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Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Nut

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Citizen science is an increasingly popular way of undertaking research and simultaneously engaging people with science. However, most emphasis of citizen science in environmental science is on long-term monitoring. Here, we demonstrate the opportunities provided by short-term hypothesis-led citizen science. In 2010, we ran the ‘Conker Tree Science’ project, in which over 3500 people in Great Britain provided data at a national scale of an insect (horse-chestnut leaf-mining moth, Cameraria ohridella) undergoing rapid range-expansion. We addressed two hypotheses, and found that (1) the levels of damage caused to leaves of the horse-chestnut tree, Aesculus hippocastanum, and (2) the level of attack by parasitoids of C. ohridella larvae were both greatest where C. ohridella had been present the longest. Specifically there was a rapid rise in leaf damage during the first three years that C. ohridella was present and only a slight rise thereafter, while estimated rates of parasitism (an index of true rates of parasitism) increased from 1.6 to 5.9% when the time C. ohridella had been present in a location increased from 3 to 6 years. We suggest that this increase is due to recruitment of native generalist parasitoids, rather than the adaptation or host-tracking of more specialized parasitoids, as appears to have occurred elsewhere in Europe. Most data collected by participants were accurate, but the counts of parasitoids from participants showed lower concordance with the counts from experts. We statistically modeled this bias and propagated this through our analyses. Bias-corrected estimates of parasitism were lower than those from the raw data, but the trends were similar in magnitude and significance. With appropriate checks for data quality, and statistically correcting for biases where necessary, hypothesis-led citizen science is a potentially powerful tool for carrying out scientific research across large spatial scales while simultaneously engaging many people with science.

Concepts: Time, Scientific method, Mathematics, Nut, Aesculus hippocastanum, Aesculus, Conker, Conkers

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To assess the effect of consuming a mid-morning almond snack (28 and 42 g) tested against a negative control of no almonds on acute satiety responses.

Concepts: Scientific control, Nutrition, Snack foods, Nut, Almond, Food and drink

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Sweet and horse chestnut fruit contain carbohydrates, fibers, proteins, lipids, vitamins, glycosides and coumarin. The lipids are rich in biologically active substances as fatty acids, phospholipids, sterols and tocopherols. The fruit has been used as food, and for medicinal purposes to treat inflammatory and vascular problems.

Concepts: Metabolism, Nutrition, Fatty acid, Triglyceride, Fat, Lipid, Biochemistry, Nut

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This tutorial review could serve as an introduction of cardanol into the world of soft nanomaterials; it is a biobased lipid-mixture obtained from the plant Anacardium occidentale L. Cardanol is a renewable raw material derived from a byproduct of cashew nut processing industry: Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL). Cardanol is a rich mixture of non-isoprenoic phenolic compounds that is a valuable raw material for generating a variety of soft nanomaterials such as nanotubes, nanofibers, gels and surfactants. These nanostructures may then serve as templates for the synthesis of additional nanomaterials. The wealth and diversity of cardanol-derived functional nanomaterials has urged us to present an article that will give readers a taste of a new class of cardanol-derived functional amphiphiles, along with their ability to generate hierarchical functional nanomaterials through non-covalent soft-chemical routes. In this concise review, we discuss selected examples of novel biobased surfactants, glycolipids, and polymers derived from cardanol, and their subsequent self-assembly into functional soft materials.

Concepts: Nut, Cashew, Cashew nutshell liquid, Anacardic acid

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The objective of this work was to analyse phenolic compounds and antiradical capacity of different parts of walnut fruit among six genotypes of Juglans regia L. Therefore, total phenolic and flavonoid content were determined and methanolic extracts of walnut genotypes were considered by the reducing power, DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl), superoxide anion and nitric oxide radical scavenging. Significant differences were found in phenolic content and radical scavenging capacity of different parts of fruits and among various genotypes. High correlation coefficient (R(2)=0.81) was observed between phenol content and radical scavenging activity, but this was not always true (R(2)=0.01). These results demonstrated that walnut genotypes have different phenolic compounds and phenolic compounds have different radical scavenging power. The differences of phenolic compounds were confirmed by using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).

Concepts: Nitrogen, Radical, High performance liquid chromatography, Oxide, Nitric oxide, Nut, Walnut, Juglans regia

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Acrylamide (AA) contents in 294 snack foods including cereal-based, root- and tuber-based, and seafood-based foods, nuts, dried beans, and dried fruits purchased in Taiwan were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in this study. The highest levels of average AA content were found in root- and tuber-based snack foods (435 μg/kg), followed by cereal-based snack foods (299 μg/kg). Rice flour-based, seafood-based, and dried fruit snack foods had the lowest average AA content (<50 μg/kg). This is the first large surveillance of AA content in snack foods in Taiwan. The results could provide important data regarding intake information from the snack foods. In addition, the results showed a great diversity of AA content in snack foods prepared from different ingredients. Rice- and seafood-based products had much lower AA than those made from other ingredients. This information could constitute a good reference for consumers to select products for healthy snacking.

