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Key fish fatty acids a dream for 70% of world’s population

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Oslo, Feb 8 : Dwindling fish stocks worldwide, combined with a growing population, mean that 70 per cent of the world’s population is not getting the two essential Omega-3 fatty acids, researchers have found.

The healthy Omega-3 fatty acids are essential in human diets, especially when it comes to infant development and reducing cognitive decline in adults.

Two particular Omega-3 fatty acids — abbreviated EPA and DHA — are the two fatty acids that are both essential and limited in supply. Other fatty acids are readily available through plants.

“When we looked at how EPA and DHA are produced and consumed, in humans and in the ocean, we found that 70 per cent of the world’s population doesn’t get what they really need. That can have far-reaching health consequences,” said Helen Hamilton from Norwegian University of Science and Technology and first author of the paper published in the academic journal Nature Food.

The world’s fisheries are under pressure, with an estimated 63 per cent of all fish stocks considered exploited and in need of rebuilding.

That makes it unlikely that people can catch enough fish to provide their dietary needs for EPA and DHA.

“We can’t take any more fish out of the ocean. That means we really need to optimize what we do have or find new, novel sources. We need to look at how EPA and DHA are produced and consumed by humans and in the ocean,” lamented Hamilton.

To arrive at their results, the researchers collected data from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Marine Ingredients Organization, along with published research articles and reports.

The data was fed into a model called a multi-layer material flow analysis framework.

This allowed Hamilton and her colleagues to estimate the amount of available omega-3 fatty acids, and how and where they are consumed.

The researchers suggest that better fisheries management, such as limiting catches and modifying fishing gear to cut the catch of unwanted fish, as ways to boost fish stocks.

Another marine source of EPA and DHA is krill, currently harvested from Antarctic waters.

“Increasing krill catch for use as feed could substantially increase the EPA/DHA supply,” the authors wrote.

But catching krill from the Antarctic is both costly and challenging because of the sheer distance from Antarctic waters to markets.

Fish farming can help, but many farmed fish, including salmon, need fish feed that includes fish meal and fish oil.

“But too little EPA and DHA in fish feed can cause health problems in farmed fish and also reduce the amount of omega-3 fatty acids they contain,” said the researchers.

Hamilton and her colleagues suggest that aquaculture can make strategic use of fish oils in fish feed by feeding these essential compounds to farmed fish at key life stages, especially right before the fish will be slaughtered for consumption.

People rarely eat all of a fish, yet these leftover by-products, such as innards and heads, also contain omega-3 fatty acids.

“Asia, far more than elsewhere in the world, is where there’s most to be gained by collecting fish by-products for use,” she said.

The researchers observed that EPA and DHA can be produced by both natural and genetically modified microalgae, as well as microbacteria and plants.

But that will also require a scale-up in production and changes in cultural acceptance, particularly in Europe, where current regulations limit use of genetically-modified organisms, the authors wrote.

Disaster

Nobel laureates Banerjee, Duflo to aid Bengal awareness drive

Announcing the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the research conducted by the troika has considerably improved the ability to fight global poverty.

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Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee

Kolkata, March 29 : Nobel laureate couple Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee and Esther Duflo will work with the West Bengal government in increasing awareness about the novel coronavirus disease now raging in the country.

Sources close to the couple said Banerjee had a telephonic conversation with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on coming up with a campaign about the disease by using the Randomised Controlled Trial method which they have used successfully in economics experiments by conducting numerous practical micro-level field experiments with small sample sizes.

Banerjee and Duflo will devise the campaign in coordination with the state government and local doctors.

The team of researchers in Kolkata who work in association with Banerjee and Duflo will implement the campaign to be done through mobile phone.

Banerjee, an Indian-American, jointly bagged the prestigious award along with his wife Esther Duflo and economist Michael Kremer last year.

Announcing the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the research conducted by the troika has considerably improved the ability to fight global poverty.

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Analysis

China develops nanomaterial to combat coronavirus: Report

“Nanotechnology can be used to design pharmaceuticals that can target specific organs or cells in the body such as cancer cells, and enhance the effectiveness of therapy,” said NIH.

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Beijing, March 29 : A team of Chinese scientists has reportedly developed a novel way to combat the new coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 disease which has killed over 32,000 people globally.

According to Global Times, the new weapon is not a drug or a compound but some nanomaterial.

“Chinese scientists have developed a new weapon to combat the #coronavirus,” the news portal tweeted on Sunday.

“They say they have found a nanomaterial that can absorb and deactivate the virus with 96.5-99.9 per cent efficiency,” it added.

Nanomaterials are used in a variety of manufacturing processes, products and healthcare including paints, filters, insulation and lubricant additives.

In healthcare, Nanozymes are nanomaterials with enzyme-like characteristics.

According to the US NIH, scientists have not unanimously settled on a precise definition of nanomaterials, but agree that they are partially characterized by their tiny size, measured in nanometers.

“Nanotechnology can be used to design pharmaceuticals that can target specific organs or cells in the body such as cancer cells, and enhance the effectiveness of therapy,” said NIH.

However, while engineered nanomaterials provide great benefits, “we know very little about the potential effects on human health and the environment. Even well-known materials, such as silver for example, may pose a hazard when engineered to nano size,” according to NIH.

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Analysis

Covid-19 cases cross 700,000 mark; toll over 33,500

The COVID-19 is affecting 132 countries and territories around the world.

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Patients infected with the novel coronavirus

New Delhi, March 30 : The number of coronavirus cases around the world crossed the 700,000 mark near midnight on Monday, with the US comprising over a seventh of them, while the death toll crossed the 33,500 mark, with Italy (10,779) and Spain (6,606) accounting for over half of them, as the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Centre.

Of the 704,095 total cases, the US led with 132,637 and was followed by Italy with 97, 689 cases, China with 82,122, Spain with 78,799, Germany with 60,659 and Iran with
38,309.

As far the death toll was concerned, China’s Hubei was third with 3,182 deaths, followed by Iran with 2,640, France with 2,606, and the UK with 1,228. US had also reported over 2,000 deaths across the country, the maximum of them in New York City (678).

Meanwhile, 148,824 Covid-19 patients have recovered, with over half (75,582) of them from China, followed by 14,709 in Spain, 13,030 in Italy, 12,391 in Iran and 9,211 in Germany.

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