lcoffice

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by lcoffice

 

Jellyfish are edible, but will we eat them?

Contrary to the dystopian future drained of humanity that is imagined by many, the combined force of Personalised Optimisation and Farming Impossible Environments carve a path for how we can cut food waste, bring deserts back to life and celebrate our humanity through the act of eating. This will bring about a renaissance of planet
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Lab-grown bacon and steak

Here is something to think about. Several studies have shown that current trends in yield improvement will not be sufficient to meet the global food demand by 2050. They suggest that a further expansion of agricultural area will be required. Agriculture however is a main driver of biodiversity losses and a major contributor to climate
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All hands on deck for circular economy

The current and traditional linear extract-produce-use-and-dump material and energy flow model of the modern economic system is anything but sustainable. In a linear system companies make products and the consumers use and dispose. Thus, the material flow is understood as the conceptual logic of value creation, with only virgin material entering the flow. Such a
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A matter of all or nothing for every living organism

… Everything that has built modern human society is provided by nature and, increasingly, research demonstrates the natural world’s incalculable importance to our health, wealth, food and security… [Grooten & Almond 2018].   The World Wildlife Fund has released its annual Living Planet Report and it makes quite a depressing read. Wildlife populations, including mammals,
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Nihil novi sub sole ?

This Latin expression ⎯ nihil novi sub sole, there is nothing new under the sun ⎯ appeared in the Vulgate Bible phrase, now in Ecclesiastes 1:9. I add a question mark to the quote. Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964) was an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose writings are credited with advancing the global
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Humanity’s “ancestral microbial heritage” must be preserved

A really fascinating note at the forefront of the scientific news on October 4: Scientists call for “Noah’s Ark” of human microbes to prevent growing global health crisis. We owe future generations the microbes that colonised our ancestors for at least 200000 years of human evolution [https://www.independent.co.uk/] Are we losing this ? The most extraordinary
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Sadness, disenchantment, and disbelief

Quand le lobby du patronat européen veut « minimiser » les efforts climatiques (When the European employers’ lobby wants to “minimize” the climate efforts): on September 19 Aude Massiot published a strikingly disturbing article in Libération . The original information is available on EURACTIV . Remember the summer of 2018. Looking at the average temperature measured by
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When 1+1 could well be >2

A recent article by Desforges et al. [2017] included some pretty surprising information: “In the present study, complex contaminant cocktails derived from the blubber of polar bears (PB; Ursus maritimus) and killer whales (KW; Orcinus orca) were used for in vitro concentration−response experiments with PB, cetacean and seal spp. immune cells to evaluate the effect
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Can I eat some water, please ? 

Common plastic bottles roughly take 500 – 1000 years to degrade. Obviously, there is a complete mismatch between how long they are used for and how long the environment takes to decompose them. Transparent plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are recycled into new bottles, plastic containers for fruits and vegetables, textile fibres, carpets and stuffing for mattresses, jackets and sleeping bags [https://www.fostplus.be/en]1. However, tons of empty bottles are dumped every
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May: the plastic-free month !

Plastic is everywhere. It is now high time to ban it from our lives. This was the message that was announced in the media. The action “Mei Plasticvrij (a plastic-free month of May)” wants to make the Flemish people aware of the problem. Its aim is to significantly reduce the production and use of plastic.
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Plastic Attack, an event to highlight “our absurd plastic culture”, campaigners say

A Few weeks ago, the Plastic Attack action received tremendous media coverage. Newspaper articles and television news bulletins showed supermarket customers tearing off the packagings of the consumables they had bought and dumping them in bins at the exit. Is the use of packaging redundant? Will it soon be banned? Admittedly, we face a problem
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It’s all corn !

Well, maybe not all of it is corn. But there’s an awful lot of it hiding in our food. A lot more than we ever suspected. We think our supermarkets offer huge varieties of food. Yet, much of that food comes from one single crop [Michael Pollan 2006]. And it all starts with … corn.
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A growing appetite for fast food

Rather slow food than fast food! Michael Wolff, author of Fire and Fury, wrote “Sometimes Trump would have a 6:30 p.m. meeting with former chief strategist Steve Bannon, but if not, more to his liking, he was in bed by that time with a cheeseburger, watching his three screens and making phone calls.” This may
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Say “yes” to genetically edited fruit crops !

