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1 Bio-Farmaceutische Wetenschappen Biologie LST MST Universiteit Leiden April 2013, jaargang 8 nummer 3 THEMA FOOD on the origin of meat Nieuwbouw Beta Campus Culinaire chemie met Miranda van ECK

2 Redactioneel Inhoud Blauwe zones Met het gigantische aanbod dat je aantreft in de gemiddelde supermarkt, zou het ronduit onverstandig zijn om je oerinstincten de overhand te laten nemen en zo veel mogelijk in een zo kort mogelijke tijd te eten. Dat weten de bewoners van de blauwe zones, de gebieden op aarde waar buitengewoon veel mensen hun honderdste verjaardag vieren. Want één van de gemene delers van de blauwe zones is het gematigde dieet van zijn bewoners; kleine porties van plantaardig en vetarm voedsel. Ik wil ook graag mijn honderdste verjaardag vieren. Toch zou ik verschrikkelijke moeite hebben om een blauwe zone -dieet vol te houden. Komt dat door mijn achterhaalde lichaamsthermostaat? Lees in de bètavraagbaak (p. 18) hoe dat werkt, en hoe een Cleveringa-hoogleraar onze lichaamsthermostaat wil bijsturen. Ze zou het ongetwijfeld goed kunnen vinden met Miranda van Eck, die met haar onderzoek naar hart- en vaatziekten wel het één en ander op het Westerse dieet aan te merken heeft. Op p. 24 en verder lees je wat ze op tafel zette voor Origin. De vraag is of we de negen miljard monden van 2050 kunnen voeden. Volgens veel deskundigen kan dat, mits we voedsel efficiënter produceren. In de special (p. 8) lees je over een paar aanpassingen in voedselproductie die al een groot verschil kunnen maken. Zoals het eten van efficiënt te produceren insecten. Die zijn ook nog vetarm en eiwitrijk, dus fantastisch blauwe zone -voedsel. Zin in een krekelburger? Carlos de Lannoy Hoofdredacteur Redactie Origin Nieuws 3 Studentenartikel: ISN Cooking Club: Chefs without Borders 4 The ISN Cooking Club is a great opportunity for both Dutch and international students to meet new people. Origin joined for one evening and learned about slavic cuisine and international hospitality. Special: From an economical to a 'food recession'? 8 From urban gardens to genetic manipulation and nibbling on critters. What can we do to feed the entire human population, now and in 2100? Nieuwbouw Bèta Campus en haar ontdekkingen 13 De nieuwe Bèta Campus moet de Faculteit der Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen de ruimte geven om te groeien. Tom Westerhof, senior projectmanager, legt uit wat we van het project kunnen verwachten. Centrefold: 16 Cutlery could do more than just bring food to your mouth; Jinhun Yeon designed a set that will change the way you taste. Bètavraagbaak: How does the modern world define hunger? 18 If you skipped lunch you may say that you are hungry, but so would a refrugee in a third world country. Instituten: Medical Marijuhana 20 Dr. Mario van der Stelt of the Leiden Institute of Chemistry researches the mechanism of action of the main active compounds in marijuana. Culinaire chemie met Miranda van Eck 24 Deze keer koken we met Miranda van Eck, de kersverse opleidingsdirecteur van BFW, en onderzoeker in het vakgebied biofarmacie. Zij houdt zich bezig met de rol van macrofagen op het transport van ox-ldl in atherosclerose. Fotoreportage: On the origin of meat 29 It is hard to recognize an animal in the meat department of the supermarket. Take a look behind the scenes and see what needs to happen before meat ends up in your kitchen. Boekbespreking: Cooking for Geeks 29 This book is mandatory literature for anybody who wants to know more about food than strictly necessary to heat up a pizza. Column: The FARC amongst gardeneners 30 A rebellion that started in Great Brittain is ready to cross the channel. Agenda en Colofon 31 2 Origin - Universiteit Leiden

3 Nieuws Nieuws Feestelijke start nieuwbouw Bèta Campus Met het in de grond trillen van een stuk damwand werd op 28 februari het startschot gegeven voor de bouw van de nieuwe Bèta Campus. Het studentlid van het faculteitsbestuur (assessor) van Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen, de voorzitter van de faculteitsraad en de (vice)voorzitters van de vijf studieverenigingen van de faculteit kregen hierbij de hoofdrol. De studenten, voor de gelegenheid voorzien van helm, jas en stevige schoenen, togen naar buiten om het intrillen van de damwand luister bij te zetten. Vóór het gevaarte werd opgehesen spoten de voorzitters en de assessor er de naam op van het orgaan waarin ze hun functie vervullen. De nieuwbouw wordt in drie fases gerealiseerd. De eerste fase omvat de kantoren en onderwijsruimten van het LIC en het LACDR, en daarnaast specialistische faciliteiten als het Cel Observatorium, NeCen, de meethal en de fijnmechanische dienst alsook het logistiek centrum van waaruit inkomende goederen worden gedistribueerd. De eerste fase zal in 2015 afgerond zijn. Het karakteristieke schotelgebouw met daarin de grote collegezalen blijft, het wordt wel gerenoveerd. Lees meer op p. 13. Han de Winde nieuwe vice-decaan Faculteit der Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen Prof.dr. J.H. de Winde (1962) is geworden per 1 april 2013 voor een periode van vijf jaar vice-decaan en portefeuillehouder onderwijs in het faculteitsbestuur van de Faculteit der Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen (W&N). De Winde, nu nog werkzaam bij de TU Delft, is per dezelfde datum eveneens benoemd tot hoogleraar bij W&N met als leeropdracht Industriële Biotechnologie. De leerstoel wordt ingebed bij het Instituut Biologie Leiden (IBL) van de Faculteit. De Winde volgt prof.dr. E.J.J. Groenen op, die sinds 28 mei 2008 vice-decaan bij W&N is. Academische jaarprijs 2012 winnaar ispex opent inschrijvingen De inschrijving voor het grote citizen science-project ispex, 'Meet fijnstof met je smartphone', is geopend. Met ingang van 22 februari kunnen geïnteresseerden de ispex, het speciale opzetstukje voor de smartphone, bestellen. Iedereen met zo'n ispex-opzetstukje kan in het late voorjaar meedoen aan de grote meetdag. Het ispex-opzetstukje verandert in combinatie met de bijbehorende app een smartphone in een handomdraai in een wetenschappelijk instrument om stof in onze atmosfeer te meten. Deelnemers richten hun telefoon met ispex naar een stuk heldere hemel en maken een foto. De metingen, en die van andere Nederlanders, worden centraal verwerkt tot een fijnstof-kaart van Nederland, waarmee mensen daadwerkelijk een bijdrage leveren aan atmosferisch onderzoek. Scan voor meer informatie de QR-code. Antibiotica in de klas groot succes Academische jaarprijswinnaar van vorig jaar, Antibiotica Gezocht! heeft zijn weg gevonden naar Nederlandse en ook Belgische scholen, al meer dan honderd keer. Met het practicumpakket kunnen leerlingen uit zelf meegebrachte grond bacteriën isoleren en onderzoeken of de bacteriën antibiotica produceren. Interessante resultaten kunnen naar het laboratorium worden gestuurd voor verder onderzoek door Universiteit Leiden en Erasmus Medisch Centrum Rotterdam. Alle bacteriekolonies die de scholen tot nu toe hebben verzonden naar Antibiotica Gezocht! zijn genummerd en gelabeld door de onderzoekers. In de komende weken wordt er getest of er tussen de toegestuurde kolonies een bacterie zit die multiresistente ziekteverwekkers de baas is. Origin - Universiteit Leiden 3

