Freshwater Breakthrough as Huge Aquifers Discovered Beneath Ocean Floor

Hidden beneath the depths of the world’s oceans are large pockets of mostly fresh water that could serve as replacement water sources for the many land-based aquifers that are on the verge of drying up, a new study suggests. Discovered off the coasts of Australia, China, North America and South Africa, these massive underwater aquifers contain Continue reading

Alaska Passes Ordinance to End its Water Fluoridation Program

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For 44 years, the town of Palmer, Ak., has been fluoridating its water supply, which is sourced from natural wells in the area. But thanks to concerted public outcry and growing momentum in Alaska and elsewhere to end the practice, the Palmer City Council has officially passed an ordinance repealing the town’s water fluoridation mandate. Continue reading

St. Michael’s Hospital First to Use Novel Blood-Cleaning Procedure for Kidney Transplant

St. Michael’s Hospital today became the first in North America to use a novel blood-cleaning procedure for a kidney patient that will allow him to receive a transplant from a donor with a different blood type.

Transplants involving a donor and recipient with different blood types are rare. Most people have natural antibodies in their blood that would cause their immune system to reject an organ from someone with a different blood type.

The procedure used today is called plasmapheresis and is similar to kidney dialysis, which removes waste products from the blood. Plasmapheresis separates plasma from patient’s blood, and runs it through a column-shaped device containing synthetic carbohydrate beads that trap the blood group antibodies. Continue reading

Banana Plantations Threatened by Fungal Disease

About four million tons of bananas are imported into the EU each year. A fungal disease is now threatening banana plantations, and plant breeders have not yet succeeded in developing resistant cultivars. Many hope that genetic engineering can offer a solution. At this point, such projects are still only in the greenhouse.

Monocultures offer the perfect conditions for the spreading of pests and diseases. In this respect, bananas are no different from any other crop.

Back in the 50s, the most common banana variety, Gros Michel, was completely wiped-out by what was known as Panama disease. This disease was caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum, also called fusarium wilt. Gros Michel was replaced by a resistant southern Chinese variety called Cavendish. Continue reading