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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, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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