4 Studenten The ISN Cooking Club: Chefs without Borders The International Student Network (ISN) Cooking Club is known for their international food experiences. During their cooking activities, you are not only introduced to all sorts of international food, you also meet the persons behind the recipes and you can meet students from all over the world. Origin Magazine found it was the perfect place to talk to some students about their favourite Dutch food. We spoke to Mason Carney, head of the Cooking club, about his encounters with the culinary, before joining the club for an evening. BY: Dwayne van der Klugt Interview with Mason Carney Before we start talking about the Cooking Club, can you please introduce yourself to our readers? Certainly, I am studying Astronomy (MSc) at the Faculty of Science and I am in my second and final year. I first heard about Leiden University and its strong astronomy program while I was on an internship at an observatory in Chile. It was the only international school that I applied to and when I was accepted the choice was easy. Obviously I want to spend a few years studying in Europe! I came to The Netherlands from Maine (USA), which meant quite a drastic change of lifestyle. I am from the countryside and my hometown has about 1,500 people. So to me, Leiden seems very busy and there is SO much to do here, that it can be overwhelming at times. Let s talk about the Cooking Club, why did it start, and what are the reasons of its success? Haha, you got me a bit on this one. I am not sure how long the Cooking Club has been going, but I know that it has been operating for at least three years, probably quite a bit longer. I only heard about the two organizers before me and I am not sure about the history of the club before that time. As for the success, I think it is because of the large and diverse international community here in Leiden. There are so many different cultures represented in Leiden and food is such a central part of life for everyone. The Cooking Club provides a lot of opportunity for new culinary experiences and exposure to new and sometimes strange ideas. This is something that people would otherwise never encounter. Most Cooking Club events are quite lively and social as well, they are not lessons. It's a good way to meet new people while learning and experimenting in an area of life that everyone has in common: food! How do you join the Cooking Club? Joining the Cooking Club is very easy. You don't have to be a student and you don't have to be an international. You just have to know that the Cooking Club exists and keep informed about the events. All updates and information is posted to the Facebook group (search for ISN cooking club). For non-facebook users it's a little more difficult to be informed, but so far I have received no complaints. How did you become involved in the organization of the Cooking Club activities? That was somewhat accidentally. I went to the introduction meeting for the Cooking Club during my first semester in Leiden simply because I enjoy cooking food and was curious about the group. During the meeting I talked with Bryley Jackson, the organizer during that year, and asked her a few simple questions about how the group functions and what kind of meals they cook. Next thing I know she is asking me if I want to help organize! I didn't start helping immediately; I wanted to adjust to life in Leiden before getting too involved. I started co-organizing events with Bryley during my second semester and when the academic year ended she passed on organizing responsibilities to me. Why are cooking/food and Mason a good combination? Actually, I have to give a lot of credit to my step-mom for my interest in food and cooking. She converted the house I grew up in, an old farmhouse, into a working farm again. So during my undergraduate years we had a lot of fresh produce from the garden. She was passionate 4 Origin - Universiteit Leiden

5 Studenten about using these ingredients to make all kinds of delicious meals. A lot of my interest in experimenting in the kitchen comes from watching her cook at home. I think traveling also contributed. I had two internships as an undergraduate that lasted about two to four months and I was forced to cook for myself. I didn't like eating the same thing again and again so I tried to be a little creative and try new combinations. Sometimes the meals were good, sometimes they weren't, but that's all part of the learning process. crunchy muesli I have tried here just isn't the same. Finally, can you give our readers your best cooking tip? Hmm, that is another tough one. Use lots of olive oil! It is a great way to grease a pan to prevent food from sticking, it is an essential base for all types of sauces and dressings, and it's a healthy alternative to butter (unless you are baking, always use butter when baking). Also, Sriracha hot sauce is an awesome addition to your food to give it a little extra kick. I use it a lot. What do you like about the Dutch cuisine? I would have to say that I really like the Dutch pannenkoeken. They are huge and you can have them for breakfast or lunch or dinner or anything! Pancakes in the U.S. are always thick, fluffy, sweet and for breakfast, but the Dutch version has a lot of variety. I also had a very pleasant experience with andijviestamppot when I made it with my Dutch housemates. It's a nice alternative to regular mashed potatoes. And what do you absolutely not like? I do not like the raw herring! I never did the whole raw herring for October Third, but I tried a small raw piece at the Wednesday market and it was pretty gross. I'd rather have my herring fried. Which dish from back home do you miss most? I don't know if this counts as a dish, but I really miss homemade granola from my step-mom. I need to get that recipe some day because all the crunchy and non- 'Working together on this recipe was a real ice breaker' An evening with the Cooking Club Upon arriving at the Plexus Kitchen, Origin Magazine was welcomed by Mason, who was already busy putting all the groceries ready to start the cooking. The theme of the night would be Slavic Foods, and Mason made sure all the ingredients for the recipes were neatly organized. From 18.00h onwards the first students started to come in. As the majority of the students only arrived in Leiden in the past two weeks, some of them were still a bit anxious to connect with other students. Recipes were handed out; our job was to cook up some Pelmeni, a Russian variation on ravioli. Working together on this recipe was a real ice breaker and it took only a couple of minutes before all sorts of conversations started. While mixing the ingredients we found out that we had two Hungarian, a South Korean, an Italian, a Russian and a Dutch student putting effort in creating just the right dough. Even more surprising, ravioli, which most of us thought originated in Italy is read more > Origin - Universiteit Leiden 5

