloween accounts for at least two pounds of that.

image 2 Trick: Sugar may give you wrinkles via a process called glycation, in which excess blood sugar binds to collagen in the skin, making it less elastic.

3 Or treat: Cutting back on sugar may help your skin retain its flexibility. So actually, no treats.

4 People in India have been crystallizing cane sugar for at least 2,000 years. When Alexander the Great’s companions arrived there, they marveled at the production of honey without bees.

5 In 1747 German chemist Andreas Marggraf discovered that the sugar in a sugar beet is identical to that in sugarcane. In 1802 the first beet-sugar refinery began operations, bringing cheap sweets to northern climes.


6 More than half the 8.4 million metric tons of sugar produced annually in the United States comes from beets.

7 Can you imagine eating 8 sugar cubes (8 spoons of sugar) at one sitting? You probably have. That’s a little less than what is contained in a coke or Pepsi (~ 300 ml).

8 Soft drinks with artificial sweeteners may actually help make you fat. In a Purdue University study, rats drinking liquids with artificial sweeteners consumed more calories overall than rats whose drinks were sweetened with sugar.

9 The artificial sweeteners saccharin and aspartame were found accidentally when lab workers doing research that had nothing to do with sweetening put a bit of the test compounds in their mouths and liked what they tasted.

10 What kind of researcher sticks an experiment in his mouth?

11 At least he had an excuse. The scientists who discovered sucralose (now sold as Splenda) were originally trying to create an insecticide. An assistant thought he had been instructed to “taste” a compound he’d only been asked to “test.”

12 A compound called lugduname is the sweetest compound known—more than 200,000 times as sweet as table sugar.

13 Sugars are molecules of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The simplest include glucose, fructose, and galactose. Table sugar is crystallized sucrose, a fusion of one fructose and one glucose molecule.

14 Can’t escape them: Sugars are the building blocks of carbohydrates, the most abundant type of organic molecules in living things.

15 Glycolaldehyde, an eight-atom sugar, has even been found in an interstellar gas cloud near the center of the Milky Way.

16 Glycolaldehyde can react with a three-carbon sugar to form ribose, the basis for both RNA and DNA, so the glycol­aldehyde found in deep space may be a chemical precursor to life on Earth.

17 That cloud also contains ethylene glycol, a sweet relative of glycol­aldehyde and the main ingredient in antifreeze. Either complex sugars can be synthesized between the stars or there is a truck stop at the end of the universe.

18 Sugar can help get you there to find out. Burn sucrose with a dose of corn syrup and saltpeter and you get “sugar propellant,” a popular amateur rocket fuel.

19 How do you spell relief? “Obecalp,” a sugar pill manufactured to FDA standards, is marketed as a treatment for children’s mild complaints. (Try reading the name backward.)

20 It’s not all mind games. The sugar glucosamine works as an immunosuppressant in mice, and xylitol (a sugar alcohol) can prevent ear infections in kids. Sweet!

Courtesy : Discover Magazine

15 Nov 2009

Bio-Degradable USB stick

Hong Kong-based Hoshino, released of what it's designated "the world's first bio-degradable USB disk."

The key is also shaped like an ear of corn, so you can acknowledge your own greenness, every time you go to retrieve information.



It is made of polylactide(PLA). PLA uses annually renewable plant resources (corn) as raw material, which is fermented and distillated to produce lactic acid.

Followed by the process of dehydration polymerization, high-temp depolymerization, refining and finally polymerization, lactic acid is then transformed to PLA. Its products can be degraded to carbon dioxide and water by microorganisms in the soil after use and do no harm to the environment.


Have any questions?

25 Oct 2009

Plant Grows at high Temperatures with help of Fungi/Virus

Let us talk about three new things I didn't know till now. Hope it will be informative or useful for your entrance exams.
1. Dichanthelium lanuginosum is grass plant known as Panic grass* and was able to survive intermittent high temperatures in geothermal soils (up to 65 °C.) of Yellowstone National Park, USA.
2. In 2007 it was found that the heat tolerance is conferred to the grass due to its association with an endophytic fungus, Curvularia protuberata.
3. "Thermal Tolerance" trait conferred by the endophytic fungus is actually due to a specific RNA virus onboard. This dsRNA virus is aptly named "Curvularia thermal tolerance virus" (CThTV). Infected fungal mycelia contain two viral dsRNA molecules: a 2.2 kb dsRNA molecule that encodes two ORFs related to viral replication and a 1.8 kb dsRNA molecule with two ORFs with no similarity to any protein of known function.
As we all know virus is pathogenic. CThTV is Symbiotic.
This is an example of a tritrophic interaction, as three organisms are interacting.
Panic Grass
Work is continuing to determine the mechanism by which the uncharacterized ORFs within the 1.8 dsRNA of CThTV confer the thermal tolerance in this fungal-plant mutualism.
*Panic grass, incidentally, has nothing to do with botanical phobias; instead, the name derives from the Latin panicum, referring to foxtail millet.

