5 Reasons Why You Really Should Wear Gardening Gloves

Gardening is a great way to relax, be one with nature and get your hands dirty. But lurking in that pleasant environment are some nasty bacteria and fungi, with the potential to cause you serious harm. So we need to be vigilant with gardening gloves and other protective wear.
Soils contain all sorts of bacteria and fungi, most of which are beneficial and do helpful things like breaking down organic matter. But just as there are pathogenic bacteria that live on your body amid the useful ones, some microorganisms in soil can cause serious damage when given the opportunity to enter the body. This commonly happens through cuts, scrapes or splinters.
Plants, animal manure, and compost are also sources of bacteria and fungi that can cause infections.

1. Tetanus

Traditionally, the most common and well-known infection is tetanus, caused by Clostridium tetani, which lives in soil and manure. Infections occur through contamination of cuts and scrapes caused by things in contact with the soil, such as garden tools or rose thorns.
Fortunately, most people have been vaccinated against tetanus, which means even if you are infected, your body is able to fight back against the bacteria to prevent it becoming serious. Symptoms include weakness, stiffness and cramps, with the toxins released leading to muscular paralysis and difficulty chewing and swallowing – hence the common term for tetanus of lockjaw.

2. Sepsis

Bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, and Listeria monocytogenes are often present in gardens as a result of using cow, horse, chicken or other animal manure. Bacterial infections can lead to sepsis, where the bacteria enter the blood and rapidly grow, causing the body to respond with an inflammatory response that causes septic shock, organ failure, and, if not treated quickly enough, death.
A high-profile case recently occurred in England, where a 43-year-old solicitor and mother of two died five days after scratching her hand while gardening. This hits close to home, as a number of years ago my mother spent ten days in intensive care recovering from severe sepsis, believed to be caused by a splinter from the garden.

3. Legionellosis

Standing pools of water may hold Legionella pneumophila, the bacteria causing Legionnaires’ disease, more commonly known to be associated with outbreaks from contaminated air conditioning systems in buildings.
Related bacteria, Legionella longbeachae, are found in soil and compost. In 2016 there were 29 confirmed cases of legionellosis in New Zealand, including a Wellington man who picked up the bug from handling potting mix.
Another ten cases were reported in Wellington in 2017, again associated with potting soil. In New Zealand and Australia, Legionella longbeachae from potting mix accounts for approximately half of reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease. There were around 400 total cases of Legionellosis in Australia in 2014.
The bacteria is usually inhaled, so wearing a dust mask when handling potting soil and dampening the soil to prevent dust are recommended.

4. Melioidosis

An additional concern for residents of northern Australia is an infection called melioidosis. These bacteria (Burkholderia pseudomallei) live in the soil but end up on the surface and in puddles after rain, entering the body through cuts or grazes, and sometimes through inhalation or drinking groundwater.
Infection causes a range of symptoms, such as cough and difficulty breathing, fever or sporadic fever, confusion, headache, and weight loss, with up to 21 days before these develop.
In 2012, there were over 50 cases in the Northern Territory leading to three deaths, with another case receiving publicity in 2015. Preventative measures include wearing waterproof boots when walking in mud or puddles, gloves when handling muddy items, and, if you have a weakened immune system, avoiding being outdoors during heavy rain.

5. Rose gardener’s disease

A relatively rare infection is sporotrichosis, “rose gardener’s disease”, caused by a fungus (Sporothrix) that lives in soil and plant matter such as rose bushes and hay. Again, infections through skin cuts are most common, but inhalation can also occur.Skin infection leads to a small bump up to 12 weeks later, which grows bigger and may develop into an open sore. An outbreak of ten cases was reported in the Northern Territory in 2014.
Aspergillus, usually Aspergillus fumigatus, and Cryptococcus neoformans are other fungi that can cause lung infections when inhaled, usually in people with weakened immune systems. Gardening activities such as turning over moist compost can release spores into the air.
Of course, there are plenty of other dangers in the garden that shouldn’t be ignored, ranging from poisonous spiders, snakes and stinging insects, to hazardous pesticides and fungicides, poisonous plants, and physical injuries from strains, over-exertion, sunburn, allergies, or sharp gardening tools.

