Effects of dispersed recreational activities on the microbiological quality of forest surface water.
The microbiological quality of forest surface waters in the Greenwater River watershed was examined to investigate the influence of heavy motorized camping in an area with no sanitary facilities. Indicator densities increased during weekend human-use periods when compared to weekdays. Increases in indicator densities were also noted downstream from heavily used camping areas when compared to upstream sites. Seasonal, weekly, and diurnal fluctuations in indicator densities were observed. This study suggests that potential health hazards exist in this watershed during periods of human use. (+info)
Pharmacological studies on root bark of mulberry tree (Morus alba L.)
Pharmacological studies were done on the root bark of mulberry tree and pharmacological effects were compared with the clinical effects of "Sohakuhi" in Chinese medicine. n-Butanol- and water-soluble fractions of mulberry root had similar effects except for those on the cadiovascular system. Both fractions showed cathartic, analgesic, diuretic, antitussive, antiedema, sedative, anticonvulsant, and hypotensive actions in mice, rats, guinea pigs and dogs. There appears to be a correlation between the experimental pharmacological results and the clinical applications of mulberry root found in the literature on Chinese medicine. (+info)
The nuclear ribosomal DNA intergenic spacer as a target sequence to study intraspecific diversity of the ectomycorrhizal basidiomycete Hebeloma cylindrosporum directly on pinus root systems.
Polymorphism of the nuclear ribosomal DNA intergenic spacer (IGS) of the ectomycorrhizal basidiomycete Hebeloma cylindrosporum was studied to evaluate whether this sequence could be used in field studies to estimate the diversity of strains forming mycorrhizas on individual Pinus pinaster root systems. This sequence was amplified by PCR from 125 haploid homokaryotic strains collected in 14 P. pinaster stands along the Atlantic coast of France by using conserved oligonucleotide primers. Restriction enzyme digestion of the amplified 3.4-kbp-long IGS allowed us to characterize 24 alleles whose frequencies differed. Nine of these alleles were found only once, whereas about 60% of the strains contained four of the alleles. Local populations could be almost as diverse as the entire population along a 150-km stretch of coastline that was examined; for example, 13 alleles were found in a single forest stand. The IGS from one strain was partially sequenced, and the sequence data were used to design oligonucleotides which allowed separate PCR amplification of three different segments of the IGS. Most polymorphisms observed among the full-length IGS regions resulted from polymorphisms in an internal ca. 1,500-bp-long sequence characterized by length variations that may have resulted from variable numbers of a T2AG3 motif. This internal polymorphic sequence could not be amplified from the genomes of nine other Hebeloma species. Analysis of this internal sequence amplified from the haploid progenies of 10 fruiting bodies collected in a 70-m2 area resulted in identification of six allelic forms and seven distinct diplotypes out of the 21 possible different combinations. Moreover, optimization of the PCR conditions resulted in amplification of this sequence from more than 80% of the DNA samples extracted from individual H. cylindrosporum infected P. pinaster mycorrhizal root tips, thus demonstrating the usefulness of this sequence for studying the below-ground diversity of mycorrhizas formed by genets belonging to the same fungal species. (+info)
Screening of Korean forest plants for rat lens aldose reductase inhibition.
Naturally occurring substances which can prevent and treat diabetic complications were sought by examining ethanol extracts prepared from Korean forest plants for their inhibitory effects on rat lens aldose reductase activity in vitro. Among the plants examined, Acer ginnala, Illicium religiosum and Cornus macrophylla exerted the most strong inhibitory activity on aldose reductase. (+info)
Evolution of plant defense mechanisms. Relationships of phenylcoumaran benzylic ether reductases to pinoresinol-lariciresinol and isoflavone reductases.
Pinoresinol-lariciresinol and isoflavone reductase classes are phylogenetically related, as is a third, the so-called "isoflavone reductase homologs." This study establishes the first known catalytic function for the latter, as being able to engender the NADPH-dependent reduction of phenylcoumaran benzylic ethers. Accordingly, all three reductase classes are involved in the biosynthesis of important and related phenylpropanoid-derived plant defense compounds. In this investigation, the phenylcoumaran benzylic ether reductase from the gymnosperm, Pinus taeda, was cloned, with the recombinant protein heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli. The purified enzyme reduces the benzylic ether functionalities of both dehydrodiconiferyl alcohol and dihydrodehydrodiconiferyl alcohol, with a higher affinity for the former, as measured by apparent Km and Vmax values and observed kinetic 3H-isotope effects. It abstracts the 4R-hydride of the required NADPH cofactor in a manner analogous to that of the pinoresinol-lariciresinol reductases and isoflavone reductases. A similar catalytic function was observed for the corresponding recombinant reductase whose gene was cloned from the angiosperm, Populus trichocarpa. Interestingly, both pinoresinol-lariciresinol reductases and isoflavone reductases catalyze enantiospecific conversions, whereas the phenylcoumaran benzylic ether reductase only shows regiospecific discrimination. A possible evolutionary relationship among the three reductase classes is proposed, based on the supposition that phenylcoumaran benzylic ether reductases represent the progenitors of pinoresinol-lariciresinol and isoflavone reductases. (+info)
Process and current status of the epidemiologic studies on cedar pollinosis in Japan.
