Friday, November 21, 2008

Walnut Market Update

R.L. “Pete” Turner November, 15, 2008


The Walnut Marketing Board announced the October shipments at 75,812 inshell equivalent tons; 7,226 tons less than last year. Inshell shipments were 77.5 million pounds, compared to 76.9 million pounds last October. Shelled shipments were 32.0 million pounds, 6.2 million pounds less than last year. Total inshell equivalent year to date shipments are 95,406 tons; compared to 105,632 tons, down 10% from last year.

We will not know the final crop tonnage for several more months, but most industry leaders believe the crop will come in close to the 375,000 ton forecasted. Some packers feel the crop may be above the forecast as mid-crop receiving’s were very heavy compared to last year. However, this would have been the case anyway as the forecasted tonnage was up over 50,000 tons and the fact that the industry continues to loose the early crop varieties which have been replaced by Chandler’s, Howard’s and Tulare’s which are all mid-crop varieties. Thus, about 65% of the crop is being harvested and trucked to the packers over a 2-3 week period. This not only puts constraints on harvest/ hullers; but ultimately, on the plants and their processing facilities.

The quality of the 2008 crop is excellent with more than average Light material. The light kernel on the Chandlers, Howards, Tulare’s and Hartley’s appear to be above average as well as above average yields on almost all varieties.

The 2008 crop was 7-10 days later than last year which put even more pressure on the packers to meet vessel dates. In addition, there was a lot of questions on the availability of containers and vessels which added to the challenge. However, something must have gone right, as the industry shipped 77.5 million pounds of Inshell in October which is slightly more than we shipped last October.

In my more than I want to remember years in the walnut industry, I have never seen a walnut market that compares (so far) to what has impacted us during the past month or so.

First, the market for Chandler Light Halves & Pieces opened at $3.55 and Jumbo Hartley at $1.45, which was readily accepted by the buyers. Sales were brisk and forward bookings were heavy and the only challenge was getting containers and booking space on vessels.

Then, as some would say, the perfect storm hit. As with other businesses, our industry was hit extremely hard by the sudden collapse of the world financial institutions which put tight credit limits on buyers. The walnut market basically shut down and buyers had to set on the sidelines as they had no resources to conduct their business.

The markets quickly weaken with Chandlers Light Walnuts Halves and Pieces dropping from the $3.55 opening prices to $2.55 within a span of two weeks. However, Inshell Hartley’s bookings remained strong and only dropped about $0.05. Packers were facing not only the biggest crop in history, but had very few buyers to reduce their inventories. Thus, packers marketing strategy was almost solely based on their inventory positions.

This created a situation where some customers demanded adjustments to early contracts and some just walked away from their commitments. This has created some bitter relationships between seller and buyer, which is not a good formula for good business.

But, it now seems the market has finally bottomed out and bookings and shipments have been very active this week. In addition, the domestic market has picked up and as the walnuts prices are more favorable, bakeries, confectionery, and re-baggers are starting to add walnuts back into their mixes. I believe the domestic market will be stronger than it has been during several years of higher pricing. In addition, it is believed that the walnut market will stay around the current levels for the next several years. This will give the domestic users the confidence to establish longer market strategy for their products that contain walnuts.

The current market is still a little cloudy but most bookings on Chandler LHP is close to $2.35, regular LHP at $2.25 and CHP at $2.15, and Jumbo Hartley’s at $1.35. There have been sales at lower pricing but most of these seem to have disappeared over the past week.

I believe our industry is over most of the financial troubles and I see a more stable market going forward. We have not lost any Inshell sales as Italy, Germany and Spain are purchasing as heavy as ever. Turkey continues to purchase Inshell Chandlers and is 2.3 million pounds ahead of last year. Right now, Korea seems to be the only country to be purchasing less than at this same time last year.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments,


