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Green preservative
Lab Report

Much has been said about the goodness of drinking green tea. Now, Indian military scientists think that it could also help enhance the shelf life of meat such as mutton kept at ambient temperature. A team of researchers at the Defence Food Research Laboratory in Mysore found that sprinkling green tea extract on meat inhibits the growth of microbes for as many as four days. The finding, appearing in a forthcoming issue of the journal Food Chemistry, assumes significance as it makes possible storage and transportation of meat at normal room temperature — that is, around 25 degrees Celsius — without it turning putrid. It would also help to cut energy bills for both the armed forces as well as civilian meat vendors, as they would not need to resort to cold storage while transporting the stuff to faraway places.

Of snakes and their venom

Venom from different snake families may have many deadly ingredients in common, more than was previously thought. A study carried out by Susanta Pahari at the Sri Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain College in Bangalore discovered a toxin in the venom gland of the rattlesnake, which is normally associated with a totally unrelated snake species. The venom — called three-finger toxins — that Pahari and her collaborators from the US and Singapore identified in the Desert Massasauga, a pitviper that lives in arid and desert grasslands, belongs to a family of poisons thought only to occur in another snake family (Elapidae). The study, published in the online open access journal BMC Molecular Biology, is important because of its clinical significance. Treating snakebite victims is often complicated because of the variation between venom types even within a single family. Such a diversity of toxins provides a goldmine of bioactive polypeptides, which could aid the development of novel therapeutic agents, the scientists say.

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