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Showing posts from January, 2013

Allergies and The Hygiene Hypothesis

[caption id="attachment_409" align="alignright" width="298"] Image source: www.cartoonstock.com[/caption]

Have you ever gone to a kid’s birthday party and every time someone got up for the food table the host would go on with a list of what could be probable allergens in the dish? With kids today being allergic to perpetually everything (except junk food), throwing a birthday party may be the worst nightmare for any host! But all jokes apart, anyone would have noticed that the list of allergies seems to be getting more and more bizarre.

Our connection with microbes

Our tiff with the microbial world kick starts quite early in our neonatal life. When the fetus is growing inside its mother’s womb, it is protected from this microbial world. After it is born, it gets introduced into a different environment- one abundant in microbes. These microbes rapidly colonize the gut and respiratory tract, to the extent that at the cellular level they exceed human cells by t…

Solar ship! The answer to our fuel woes!

Flying has always been a human dream. Whether it be the Wright brothers in the past or the low-cost airlines in the present, all have worked towards making this dream come true. Luxuries of modern day flights are an added reason to take the aerial route to your destination.  However, the rising demand for fuel and shrinking supplies have taken away the 'low cost' from airlines. Increasing prices of flying not only affects flight enthusiasts but also affects activities such as large scale farming and emergency services such as air ambulances. Adapting a newer energy source will soon be a necessity in the future, but are we future ready? Well, the Solar ship is. 
We often look for ways to make our day-to-day lives more eco-friendly but Canada based Solar Ship has taken 'going green' to an all new level. Inspired by the Zeppelin's of the late 1800s, Solar Ship is developing aircraft that are powered by sunlight. Yes, sunlight powers the movement of these crafts that ca…

Maize attacks herbivore, who's next?

Maize plants can do much more than showing off their varied colours. When attacked, (Photo credit: Wikipedia) If you were under the belief that plants are motionless beings, incapable of defending themselves, then its high time you start believing otherwise. On more than one occasion, have scientists found that plants are very much capable of protecting themselves and guaranteeing their survival when attacked.
The heading is not just an attempt to grab your attention, but a simple fact. A maize plant is actually capable of launching an 'in-direct' attack on a lepidopteran herbivore by releasing certain volatile compounds in the air that attract the lepidopteran's natural enemies.
Maize plants are usually attacked by larvae of lepidopteran insects such as moths and butterflies. The plant, too, has a patience threshold and allows the larvae to feed for a while. When the plant's foliage is excessively attacked, the plant increases expression of the tps10 gene that leads t…