The Compound Eye – Food Special

PPFVR Act, 2001: 

The Protection Of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Act came into effect in 2001. It has been in recent news as under the aegis of the this Act, PepsiCo filed a case against potato farmers in Gujarat for allegedly infringing their patent for its FC 5 potato. While PepsiCo subsequently has announced its intention to withdraw their case against the farmers, let us study if the Act endows PepsiCo with the rights it has claimed.

The PPVFR came in force in the background of India’s ratifying the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement. Sub-para (b) of para 3 of article 27 of the agreement required India to provide protection to plant and varieties. There was concern that India may stand to lose its rich biodiversity if plant varieties would be protected and only registered varieties could be grown with the breeder’s permission. (Read more)

Nutritional Supplements 

In a study published in Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology, authors describe the liver failure and death of an Indian woman after taking nutritional supplements from the American company, Herbalife. In further research, they present data revealing heavy metal contamination, toxic compounds, psychotropic substances, and pathogenic bacterial contamination in similar Herbalife® products in India.

While this is the first published case of liver failure following nutritional supplements in India, similar cases have been known to occur in other parts of the world. Herbalife- associated liver injury was initially reported from Israel, followed by Spain, Switzerland, Iceland, Argentina and the United States. And the observed liver toxicity is not limited to Herbalife products, but extends to many other brands in this market. (Read more)

The Wills Factor

Today’s Science in India will talk about science performed by a British scientist in India nearly a century ago. As a tribute to Lucy Wills, we explore the scientific work of this inspirational woman scientist.

Born in England, Lucy Wills came to India in 1928 working at various times at the Haffkine Institute in Mumbai, the Pasteur Institute of India in Coonoor and the Caste and Gosha Hospital in Chennai.

In Mumbai she observed pregnant women were suffering from anaemia. Anaemia during pregnancy could cause fatigue, potential heart problems, and diarrhoea, and can be fatal. First Lucy tried to establish if an infection was a cause for the anaemia, by testing the feces from these women. But no pathogen was found ruling out the possibility. (Read more)

Meanwhile, this is getting bizzare

There is no sense in this advisory: In a new advisory, Ministry of AYUSH has said that AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) systems are officially recognized as “integral part of the country’s healthcare delivery network” and would not like its image sullied in anyway by unfounded statements by researchers outside the AYUSH stream. The advisory virtually bars non-AYUSH teams from working on AYUSH drugs and treatments and prohibits journals from publishing any AYUSH related research if no AYUSH member is on the authors list. How this can be a confidence-building measure in the benefits of AYUSH is beyond my understanding. (Read more)