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Bicycle Pump Vacuum Sealer for Seed Storage

Selenium and Human Health

From ECHO’s Seed Bank: Sorghum Pollination 

ECHO South Africa Research Update

Book Reviews:


Selenium and Human Health

Dr. Edward Berkelaar

Selenium (Se), along with iron, zinc, and iodine, is one of a number of essential micronutrients that must be consumed in sufficient amounts in order to maintain human health.  Selenium is part of a number of proteins within the human body that play an important role in protecting our bodies from infections.  There is evidence for links between the Se status of individuals and the progression of HIV/AIDS in their bodies.  Populations consuming insufficient amounts of selenium may be more at risk of dying from HIV infections; early studies suggest that increased consumption of Se slows the progression of HIV to AIDS and results in fewer secondary infections. On the other hand, if over-consumed, Se can be toxic to humans and other animals, although this happens infrequently and is usually a result of contamination by industrial processes.  This article will summarize how we are exposed to Se, and where people are at risk of consuming too little Se.  It will also suggest strategies for increasing Se consumption.

Sorghum Pollination

Holly Sobetski

Sorghum is primarily self-pollinated, meaning that a sorghum plant will accept pollen from its own flowers. Sorghum can also accept pollen from other sorghum plants (cross-pollination) by means of wind or insect transfer. Cultivated sorghum is generally cross-pollinated between 2 and 10%, with wild varieties crossing even more.

How much NPK is there in woody vs. leafy tissue of Moringa oleifera?

Dr. Tim Motis

To gain an understanding of the value of moringa prunings as a soil fertility input, we wanted to know the concentration of N, P, and K in woody versus leafy biomass of moringa trees.  Plant tissue was collected at the second leaf harvest, about 2 months after the final manure application. 

Bicycle Pump Vacuum Sealer for Seed Storage

Dr. Abram Bicksler

Storing seeds in the tropics can often be difficult; with high temperatures and humid conditions, seeds lose their ability to germinate quickly.  Many techniques for seed storage exist, from the high-tech standards of gene banks to simple methods used by villagers for saving their own seeds.  All have their strengths and weaknesses, but when balancing costs and resources, which methods are really the most effective?  This article highlights research conducted by ECHO Asia regarding the use of vacuum sealing, using a simple bicycle tire pump, for tropical seed storage under resource-constrained settings.