Concepts: Fruit, Vegetable, Snack foods, Dried fruit, Snack food, Nut, Meal

26

Mast-seeding species exhibit not only a large inter-annual variability in seed production but also considerable variability among individuals within the same year. However, very little is known about the causes and consequences for population dynamics of this potentially large between-individual variability. Here, we quantified seed production over ten consecutive years in two Mediterranean oak species - the deciduous Quercus canariensis and the evergreen Q. suber - that coexist in forests of southern Spain. First, we calibrated likelihood models to identify which abiotic and biotic variables best explain the magnitude (hereafter seed productivity) and temporal variation of seed production at the individual level (hereafter CVi), and infer whether reproductive effort results from the available soil resources for the plant or is primarily determined by selectively favoured strategies. Second, we explored the contribution of between-individual variability in seed production as a potential mechanism of satiation for predispersal seed predators. We found that Q. canariensis trees inhabiting moister and more fertile soils were more productive than those growing in more resource-limited sites. Regarding temporal variation, individuals of the two studied oak species inhabiting these resource-rich environments also exhibited larger values of CVi. Interestingly, we detected a satiating effect on granivorous insects at the tree level in Q. suber, which was evident in those years where between-individual variability in acorn production was higher. These findings suggest that individual seed production (both in terms of seed productivity and inter-annual variability) is strongly dependent on soil resource heterogeneity (at least for one of the two studied oak species) with potential repercussions for recruitment and population dynamics. However, other external factors (such as soil heterogeneity in pathogen abundance) or certain inherent characteristics of the tree might be also involved in this process.

Concepts: Plant, Demography, Variable, Nut, Oak, Quercus, Acorn, Deciduous

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Abstract Nature has been the best source of medicines for a long time. Many plant extracts have been used as drugs. Juglone occurs in all parts of the Juglandaceae family and is found extensively in the black walnut plants. It possesses antifungal, antimalarial, antibacterial and antiviral properties besides exhibiting cytotoxic effects. Juglone has gained interest by the researchers for its anticancer properties. This article elucidates the antiviral activity of the Juglone by the computational method.

Concepts: Immune system, Plant, Science, Nut, Walnut, Juglandaceae, Juglans nigra, Juglone

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Whole, fertile plants of Silene stenophylla Ledeb. (Caryophyllaceae) have been uniquely regenerated from maternal, immature fruit tissue of Late Pleistocene age using in vitro tissue culture and clonal micropropagation. The fruits were excavated in northeastern Siberia from fossil squirrel burrows buried at a depth of 38 m in undisturbed and never thawed Late Pleistocene permafrost sediments with a temperature of -7 °C. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating showed fruits to be 31,800 ± 300 y old. The total γ-radiation dose accumulated by the fruits during this time was calculated as 0.07 kGy; this is the maximal reported dose after which tissues remain viable and seeds still germinate. Regenerated plants were brought to flowering and fruiting and they set viable seeds. At present, plants of S. stenophylla are the most ancient, viable, multicellular, living organisms. Morphophysiological studies comparing regenerated and extant plants obtained from modern seeds of the same species in the same region revealed that they were distinct phenotypes of S. stenophylla. The first generation cultivated from seeds obtained from regenerated plants progressed through all developmental stages and had the same morphological features as parent plants. The investigation showed high cryoresistance of plant placental tissue in permafrost. This natural cryopreservation of plant tissue over many thousands of years demonstrates a role for permafrost as a depository for an ancient gene pool, i.e., preexisting life, which hypothetically has long since vanished from the earth’s surface, a potential source of ancient germplasm, and a laboratory for the study of rates of microevolution.

Concepts: Species, Plant, Fruit, Seed, Nut, Pleistocene, Siberia, Permafrost

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The Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) seed provides a rich source of carbohydrates as food and feed. However, little is known about starch biosynthesis in the seeds. The objectives of this study were to determine seed composition profiles and identify genes involved in starch and sucrose metabolism. Metabolite analysis showed that starch was the major component and rapidly accumulated during seed endosperm development. Amylopectin was approximately three-fold of amylose content in chestnut starch. Illumina platform-based transcriptome sequencing generated 56,671 unigenes in two cDNA libraries from seed endosperms collected at 45 and 75 days after flowering (DAF). 1,537 unigenes showed expression differences ≥ 2-fold in the two stages of seeds including 570 upregulated and 967 down-regulated unigenes. We identified 152 unigenes involved in starch and sucrose metabolism, including one for glycogenin glucosyltransferase, four for adenylate transporter (brittle1-type), three for ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGP, not brittle2- or shrunken2-type), eight for starch synthase (SS), two for starch branching enzyme, five for starch debranching enzyme, eleven for sucrose synthase, and three for sucrose-phosphate synthase. Among them, 58 unigenes showed a ≥ 2-fold expression difference between the 45 and 75 DAF seeds including 11 up- and 47 down-regulated unigenes. The expression of 21 unigenes putatively coding for major enzymes in starch and sucrose metabolism was validated by qPCR using RNA from five seed stages. Expression profiles and correlation analysis indicated that the mRNA levels of AGP (large and small subunits), granule-bound SS2, soluble SS1 and SS4 were well-correlated with starch accumulation in the seeds. This study suggests that starch biosynthesis pathway in Chinese chestnut is similar to that of potato tube/Arabidopsis leaves and differs from that of maize endosperm. The information provides valuable metabolite and genetic resources for future research in starch and sucrose metabolism in Chinese chestnut tree.

Concepts: DNA, Metabolism, Starch, Seed, Nut, Chestnut, Castanea mollissima, Castanea