Independent.co.uk: News Superbugs may have found their match in manuka

April 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

By Jeremy Lawrence

Manuka honey, the premium product found on fashionable breakfast tables, could play a role in the battle against antibiotic-resistant superbugs, scientists reported yesterday.

Honey is known to have antiseptic properties but the antibacterial potency of manuka honey, from New Zealand, is 10 to 50 times more powerful. It has been shown to stop the growth of antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – the superbug that causes MRSA.

Manuka honey is derived from nectar collected by honey bees foraging on the manuka tree in New Zealand and is included in modern wound-care products such as dressings and ointments available on NHS prescription. However, its antimicrobial properties have not been fully exploited, according to researchers.

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Independent.co.uk: Twitter in the city: The urban life of birds

January 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Birds adapt to noisy urban life by singing louder, warbling at night or moving away – but it’s threatening their survival, says Roger Dobson

Image: Rex Features

If a nightingale sang in Berkeley Square now, it might need to change its tune. Birds are having to adapt their songs to noisy city life so their communications can be heard above the urban hubbub.

City bird songs are becoming shorter, louder, and with longer pauses. They are also sung at higher pitch to rise above the low frequency noise of traffic.

Birds are increasingly singing at night, when noise levels are lower, and there’s evidence of an ability to adjust songs by leaving out lower pitch notes which would be drowned by traffic noise.

Some researchers believe that these change are adaptions that will lead to urban and rural birds of the same species becoming reproductively isolated. It’s also been suggested that birds and species which fail to adapt will quit city life, reducing urban biodiversity.

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Moth mapping – An atlas of the UK’s moth species

January 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

A new atlas showing the distribution of the UK’s moth species has been published. Read it here in the Telegraph.

Bit of a love/hate relationship for gardeners as some moth larvae feed on vegetable plants. The Hawk moth in the image above is perched on a rosemary bush, but the species does not eat vegetables or herbs.

The Hawk moth caterpillar:

Telegraph Article: 2011 is the year to bring insects in from the cold

January 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

The honeybee is in peril, but every gardener can help by planting pollinator friendly plants in their gardens and allotments during 2011.

By Sarah Raven

click on the image to view the article on the Telegraph website

Gardening, for me, has turned a completely new corner. I used to love it – like cooking – for the disengagement it allows, the absorbing, practical, satisfying, creative parts of gardening that make it the perfect thing to do when you want to cut off from the rest of life. I also love it for rooting me firmly in the time of year and weather.

But I’m seeing it differently now and I think that’s probably to do with getting older – with having hung around in gardens for 20 years.

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How Brilliant is this – A bear doing yoga!

November 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is the best pic i’ve seen all year:

6 ways mushrooms can save the world

October 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

A thought provoking lecture from Paul Stamets entitled 6 Ways Mushrooms can Save the World.

Click on the picture below to view the lecture.

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