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 cups that serve as a way of preserving chromosomes from damage and prevent their fusion with neighbouring chromosomes [2].

The only way to preserve telomeres length is by means of an active enzyme called telomerase, an enzyme which is able to replace short bits of damaged telomeres [4], as well as preventing any habits that may result in damage of those ones as smoking, drinking or even having high levels of stress in our lives.

In vegetative or somatic cells (any cell forming the body of an organism) [1] telomeres get shorter and shorter after each cellular replication, in fact, telomeres are crucial for correct cell division [3]. Image: See credits under ref. [5] below.

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


Japanese Kampo


Traditional Japanese medicine (Kampo), originates from ancient China, in spite compared to traditional Chinese medicine, Kampo opts for a more simplistic approach when treating patients with traditional herbal remedies. 

Kampo has been Japanese primary health care system for over 1500 years prior to the Meiji Restoration (1868–1912) [7]. Nowadays Kampo has seamlessly integrated with modern medicine in daily practice and physicians can prescribe up to 148 different herbal Kampo formulas under the national health insurance system [7], something that is unique in Japan compared to the rest of the world.

Traditional Japanese medicine Kampo bases the treatment and healing of affections based on the symptoms of those affections. Image: See credits under ref. [9] below.

KAMPO: Traditional Japanese medicine

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 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 per cent of its total surface and the worst is still to come, but this can't continue without having a disastrous impact on sustainability. 

Fortunately its 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. 

Bromelain enzime in pineapple stronger than chemoagents against cancer



Pineapple (Ananas comosus), named among the healthiest foods in the world, is known to exert many health benefits and has a lot of beneficial properties. Pineapple is rich in vitamin C, manganese, fiber, vitamin B6, B1 copper and folate, but to this properties we will have to add a new one, being the source of an active constituent, namely Bromelain, that has been found to exert anti-cancer properties, being stronger than certain chemo-agents against some types of tumors.

Although existing in all parts of the fresh pineapple plant and fruit, bromelain, a pineapple stem extract with a variety of therapeutic benefits arising from interaction with a number of different biological processes [4], is concentrated in higher quantities in the core of pineapple, in the stems.  Image: See credits under reference [10] below. 


Family: Bromeliaceae

Genus: Ananas

Common name: Pineapple.


Tannins from sorghum fight obesity



Tannins from Sorghum, an ancient old-world cereal grass [1] used as fodder plants [4], has been the focus of a study performed by a team of scientists led by Kansas State University and US Department of Agriculture researchers. Their main goal was to understand the role of tannins, polyphenolic compounds that bind to proteins and cause their precipitation [2], how could tannins from Sorghum be modified to be used as food and feed [3]. 

Tannins are known to have a high antioxidant value, they exert anti-inflammatory and UV protective properties [3]. We can find tannins in herbs as Witch hazel, tarragon, cumin, thyme, cinnamonvanilla, cloves [2], grains such as finger millets and barley [3], in legumes as beans (red beans, white beans), peanuts, chickpeas, in chocolate, in pomegranates, persimmons, berries, nuts and last but not least in drinks as wine [2], responsible for its bitter taste and where its precipitation produces these characteristic sediments. Image: See credits below under reference [6].


Family: Poaceae

Genus: Sorghum

Common name: Downs Sorghum