The old woman and the logical action

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Recently I had a discussion about NGOs acting against unnecessary animal experimentation. There was one argument that those NGOs should help humans in need instead of animals, since there is already enough suffering within our own species. I could not agree but neither could I convince him otherwise.
So I caught a simple thought: If an old woman stumbles in front of you, would you not help her to stand up and make sure she is not injured, only because an undernourished child is crossing by (and would be out of sight after helping the old woman) who you could feed now for some weeks so she/he can gain weight again?
Since I was not able to find a consensus to this topic, I will end this story for today with an open question. Why should one not concentrate on a problem at hand, only, because there are others everywhere around?

alternative animal testing image In order to broaden one’s mind, you can find further reading against unnecessary animal experimentation on the right side, a journal focusing primarily the 3R principles.

„Ist Halloumi noch vegetarisch?“ und wie ich herausgefunden habe „Ist Käse überhaupt vegetarisch?“

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Halloumi Letztens wurde mir die Frage gestellt „Kann es sein, dass Enzyme extrahiert aus Tieren zur Herstellung von Halloumi verwendet wird?“

Zur Herst. v. Halloumi:
Im Unterschied zu anderen Käsesorten wird Halloumi bei der Prod. länger gekocht, wodurch Lab u.a. Enzyme inaktiviert werden und dadurch laut Beschreibung der feste Halt des Käses entstehen kann. Siehe hierzu meinen aelteren Artikel über Käse-Bakterien!
Wie bei allen Käsesorten ist Lab unumgänglich, und gerade dieses muss gentechnisch hergestellt bzw. aus Mägen von geschlachtete Wiederkäuern gewonnen werden. Angeblich ist in manchen Ländern gentechnisch gewonnener Lab noch nicht erlaubt. Wie weit dies nun wahr ist, will man als Vegetarier besser nicht wissen …


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alternative animal testing image

* Replacement * Reduction * Refinement *

for further information see:

Respirometry and a lot of Snow …

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oroboros logoexample HRRexample HRR

Last week I have been to a introductionary workshop on high resolution respirometry (HRR) at Schröcken, a vacation paradise in the „Vorarlberger“ mountains. During two afternoons we also had some time left for cross-country skiing next to oxymetric measurements. It has been a great experience and nice time with many different researchers from all over the world.

snow pics in SchröckenSchröcken animals and hotel

finally all my friends are playing …

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Starcraft 2 artwork

Starcraft 2 – beta version at least! We were waiting over a decade for the release of this future strategy game’s sequel. This summer it is finally happening! And all – except of me – have obtained access to the beta version – let’s see how long I can resist till the official release in july …
Starcraft 2 artwork

structural biology and enzyme crytallisation

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Within the last month I took a course on enzyme crystallisation. The following presentation are for those people who are interested in an introduction to crystallography by the example protein elastase.

See the following pdf!

Vitamin C

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L-Ascorbate is essential in plants and animals as primary antioxidant against oxidative stress, as substrate for ascorbate peroxidase and enzyme cofactor for the biosynthesis of many important biochemicals for hydroxylation and other reactions [S.Padayattyet et al. J Am Coll Nutr 22, 2003]. It acts as an electron donor for various enzymes (essential to the development and maintenance of scar tissue, blood vessels, and cartilage, the transport of fatty acids into mitochondria for ATP generation, biosynthesis of norepinephrine from dopamine, increasing the stability of peptide hormones …).


Vitamin C was discovered 1912 in lemons. Its deficiency leads to scuvy. It is even used for therapy with antipsychotics [P.Heiser et al. J Psychopharmacol. 2009] (against the formation of reactive oxygen species). Still, supplementation of vitamin C is most effective in cases of physical strain or insufficient intake, but with regard to the therapy of the common cold the application of vitamin C alone is said to be without clinical effects [A.Stroehle et al. Med Monatsschr Pharm. 2009]. I recently found an article about vitamin C being used to develope taken photographs [Photojojo, 2009] 😉

dehydrogenase sample structure

The final step in L-ascorbate biosynthesis is effected by the flavoprotein GALDH (L-galactono-lactone-dehydrogenase) in plants [N.G.H.Leferink et al. FEBS J 275, 2008]. The similar protein GUO (L-gulono-lactone-oxidase) synthesises L-ascorbate in animals, whereas humans are deficient (mutated) in GUO and have to rely mainly on the consumption of fruits and vegetables.

a short summary about the physiology of pain

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I guess everyone has experienced pain at least once, and does not like it. But keep in mind, that pain states an alert, if something is not right. For example, last time I did not notice that I burned my finger!
Pain is described as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with potential or actual tissue damage. It is chronic if it persists for more than 3 months [IASP, International Association for the Study of Pain].

origin of pain …


[Dept. of Mol. Physiology – University of Heidelberg, 2008]
The biochemical origin of pain is inflammation and the inammatory response [S.Omoigui, Medical Hypotheses 6:69, 2007]. Still, pain is a complex interaction, including the aspects of emotional and behavioural factors [M.Serpell, Anaesthesia & intensive care medicine 6:1, 2005]. Noxa is anything that exerts a harmful influence. Nociceptors can be described as pain cells. They induce the perception of a painful stimulus / noxae signals. The nociceptive system describes the sense of pain as a discrete sensory perception, which is induced by noxae [R.F.Schmidt, Pharmazie in unserer Zeit 1:31, 2002]. Nociception is conveyed from the periphery to the brain by an adaptable and dynamic pathway, which is transmitted and modulated at three levels, peripheral (detection by receptors), spinal (transmission by the nerves), supraspinal (interpretation by the brain) [M.Serpell, Anaesthesia & intensive care medicine 6:1, 2005]. The sensory endings of nociceptors usually respond to very strong stimuli. The stimulus acts on a transduction channel, opens it and causes depolarization and electrical excitation of the neuron. In the nervous system, aff erent neurons, otherwise known as sensory or receptor neurons, carry nerve impulses from receptors or sense organs toward the central nervous system.


New medicines …

In order to combat severe or persistent nociceptive or neuropathic pain, research is based on: inammatory mechanisms, nerve synapse receptors, ion channels involved in the transmission of nerve impulses [ABPI, The Association of the British Pharm. Ind., 2004].

The frog and Greenpeace

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I recently stumbled across a funny video, which emerged as ecological advertisment. You can find the video on Youtube and furthermore in the article posted on Scilogs.

artificial photosynthesis

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Photoautotrophic plants, algae and bacteria use sunlight to convert water and carbondioxide into oxygen and the production of carbohydrates. Inspired by nature, ongoing research in material science and chemistry tries to mimic biological processes for chemical syntheses.


An important intermediate step in photosynthesis is described by the bonding of carbondioxide to nitrogen atoms to form carbamates. M. Antonietti at the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces used this aspect for the chemical cleavage and activation of carbondioxide [F.Goettmann, Angew.Chem.Int.Ed., 46, 2007].

photosynthesis In case of a synthetic mimetic system by the Mallouk Research Group of Penn State and the Arizona State University, the hydrogen, split off the water molecules, is directly used as fuel source.