6 Studenten 1 Do you want to know more about all these and other traditional Dutch foods? Checkoutdutchfood. about.com. also eaten on a regular basis in Russia and in Korea on New Year s Day. When the dough was finished and was put in the fridge for half an hour, it was time to have a drink. We enjoyed some nice wine and soda and we talked about the best food you can find in The Netherlands. Students that were here since September were willing to share their experience with the Dutch cuisine with newly arrived students. Pannenkoeken (Dutch pancakes 1 ) and stroopwafels (treacle waffle) topped everybody s list of favorite Dutch foods. Sweet drop (Dutch licorice) had been tried and was liked, but the more challenging salt variant had not been tasted yet. Dutch dinners were not very popular. One couple tried Hutspot (Hotchpotch) on the October Third, the day on which Leiden remembers the end of the Siege of Leiden by the Spanish army in It is said that at the end of the Siege, all leftovers of the Spanish army were cooked and Hotchpotch was the end result. Therefore the inhabitants of Leiden traditionally eat this dish on this day. The international students neither liked, nor disliked the hotchpotch and we quickly came to the following conclusion: some countries, like The Netherlands, are not known for their cuisine, because it simply cannot match those of the more famous foodie countries, like Italy. Now it was time to make the ravioli. The two kilograms (!) of minced meat were seasoned, after which the hard work commenced. Using a conveyer belt system, we were able to produce a couple of hundred raviolis, but efficiency was not that high. It took us over an hour to make all these lovely little pasta and by the time we were finished we were quite hungry. Fortunately, this was foreseen by the Cooking Club and they provided us 'The Faculty of Science has several options to join a university abroad' with some lovely snacks, also in Slavic style. Now it was time to wait for the end result and so we took another drink and talked about our studies. A Croatian student of Dutch languages and culture had only just arrived in Leiden but already knew how to speak Dutch. She continuously baffled the Dutch Origin Magazine reporter with her knowledge of Dutch literature and culture, which was almost greater than his own! A little past 21.00h the food was ready to eat. Mason opened the buffet and it was nice to see that it all had come together. Next to our beautiful ravioli, two Slavic soups, potato pancakes, meatballs and sausages were made by other students, so it proved to be quite a big dinner. While most students enjoyed all the food, some people had some difficulties with the Slavic taste of the dishes. Luckily for them the variety of flavors on the table proved to be sufficient so that all students could have an enjoyable meal. The Pelmeni turned out to be great success as well and Origin Magazine found out that this Russian ravioli was made by the Russian student s family back home quite often. Lastly, we were surprised with lovely cakes for dessert and that was the mark for the end of a fabulous evening. With both the recipe and the experience on how to make a Russian diner, this Origin Magazine reporter will make sure that next to the Italian and other famous cuisines, Russian cuisine will be on the menu more often! The International Student Network ISN Leiden is part of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). The ESN is one of the largest interdisciplinary student associations in Europe, serving over 150,000 students. The goal of ESN is to support and develop student exchange. ISN Leiden reaches out to international students to do just that, by offering help in academic, social and practical integration to international students. This includes an introduction program for newly arrived students, a mentor program and cultural and social activities like the Cooking Club. Is cooking not really your thing? Just join another committee or club, like the Book Club, the Theater Group or the Music Club. Furthermore there is always room to come up with new events, clubs or groups yourself once you have joined the ISN. ISN also welcomes international minded Dutch students so that real integration between the 6 Origin - Universiteit Leiden

7 Studenten Slavic two course meal Entrée: TA R ATOR [Vegetarian] Ingredients: 2 yoghurts - Bulgarian or Greek style. 2 cucumbers (can be chopped but I prefer them grated) 0.5 cups sunflower oil or olive oil 1.5 cloves of garlic - crushed 1.2 liters water 75 g walnuts (crushed) 1 bunch of dill (chopped) Directions: 1. Shake/stir yoghurts well and pour in large pot. 2. Grate cucumbers and add them to the yoghurt. 3. Add salt to taste and stir a bit. 4. Add cold water and oil. 5. Add finely chopped dill and pressed garlic. Stir and season to taste. 6. Add crushed walnuts or sprinkle on top of each served cup. Main course: Pe l m e n i Ingredients: Dough Filling Sauce 1.5 cups of flower 500 g minced meat 125 g of mushroom 1 egg 0.5 onion 1/3 cup of cream 0.25 cup of sour cream Salt (to taste) Dill (to taste) 0.25 cup of water Pepper (to taste) Parsley (to taste) Salt (to taste) 0.5 finely chopped garlic Olive oil (to taste) Directions: 1. Combine dough ingredients in a bowl and mix until the dough is of uniform consistency. Then cover with a towel and let rest for about half an hour. 2. While the dough is resting, mix the filling. Finely chop the onion and mix in the minced meat. Add salt and pepper to taste. 3. Next, roll the dough into a thin sheet on a floured surface. 4. Use a small glass to cut out circles of dough. Take the remnants of the dough, roll into a ball, then roll into a thin sheet and repeat. 5. Cover the finished pelmeni with a towel while working on the rest of the dough. 6. Now put small portions of filling in the middle of each round and pinch the edges close. 7. Finally, cook fresh pelmeni in salted and lightly oiled boiling water for 5-7 minutes. I also love adding some bay leaves and a few whole peppercorns to the water. The pot must be big enough so all the pelmeni float and non stick together. 8. Fry mushrooms in butter, add cream, salt, pepper. And in the end add minced garlic, parsley and dill. 9. Serve pelmeni in a small spoonful of their own broth and the mushroom cream sauce. Dutch and international students can occur. The board of ISN Leiden for instance, consists of both Dutch and international students. More information on the ISN can be found on their website ISNLeiden.com, or on their Facebook (just follow the link on their website). If you would rather have contact face-to-face, the ISN board can be found in the Breimer common room in Plexus. Do you want to become an international student yourself? The Faculty of Science has several options to join a university abroad. Whether you want to do courses in an exchange programme or join a research group abroad, the faculty s International Office is very willing to help you on your search for an international experience (the international office can be found in room 2.05 of the Gorlaeus Laboratories). On their website you can find a simple step-by-step plan to make sure your stay abroad will be a success. This also includes the practicalities like costs and making sure that your room in Leiden can be rented out for the time that you are abroad and testimonials from several students. Origin magazine frequently interviews or reports on students that went abroad. You can find previous issues on originmagazine.nl. Check Origin 7.2 or 7.4 out for student testimonials! Origin - Universiteit Leiden 7

