what's the buzz

what's the buzz

Bottled water not safe for drinking

A new study has found high level of bacteria in bottled water in Canada.
The Montreal study showed that heterotrophic bacteria counts, in more than 70 per cent of bottled water samples, exceed the recommended limits specified by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP).

Researchers from Ccrest laboratories reported their results at the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego.

“Despite having the cleanest tap water a large number of urban Canadians are switching over to bottled water for their daily hydration requirements. Unsurprisingly, the consumer assumes that since bottled water carries a price tag, it is purer and safer than most tap water,” says Sonish Azam, a researcher on the study.

Regulatory bodies such as Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Health Canada have not set a limit for the heterotrophic bacteria counts in bottled drinking water.

However, according to the USP not more than 500 colony forming units (cfu) per millilitre should be present in drinking water.

The study was initiated in response to a Ccrest employee’s complaint of fowl taste and sickness after consumption of bottled water at the company.

Social status in paper wasps is established early in life

The road to royalty begins early in paper wasps, a new American research has found.
While many social insects have distinct social classes that differ in appearance and are fixed from birth, paper wasp society is more fluid — all castes look alike, and any female can climb the social ladder and become a queen.

Now, molecular analysis reveals that paper wasp social hierarchy is less flexible than it appears. Queens diverge from their lower-status sisters long before they reach adulthood, scientists say.

Slender reddish-brown wasps with black wings, Polistes metricus paper wasps are a common sight throughout the Midwestern and Southeastern US.

Hidden in papery umbrella-shaped nests in the eaves and rafters of your house, a complex society is hard at work.

Female wasps develop into one of two castes that take on different roles within the nest.
While young queens don’t work and eventually leave the nest to reproduce and rule colonies of their own, workers forego reproduction and spend their lives defending the nest and raising their siblings.

Lead author James Hunt, currently a visiting scholar at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Centre in Durham, North Carolina, said: “All offspring look alike but some work and some don’t”.

Air pollution ups risk of Type 2 diabetes in women

Traffic-related air pollution may increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in women, says a new study.

Low-grade inflammation may contribute to the higher incidence of Type 2 diabetes in women exposed to air pollution, according to German researchers who published the finding in ‘Environmental Health Perspectives’ (EHP).

The study comprised German women living in highly polluted industrial areas and in rural regions with less pollution. The researchers analysed data from 1,775 women who were 54 or 55 years old when they enrolled in the study in 1985. Between 1990 and 2006, 187 participants were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which often starts in middle age. Air pollution data from monitoring stations and emission inventories run by local environmental agencies were used to estimate each woman’s average exposure levels.