African Ethnobotany in the Americas

Springer Science & Business Media
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African Ethnobotany in the Americas provides the first comprehensive examination of ethnobotanical knowledge and skills among the African Diaspora in the Americas. Leading scholars on the subject explore the complex relationship between plant use and meaning among the descendants of Africans in the New World. With the aid of archival and field research carried out in North America, South America, and the Caribbean, contributors explore the historical, environmental, and political-ecological factors that facilitated/hindered transatlantic ethnobotanical diffusion; the role of Africans as active agents of plant and plant knowledge transfer during the period of plantation slavery in the Americas; the significance of cultural resistance in refining and redefining plant-based traditions; the principal categories of plant use that resulted; the exchange of knowledge among Amerindian, European and other African peoples; and the changing significance of African-American ethnobotanical traditions in the 21st century.

Bolstered by abundant visual content and contributions from renowned experts in the field, African Ethnobotany in the Americas is an invaluable resource for students, scientists, and researchers in the field of ethnobotany and African Diaspora studies.

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About the author

Robert A. Voeks is Professor of Geography at California State University, Fullerton.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Sep 25, 2012
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Pages
429
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ISBN
9781461408369
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Life Sciences / Biochemistry
Science / Life Sciences / Botany
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Abiotic stress cause changes in soil-plant-atmosphere continuum and is responsible for reduced yield in several major crops. Therefore, the subject of abiotic stress response in plants - metabolism, productivity and sustainability - is gaining considerable significance in the contemporary world. Abiotic stress is an integral part of “climate change,” a complex phenomenon with a wide range of unpredictable impacts on the environment. Prolonged exposure to these abiotic stresses results in altered metabolism and damage to biomolecules. Plants evolve defense mechanisms to tolerate these stresses by upregulation of osmolytes, osmoprotectants, and enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants, etc. This volume deals with abiotic stress-induced morphological and anatomical changes, abberations in metabolism, strategies and approaches to increase salt tolerance, managing the drought stress, sustainable fruit production and postharvest stress treatments, role of glutathione reductase, flavonoids as antioxidants in plants, the role of salicylic acid and trehalose in plants, stress-induced flowering. The role of soil organic matter in mineral nutrition and fatty acid profile in response to heavy metal stress are also dealt with. Proteomic markers for oxidative stress as a new tools for reactive oxygen species and photosynthesis research, abscisic acid signaling in plants are covered with chosen examples. Stress responsive genes and gene products including expressed proteins that are implicated in conferring tolerance to the plant are presented. Thus, this volume would provides the reader with a wide spectrum of information including key references and with a large number of illustrations and tables.

Dr. Parvaiz is Assistant Professor in Botany at A.S. College, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India. He has completed his post-graduation in Botany in 2000 from Jamia Hamdard New Delhi India. After his Ph.D from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, India in 2007 he joined the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi. He has published more than 20 research papers in peer reviewed journals and 4 book chapters. He has also edited a volume which is in press with Studium Press Pvt. India Ltd., New Delhi, India. Dr. Parvaiz is actively engaged in studying the molecular and physio-biochemical responses of different plants (mulberry, pea, Indian mustard) under environmental stress.

Prof. M.N.V. Prasad is a Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Hyderabad, India. He received B.Sc. (1973) and M.Sc. (1975) degrees from Andhra University, India, and the Ph.D. degree (1979) in botany from the University of Lucknow, India. Prasad has published 216 articles in peer reviewed journals and 82 book chapters and conference proceedings in the broad area of environmental botany and heavy metal stress in plants. He is the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor for eight books. He is the recipient of Pitamber Pant National Environment Fellowship of 2007 awarded by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

Most crop plants grow in environments that are suboptimal, which prevents the plants from attaining their full genetic potential for growth and reproduction. Stress due to abiotic and biotic agents has a significant effect on world food production. Annually, an estimated 15% of global yields are lost, but this figure belies far greater losses for specific food systems and the people whose existence is dependent upon them, particularly in developing countries. Current efforts to mitigate these losses are worryingly over-reliant on the use of sophisticated and costly chemicals /measures with substantial economic and environmental costs, or on the development of efficient and smart crop varieties, which can take decades. What we need is a broad range of safe, robust and equitable solutions for food producers. One under-investigated approach is that of utilizing the crop plant’s innate immune system to resist stress. More specifically, the innate immune system can be sensitized or ‘primed’ to respond more quickly and strongly to protect the plant against stresses. However, a strategy of employing priming in combination with reduced pesticide use can enhance protection, and help to meet commitments to reducing chemical inputs in agriculture.