8 SPECIAL From an economical to a 'food recession'? Because of the current recession, some people cannot make ends meet and some grow concerned about their spending and savings. Even the Voedselbank has a tough time distributing food to all the people who need it. In about 40 years the world population has increased so much that food distribution over the whole world will be a huge problem, instead of a money shortage, there will be a food shortage. With a greater demand than supply, the prices of food will increase dramatically. The economical recession will turn into a 'food recession', if the current problems in the food production are not solved in the coming years. In this article, several possible solutions will be discussed. These solutions can either rely on technological progression and development or could be more an imaginative and creative way of trying to tackle the problem. BY: Jessica Elferink, Marit van Santen The World Food Problem is a way too complex problem to cover in a few pages. Although hunger and malnutrition have been a problem for decades, issues with world-wide food supplies have re-emerged. There are several reasons for this: the slowdown in the rate of increase in yields, the problems of environmental damage and pesticide resistance associated with industrial agriculture, worries about food prices and the relentless increase of the world population, by over hundred million people a year. All these factors contribute to a great worry for the future ability of the world to feed itself. Urban agriculture 70% of the world s population will live in urban areas by 2050, compared to 50% now, while cities occupy less than 3% of land surface [1]! As cities are likely to absorb the total world population growth, urban food insecurity will rapidly increase. Urban agriculture provides a strategy to reduce food insecurity and enhance urban environments. One of the few spaces left vacant and suitable for agriculture in dense cities like New York or Hong Kong are rooftops. Five years ago rooftop farms almost did not occur. Now they are getting more common, making the city greener from above. In New York, you can find the Brooklyn Grange urban rooftop farm. This rooftop farm is claimed to be the largest urban rooftop farm in the world. Brooklyn Grange serves the local community with real organically produced vegetables and fruits. With over 8,000 square meter of rooftop under cultivation in Brooklyn and Queens, Brooklyn Grange has sold over 18,000 kg of vegetables to restaurants and the public via weekly farm stands. 8 Origin - Universiteit Leiden

9 SPECIAL But the farm has expanded beyond its mission to grow vegetables it currently keeps egg-laying chickens and it has launched an apiary, cultivating bees for their honey. The City farm hosts thousands of New York s youth for educational tours and workshops each season. Brooklyn could therefore be considered the international capital of urban farming. Besides Brooklyn Grange, New York also hosts the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm. A rooftop farm which consists of sterile greenhouses that produce over eigthy tons of food, year-round. The City Farm in Tokyo sets itself apart from European and American rooftop farms. The idea of producing local food for the community is the same and also in Tokyo activities are organized to let the urban population witness how food grows. Only the type of food is different and is, of course, focused on the Japanese kitchen. Crops produced by City Farm includes rice, egg plants and soy beans. This requires different farming techniques. As rice grows in wet circumstances, draining and irrigating the roof is different from Western-world rooftop farms. The urban roof in Montreal is really quite distinct. On top of a two-story building the farm has built a 31,000-squarefoot greenhouse. Over forty different crops are being produced year round in greenhouses. For watering the plants the farm uses the irrigation system of the building. This way the farm really uses the advantages of the urban conditions, which makes it a successful urban rooftop farm. In the centre of Rotterdam, a 1,000 square meter rooftop farm can be found on top of the Schieblock building. Not only farms on top of buildings exist, but also farms inside buildings are build. For example a farm in a shop. The Farm:shop, located in London, is a workspace, cafe and events venue combined with a farm that produces food. And if you thought it could not get any crazier, there are also people who want to bring their food with them while they are on the road: Farm- on wheels. A handful of mobile farms on pick-up trucks are roaming the streets of new York. Urban agriculture has many advantages. It will contribute to food security, but consuming local crops also reduces transport and carbon dioxide emission. A growing city will produce more and more wastewater and organic wastes. For most cities the disposal of wastes has become a serious problem. Urban agriculture can help to solve such problems by turning urban wastes into a productive resource like compost or filtered water. Compost allows an urban farmer to use less chemical fertilisers and by doing so preventing problems related to the contamination of groundwater. Also, urban agriculture may positively impact the city s environment. Green roofs provide shade and remove heat from the air through evapotranspiration, reducing temperatures of the roof surface and the surrounding air. Entomophagy Insects are thought to serve an environmentally friendly source of protein. But why would we trade our steak for a cricket? Well, there are several reasons. More than ten times more plant nutrients are needed to produce one kilogram of meat than one kilogram of insect biomass [2]. The livestock industry plays a major role in deforestation and habitat destruction. Land is cleared to create space for livestock grazing or for production of crops which are a part of the diet of livestock. Huge amounts of forest have been cleared causing animal species to either lose their habitat or be killed in the process of destroying the land for this demanding industry. According to the 2006 United Nations report, the total area occupied by grazing is equivalent to 26% of the ice-free terrestrial surface of the planet. In addition, the total area dedicated to feed crop production amounts to 33% of totally arable land. In all, livestock production accounts for 70% of all agricultural land and 30% of the land surface of the planet. Animal livestock is the largest anthropogenic user of land [3]. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock activity read more > Origin - Universiteit Leiden 9