In 2014 Jonathan O’Callaghan commented on the Queensland University of Technology project that aims to improve the quality of bananas: … The world’s first human trial of “super bananas” will start soon in the hope of a more nutritious source of food to Ugandans and East Africans. The bananas will be enriched in pro-vitamin A,
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Today, the battle for market shares is being fought at the expense of the weakest links in the food production chain

The Agrifood Atlas warns that the monopolising of the food chain by “ever-fewer-ever-larger” corporations has far reaching consequences for our food system. The Agrifood Atlas compiled by the Heinrich Böll Foundation [https://www.boell.de/en], the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation [https://www.rosalux.de/en/] and Friends of the Earth Europe [http://www.foeeurope.org/] stresses the fact that agrifood corporations foster industrialisation along the entire
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Cinnamon is a powerful spice that has been used for medical purposes around the world for thousands of years

  Cinnamon has been known since ancient times. It received much attention in China as is witnessed by its entry in the ancient books on Chinese botanical medicine (dated ~2700 AD), attributed to the mythical Chinese sovereign Shennong. In Ayurveda, the Hindu health doctrine from India, cinnamon is recommended for the treatment of diabetes and
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The “swimmer pollution”, up to 14000 tons of sunscreen enter the world’s coral reefs annually

Peggy Orenstein is a regular holidaymaker in Hawaii. For several decades she returned, year after year, to swim at the same bare-bones beach of Big Island. Her recent article in the New York Times is particularly surprising and worrying: … At first I thought it was my imagination, but this summer there was no denying
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Grubs can be eaten raw and when they are cooked they taste like roasted almonds — or so we are told !

… This information will come in handy for those of us following the latest recommendation from the United Nations: Consume more insects … In fact, some two billion people eat a wide variety of insects regularly, both cooked and raw; only in Western countries does the practice retain an “ick” factor among the masses [Holland 2013]…  On the one
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Frequently occurring hyperthyroidism in pet cats: it is like raising the canary-in-the-coal-mine issue 

… he (the veterinarian) warned, “these cats back here are radioactive.” He meant that literally. The previous day, all five animals received carefully titrated doses of radioactive iodine, designed to destroy the overactive cells that had proliferated in their thyroid glands and flooded their bodies with hormones. These cats are among the millions suffering from hyperthyroidism, one
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Glyphosate has become the world’s most widely used weed killer, which could well be serious cause for concern

Glyphosate has recently been the subject of a number of articles in newspapers and magazines. Three of them in particular caught my attention: “Glyphosate presence in honey raises concerns” in the Canadian weekly The Western Producer [Arnason, 09.03.2017], “Tribunal Monsanto: la firme américaine reconnue coupable d’atteinte aux droits humains (US firm found guilty of human
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By uncovering its genetic journey,
researchers believe they can restore the flavour of the old-fashioned tomato 

  What is wrong with the ubiquitous and attractive supermarket tomatoes? For many city dwellers, the delicious taste of a succulent garden tomato is little more than a distant memory. The standard grocery varieties have grown larger and blander. Indeed, the decline in flavour quality of the modern commercial tomato compared to heirloom varieties is
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Show more determination, please !

Les perturbateurs endocriniens, une menace pour le développement du cerveau (Endocrine disrupters, a threat to brain development) is the striking title of an article by Ludmilla Terres that was published in the French newspaper Le Monde, on March 7th this year. I often ask myself whether exposure to chemical compounds affects our brain development; whether
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Problems related to a one-sided menu. Corn turns hamsters into cannibals

The European hamster (Cricetus cricetus) population, still very abundant in French Alsace as late as the 1960s, has been reduced to some 450 individuals today. What is the way of life of this small rodent? Why is its habitat collapsing? What challenges are to be faced to preserve Alsatian large hamster populations? The main reason
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Dioxins levels in fertilizers from Belgium: Determination and Evaluation of the Potential Impact on Soil Contamination

Dioxins are harmful persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to which humans are exposed mostly via the consumption of animal products. They can enter the food chain at any stage, including crop fertilization. Fertilizers belong to several categories: synthetic chemicals providing the essential elements (mostly N, P and K) that are required by the crops but also
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Bisphenol-A: review of food and non-food sources

Due to the large number of applications of bisphenol-A (BPA), the human exposure routes are multiple. We aimed to review shortly the food and non-food sources of BPA, and to evaluate their contribution to the human exposure. Food sources discussed here include epoxy resins, polycarbonate and other applications, such as paperboard and polyvinylchloride materials. Among
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A predictive algorithm for the global migration testing of food contact moulds

For reasons of food safety, packaging and food contact materials must be submitted to migration tests. Testing of silicone moulds is often very laborious, since three replicate tests are required to decide about their compliancy. This paper presents a general modelling framework to predict the sample’s compliance or non-compliance using results of the first two
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Assessment of the chemical contamination in home-produced eggs in Belgium: general overview of the CONTEGG study

This overview paper describes a study conducted for the Belgian Federal Public Service of Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment during 2006–2007. Home-produced eggs from Belgian private owners of hens were included in a large study aiming to determine concentration levels of various environmental contaminants. By means of the analyses of soil samples and of
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Reliability of N flux rates estimated from 15N enrichment and dilution experiments in aquatic systems

This paper investigates the estimation behavior of six increasingly complex 15N models, for estimating flux rates between phytoplankton and dissolved N pools in aquatic ecosystems. The development of these models over the last 40 years reflects increasing realism in the pools and fluxes that constitute the N cycle. The purpose of this paper is to
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