Bentzy Klein
Bentzy's Brokerage

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

US: Cranberry crop grows in leaps and bounds

George Rogers has been growing cranberries for 33 years, but has never seen anything like this season. “It’s our biggest crop ever,” said Rogers, senior vice president for the Wareham based A.D. Makepeace Company, the world’s largest cranberry grower. “We had good weather, little pests, just a good growing season that is up ten percent from last year. All the stars were aligned this year and a lot of people had a record crop. I won’t be surprised if Massachusetts overall has a record crop,” he said. Like most growers throughout the region, Rogers said the successful harvest could not have come at a better time because many growers were starting to “dip” into reserves.Back in 2000, an imbalance of supply and demand caused the cranberry industry to crash, with growers receiving only $12 per barrel. One barrel equals 100 pounds.Rogers said 2008 projections are estimated at $60 per barrel.Robert Beams, vice president of Agricultural Supply Development at Ocean Spray’s Middleboro facility agreed this year’s crop was outstanding.Ocean Spray is a farmer-owned cooperative, with about 650 fresh fruit growers throughout the U.S., British Columbia and Quebec, the majority being cranberry growers.About 25 percent of Ocean Spray’s cranberries came from Massachusetts.Last year, Ocean Spray’s Massachusetts’ crops produced 1.5 million barrels.The preliminary projections show 2.25 million barrels for 2008.Ocean Spray berries picked in 2006 sold for $47.69 per barrel, and those picked in 2007 sold for $54 per barrel, a 13.2 percent increase.Like A.D. Makpeace, Ocean Spray’s projections are also $60 per barrel for the 2008 season.“It was just an enormous crop for Massachusetts,” Beams said.“It’s a bit of a surprise for many of us. We’re still waiting to see how big the industry’s crop is as a whole because there’s generally about another million barrels out there that we don’t know about yet. All the fruit handlers report inventories to the Cranberry Marketing Committee and the next report won’t come out until January, so we can’t tell yet exactly how large the crop was this year.” Cranberries are harvested in the fall from mid-September through November.Most are wet harvested, which means growers flood the cranberry bogs and use machines that loosen the cranberries from the vine.With small air pockets in their center, cranberries float to the water’s surface where they are gathered.Jack Angley, owner of Carver’s Flax Pond Farm, has been dry harvesting cranberries for 47 years on his 35-acre farm.He makes up about only 5-percent of North America’s dry harvesters, which use mechanical pickers that comb over the berries and gather them in a burlap bag.“Dry harvesting has quite a few challenges to maintain for a quality environment. The vines can’t grow too thick to allow the machines to go through them,” Angley said.“The quality of my berries, color are beautiful this year, but a weed problem did set me back so this wasn’t my biggest crop this year.” Organic cranberry grower, Kristine Reese, co-owner of Cranberry Hill Farm in Plymouth, met the same challenges as Angley, but said the organic cranberry market is steadily improving.“It was a great year for us in terms of weather conditions, but we don’t use fertilizers and chemicals, so it was also a good year for weeds and we do all our weeding done by hand.More good weather, means more work for us,” she said. Source:
Publication date: 11/18/2008