10 SPECIAL such as overgrazing, erosion, and top soil compaction, has been the primary cause of the degradation of 20% of the world's pastures and rangeland [3]. Animal livestock is responsible for 64 % of man-made ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain [3]. By extension, animal waste contributes to environmental pollution through nitrification and acidification of soil [4]. Production of 150g of grasshopper meat requires only very little water, while cattle requires 3290 liters to produce the same amount of beef. This indicates that lower natural resource use and ecosystem strain could be expected from insects. Researchers at the University of Wageningen compared the greenhouse gas emissions of production of mealworms, crickets, locusts and pigs. Particularly when methane (CH 4 ) and nitrous oxide (N 2 O) were monitored, the insects produced far lower emissions than pigs did overall. The study also examined ammonia emissions, which were lower in bugs. Thereby, insects reproduce at a much higher rate than beef animals. A female cricket can lay from 1,200 to 1,500 eggs in three to four More than 10 times more plant nutrients are needed to produce one kilogram of meat than one kilogram of insect biomass ten by the French in the 19 th century. But, introducing insects in our daily or weekly meals is a different story. Most likely, a plate full of insects is not the way insects will be found at our dinner table. Insects will be ground down and used as an ingredient in things like burgers, sauce and sausages. In the future these may become an important part of our diet. In vitro meat With the costs, the usage of a lot of ground and water of the convential meat farming techniques, and the increasing demand for protein-rich foods by a growing world-population, in vitro meat may be one of the new technologies needed to maintain food supplies in the future. Especially when the price of meat will drastically increase and become too high for the consumer [6]. In vitro meat, also known as cultured meat, test tube meat, or tubesteak, is an animal flesh product weeks. This gives house crickets a true food conversion that has never been part of a complete, living animal. efficiency almost twenty times higher than beef [5]. For It is often made from stem cells of butchered animals, this reason and because of the essential amino acids which grow to form muscle tissue. content of insects, it is proposed to increase the development of entomophagy to provide a major source of This in vitro meat was intended as a new food source for In vitro meat experiments were done first by NASA. protein in human nutrition. long space voyages or stays. The technique was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) While caterpillars are a delicacy in Africa and crickets in 1995, and NASA has been conducting experiments are popular in Thailand, it s hard to create an image of since With success; within a year, NASA produced in vitro meat from turkey cells. a mass of cricket-eating Europeans. In some European countries, insects are already on the menu. One of the The first actually edible form was produced by the few dishes in Europe that features insects on the ingredient list is cockchafer soup, which is known to be ea- in 2000: goldfish cells grown to resemble fish fillets. NSR/Touro Applied BioScience Research Consortium Scientists from the Netherlands reported in 2009 that they had managed to grow meat in the laboratory using the cells from a live pig. Time Magazine declared in vitro meat to be one of the fifty breakthrough ideas of 2009 and it is predicted that in 2025 scientists can grow a whole beef or pork loin. In vitro meat has some advantages compared to the traditional meat production. In the traditional meat production a lot of water, ground, feed, and time is needed to grow an animal who can be butchered for consumption. 10 Origin - Universiteit Leiden

11 SPECIAL and nutrients deep into the meat. Techniques are currently developed to imitate the blood vessel function, to be able to grow more than a thin layer of cells. Genetically Modified (GM) foods are foods derived from organisms whose genetic material has been altered in a directed way, for example by introducing a new gene from a different organism [7]. Organisms with unnaturally altered DNA are called genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the food It is estimated that the first hamburgers produced will cost around euros The growing need and feed which contain or consists of GMOs, are called for protein-rich genetically modified (GM) food or feed [8]. food in countries like China and India, which have a growing economy and increase their welfare, can be answered by industrial in vitro meat production. Currently available GM foods are based on plants, but in the future, it may be technically possible to derive foods from GM microorganisms and GM animals. GM foods are primarily developed to produce a product for a lower price, with greater durability and better nutritional values [9]. The first objective for developing plants based on GM organisms was to improve crop protection, through the introduction of resistance against plant diseases caused by viruses and insects or through increased resistance against plant herbicides. But there are several problems with the (large-scale) production that need to be solved, before in vitro meat is ready for consumption. Scientists are still unable to form more than a small layer of meat. In an animal, capillaries deliver oxygen This results in fewer crop losses and more financial security for farmers. The next addition was to introduce genes which made it possible to grow food in unconventional places. For instance, crops able to tolerate low temperatures that would normally kill the seedlings. Other examples are drought tolerance and salinity tolerance which makes it possible for farmers The next concern is the taste and structure of the produced in vitro meat, which are considered far from ide- for plant cultivation. to produce their crops on locations previously unsuited al. The structure can be compared to ground beef and With malnutrition in most third world countries and while the same amino acids and fatty acids are present, the possibility of scarcity of nutritional food in the future, food can be genetically modified to become more the taste leaves much to be desired. The biggest problem scientists face is the potential cost of an in vitro nutritious. Increasing the nutrition levels is not fully hamburger. It is estimated that the first hamburgers developed and more research is needed on this topic. produced will cost around 250,000 euros [6]. Despite several advantages of GM food, there is a major All in all, more research is needed to be able to grow debate on the safety of GM food. The three main issues more than a thin layer of in vitro meat, to lower the are the tendency of GM food to provoke an allergic reaction (allergenicity), gene transfer and outcrossing [7]. costs of producing in vitro meat and bring the production of in vitro meat to an industrial scale. And once these problems are solved, success of the product will Allergenicity causes a big problem for the acceptance of depend on the willingness of the public to accept in vitro meat as their food-source for proteins. life-threatening allergy for peanuts. Scientists proposed GM food. For example, many children in Europe have a to incorporate a gene from Brazil nuts into soybeans, The GM-approach but the plan was abandoned out of fear for unexpected allergic reactions. There is a possibility that introducing a gene into a plant may create a new allergen or cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals and extensive testing is needed before a GM food comes on the market. The possibility of gene transfer from GM foods to cells of the body or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract is a cause for concern if the transferred genetic material read more > Origin - Universiteit Leiden 11