This book discusses in detail different segments of priming in addressing stress factors and traits to increase competitiveness against all odds. Adopting a holistic and systematic approach, it addresses priming to counter climate-change related adverse effects coupled with pest and pathogen related stress on the productivity of crops utilizing natural resources to reap sustainable environmental, economic and social benefits for potential productivity of crops, maintaining synergy between soil, water and plants in ways that mimic nature.

“The bard of biological weapons captures the drama of the front lines.”—Richard Danzig, former secretary of the navy

The first major bioterror event in the United States-the anthrax attacks in October 2001-was a clarion call for scientists who work with “hot” agents to find ways of protecting civilian populations against biological weapons. In The Demon in the Freezer, his first nonfiction book since The Hot Zone, a #1 New York Times bestseller, Richard Preston takes us into the heart of Usamriid, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, once the headquarters of the U.S. biological weapons program and now the epicenter of national biodefense.

Peter Jahrling, the top scientist at Usamriid, a wry virologist who cut his teeth on Ebola, one of the world’s most lethal emerging viruses, has ORCON security clearance that gives him access to top secret information on bioweapons. His most urgent priority is to develop a drug that will take on smallpox-and win. Eradicated from the planet in 1979 in one of the great triumphs of modern science, the smallpox virus now resides, officially, in only two high-security freezers-at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and in Siberia, at a Russian virology institute called Vector. But the demon in the freezer has been set loose. It is almost certain that illegal stocks are in the possession of hostile states, including Iraq and North Korea. Jahrling is haunted by the thought that biologists in secret labs are using genetic engineering to create a new superpox virus, a smallpox resistant to all vaccines.

Usamriid went into a state of Delta Alert on September 11 and activated its emergency response teams when the first anthrax letters were opened in New York and Washington, D.C. Preston reports, in unprecedented detail, on the government’ s response to the attacks and takes us into the ongoing FBI investigation. His story is based on interviews with top-level FBI agents and with Dr. Steven Hatfill.

Jahrling is leading a team of scientists doing controversial experiments with live smallpox virus at CDC. Preston takes us into the lab where Jahrling is reawakening smallpox and explains, with cool and devastating precision, what may be at stake if his last bold experiment fails.
The book that helped make Michael Pollan, the New York Times bestselling author of Cooked and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, one of the most trusted food experts in America

In 1637, one Dutchman paid as much for a single tulip bulb as the going price of a town house in Amsterdam. Three and a half centuries later, Amsterdam is once again the mecca for people who care passionately about one particular plant—though this time the obsessions revolves around the intoxicating effects of marijuana rather than the visual beauty of the tulip. How could flowers, of all things, become such objects of desire that they can drive men to financial ruin?

In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan argues that the answer lies at the heart of the intimately reciprocal relationship between people and plants. In telling the stories of four familiar plant species that are deeply woven into the fabric of our lives, Pollan illustrates how they evolved to satisfy humankinds’s most basic yearnings—and by doing so made themselves indispensable. For, just as we’ve benefited from these plants, the plants, in the grand co-evolutionary scheme that Pollan evokes so brilliantly, have done well by us. The sweetness of apples, for example, induced the early Americans to spread the species, giving the tree a whole new continent in which to blossom. So who is really domesticating whom?

Weaving fascinating anecdotes and accessible science into gorgeous prose, Pollan takes us on an absorbing journey that will change the way we think about our place in nature.
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