So enjoy your time in the garden, but wear gloves and shoes, and a dust mask if handling potting soil or compost. And be aware if you do get a cut or scrape then end up with signs of infection, don’t delay seeing your doctor, and make sure you let them know what you’ve been doing.

This article was originally Here  

Mary Shelley’s 200-year-old tale is still essential reading for scientists

Kai Kupferschmidt

In January 1818, a woman barely out of her teens unleashed a terrifying tale on the world: the story of a doctor who builds a creature from scavenged body parts, then recoils in horror, spurns it, and sees his friends and family destroyed by the monster. Two hundred years later, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is still essential reading for anyone working in science. The ill-fated creator she portrays has influenced public perception of the scientific enterprise unlike any other character, forever haunting the borderland between what science can do and what it should do.

The story has mutated and it has frequently been mangled. It has spawned countless books, plays, and movies—some pictured on these pages—and even a super- hero comic. It has inspired technophobes and scientists alike. “Franken-” has become a passe-partout prefix for anything deemed unnatural or monstrous.

Interpretations of the tale have also multiplied. A story of scientific hubris, a creator consumed by his creation, a male scientist trying to eliminate women’s role in reproduction, an attempt by Shelley to deal with the trauma of losing a baby. To the growing group of scientists pondering the ways in which science might eventually destroy humanity, it is the earliest warning of such risks.

None of this quite captures the secret of the story’s longevity. To borrow the monster’s own description of indelible knowledge, Shelley’s tale “clings to the mind … like a lichen on the rock.” In the preface to the 1831 edition, Shelley wrote: “Now, once again, I bid my hideous progeny go forth and prosper.” It did. And it still does. 




セリアック病は小麦、ライ麦、大麦、オーツ麦などの穀物に含まれるタンパク質であるグルテンに対する免疫応答として知られている。様々な研究によると、一般的に約1.3%の人がセリアック病である。しかし、小麦を食べた際に不調を訴える人の割合は1.3%よりはるかに高い。セリアック病ではないがグルテン感受性を持つ人(NCGS; non-coeliac gluten sensitivity)の正確な割合は知られていないが、13%ほどもいる可能性があると示した研究結果がある。グルテンが犯人でなさそうだとわかったため、本当は何が原因なのかを調べる研究が増えてきた。

オーストラリアのモナシュ大学のピーター・ギブソンの研究チームはNCGSについて研究をすすめ、原因が短鎖炭水化物にあるかもしれないと発見した。短鎖炭水化物はFermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, Polyolsの頭文字をとってFODMAPとしても知られている。この短鎖炭水化物は腸で発酵しやすく、そのせいでお腹の張りや他の症状が引き起こされる。2014年のある研究では、FODMAPが少ない食事をするとこうした不快な症状が軽減されることが示された。





ギブソンはNew Scientistに「今まではセリアック病と、小麦を含む食事をやめたら症状が和らぐという事実からグルテンが犯人だと思われていたが、ついにその予想は間違いだと考えられる」と語った。






マダガスカル政府は、国の食糧生産の自給率を高め、国民の人口増加に追いつくために、SRI 農法(System of Rice Intensification, 稲集的栽培法)と呼ばれる米の生産性を高めるための新しい技術を推進しています。SRIは、フランスの宣教師であるロラニエ神父 (Henri de Laulanie: 1920 – 1995)によって1980年代初めにマダガスカルで開発されました。1990年代半ば以降、SRIは小さいなNGOであるTefy Saina (http://ciifad.cornell.edu/)によって注目され普及されてきました。SRIは最先端の難しい技術を駆使した近代的農業技術ではなく、苗の大きさや肥料や水管理といった誰にでもできる手法を組み合わせたものですが、その方法はこれまでの稲作の常識を覆すものです。SRIは収量の増大のみならず、環境を破壊しない持続的な農法として認められています。ただ、マダガスカルの多くの農家は先祖伝来の方法を変えようとせず、SRIを認めない農家多いのが現状です。SRIはまさに技術先行であり、収量増加について科学的な説明が追いかけていると言えます。現在は、SRIが非常に理にかなった手法であるとが明らかになっており、すでに世界の55カ国以上で採用され、数百万の規模米稲作農家の稲生産に貢献しています。




















