All about fruitarianism with a long-term fruitarian, Lena

ecosystems

Ecosystem is a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.

  • Humans and Biosphere

    Almost everywhere we went, humankind erased a world of wonders, changing the way the biosphere functions. For instance, modern humans arrived in Europe and Australia at about the same time – between 40 and 50,000 years ago – with similar consequences.

    In Europe, where animals had learned to fear previous versions of the bipedal ape, the extinctions happened slowly. Within some 10 or 15,000 years, the continent had lost its straight-tusked elephants, forest rhinos, hippos, hyenas and monstrous scimitar cats.

    In Australia, where no hominim had set foot before modern humans arrived, the collapse was almost instant. The rhinoceros-sized wombat, the ten-foot kangaroo, the marsupial lion, the monitor lizard larger than a Nile crocodile, the giant marsupial tapir, the horned tortoise as big as a car – all went, in ecological terms, overnight.

  • Forests

    A forest is a large area dominated by trees. Forests are the dominant terrestrial ecosystem of Earth, cover approximately 30% of the world's land, and contain 80% of the plant biomass.

  • Protists

    Protists - members of an informal grouping of diverse eukaryotic organisms that are not animals, plants or fungi, and are grouped together for convenience, like algae or invertebrates. Besides their relatively simple levels of organization, protists do not necessarily have much in common. 

    Subdivisions of Protists

    Protozoa the unicellular "animal-like" - Flagellata, Ciliophora, Amoeba, Sporozoans.

    Protophyta the "plant-like" - mostly unicellular algae.

    Molds the "fungus-like" - slime molds and water molds.

  • Bacteria and Archaea

    Archaea and bacteria (eubacteria) are single-celled organisms that do not have a nucleus or organelles. Archaea have a distinct evolutionary history and biochemistry compared with bacteria.

    Archaea - a domain of single-celled microorganisms. These microbes are prokaryotes. Archaea can survive in extreme and harsh environments like hot springs, salt lakes, marshlands, oceans, gut of ruminants and humans.

    Bacteria - a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a number of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals. Eubacteria are ubiquitous and are found in soil, hot springs, radioactive waste water, Earth's crust, organic matter, bodies of plants and animals, etc.

  • Genetically Modified Organisms, GMO

    genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques (i.e., a genetically engineered organism). GMOs are used to produce medications and genetically modified foods, and are widely used in scientific research and the production of other goods. 

    A more specifically defined type of GMO is a "transgenic organism." This is an organism whose genetic makeup has been altered by the addition of genetic material from an unrelated organism. Typically GMOs are organisms whose genetic makeup has been altered without the addition of genetic material from an unrelated organism.

  • Fungi

    fungus is any member of the group of eukaryotic organisms that includes unicellular microorganisms such as yeasts and molds, as well as multicellular fungi that produce familiar fruiting forms known as mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom Fungi, which is separate from the other eukaryotic life kingdoms of plants and animals. Fungi do not use photosynthesis to create energy.

  • Marine Animals Populations Half in 40 Years since 1970

    A study of marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish shows a decline of 49% in the size of marine populations between 1970 and 2012.

  • Human, Livestock vs Wild Mammal Biomass on Earth

    Humans alone outweigh all the remaining terrestrial mammals on the planet by about seven times, the livestock weighs double that again. 

  • Habitat Loss to Pasture and Feed Crops

    Species-rich habitats are being converted to pasture and feed crops as the human appetite for meat swells. By 2050, given current trends, 15 countries, which harbor the largest number of species will likely increase the lands used for livestock production by 30%-50%—some 3,000,000 square kilometers.
    The habitat loss is so great that it will cause more extinctions than any other factor, particularly when coupled with other deleterious effects of livestock production, including climate change and pollution. Many species will be lost.

  • Trees and Fungi Share Resources and Information

    Forest trees and their root fungi share resources and information. The plant makes and delivers food to the fungus; the fungus increases the plant’s water and mineral absorptive powers. Trees of different species can communicate with and support one another via their mycorrhizae. 

    It is known, that plants can communicate with unrelated species through the air. Plants getting chomped by herbivores, eaten by insects or attacked by pathogens release volatile chemicals that are sensed by neighboring plants, who up their defenses pro-actively.

Simone Weil

Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.

Protein Structure, Cooked and Denatured Proteins

Proteins are chains of amino acids. The sequence of amino acids in a chain is known as the primary structure of a protein. The chains fold up to form complex three dimensional shapes. The chains can fold on themselves locally (secondary structure) and wrap around themselves to form a specific three dimensional shape (tertiary structure).

The secondary / tertiary structure of a folded protein is directly related to its function. For example, enzymes are proteins that catalyze reactions. They have binding sites that interact with other molecules. These binding sites are created through the folding of the amino acid chains that gives rise to the three dimensional shape of the enzyme.

Denatured Protein

Denaturation of proteins involves the disruption and possible destruction of both the secondary and tertiary structures. Since denaturation reactions are not strong enough to break the peptide bonds, the primary structure (sequence of amino acids) remains the same after a denaturation process. Denaturation disrupts the normal sheets in a protein and uncoils it into a random shape.

Denaturation occurs because the bonding interactions responsible for the secondary structure (hydrogen bonds to amides) and tertiary structure are disrupted. In tertiary structure there are four types of bonding interactions between "side chains" including: hydrogen bonding, salt bridges, disulfide bonds, and non-polar hydrophobic interactions. which may be disrupted. 

Proteins can be denatured through exposure to heat or chemicals. Denatured proteins lose their three dimensional structure and thus their function. 

Digestion of Proteins and Cooking

Protein digestion begins in the stomach, where the acidic environment favors protein denaturation. Denatured proteins are more accessible as substrates for proteolysis than are native proteins. The primary proteolytic enzyme of the stomach is pepsin, a nonspecific protease that is maximally active at pH 2. Thus, pepsin can be active in the highly acidic environment of the stomach, even though other proteins undergo denaturation there.

Heat disrupts hydrogen bonds and non-polar hydrophobic interactions. This occurs because heat increases the kinetic energy and causes the molecules to vibrate so rapidly and violently that the bonds are disrupted

Foods are cooked to denature the proteins to make it easier for enzymes to digest them. Cooking food denatures some of the proteins in it and makes digestion more efficient. Heating to denature proteins in bacteria and thus destroy the bacteria.

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