Export rivals and frost cut Iran’s harvest cash

Iran’s revenues from pistachio and saffron exports are going to plunge by US$550 million (Dh2m) and $50m respectively this year as a result of growing foreign competition and a poor harvest caused by heavy frosts in April and a nationwide drought over the past year.After oil, pistachios are Iran’s biggest export item followed by saffron and, until 2007, the Islamic republic was the world’s top exporter of both. While still managing to retain its place as the world’s top saffron exporter, for the first time ever Iran is being overtaken as the top pistachio exporter by its arch-foe, the United States.Revenues from pistachio exports make up around eight per cent of the country’s non-oil revenues. Exporting 207 tonnes of pistachios earned the country over $1 billion of hard currency last year.Iran’s pistachio markets gradually shifted from western European countries to East Asia in recent years following rows with the European Union over the degree of aflatoxin contamination of Iranian pistachios. Aflatoxin is a carcinogen produced by fungus growing on the soft outer skin covering the nut and its shell. China is now Iran’s biggest pistachio market, followed by European countries and Russia. China imported more than 60 tonnes of pistachios from Iran last year.Iranian pistachio exporters are worried about the drop in the country’s pistachio supply, as well as the chance that the nearly two-fold increase since last year in the price of Iranian pistachios will cause them to lose Chinese and other East Asian markets to US suppliers. There was an increase in US pistachio production this year, which enabled US exporters to drop their prices below that of their Iranian competitors, said Mohammed Hossein Karimipour, the head of the agricultural committee of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, quoted by the Sarmayeh economic newspaper.While the US produced 190 tonnes of pistachios in 2007 and Iran produced a record high of 270 tonnes, Iranian output this year fell to 90 tonnes, according to Mr ­Karimipour. In some cities, such as Rafsanjan in Kerman province in eastern Iran, the April frosts destroyed nearly all the year’s crops. The province produces more than 70 per cent of Iran’s pistachios.“In Rafsanjan between 90 and 95 per cent of the population depends on pistachio farming for their livelihood, directly or indirectly. This year’s crops yielded only about one fifth of last year’s production,” said Ahmad Hassani, a pistachio exporter from the province and a member of the Iranian Pistachio Association’s board of directors.“Between 70 to 75 per cent of all crops in Kerman province were destroyed. This has given rise to a serious unemployment problem in the region,” he said. While pistachio exporters are worried about US rivals, it is the thought of the Afghan presence in the international saffron market that is troubling Iranian saffron exporters. Some Iranian saffron exporters allege Afghanistan is re-exporting Iranian saffron.“They are buying it in bulk and re-exporting it to Spain in their own name,” an Iranian Agricultural Cooperatives’ official was recently quoted as saying by Khorasan newspaper. Bulbs of the saffron crocus are said to have been smuggled from Iran to Afghanistan six years ago in great quantity and saffron is now extensively cultivated by Afghan farmers. Saffron farming is greatly encouraged by the Afghan government as a substitute for opium poppy farming, but the country’s production is still only a fraction of what is produced in Iran.Iran used to produce more than 90 per cent of the world’s most expensive spice, which is also known as “red gold”. But in recent years saffron production and exports have dropped consistently. Drought and the April frosts this year destroyed 40 per cent of the bulbs of the saffron flowers. In 2007 the value of saffron exported by Iran was down to $50m from $95m in 2004.Analysts say the skyrocketing price of saffron – which has increased nearly seven-fold from 2004 – arising from the poor harvest as well as high labour costs, has also led to a fall in exports.Saffron farming is labour-intensive. Every flower has to be picked by hand and every single thread of saffron has to be pulled out of the flower by hand immediately after the flower is picked. One hundred and fifty of the purple saffron flowers yield only about one gram of the red stigmas known as saffron threads. A kilogram of saffron is now traded for 2.3 million Iranian rials (Dh830) in the domestic market.Moreover, a drop between 30 per cent and 40 per cent in Iran’s non-oil exports in the second half of the Iranian calendar year (the year began on March 22) is expected as a result of the international financial crisis, Hamid Hosseini, a member of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, was quoted by Mehr News Agency as saying.As well as pistachios and saffron, the crisis will affect exports of such luxury goods as Persian carpets and caviar, he said.Source:
Publication date: 11/18/2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Could Almond leaves be the next viagra

The leaves, bark, roots, fruit and seeds of Indian almond have been used to effectively reverse blood sugar regulating functions in damaged pancreas of diabetics, prolong ejaculation, stop the spread of lung cancer, and sickle cell anaemia. CHUKWUMA MUANYA reports.

RECENT studies have shown that diabetes and its attendant complications (erectile dysfunction/premature ejaculation, leg ulcer/gangrene, liver/ kidney failure), lung cancer and sickle cell anaemia can be addressed with extracts of Indian almond.

Nigerian and Indian researchers have regenerated the pancreas with Indian almond extracts thereby boosted blood sugar regulation, improved sexual and liver/kidney functions in diabetics.

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a chronic disease caused by inherited and/or acquired deficiency in production of insulin by the pancreas, or by ineffectiveness of insulin produced, such a deficiency results in increased concentration of glucose in the blood, which in turn damages many of the body's systems in particular the blood vessels and nerves.

Indian almond is botanically called Terminalia catappa and belongs to the plant family combretaceae. It is found in almost every town and village in Southern Nigeria. In Efik, it is called m_b�_s__ m_b�k�r� (groundnut of whiteman). It is also known as Malabar Almond, Tropical Almond, Fruit (by some Nigerians).

Indian almond is a large deciduous stately tree, originally from India, growing up to 90 feet. It thrives as an ornamental tree in many tropical cities in the world.

All parts of the plant (leaves, bark, roots, fruit and wood) are used in traditional medicine, such as in dysentery; dressing of rheumatic joints; treating coughs, asthma. The fruit may be helpful in treatment of leprosy, headaches, in reducing travel nausea. Leaves have been used to get rid of intestinal parasites; treat eye problems, rheumatism, wounds; and stop the bleeding during teeth extraction.