This paper reviews the present situation and future aspects of epidemiologic studies on Japanese cedar pollinosis. Increase of allergic rhinitis patients is observed in both the Patient Survey and the Reports on the Surveys of Social Medical Care Insurance Services, however, these surveys are conducted when cedar pollens do not pollute the air. Many have reported on the prevalence of pollinosis in limited areas but only a few nationwide epidemiologic surveys have been conducted. Most of the studies were conducted at special medical facilities such as university hospitals. There is a high possibility that patients who visit the specific facilities do not exactly represent the actual number of patients and epidemiologic pictures of pollinosis in Japan. The rapid advances in laboratory test methods may change the diagnostic criteria and increase the number of reported patients. Therefore, the prevalence of Japanese cedar pollinosis in Japan has not been determined yet. Determination of the prevalence of cedar pollinosis and description of the epidemiologic pictures constitute the essential steps toward the control of this clinical entity. Thus it is necessary to conduct an epidemiologic survey on Japanese representative samples with a standardized survey form with clear and concise diagnostic criteria. (+info)
Inhibitory effect of sulfur-containing compounds in Scorodocarpus borneensis Becc. on the aggregation of rabbit platelets.
The inhibitory effects of three pure compounds isolated from wood garlic, 2,4,5-trithiahexane (I), 2,4,5,7-tetrathiaoctane (II), and 2,4,5,7-tetrathiaoctane 2,2-dioxide (III), on rabbit platelet aggregation induced by collagen, arachidonic acid, U46619, ADP (adenosine 5'-diphosphate), PAF (platelet aggregating factor), and thrombin were studied in vitro. The anti-aggregating activity of 2,4,5,7-tetrathiaoctane 4,4-dioxide (IV) was also measured with collagen and arachidonic acid. I, II, III, and IV inhibited the platelet aggregation induced by all tested agonists. I, II, and III exhibited a stronger inhibitory effect against the thrombin-induced aggregation of GFP (gel-filtered platelets) than against the aggregation induced by the other agonists. Notably, the IC50 value for III was 4 microM, which is approximately 2.5 times stronger than MATS (methyl allyl trisulfide), a major anti-platelet compound isolated from garlic. In inhibiting collagen-induced aggregation, II was as potent as MATS and aspirin, with a marked disaggregation effect on the secondary aggregation by arachidonic acid, at the rate of 47.05%/min at a concentration of 10(-4) M. I, II, and III also suppressed U46619-induced aggregation. These results suggest that sulfur-containing compounds in wood garlic not only inhibit arachidonic acid metabolism but also suppress aggregation in association with the function of the platelet plasma membrane. (+info)
Towards a kala azar risk map for Sudan: mapping the potential distribution of Phlebotomus orientalis using digital data of environmental variables.
The need to define the geographical distribution of Phlebotomus orientalis results from its importance as the dominant vector of kala azar (visceral Iceishmaniasis) in Sudan. Recent epidermics of this disease in southern and eastern Sudan caused an estimated 100000 deaths and have renewed the impetus for defining the ecological boundaries of the vector. This information is an essential prerequisite to the production of a risk map for kala azar. This study uses data on the presence and absence of P. orientalis from 44 collecting sites across the central belt of Sudan. A logistic regression model was used to estimate the probability of the presence of P. orientalis at each collecting site as a function of climatic and environmental variables (rainfall; temperature; altitude; soil type and the satellite-derived environmental proxies - Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and Land Surface Temperature). The logistic regression model indicates mean annual maximum daily temperature and soil type as the most important ecological determinants of P. orientalis distribution. An initial risk map was created in a raster-based geographical information system which delineates the area where P. orientalis may occur. This map was then refined using a mask layer indicating the known rainfall-based boundaries of the distribution of Acacia-Balanites woodland - a woodland type known to be associated with the distribution of this vector. The predictive performance of the risk map is discussed. (+info)