青銅器時代にはよく使用されていたが今日はほとんど知られていない作物を使用して、シドニー大学の科学者たちは、小麦黒さび病菌に抵抗する小麦を作り出す道を開いてきました。「世界中の小麦作物はこのfungal diseaseに対して脆弱であり、アフリカや中東での収穫全体を荒廃させています。小麦黒さび病菌に対する抵抗力の高い小麦を作るということは農業にとって非常に重要です。」と大学の農業環境学部のHarbans Bariana教授は言う。

バリアナ教授の生徒であるSambavisam Periyannan先生は、学部の学者、CSIRO、アメリカと中国の科学者との間で、幹腐敗耐性遺伝子Sr33の分子クローニングに関する研究を行った。結果は最近Scienceジャーナルに掲載されました。研究者の最大の目標は、幹腐敗株Ug99に対する耐性を示す遺伝子の分子構造を理解することでした。世界の小麦の収穫量およそ90%はUg99に脆弱です。


CSIROの同僚たちは、最新のコムギ品種にSr33を挿入し、それを小麦黒さび病菌のテストすることによってSr33のクローニングを確認した。」とバリアナ教授は述べた。「オーストラリアは、1973年に南東オーストラリアでの伝染病の被害経験から、他の国々より小麦黒さび病菌の危険性を認識していた。これによりthe National Wheat Rust Control Programが生まれました」とBariana教授は述べています。

 オーストラリアの研究者は引き続き耐性菌の作出に取り組んでいましたが、一方でthe world wheat communityは、1999年にウガンダで非常に猛毒性をもち小麦黒さび病菌の仲間であるUg99検出を緊急の注意として促しました。



Sambavisam Periyannan先生は論文「DOI: 10.1126/science.1239028」



Sorghum in Madagascar


The fourth world’s biggest island of Madagascar, situated off the coast of Southeast Africa, is well known for its many endemic plants and animals. Malagasy (people of Madagascar) are recognized as top rice eater in the world as well, 120kg/capita/year. Rice is the food staple of Malagasy, yet farmers still produce 80 percent of the country’s national rice requirement (http://www.irinnews.org). Additionally, in Madagascar, like many other developing countries in the world, population is increasing rapidly and agricultural lands remain stagnant or gradually shrink due to the urbanization and climate changes. Therefore, the rice demand will be far from being sufficient. In the southern regions of Madagascar, the problem gets even worse because of the harsh climate conditions that are not favorable for rice cultivation. It is needed to cultivate another crop such sorghum to substitute rice.

Sorghum is the world’s fourth major cereal in terms of production, and fifth in acreage following wheat, rice, maize and barley (www.fao.org), and is a staple food crop of millions of people in developing world. It can grow under wide range of climatic conditions. Its cultivation is extensive in marginal rainfall areas of the tropics and subtropics throughout the world. Some selected types are also grown in temperate regions. Therefore, this crop can perfectly grow in southern regions of Madagascar – semi-arid regions with an average temperature relatively stable (around 28°C throughout the year) and an annual rainfall below 400 mm. Most of the cultivars can grow in black soils capable of holding moisture. The soils show a great variability in their depth and characteristics – from shallow and bright to deep and black – in southern regions of Madagascar.
Since the last recent years, the Malagasy government launched some projects – among them CAPFIDA and PSDR (Projet de Soutien au Développement Rural) – to promote the cultivation of sorghum in the south-western and southern regions of Madagascar (Region Antsimo-andrefana and Region Androy). We carried out a survey on the evolution of cultivation of sorghum in those regions and its socio-economic effects on farmers.


This section will briefly describe the root, stem, and leaves of the most cultivated sorghum (“Apemby” in Madagascan) in regions of Antsimo-andrefana and Androy, the cultivar Kafir. Crown and brace roots constitute the primary roots of sorghum. Crown roots are formed at stem nodes located below or at the soil surface. The first four compressed nodes and the next two elongated nodes usually produce crown roots. Brace roots are formed at nodes above the soil surface, usually up to a maximum of three nodes above the sixth node. Nodal root appearance for sorghum begins at the 4 – 5 -leaf stage. The lateral roots that branched out from these primary roots of sorghum are termed secondary roots. Root distribution and activity can vary greatly depending on environmental conditions, mainly soil type, moisture, tillage, and fertilizer application.