1 Oct 2009

Ready to Eat Rice without cooking !

Yes. Scientists of Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), developed new rice variant named "Aghaono Bora", a soft rice or komal chawl, takes 45 minutes if soaked in normal water and if the water is lukewarm, it is ready in 15 minutes.

However, the soft rice varieties grown across Assam and the North-East, are ready to eat after they are soaked in plain water. it is a low-yielding crop that grows only in a cool climate.

Aghaono Bora | Ready to Eat Rice

The Scientists from CRRI, one of the premier research institutes on grains in the world, developed a hybrid of traditional soft rice with a high yielding variety of regular rice, that could be grown in different climates across India.

"We wanted to see whether the same rice can be grown here and retain the same properties. We saw it behaves the same way. Simply soak it in water and the rice is ready to eat but the quality of water has to be clean and potable. The idea is to avoid any waterborne disease," said Tapan Kumar Adhya, director, CRRI.
“This rice variety, which comes under soft rice category, helps in saving fuel as it doesn’t require any boiling ,” said Tapan Kumar Adhya.

In Orissa where 'pakhal' or cooked rice fermented in water is a hot favorite, the soft rice is expected to be a hit. It's environment-friendly and will save a huge amount of fuel and time.

20 Sept 2009

Transparent Frog, First see-through frog

Professor Masayuki Sumida, Research Team @ Hiroshima University’s Institute for Amphibian Biology has created a  transparent frog whose internal organs are visible through its skin.

I can see you, and your intestine

The researchers say the see-through frogs can help in the study of diseases and in the development of medical treatments by allowing laboratory scientists to check the status of internal organs and blood vessels while the frogs are alive and without having to dissect them.

Translucent frog --

According to Sumida, the transparent frog is the result of breeding two specimens of Japanese brown frog (Rana japonica) that had a genetic mutation giving them pale skin. By selectively breeding their offspring, the researchers were able to create a frog that remains transparent for its entire life cycle.

Most of the world’s known transparent creatures live underwater, and transparent four-legged animals are extremely rare.

The researchers also say that by fusing the genes of fluorescent proteins to the frog’s genes, they can create frogs that glow. Glowing frogs can help scientists study specific “problem” genes by providing a real-time visual indication (i.e. the frogs glow) when those genes become active.

Professor Sumida says, “Transparent frogs will prove useful as laboratory animals because they make it easier and cheaper to observe the development and progress of cancer, the growth and aging of internal organs, and the effects of chemicals on organs.”

Very Interesting..............

13 Sept 2009

Buddha shaped Pears

Gao Xianzhang has managed to create what some would call the holiest fruits ever, pears shaped like Buddha.




Gao has been working on his pear-growing technique for six years and this season he managed to grow 10,000 Buddha-shaped baby pears. Each fruit is grown in an intricate Buddha mould and ends up looking like a juicy figurine. The ingenious farmer says the locals in his home village of Hexia, norther China, have been buying his Buddha pears as soon as he picks them from the trees. Most of them think they are cute and that they bring good luck.

Gao Xianzhang pears aren’t cheap, roughly $1.8 each, but their success in China convinced him to start exporting them into Europe.

May be you want read also Square Watermelons

29 Aug 2009

Square Watermelons! It's true.

Farmers in the southern Japanese town of Zentsuji have figured out how to grow their watermelons so they turn out square.



watermelon3 It's not a fad. The technique actually has practical applications. "The reason they're doing this in Japan is because of lack of space," said Samantha Winters of the National Watermelon Promotion Board in Orlando, Florida.

A fat, round watermelon can take up a lot of room in a refrigerator, and the usually round fruit often sits awkwardly on refrigerator shelves. But clever Japanese farmers have solved this dilemma by forcing their watermelons to grow into a square shape.

Farmers insert the melons into square, tempered glass cases while the fruit is still growing on the vine.

The square boxes are the exact dimensions of Japanese refrigerators, allowing full-grown watermelons to fit conveniently and precisely onto refrigerator shelves.

But cubic fruit comes with a price: Each square watermelon costs 10,000 yen, the equivalent of about $82. Regular watermelons in Japan cost from $15 to $25 each.

Japanese farmers have perfected the art of growing square watermelons, but they aren’t about to reveal their secret process. When a square watermelon sells for $82 who can blame them.



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