University of Massachusetts Amherst creates 12,000 square foot food garden — City Farmer News

“The story of a group of University of Massachusetts students who set out to initiate the construction of the school’s first permaculture garden a year ago is a remarkable one, but it’s only the beginning of a worldwide movement.” This is really interesting. Small-scale farming was killed by industrial farming to feed huge masses. But […]

Trend: Probiotics, and a commentary

When I lived in the US in the 90s, it was hard to find live-culture yogurt in supermarkets (you could find them in natural food stores, of course). The only one I could find was Stonyfield yogurt. When I lived in Finland, not only were there a bunch of live-culture milk products, but there was […]

Fortify your poop – Transfaunation

As you know, I’m always looking for practical uses of microbes. One that I stumbled upon a long while back was “transfaunation”, or, seeding one person’s gut with microbes from another’s. Yes, transfering poop microbes from one to another. Be an adult. Don’t get grossed out. I’ve read some great papers on the process how […]

Domestic-use in-vessel composters – really cool

I stumbled upon domestic-use in-vessel composters (on a lead from @harvestpower, of course). I had heard of in-vessel composting, but never realized that at least two companies created machines that you plug in, feed with your organic waste (with addition of saw dust), and out comes compost. As far as I can tell, the process […]

Health benefits and health claims of probiotics: bridging science and marketing – BJN

“Health claims for probiotics are evaluated by the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies of the European Food Safety Authority. Despite a substantial amount of basic and clinical research on the beneficial effects of probiotics, all of the evaluated claim applications thus far have received a negative opinion. With the restrictions on the use […]

A massive comfort : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

“Widely described as the point of no return, the event horizon of SgrA* would be the largest in our skies, but still just 30 microarcseconds across — the apparent size of a tennis ball on the Moon when viewed from Earth. To capture its image would be a stunning technical achievement in itself, but it […]

Fuel From Waste? – ScienceNOW

“A team led by Jay Keasling, a bioengineer at the Joint BioEnergy Institute in Emeryville, California, worked to extend the strategy to make more commonly used fuels. They used Escherichia coli, a bacterium into which it’s relatively easy to insert new genes. They started by creating two strains of E. coli, inserting genes for breaking […]

Pause for station identification

I seem to be overdue for a station identification. And, all the more urgent, as I was recently mentioned in an article in the NYT (why, oh, why do I always miss these traffic spikes?). So, hello, all of you who still stick around here to read my ramblings. And, hello, to all of you […]

Ecology drives a global network of gene exchange connecting the human microbiome : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

“Horizontal gene transfer — the exchange of genetic material between different species or lineages — is an important factor in bacterial evolution. A study of human microbiome data comprising more than 2,000 full bacterial genomes shows that this environment is a hotbed of horizontal gene transfer: pairs of bacteria isolated from the human body are […]