12 SPECIAL has an adverse effect on human health. In most GMOs antibiotic resistance genes are used, and if these genes transfer it can cause increased resistance in bacteria and other pathogens, which leads to increased severity and untreatable diseases in worst case scenarios. The use of technology without antibiotic resistance genes has been encouraged in the last couple of years. Outcrossing is the movement of genes from GM plants into conventional crops or related species in the wild, as well as the mixing of crops derived from conventional seeds with those grown using GM crops. Apart from a major threat for the environment, this outcrossing can also have an indirect effect on food safety and food security. In September 2010, the WHO reports an incident in which traces of a GM variety of corn that was only approved for use as livestock feed was found in corn products intended for human consumption in the U.S. market, and these altered corn products can have a severe impact on the food safety and health of humans after consumption. To decrease outcrossing several countries have developed strategies, including a clear separation of the fields where GM crops and conventional crops are grown. The WHO published a rapport on modern food biotechnology and safety in 2005 [10]. One of its conclusions is that the GM foods currently available on the international market do not present risks for human health any more than the conventional crops. The risk assessment is a case-by-case study and the safety guidelines need to be strictly followed for every GM food that comes on the market. Before GM food can be accepted as one of the main contributors in the food production some of its problems need to be solved, especially the risk for human health and the environment. Only then will the public accept GM food as its new food source. Conclusion Are urban agriculture, insect eating, in vitro meat or GM food going to be the sole solution for the world food problem? Probably not. There are many other aspects, including social and economical factors, which also play a major role in solving the world food problem. None of the mentioned solutions is going to cover the approaching food shortage, but every contribution counts. Even the small. Maybe, all the solutions together can form an answer to the growing scarcity of food. [1] The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), ENVIRONMENTAL OUTLOOK TO 2050 The Consequences of Inaction, March 2012 [2 ] Energy-efficient food production to reduce global warming and ecodegradation: The use of edible insects". Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 15 (9): December [3] Henning Steinfeld; Pierre Gerber, Tom Wassenaar, Vincent Castel, Mauricio Rosales, Cees de Haan (2006). "Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental issues and options". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved 10/25/2012. [4] Hansen, Immo, ed. (29). "An Exploration on Greenhouse Gas and Ammonia Production by Insect Species Suitable for Animal or Human Consumption". PLoS One (Wageningen, Netherlands) 5 (12). [5] Capinera, John L. (2004). Encyclopedia of Entomology. Kluwer Academic Publishers. ISBN [6] KIJK Magazine : Kan kweekvlees de wereldbevolking voeden? [7] WHO Genetically modified Food. [8] European Commission - Health and Consumers -Food index_en.htm [9] ProQuest Family:Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful? by Deborah B. Whitman [10] WHO report: Modern food biotechnology, human health and development: an evidence-based study box/3.html 12 Origin - Universiteit Leiden

13 faculteit Nieuwbouw Bèta Campus en haar ontdekkingen Op een zonnige donderdagmiddag in februari vierden we de officiële start van de nieuwbouw Bèta Campus, op een originele manier. Terwijl alle genodigden warmpjes vanuit de collegezaal via een live-stream meekeken, verrichtte een vertegenwoordiging van de studenten de daadwerkelijke handeling. De eerste damwand, versierd met de namen van de vertegenwoordigde organen, werd op zijn plek getrild: de nieuwbouw Bèta Campus is van start! Maar wat houdt die nieuwe campus nu eigenlijk in? door: Tom Westerhof en Rob van Wijk De nieuwe Bèta Campus zorgt ervoor dat de huidige verzameling instituten wordt verweven tot één moderne, communicatieve en open faculteit. Op dit moment zitten de onderzoeksinstituten van de faculteit versnipperd over zes gebouwen, van het Van Steenis tot het Snellius (zie voor meer informatie de Special in Origin Magazine 8.1). Dit belemmert de samenwerkingsverbanden tussen de instituten, terwijl de focus in zowel onderzoek als onderwijs steeds meer interdisciplinair wordt. In het nieuwe gebouw komen alle instituten samen, waarbij een omgeving wordt gecreëerd die de ontmoeting, interactie en kruisbestuiving tussen instituten en onderwijs, tussen onderzoekers en studenten en tussen onderzoeksrichtingen onderling optimaal stimuleert. Daarnaast speelt de verouderde en vaak energieverspillende staat van de huidige huisvesting natuurlijk een rol. Tot slot leert de ervaring van andere universiteiten dat een nieuw gebouw met State of the lees verder > Origin - Universiteit Leiden 13

14 faculteit Art inrichting en voorzieningen uitdaagt tot nieuwe ontdekkingen en bovendien extra studenten aantrekt! Het ontwerp van de dubbele kam zorgt voor zowel ontmoeting, als focus. De centrale as, met gebouwhoge vide en imposante etalage van kennis, is het dynamische en inspirerende hart. In dit brede atrium komen vergaderzaaltjes, kleine collegezaaltjes en de practicalaboratoria. Verder biedt het atrium bewuste en toevallige ontmoetingenpunten tussen wetenschappers onderling en met studenten. Op de begane grond en de eerste verdiepen zijn bachelor werkplekken voorzien. De vleugels of ribben, daarentegen, huisvesten de generieke onderzoeksplekken van de instituten, waarbij door de verschillende zones ook de beveiligingsschillen op een natuurlijke manier in het gebouw zijn verweven. Hoe dieper de vleugels in, hoe specifieker de functie en dus hoe minder toegankelijk. De hoven tussen de vleugels voegen zich naar het gebruik en de omgeving, zodat een rijk scala aan natuurlijke invulling wordt gerealiseerd. Meer over het ontwerp is te vinden in de virtuele maquette, een innovatieve methode om een 3D-gebouwmodel neer te zetten waar met een gameconsole doorheen gewandeld kan worden! De faculteit neemt wat betreft duurzaamheid graag een voortrekkersrol op zich. Eén van de uitgangspunten van de nieuwbouw is dat het ontwerp, de uitvoering en de realisatie aan een duurzaamheidprestatie moet voldoen. De duurzaamheid van het gebouw wordt gemeten aan de BREEAM-standaard: Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method. Deze onafhankelijke certificering, aan de hand van een zeer brede benadering van duurzaamheid, beschouwt niet alleen het ontwerp zelf, maar bijvoorbeeld ook de locatiekeuze en het bouwproces in het algemeen. Een voorbeeld van getoetste criteria is het energieontwerp, waar een hoog rendement warmte-terugwinning behaald gaat worden door middel van efficiënte luchtbehandeling in combinatie met indirect adiabatische koeling. Hiermee wordt de CO 2 -emmissie met 55-60% gereduceerd. Tijdens de officiële start van de nieuwbouw heeft de decaan het certificaat uitgereikt gekregen, waaruit blijkt dat het ontwerp van de Bèta Campus de score very good heeft verdiend, en daarmee één van de eerste BREEAM-gecertificeerde laboratoriumgebouwen is. Er is gekozen voor een gefaseerde nieuwbouw. Aan de ene kant is dit het gevolg van de benodigde financiële middelen, de Bèta Campus is het grootste project van de Universiteit Leiden ooit, waarbij alleen de eerste fase al honderd miljoen euro gaat kosten. Daarnaast moet er eerst nieuwbouw beschikbaar zijn voordat bepaalde gebouwen gesloopt kunnen worden voor de volgende bouwfase. Het LCP en het oplosmiddelen-magazijn staan namelijk in de weg om de nieuwbouw aan te laten sluiten aan de schotel met collegezalen: deze ruimtes moeten eerst verhuizen naar de eerste fase, voordat de tweede fase gebouwd kan worden. Deze fase maakt de tijdelijke verbinding tussen de nieuwbouw en het LMUY overbodig, waardoor dat en ook de Hoogbouw tegen de vlakte kunnen. Zo ontstaat de benodigde ruimte voor de twee laatste vleugels, de derde fase. Op dit moment is de bouwput voor de eerste bouwfase inmiddels uitgegraven, deze diepe put is nodig voor de parkeergarage die onder het grootste deel van het gebouw komt. Tegelijkertijd zijn bouwkundige en installatietechnische aannemers met de architect en de an- 14 Origin - Universiteit Leiden

