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Be Happy, Eat Sea-Buckthorn, Russian Scientists Say

Published: June 3, 2014 (Issue # 1813)



  • Scientists have developed a method for extracting high concentrations of the "happiness hormone" serotonin from the sea-buckthorn plant.
    Photo: Greyerbaby / Pixabay

Russian chemists have developed a method for extracting high concentrations of the "happiness hormone" serotonin from the sea-buckthorn plant, the branches of which are usually discarded as debris during its harvest, a research scientist said.

"The bark of sea-buckthorn contains lots of serotonin — a thousand times more than bananas or chocolate — but the problem is that sea-buckthorn bark is not as much fun to chew as a banana or chocolate," said Oleg Lomovsky, the deputy research director at the Institute of Solid State and Mechanical Chemistry in Novosibirsk, Interfax reported.

While serotonin is popularly known as a "happiness hormone," it can also be used as a natural preservative to keep flowers or leafy vegetables fresh for up to three to five times longer, Lomovsky said.

Artificially produced serotonin is too expensive to be used to keep salad greens fresh, but its natural counterpart derived from sea-buckthorn would be cheaper and safer for human health, Lomovsky said.

The berries of sea-buckthorn — a shrub that grows widely in Russia's Altai region and is cultivated in other parts of the country, as well as in some areas in Europe and Asia — are notoriously had to gather, as they cluster around the plants' thorny branches.

Industrial methods of harvesting often involve cutting off branches, which are then cleared of berries and discarded as debris. Lomovsky's institute has developed a method for extracting serotonin from the bark, the research scientist told Interfax.

"We are lucky because sea-buckthorn is our brand," Lomovsky was quoted as saying. "Everybody was working only on processing the berries, while we have shown that its bark is also a very interesting product."





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Nov. 28


Join table-top game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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