Indian almond has strong antibacterial properties and works against Gram positive and Gram negative micro-organisms. The leaves have been shown to protect against acute liver injury produced by some hepatotoxicants (chemicals that produce liver damage). .

In Nigeria fallen leaves are used as an herb to treat liver diseases. The leaves also have potential in the management of sickle cell disorders. Dried leaves are used for fish pathogen treatment, as an alternative to the use of chemicals and antibiotics.

Leaves have antioxidant as well as anti-clastogenic (preventing breakage of chromosomes) properties. Research suggests that moderate consumption of the seed kernel may be useful in the treatment of men with sexual dysfunctions, primarily from premature ejaculation.

The various extracts of leaves and bark of the plant have also been reported to be anticancer, antioxidant, anti-Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) reverse transcriptase, and anti inflammatory (painkiller).

According to The Useful Plants of Tropical West Africa by H. M. Burkill, the bark is used in Asian medicine as an astringent for dysentery. It has also been recommended for use as a decoction for gonorrhoea and leucorrhoea, bilious fever and stomach-cramp. The tree yields an insoluble gum of the bassoin type. The leaves and flowers also contain tannin, and the presence of a sterol is reported. In the Philippines and S India sap from young leaves is made into an ointment for scabies, leprosy and other cutaneous diseases.

The leaves when applied externally are refreshing and sudorific, and appear to exercise an anodynal effect on pain for they are used for headache, on rheumatic joints, or in an oily ointment for breast-pain.

In Nigeria, the leaves macerated in palm oil have been used as a remedy for tonsilitis. Leaf in Java has shown some antibiotic activity. The fruit contains six to 20 per cent tannin. The fleshy pericarp is eaten in Gabon. The kernel is edible, and has a very subtle flavour making it a delicacy. The husk however is tough, not amenable to separation, so that the kernel is difficult to obtain. The kernel contains 51-63 per cent of a fixed oil known as Indian Almond oil, oil of Badamier, or from the Philippines as Talisay oil.

Material from Cote d'Ivoire has been analysed to contain glycerides of palmitic acid 34.4 per cent, oleic acid 32.1 per cent, linoleic acid 27.5 per cent and stearic acid six per cent. It closely resembles sweet almond, cotton seed, kapok and ground nut oils, which it might substitute for dietetic and other industrial uses.

Indian researchers in a study titled "Anti-Diabetic Activity of Terminalia catappa Linn. Leaf Extracts in Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Rats" found that Terminalia catappa leaves extracts have anti-diabetic activity.

According to the study published in Asian Journal of Pharmacology, aqueous and cold extracts of Terminalia catappa exhibited significant anti- hyperglycemic (reduces blood sugar) activities in alloxan-induced hyperglycemic rats without significant change in body weight. Alloxan is a drug used to induce diabetes in animal models.

The researchers found that Indian almond extracts also improved conditions of DM as indicated by parameters like bodyweight, and lipid profiles along with serum creatinine (a chemical molecule that is present in the liquid portion of the blood), serum urea, and serum alkaline phosphatase. The lipid profile is a group of tests that are often ordered together to determine risk of coronary heart disease. Serum urea level is a biochemical indicator of protein metabolism. Serum alkaline phosphatase is a measure of the integrity of the hepatobiliary system and the flow of bile into the small intestine.

The researchers, which include Syed Mansoor Ahmed, Vrushabendra Swamy B.M., P Gopkumar R Dhanapl and V.M. Chandrashekara noted that the number of functionally intact _-cells in the islet organ is of decisive importance the development course and outcome of DM. Beta cells (beta-cells, _-cells) are a type of cell in the pancreas in areas called the islets of Langerhans. They make up 65-80 per cent of the cells in the islets. Beta cells make and release insulin, a hormone that controls the level of glucose in the blood.

The renewal of _-cells in diabetes has been studied in several animal models. The total _-cell mass reflects the balance between the renewal and loss of these cells. It was also suggested that regeneration of islet _-cells following destruction by alloxan may be the primary cause of the recovery of alloxan - injected guinea pigs from the effects of the drug.

