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Lab Report

Of milk and honey

No refrigerator' And you want to prevent milk from getting spoilt' Maybe you should try honey. A team of researchers from Anna University in Chennai has claimed that honey could be a good natural preservative for milk. According to their study, reported recently in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, honey — diluted by 50 per cent — can save milk from splitting. This could particularly be an option for dairy-based industries that handle raw milk and need to store it for a long period of time, say the researchers. Currently, these firms use edible-grade hydrogen peroxide — a bactericide — produced through a chemical route to prevent the milk from souring. Honey not only contains hydrogen peroxide but also a number of antioxidants that make it a safe and effective preservative for milk.

TB trouble

Extremely drug resistant TB, or XDR-TB, is emerging as a serious problem in India and almost 8 per cent of multi-drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases belong to this category as compared to 4 per cent in the US, says a recent study. MDR-TB describes strains of tuberculosis that are resistant to at least the two first-line TB drugs, isoniazid and rifampicin. XDR-TB is MDR-TB that is also resistant to three or more of the six classes of second-line drugs. XDR-TB leaves patients (including many people living with HIV) virtually untreatable by the currently available anti-TB drugs. The study, presented at the American Thoracic Society 2007 International Conference by Sushil Jain of Mumbai’s Hinduja National Hospital, is the first that looked at the prevalence of XDR-TB in India. Jain and his colleagues examined 3,904 lab samples at their hospital and found that 1,274 were positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Of these, 32 per cent were found to be MDR-TB, out of which 8 per cent were XDR-TB.

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