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Organic Strawberries Suppress Cancer

Swedish researchers at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, and Lund University have found that extracts from organically grown strawberries inhibited cancer cell proliferation more effectively than extracts from the conventionally grown ones.

At the highest concentration, the organic extracts inhibited proliferation of colon cancer (HT29) cells by 60 percent and breast cancer (MCF-7) cells by 53.1 percent; the corresponding values for conventional strawberry extracts were 49.7 percent and 37.9 percent respectively. The differences between conventional and organic were statistically highly significant.

The most effective extracts at inhibiting cell proliferation contained 48 percent more ascorbate and 5 times more dehydroascorbate. (Vitamin C is ascorbate plus dehydroascorbate.) The organic strawberries also had more antioxidants and a higher ratio of ascorbate to dehydroascorbate.

Compost as a soil supplement increased the level of antioxidant compounds in strawberries. The strawberry extracts, rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, were found to interfere with the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling cascade that leads to cell division, and to suppress cancer cell proliferation and transformation.

These latest findings on organic strawberries are in line with those on other organic fruits. Organic yellow plums were found to be richer in phenolic acids when grown in natural meadow or with a ground cover of clover than conventionally grown plums. Plum and clover extracts induced apoptosis (cell death) and reduced the viability of human liver cancer cells. Source: The Institute of Science in Society

Source: The Institute of Science in Society

Transfats Linked to Breast Cancer

French researchers have established that eating a lot of foods with trans-fatty acids increases the risk of breast cancer by 75 per cent.

Almost 20,000 women provided data for the study as part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. The results were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

The researchers stated "A high serum level of trans-monounsaturated fatty acids, presumably reflecting a high intake of industrially processed foods, is probably one factor contributing to increased risk of invasive breast cancer in women."

Source: American Journal of Epidemiology Advance Access, 4 April 2008, doi:10.1093/aje/kwn069 "Association between Serum trans-Monounsaturated Fatty Acids and Breast Cancer Risk in the E3N-EPIC Study" Authors: V. Chajes, A.C.M. Thiebaut, M. Rotival, E. Gauthier, V. Maillard, M.-C. Boutron-Ruault, V. Joulin, G.M. Lenoir, F. Clavel-Chapelon

Transfats Linked to Prostate Cancer

Harvard University researchers have linked trans-fatty acids to a 100% increase in the risk of non-aggressive prostate tumours.

The researchers obtained blood samples from 14,916 men in 1982 and, quantified the blood levels of fatty acids in the 476 men who developed prostate cancer during 13 years of the study.

They found that the highest blood levels of trans oleic acid and linoleic acids were associated with a 116 and 97 per cent increase in the risk of non-aggressive prostate tumours, respectively, compared to the lowest levels.

Source: Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 1 January 2008, Volume 17, Pages 95-101, doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-07-0673 "A Prospective Study of Trans-Fatty Acid Levels in Blood and Risk of Prostate Cancer" Authors: J.E. Chavarro, M.J. Stampfer, H Campos, T. Kurth, W.C. Willett, J. Ma

Organic News

UN Assessment of Agriculture culminates in Johannesburg
The UN's International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), developed by more than 400 experts over three years, has put forward a range of appropriate sustainable agricultural solutions. Issues like increasing soil carbon and organic agriculture are treated favourably by the report.

Very significantly the report has been critical of the way the current industrial agricultural paradigm has failed the world’s poorer people. The report was very critical of the role of GMO’s as part of the solution to feed the world. Syngenta and other biotech industry participants withdrew from the IAASTD over the report's critical review of GMOs.

The editors of The Journal of Organic Systems Professor Neil Macgregor from New Zealand and Professor Stuart Hill from Australia were two of the contributors, as part of the IFOAM input into the IAASTD

GMO News

Rice activists arrested in Indonesia:
Fifteen people from six countries were arrested April 8 in Jakarta by territorial police "for participating in a peaceful people's gathering" to protest genetically engineered rice and calling for "saving the diversity of local rice to ensure people's food security." Source: PANNA

Pesticide News

Climate Change Makes Pesticides More Lethal to Fish
Australian scientists have found that fish exposed to sub-lethal concentrations of endosulfan and chlorpyrifos showed significant reductions in the ability to survive in warmer waters. These pesticides, especially chlorpyrifos, are commonly used in cotton, horticulture and sugar cane production.

The study published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry predicts that global warming may make fish more susceptible to dying from pesticide-contaminated water. The affected fish displayed "erratic swimming..., uncoordinated movement with body quivering, rolling over on sides or back" and loss of the ability to swim upright. Source: PANNA