In alloxan-induced diabetes, (-)-epicatechin and Vinca rosea extract have also shown to act by _-cell re-generation. Epicatechin is a strong antioxidant, has insulin mimic action and improves heart health. Similar effect in streptozotacin-treated diabetic animals was reported by pancreas tonic, ephedrine, and Gymnema Sylvestre leaf extracts.

The researchers observed damage to pancreas in alloxan-treated diabetic control, and regeneration of _-cells by glibenclamide. Glibenclamide (INN), also known as glyburide (USAN), is an anti-diabetic drug in a class of medications known as sulfonylureas, used in the treatment of type II diabetes. A comparable regeneration was also shown by aqueous and cold extracts of Terminalia catappa. This effect may be due to _-carotene (an antioxidant found in coloured fruits and vegetables. It is a precursor to vitamin A), which was reported to be constituents of Terminalia catappa.

The beneficial role of _-carotene in reducing diabetic complications like glycosylation in alloxan-induced diabetic rats had been reported previously. Glycosylation is the enzymatic process that links saccharides to produce glycans, either free or attached to proteins and lipids.

Photomicrographical data in the researchers studies confirm healing of pancreas by Terminalia catappa leaves extracts, as a plausible mechanism of their anti diabetic activity.

The researchers concluded: "Aqueous and cold extract of Terminalia catappa leaves exhibited significant anti hyperglycemic activities in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. These extracts showed improvement in parameters like body weight and lipid profile as well as regeneration of _-cells of pancreas and so might be of value in diabetes treatment."

Taiwanese researchers have also found that Indian almond stops the spread of lung cancer in animal models.

Shu-Chen Chu, Shun-Fa Yang, Shang-Jung Liu, Wu-Hsien Kuo, Yan-Zin Chang and Yih-Shou Hsieh in a study titled "In vitro and in vivo antimetastatic effects of Terminalia catappa L. leaves on lung cancer cells" investigated the effect of the extract of T. catappa leaves (TCE) on invasion and motility of tumor cells to find that TCE exerted a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on the invasion and motility of highly metastatic A549 and Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) cells.

Metastasis is the spread of a disease from one organ or part to another non-adjacent organ or part. Only malignant tumor cells and infections have the capacity to metastasize. Metastatic disease is a synonym of metastasis. Cancer cells can "break away", "leak", or "spill" from a primary tumor, enter lymphatic and blood vessels, circulate through the bloodstream, and settle down to grow within normal tissues elsewhere in the body. Metastasis is one of three hallmarks of malignancy (contrast benign tumors).

According to the study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, to further investigate the precise involvement of TCE in tumor metastasis, A549 and LLC cells were treated with TCE at various concentrations, up to 100 _g/mL, for a specified period and results from zymography and Western blotting showed that a TCE treatment may decrease the expressions of tissue inhibitors, in a concentration-dependent manner.

Zymography is used for the detection of enzyme activity. Western blot analysis can detect one protein in a mixture of any number of proteins while giving information about the size of the protein.

Furthermore, the inhibitory effect of TCE on the growth and metastasis of LLC cells in vivo was proven. These results indicated that TCE could be applied to be a potential antimetastatic agent.

Researchers have also assessed the biological value of Terminalia catappa seed meal-based diet in rats. Nasir O. Muhammad and Oyelola B. Oloyede of the Department of Biochemistry, University of Ilorin, investigated the effects of defatted the seed meal on the growth performance and carcass of rats.

According to the study published in Biokemistri, 12 weaning albino rats (Rattus norvegicus) with an average weight of 24.0 � 3.4g were maintained on diets composed of defatted T. catappa seed meal (Tc meal) and soybean meal (control) for six weeks.

The weights of the rats were monitored on weekly basis, at the same period of the day and before being served the (weighing) day's feed. The organs and carcasses of the rats were weighed after they were sacrificed and disemboweled, and the chemical compositions of the carcasses were also determined.

The body weights of the rats maintained on defatted Tc meal were significantly reduced to one-third of the weights of the control animal. The organ to body weight ratio of the Tc meal rats was significantly higher than that of the control.

In the carcass of rats fed Tc meal diet, ether extract, crude protein and ash contents were significantly reduced when compared with the control. However, the crude fibre and the nitrogen free extract (NFE) were significantly higher in the Tc meal rats than that of the control.

