Berry good for the heart

If you eat blueberries, your heart may thank you. A recent USDA study shows that the little berry may put up a big fight against atherosclerosis, known as hardening of the arteries.

Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes — two forms of cardiovascular disease, which is the number one killer of Americans.

The study compared the size of atherosclerotic lesions in laboratory mice. Those fed a diet that included blueberry powder had lesions that were 39 to 58 percent smaller than those fed diets without blueberries. The tested blueberry powder was equivalent to about a half cup of fresh berries per day.

From: USDA-ARS

September 29, 2010

Roof-top soy

An integrated roofing system that uses several soy-based products is becoming an attractive option for builders. Designed by Green Products, LLC of Romeoville, Illinois, the roofing involves six-layer construction with two adhesives made from soy, as well as a soy-based, solar-reflective coating. The multi-layered system blends biobased products with traditional roofing materials.

From: Biobased Solutions

September 2010

No-nuisance fuel

A common roadside weed may become more popular as a biofuels feedstock, according to a USDA study. Field pennycress is in the same family as canola, camelina and other oil-seed producers. ARS scientists tested oil from wild-field pennycress in both biodiesel and glycerol. With some refinement, researchers say the previously problematic weed could become a commercial commodity.

From: USDA-ARS

November 4, 2010

Fishy plastic

Natural gelatin, extracted from the skin of the ocean fish Pollock, could one day be used in the biomedical field. USDA-ARS scientists are developing pliable films by blending the fish gelatin with corn-based bioplastics made from polylactic acid. Researchers say the films could potentially repair injured bone or cartilage.

From: USDA-ARS

November 8, 2010

Soy stoppers

Genistein, a natural chemical in soy, may prevent the spread of prostate cancer. In a randomized study, Northwestern University researchers in Chicago found that giving genestein to men with localized prostate cancer, one month before surgery, had a beneficial effect on cancer cells. A second phase will test whether the non-toxic drug can prevent cancer cells from moving within the body.

From: Soyatech.com

November 8, 2010