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One Serving of Cotton, Please; Hold the Poison

Genetic engineering unlocks protein that could feed millions

(Newser) - Scientists have developed a novel genetic engineering technique that makes the protein-rich seeds of the cotton plant easily edible, Time reports. The entire plant, including the seeds, produces a toxic chemical called gossypol that protects it from insects and microbes. “People, pigs, chickens—none of us can stomach gossypol,... More »

'Rogue' Protein Spread Key to Alzheimer's

Discovery casts light on tangles found in brains of disease sufferers

(Newser) - A protein linked to Alzheimer’s can run amok in the brain, affecting healthy tissue, scientists have found. All nerve cells contain the tau protein, but a “rogue form” can lead to protein clumps in cells, called neurofibrillary tangles, that are believed to play a major role in Alzheimer’... More »

Peas Fight Kidney Disease, High Blood Pressure

Could be used as food additive or supplement

(Newser) - Concentrated doses of the proteins found in garden peas can help fight high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease, a study finds. “In people with high blood pressure, our protein could potentially delay or prevent the onset of kidney damage,” the study’s author tells the Telegraph. For... More »

America Loves Her Creamiest Crop

Peanut butter isn't just a dietary staple here; it's a cultural icon

(Newser) - “What’s more sacred than peanut butter?” Sen. Tom Harkin asked last week while scolding the company responsible for the recent peanut-butter-driven salmonella outbreak. Brian Palmer takes a look at American's PB love affair in Slate, and finds that while peanuts have been eaten in the US for more... More »

Pesky Beetle Could Hold Cancer Key

Scientists crack code of enzyme that helps cells multiply limitlessly

(Newser) - An insect that’s a scourge in Southern kitchens could help scientists develop drugs to treat human cancer, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. In studying  the red flour beetle, scientists were able to decode an enzyme called telomerase, which triggers a cell's ability to multiply timelessly, playing an active role in... More »

China Finds Fake Protein in IV Drips

Counterfeit albumin discovered in hospitals and pharmacies

(Newser) - In yet another product-safety scandal, fake blood protein has been found in IV drips in 60 hospitals and pharmacies in northeastern China, the BBC reports. Albumin, or plasma protein, is administered to patients suffering from burns or undergoing open-heart surgery; the counterfeit contained no protein at all.  More »

Second Toxin Found in Lethal Pet Food

Cyanuric acid plus melamine could be fatal combination

(Newser) - Add cyanuric acid to the list of industrial chemicals found in the contaminated pet food that killed thousands of dogs and cats. Like melamine, it was used by Chinese animal feed producers  to fake higher protein content in their wheat and rice products, the New York Times reports. More »

Melamine Death Toll Passes 8,000 Pets

FDA says health risk for humans unlikely

(Newser) - More than 8,000 deaths of cats and dogs that may be linked to melamine-tainted food have been reported to the FDA in the two months since the pet food recall. The statistics come as the FDA tries to assure Americans that the tainted protein concentrates, also fed to hogs... More »

China Detains Pet Food Contaminator

Beijing cracks down on source of melamine-tainted gluten

(Newser) - Chinese authorities have jailed the head of a company accused of selling pet food makers  the melamine-contaminated gluten that's killed thousands of cats and dogs. The detention of Mao Lijun suggests Beijing is eager to cooperate with the FDA investigators currently on its turf, after initially disavowing any gluten sales... More »

Chinese Add Melamine to Animal Feed

Filler that tainted pet food is commonly used as fake protein

(Newser) - The compound that tainted pet food and is being blamed for hundreds of pet illnesses and deaths is a commonly used additive in animal feed in China, reports the New York Times. The coal derivative melamine, used in plastics and fertilizers, is nitrogen-rich, which triggers tests for protein content. More »

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