The researchers concluded: "It can be deduced that the defatted Terminalia catappa seed meal could cause depression in growth rate, enlargement of rat tissues with adverse effects on carcass of rats."

Researchers have also studied the effects of Terminalia catappa seeds on sexual behaviour and fertility of male rats.

W. D. Ratnasooriya and M. G. Dharmasiri of the Department of Zoology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, evaluated the aphrodisiac potential of Terminalia catappa seeds using a suspension of its kernel (SS) in one per cent methylcellulose in rats. Methyl cellulose (or methylcellulose) is a chemical compound derived from cellulose. It is a hydrophilic white powder in pure form and dissolves in cold (but not in hot) water, forming a clear viscous solution or gel.

Preliminary chemical testing showed the presence of alkaloids, oils, amino acids and peptides in the seed kernel.

According to the study published in Asian Journal of Andrology, male rats were orally treated with 1500 mg/kg or 3000 mg/kg SS or vehicle, and their sexual behaviour was monitored three hours later using a receptive female. Another group of rats was orally treated with either 3000 mg/kg SS or vehicle for seven consecutive days. Their sexual behaviour and fertility were evaluated on days one, four and seven of treatment and day seven post-treatment by pairing overnight with a pro-oestrous female. The estrous cycle comprises the recurring physiologic changes that are induced by reproductive hormones in most mammalian placental females.

The results showed the 1500 mg/kg dose, had a marked aphrodisiac action (prolongation of ejaculation latency) but no effect on libido-sexual desire- (per cent mounting, per cent intromission and per cent ejaculation), sexual vigour (mounting-and-intromission frequency), or sexual performance (intercopulatory interval). An aphrodisiac is a substance, which is used in the belief that it increases sexual desire.

In contrast, the higher dose (3000 mg/kg) reversibly inhibited all the parameters of sexual behaviour other than mounting-and-intromission frequency and copulatory efficiency. The effects of high dose SS were not due to general toxicity, liver toxicity, haemotoxicity, stress, muscle deficiency, muscle incoordination, analgesia, hypoglycaemia (reduced blood sugar) or reduction in blood testosterone level. They were due to marked sedation.

The researchers concluded that the kernel of T. catappa seeds has aphrodisiac activity and may be useful in the treatment of certain forms of sexual inadequacies, such as premature ejaculation. "The present findings show that seeds of T. catappa possess potent aphrodisiac activity and provides scientific evidence in favour of the claims made in Ayurvedic medicine in Sri Lanka regarding this action. The results also suggest that moderate consumption of kernel of seed of T. catappa could be useful in the treatment of men with sexual dysfunctions resulting primarily from premature ejaculation."

Nigerian researchers have also studied the anti-sickling activity of Terminalia catappa leaves harvested at different stages of growth.

The researchers include: J. O. Moody, F. I. Segun and O. Aderounmu Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan; and O. O. Omotade, Institute of Child Health, University College Hospital, Ibadan.

According to the study published in the Nigerian Journal of Natural Products and Medicine, the aqueous and ethanolic leaf extracts of Terminalia catappa, a fruit bearing tree, popular in folkloric medicine for the treatment of sickle cell anaemia disease were assessed for their in-vitro anti-sickling activities. Extracts were prepared from the reddish-brown freshly fallen leaves, reddish-brown leaves and green leaves of the plant by maceration in the solvents.

Phytochemical examination of the extracts showed that cardiac glycosides are present in abundance in the reddish-brown freshly fallen leaves, moderate in the reddish-brown leaves and in trace amount in the green leaves. High concentration of saponin was however observed in the green leaves, while only present in trace amount in the reddish-brown leaves and absent in the reddish-brown freshly fallen leaves. Alkaloids were detected present in all the three samples of the leaves but anthraquinones and tannins were completely absent.

Antisickling activities of the extracts obtained from leaves harvested at different stages of growth (green leaves, reddish-brown leaves, reddish-brown freshly fallen leaves) were evaluated using p- hydroxybenzoic acid, (5mg/ml) and normal saline as controls. The method employed involved the inhibition of sodium metabisulphite-induced sickling of HbSS red blood cells collected from confirmed non-crisis sickle cell patients.

The researchers concluded that both the aqueous and ethanolic leaf extracts of the reddish-brown freshly fallen leaf exhibited highest anti-sickling activity (78 per cent inhibition at 180 min incubation and 77 per cent inhibition at 90 minutes incubation respectively).