The plant heights of typical sorghum vary from 1.5 to 2 m with 12 – 20 nodes and internodes. Leaves may be concentrated near the base or uniformly distributed and arranged alternating to the opposite side with parallel venation. Leaf consists of a sheath and a blade. The sheath is attached to the node and surrounds the internode. The leaf sheath is often covered with a waxy bloom. The angle of attachment of leaves to the stem varies. The leaf blade is long, narrow and pointed. The leaf blade may be straight or bend like an arc. Leaf margins of sorghum are toothed (finely serrated). 60 to 80 stomata per square millimeter of a leaf area are found in sorghum. These stomata can remain open over a wider range of leaf turgor enabling sorghum to maintain a higher rate of CO2 exchange at a high level of water stress.

Sorghum, like most grasses, has an incomplete but perfect flower, with both its male and female parts located at the head. It has a panicle inflorescence in which the floral units are on a peduncle located above the flag leaf. Because the stamen and pistil are located at same position, sorghum is considered self-pollinating, although it may show up to 50% cross-pollination depending on genotype. Nevertheless, breeding of sorghum is more difficult than other plants such as corn due to the natural separation of the two floral structures. The sorghum grain is a caryopsis. Grain is usually partially enclosed by glumes, which are removed during threshing. The shape of the seed is oval to round, about 6 mm diameter.


Since 2008, according to Madagascar tribuneMalagasy government has aimed to produce 30000 tons of sorghum grain in 20000 ha area of southern regions of Madagascar with a yield of 1.5 to 2 t/ha. The government has implanted several storage rooms with capacity 5000 tons for sorghum as well. However, we estimated that only 1000 tons in 1000 ha surface area have been produced in 2012. These low production and yield were due to the lack of appropriate production technics and high yield cultivar, and the poor digestibility of locally produced sorghum grains.


Although rapid urbanization and increase in economic status has resulted in a decline in per capita consumption of sorghum in many countries, the consumption in southern regions of Madagascar has been increasing during the last recent years. Most of the production is consumed locally. Sorghum grain is mostly consumed directly for food (70%) as bread or cooked like rice. However, sorghum proteins become less digestible after cooking due to change in the structure of kafirin present in grain protein. It is also an important source of feed grain (25%). Sorghum has great potential as a fodder resource due to its quick and rapid growth, high green fodder yield, and good quality. Of late, sweet sorghum is emerging as an important biofuel crop, making sorghum a unique crop with multiple advantages as food, feed, fodder, and fiber. Hence, it is popularly known as a smart crop. In addition to these uses, sorghum crop residues and green plants provide building material, and energy for cooking. Industrial application of sorghum makes its cultivation economically viable for marginal farmers.

The composition of sorghum grain is similar to that of maize or other cereal grains. However, the perceived poor nutritional and processing quality of sorghum is because of the presence of tannins and poor protein digestibility, which affects its use in food and feed. In contrast, sorghum is a good source of minerals and B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, biotin, and niacin, but refining leads to losses of all B vitamins. It has high potassium and phosphorus content, but its calcium content is low. Sorghum is a rich source of various phytochemicals such as tannins that are antinutritional values but have a significant impact on human health through high antioxidant activity against different free radicals.


Madagascar is away far from reaching it goal in term of sorghum production. Sorghum is still cultivated by poor farmers and grown under subsistence conditions. Hence, they cannot take advantage of high yield potential, as the growers are unable to follow improved management practices. Higher yields can be obtained by growing varieties/ hybrids with improved tolerance to drought, heat, and low soil fertility, as well as resistance to pests and diseases. Pest problems comprise one of the major constraints for achieving higher yields in sorghum grown in tropical areas. Immense losses are caused by insect pests attacking sorghum at all stages of growth, the important ones being shoot fly and aphids in winter sorghum. The midge and ear-head bugs attack at the grain-filling stage leading to the losses up to 100%. The grain can be used for industrial purposes, such as potable alcohol, malt, beer, liquids, gruels, starch, adhesives, core binders for metal casting, ore refining, and grits as packaging material, yet this is not the case for Madagacar.