15 faculteit dere ontwerpende partijen het gehele ontwerp van de eerste bouwfase tot in detail aan het doornemen. Doel hiervan is om mogelijke optimalisaties vast te stellen en materiaalkeuzes te maken. Deze sessies lopen door tot half mei Hierna kan de opdracht voor het daadwerkelijke bouwen gegeven worden. Separaat wordt het bestek voor de laboratoriuminrichting gemaakt en wordt dit deel Europees aanbesteed. Oplevering van de eerste bouwfase staat gepland op medio In de eerste bouwfase worden alle specials samen gehuisvest in het meest noordelijke deel van het gebouw. Het betreft hier bijvoorbeeld het logistiek centrum, de meethal en NeCEN, de NMR faciliteit, de fijnmechanische- en elektronische dienst. In de oostelijke vleugels van het gebouw komen op de eerste en tweede verdieping de biochemische labs en op de derde en vierde verdieping kunnen chemische labs worden gerealiseerd. In de meest westelijke vleugel komen naast de meethal en NeCEN vooral zware en trillingsgevoelige activiteiten zoals een specifiek deel van het Cell Observatory en ABS. Ver voor de oplevering wordt er nu al gewerkt aan een verhuisplan en aan een sloopplan. Bij een dusdanig omvangrijk en complex project moet natuurlijk ver voor de uitvoering dit soort zaken geregeld worden. Daarnaast wordt er nu al gewerkt aan een plan voor de losse inrichting, dat wil zeggen tafels, stoelen en apparatuur. Bij het verhuisplan moet niet alleen gedacht worden aan wat verhuist er van A naar B, maar ook wie doet wat en wanneer. Ervaring met andere complexe verhuizingen heeft geleerd dat leveranciers van apparatuur ingeschakeld moeten worden voor de verhuizing. Ook moet de nieuwe locatie eerst geacclimatiseerd en ingeregeld worden voordat er verhuisd kan worden. Een goede inventarisatie is dus van groot belang. De start hiervan zal op korte termijn gaan plaatsvinden, dit zal tegelijkertijd een beeld geven van de investeringen die moeten worden gedaan voor de losse inrichting. Verwacht wordt dat na de oplevering een aantal maanden nodig is om de verhuizing te realiseren. Begin 2016 heten we je van harte welkom in de nieuwe Bèta Campus! Proces Universiteit Leiden. Bij ons leer je de wereld kennen: dit motto is niet alleen toepasbaar op ons onderwijs en onderzoek, maar zeker ook op een complexe uitdaging als het project nieuwbouw Bèta Campus. Het begint bij het onderzoeken en het vastleggen van de manier waarop samenwerkingsverbanden bij de faculteit georganiseerd zijn en hoe dit nog meer gestimuleerd en gefaciliteerd kan worden. Aandachtspunten hierbij zijn natuurlijk de profileringgebieden van de faculteit (Fundamentals of Science en Bioscience: the science base of health), de kostbare apparatuur en de speciale voorzieningen, zoals het Cell Observatory en NeCEN. Daarna begint de ontdekkingstocht naar de toekomstverwachtingen; hoeveel zal het onderwijs nog groeien, wat zijn de wensen van de wetenschappers wat betreft de benodigde voorzieningen en apparatuur? Als alle data is verzameld, moet scherp in beeld komen wat wel en niet realiseerbaar is, en wat de kosten zijn. Daarbij gaat veel tijd zitten in het netwerken van de bouwpastoor, de intermediair tussen verschillende gebruikers binnen faculteit en binnen het project. Voor iedere stap in het proces wordt een Plan van Aanpak gemaakt waarin het volgende wordt opgenomen: de evaluatie van de vorige stap, het verwachte einddoel, de planning, de risico-inventarisatie met beheersmaatregelen en natuurlijk de financiële begroting. Kijk voor meer informatie op betacampusfwn.nl, waar onder andere de virtuele maquette en live webcambeelden van het bouwterrein te vinden zijn. Fase 1 Fase 3 Origin - Universiteit Leiden 15

16 CENTrEFOLD BY: Carlos de Lannoy Designer/photographer: Jinhyun Jeon Tasteful cutlery Food is not all about nutrition; to many, experiencing taste is of equal importance. Nutritional value may be a mere product of the ingredients and preparation of your meal, but taste is influenced by many more factors: your mood, previous experiences and even your cutlery. These spoons were designed by Jinhyun Jeon, along with many other pieces of tableware, to change the way we experience taste. According to Jeon, the pieces of tableware we use for eating should not just be tools for placing food in our mouth, but they should become extensions of our body, challenging our senses even in the moment when the food is still on its way to being consumed. Five taste-influencing elements are accounted for in the design; temperature, colour, texture, volume/weight ratio and form. Visit for more stimulating cutlery and information. 16 Origin - Universiteit Leiden

