Teenage Scientist Found a Way to Stop Allergies

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Our Monday green news brings you the latest on nutrition, good causes and child education:sustainable coffee, sustainable foods

  • Teenage scientist found a way to stop allergies before they start: Twelve-year old Iris Gupta is one of the 10 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge finalists for her work with nanoparticles and allergies. Her project focused on finding a way to treat allergies before they emerge. She looked into using gold nanoparticles, which could block allergens from binding to the body’s Immunoglobulin E antibodies, a part of the blood responsible for fighting off allergens. These relatively inexpensive nanoparticles could be injected or inhaled at the beginning of allergy season, and could stop the inflammation and discomfort people experience when the IgE response gets triggered. She tested various sizes of these nanoparticles and discovered that the 20-nanometer size matched up well with IgE, potentially offering a solution to allergy prevention.  Although scientists have looked into the idea of using nanoparticles to stop allergies before,  more research is still needed before the method could be put into use.
  • Nespresso helps reviving coffee production in South Sudan: Although South Sudan has a long history of cultivating coffee, the war-ravaged country has not been producing or exporting any for decades. South Sudan is actually considered to be the place where coffee originated, and it’s one of very few places on the planet where coffee trees grow in the wild due to its distinctly dry climate. Many coffee producers have returned to their farms, but have struggled to find a market for their produce. With the help of company Nespresso, and their initiative to work together with NGOs on creating positive social and economic changes in the world, the first coffee will be exported from the new country of South Sudan in the coming weeks. As the company’s CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin explains: “It’s been a long journey to get to this point of producing a small batch of Suluja, only big enough to serve one market right now and that’s France. We have a real passion for coffee, but without the farmers, we have nothing. And this is the very best example of how we create shared value. By helping farmers to create better quality coffee, improve their productivity and ensure environmental sustainability — something we have been doing via our AAA Sustainable Quality Program since 2003 — we get the quality we need and are able to pay them more.”
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