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Articles in Category: UNIVERSITY RESEARCH

Banana TNF anti-cancer and anti-HIV properties



Musa acuminata and Musa paradisiac are two types of bananas adapted to warm and humid tropical climate, needing more than 2,000 mm of rainfall per year and rich soils to grow.

Bananas have been present in our diets since long time ago, they are rich in potassium, a mineral that plays a very important role in mass bone formation and regulation of blood pressure, magnesium, selenium, phosphorous, iron, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc (very important to regulate sleep cycles and enhance male reproductive functions)...etc. 

In spite most of us believe in the health benefits and multiple properties of Kela fruit (Bananas), not many people knows about their most valuable active constituent, a lectin named BanLec (from Banana Lectin), that is known to exert anti-cancer and anti-HIV properties and that has been recently the subject of scientific study for its potential pharmaceutical use in future medicines. Image: Banana tree by Melvin "Buddy" Baker under Creative Common license (CC BY 2.0). 


Family: Musaceae

Genus: Musa

Common name: Banana


Your new tyres may be made of dandelion rubber


Around 25 million tonnes of rubber is produced each year to cover the world needs of that substance [1]. Approximately 42 percent of this amount corresponds to natural rubber [1], being the rest synthetic rubber.

Now a group of scientists and researchers seem to have found a solution for it in dandelion. Image: See credits under ref. [5] below. 


Family: Asteraceae

Genus: Taraxacum

Common name: Russian dandelion

The role of telomeres in plants


Telomeres are short groups of repeated nucleotides that serve as protection for chromosomes. You can think of them as the protective end caps that serve as a way of preserving chromosomes from damage and prevent their fusion with neighbouring chromosomes [2].

Image: See credits under ref. [5] below.

TELOMERES: Short groups of repeated nucleotides that serve as protection for chromosomes.

Growing bigger trees faster


Deforestation has been a problem ever since increasing demands couldn't be met via sustainable systems, but we shall realize renewable resources are key for a sustainable system.

The increasing demands of these natural resources, together with the recovery time that it takes trees to grow have forced the industry to find new sources of supply.

A good example of this is Amazon forest. In the past 40 years, the Amazon rain forest has lost 20 percent of its total surface and the worst is still to come, but this can't continue without having a disastrous impact on sustainability. 

Fortunately, it is not all bad news, scientists and researchers from the University of Manchester have discovered a way to make trees grow bigger and faster, which could increase supplies of renewable resources and help trees cope with the effects of climate change [1]. Image: See credits under reference [2] below. 

Curcumin and prostate cancer



Curcuma longa, a bitter taste tropical plant that belongs to the Zingiberaceae family cultivated extensively in Asia, India, China and many other countries [1], has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat multiple symptoms and as a natural remedy for many other ailments and affections.

Curcuma longa resembles a lot other Zingiberaceae family plants as Zingiber officinale (Ginger), and as this one has many known properties and health benefits.

The powder obtained from the dried rhizome of Curcuma longa (turmeric), known as curry, is used in many traditional Indian dishes and is part of the Indian diet since centuries ago. Image: See credits under ref. [18] below.


Family: Zingiberaceae

Genus: Curcuma

Common name: Turmeric, Curcuma longa, Curcuma domestica Valeton.