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Sea's bounty to science provides some great gifts

GLOBAL - The DNA from salmon sperm is fueling the world's first biological light-emitting diodes, used everywhere in electronic and digital devices.

Photonics experts at the University of Cincinnati and the US Air Force nano-lab are able to refine DNA fibers into thin films that produce a superior light. Some jellyfish have a special bioluminescence useful in medical research. For hundreds of years, Asian cultures have used jellyfish to treat arthritis, high blood pressure and back pain.

Shrimp-based bandages are now being used by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bandages contain chitin, a substance found in shells of crab, shrimp and other crustaceans. The compounds in chitin help blood clot and seal wounds in just 30 seconds.
Shrimp shells also are being tested in a nasal spray in England as a treatment for allergies.

Russian researchers have created a product from enzymes in king crab shells that helps heal severe burns. An extract from brown seaweed skin reduces damage from radiation exposure.

The researchers called sea urchin pigment "remarkable" for its anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Sea cucumbers provide the basis of a new immunity-enhancing drug.

Nearly 15 drugs derived from marine organisms are in various stages of testing for cancer treatments. The sea squirt appears to be especially promising.

And it turns out that fish oil can help reduce global warming. New Zealand researchers have found that adding fish oil to animal feed reduces the release of methane gas by 25 percent to 40 percent in sheep.
Scientists claim that more than 20 percent of global methane emissions comes from farm animals.

Source: Bristol Bay Times 

Ellen Hardy

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