Wetenschap - 25 januari 2001

English Summary

Two attacks on women took place in Wageningen last weekend. In the early hours of Sunday January 21, a 29 year-old woman resident of Wageningen walking through the park near Plantsoen was attacked and raped.

On Friday night, January 19, a 21 year-old woman was attacked and thrown from her bicycle by an unidentified man in the Haagsteeg. She resisted and was seriously injured. When two men in a car stopped to see what was happening the attacker ran off. The police are treating both cases as very serious and a team of 15 detectives is investigating.

The Wageningen Department of Animal Sciences, Zodiac and the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Utrecht are holding serious talks about creating an Interfaculty of Animal Sciences.

Professor Pim Brascamp, director of Zodiac and Professor A. Cornelissen, dean of Animal Sciences in Utrecht have submitted their plans to both universities, in which the interfaculty would have its own executive board with a budget to form a separate educational and research organisation. The big advantage for Wageningen would be that more students are likely to be attracted. Each year many applicants for veterinary sciences are rejected because of the lack of places. They would then be able to follow an alternative but related course in animal sciences. The Wageningen Executive Board is interested, but wants to see a more detailed plan.

The Agrotechnological Research Institute (ATO) together with SHR Timber Research and chemical company Dick Peters B.V. has developed a technique which makes wood and other natural fibres fireproof, damp-resistant and sustainable in one go.

Potential applications include buildings, cars, packing and textiles. Organic phosphorus compounds occur naturally and are not poisonous. They can be used to treat timber instead of the halogen compounds currently used as fire retardants and heavy metals used for damp-proofing. The ATO team, led by Bastiaan van Voorn, is now working together with the Silviculture and Forest Ecology Group of Wageningen University, IVAM Environmental Research and a number of private companies which will start using the technology in their products. These include timber, doors and acoustic boards.

It looks as though ice-cream as dessert after eating a main course containing red meat may even be healthy. PhD candidate Aloys Sesink conducted research for the Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences on whether haem in red meat might be responsible for causing higher rates of cancer.

Pork and beef contain ten times as much of the organic iron complex haem as is found in chicken meat. Rats given the equivalent of 150g of red meat daily in a human diet showed a higher rate of cell division than the control group, an indication of cancer risk. Sesink also discovered that the haem in red meat can be made less harmful by adding calcium to the diet.

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