Nigerian researchers have also studied the antimicrobial activities of methanolic extracts of Terminalia catappa against some pathogenic microorganisms

H. Babayi of the Department of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Technology, Minna; and I. Kolo, J. I. Okogun and U. J. J. Ijah of the Pharmaceutical Microbiology Division, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Idu - Abuja, investigated the ethanolic extracts of leaves of Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Terminalia catappa for in vitro microbial activities by agar dilution method.

The phytochemical analysis of the crude extracts of the medicinal plants revealed the presence of saponin, saponin glycosides, steroid, cardiac glycoside, tannins, volatile oils, phenols and balsam (gum). The methanolic extracts of the two plants inhibited the growth of Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 103207 and Clinical strain respectively) but had no inhibitory effects on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhi and Escherichia coli.

Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of staph infections. It is a spherical bacterium, frequently found in the nose and skin of a person. About 20 per cent of the population are long-term carriers of S. aureus. S. aureus can cause a range of illnesses from minor skin infections, such as pimples, impetigo (may also be caused by Streptococcus pyogenes), boils, cellulitis folliculitis, furuncles, carbuncles, scalded skin syndrome and abscesses, to life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, osteomyelitis endocarditis, Toxic shock syndrome (TSS), and septicemia. Its incidence is from skin, soft tissue, respiratory, bone, joint, endovascular to wound infections. It is still one of the four most common causes of nosocomial infections, often causing postsurgical wound infections.

Bacillus subtilis is a Gram-positive, catalase-positive bacterium commonly found in soil. B. subtilis is not considered a human pathogen; it may contaminate food but rarely causes food poisoning

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekly Cashews Update

NOV 8, 2008

Cashew market was quiet this week. Prices came down a few cents mainly due to lack of activity. At the lower levels, very limited business is being done by a few processors for nearbys e.g. W240 from 2.65 to 2.75, W320 from 2.35 to 2,.45 FOB. Large packers were asking few cents more for nearbys (and also forwards). Stray business was done at the higher levels

Very small quantities have been purchased in this week’s tenders in Tanzania, mainly by local processors. RCN traders and Indian processors are not showing interest as the price expected (over US$ 1000) is high – about 20/25 cents disparity with current kernel prices, Indonesia RCN prices have inched up a bit – current quotes are around US$ 900 C&F

Shipments from India & Vietnam in third quarter have been good but there are no reports of any excess inventories in USA / Europe (of course the tightness of first half is not there but supplies are not as comfortable as they were for a few weeks in Aug/Sep). Financial restraints are adding to the need to control inventories

Fundamentally, current prices should be comfortable for all segments as they are near the historical average (of course we have seen lower prices several times in the past for long periods but since then, processing costs have gone up and prices of all commodities have moved on to higher ranges. Also, purchasing power in general – except for the recent past – has been higher than it was when prices were below 2.00 dollars). So, one would expect prices to stabilise and maybe even move up a bit but the external factors like the financial turmoil, general downturn in major economies, currency volatility, lack of confidence & reduced position taking in all segments of the chain are having a “pull down” effect on demand & prices of almost everything (especially lower priority products) in the short & medium term

The potential for a significant move in prices in late 2008 / early 2009 is strong.. But it is difficult to predict which way things will go. If drop in usage in fourth quarter is not as bad as expected and if economic situation settles down, we could see a lot of buying interest in first quarter for deliveries second quarter onwards because everybody is working with thin inventories and forward cover. But if the problems we have seen in Sep/Oct continue into 2009 then buying interest will continue to be slow & for nearby positions only

Would appreciate your comments on the market situation, any special news or info and your views / expectation of demand & price trends in coming weeks / months

Pankaj N. Sampat

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Cranberry Update

Good day,

The 2008 North American Cranberry harvest has just finished, and here is what we know so far:

Wisconsin – Very good
Massachusetts – Excellent
Quebec/Eastern Canada – Average
Pacific Northwest – Poor to Fair

Overall, we believe that this will mean a reasonable amount of fruit should be available for the coming year. It is not a record crop, but not a disaster either.

We should be able to quote new crop prices in 2-3 weeks.

Many thanks for the opportunity to be of service.

Best regards,