17 CENTrEFOLD Origin - Universiteit Leiden 17

18 BÈTAVRAAGBAAK How does the modern world define hunger? By : Rob van Wijk The socioeconomic gap divides our planet in prosperous and poverish areas. Despite many efforts, for example the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, these worlds are far from merging. The question of defining hunger from a modern world perspective can only be answered by measuring with a double standard. Unless it is justified, scientists hate double standards. So is it justified? A very simplified appetite control consists of two different signals: either your energy levels are low and you have to eat, signalled by a sensation of hunger, or your energy levels are high and you have to stop eating, signalled by for example a full stomach. A suitable analogy is the negative feedback mechanism of a refrigerator, where the temperature increases until a certain limit is exceeded, corresponding with a signal of stress or hunger, after which the cooling mechanism starts and the temperature decreases until a second limit is reached (satisfaction, full stomach ) and the cooling stops. Projecting this feedback loop three times in 24 hour would roughly simulate the appetite cycle, where hunger would be defined as the stress area above the limit (see figure 1). Negative feedback of refrigerator temperature The biological regulation is more complex, of course, as Zheng et al explain in their excellent paper on reward-driven overrides of repletion signals. The metabolic brain plays a crucial role: after the discovery of leptin as appetite-inhibiting hormone, important neural circuits are identified in for example the hypothalamus, part of the brain responsible for behaviour. Experimental proof is found in the development of obesity or leanness after loss or gain of hypothalamus functioning, respectively. Unfortunately, the discovery of leptin didn t lead to curing obesity: although decreased leptin results in feeling hungry and being aware of food in close proximity, increased leptin does not necessarily result in lower appetite. The explanation is found in human evolution. Survival of the fittest Throughout the ages, signals of decreasing energy levels interpreted as hunger protected humans from starvation. It was the motivation of our ancestors for the daily struggle to search the surroundings for enough food to survive. Although safety thresholds remained, preventing harmful situation during foraging, these thresholds are lowered with increased hunger, suggesting a strong defence of the lower limits of nutrient supply. In other words: the hungrier, the more willing to take risks to obtain food, suggesting nourishment to be of more importance than safety. Remembering the refrigerator, there was a second limit, the danger of eating too much. A similar dangerous event, because a heavier human is an easier prey. However, due to the Temperature Time Figure 1: Appetite control cycle analogy: the negative feedback of refrigerator temperature, where a stress level (in this case temperature above seven degrees) triggers the cooling mechanism. 18 Origin - Universiteit Leiden

19 BÈTAVRAAGBAAK Sedentary stagnation of evolution Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for companies. The design of the new Bèta Campus has sustainability written all over it. However, some work carried out on the Bioscience Park may be inherently polluting. Next issue, we ask ourselves: 'How sustainable can the Bio Science Park possibly get?' Denk mee en stuur je (onderbouwde) mening naar de Origin Redactie via increasing intelligence of the human, survival of the fittest shifted from the leanest to the smartest, that is, the human hiding himself, or defending himself with weapons. The result may be a weak defence of the upper limits of nutrient supply, concludes Zheng. With the development of the paralimbic cortex, humans were gifted with a constantly updating working memory. The close connection of this part of the brain with the orbitofrontal cortex, where memories of food with extensive sensory features like shape, taste, time, location and reward are stored, resulted in an emotionally reinforced motivation. As these memories are determined by the environment, factors like availability, portion size and energy density contribute to this reinforcement. The accumulation of motivation to eat combined with the decreasing consequences of eating too much are a recipe for gluttonous lifestyle. Regarding the example of the refrigerator, the limit concerning the highest tolerated temperature remains strictly controlled, in contrast with the lower limit, which decreases with environmental factors. The latter is called a floating set point, a dynamic limit. The high failure rate of dieting of obesity patients seems more logical now: the emotional component as a result of our higher intelligence is more and more decisive than the biologic requirement. An MRI scan of an obese patient, who has lost 10% body weight still has, reveals a hungry brain after visual triggers, even when the patient is still obese. The cure to obesity seems to be more complex, requiring besides pharmacological and psychological also social solutions. Sadly, advertisement industry (mis)uses the current knowledge, stimulating the orbitofrontal cortex with positive impulses. New dietary laws Already in 2005, Prof.dr. Louise Fresco addressed in her Cleveringa oration this very issue, observing the fact that nowadays consumption is no longer determined by the climate, shortage, or traditional or religious dietary rules, but by availability, budget and especially temptation. Although the human race is at a level of intelligence to banish food imbalance, it is collectively incapable of doing so. As was strongly stated at the HopeXXL conference in Leiden, last year: our biggest fear isn t that we don t know what to do, but that we don t do what we know. This is why Fresco pleaded that we revise the dietary laws of old to a new set of rules, ultimately becoming common sense. A social contract for both individual and collective sufficient food supply. A wake-up call regarding the ridiculous amounts of food that the modern world considers ordinary. Concluding, the answer to whether it is justified to define hunger from two perspectives, it seems that from a prosperous perspective it is justified. This other perspective is mainly determined by the environmental differences. These differences are to be seen as continuously changing though, and so is the definition. The real solution, to measure with a single standard so to say, has to be found in answering the call of Fresco to write new dietary laws. A call that cannot be answered but with help of all parties, including both gluttonous consumer and greedy industry. Source:s: H. Zheng H.,, N. Lenard N.R.,, A. Shin A.C.,, H.-R. Berthoud H.R., Appetite control and energy balance regulation in the modern world: reward-driven brain overrides repletion signals, Int. J. Obes (Lond) 33: Suppl.2 S8-S13 (2009) L. Fresco, Nieuwe Spijswetten, Cleveringa-rede Universiteit Leiden (2005) Origin - Universiteit Leiden 19

20 institute Medical Marijuana: Source While many patients claim to benefit from medical applications of marijuana, the subject continues to raise controversy in national and international debates. Dr. Mario van der Stelt of the Leiden Institute of Chemistry researches the mechanism of action of the main active compounds in marijuana, in an attempt to find a drug that works for patients, without getting them high. Read on for his story. by: Mario van der Stelt Figure 2: Structures of (endo)cannabinoids Figure 1: Cannabis sativa Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug throughout the world and has aroused great controversies. Marijuana (bangh, hashish) is an extract from the plant cannabis sativa (Figure 1) and contains at least 400 chemical components of which 60 belong to the class of cannabinoids. Nowadays in the Netherlands, it is possible to buy marijuana on prescription in the drug store, so called MediWiet. It may help to relieve the symptoms of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, restore appetite or suppress nausea in cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. The notion that marijuana can be used for the treatment of various diseases is not new years BC, the Chinese had already discovered its therapeutic properties, but it took until 1964 before 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, Figure 2), the main psychoactive principle in marijuana, was isolated and characterized by professor Raphael Mechoulam of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The mechanism of action of THC has also been subject of discussion. Due to their lipophilic nature, cannabinoids were first assumed to perturbe the cellular membrane, thereby producing cellular effects. However, the requirement of stringent structural features of THC to produce its pharmacological response initiated the search for dedicated membrane proteins responsible for its biological effects. In the early nineties two proteins were identified and cloned: the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptor, which could be activated by THC. The cannabinoid CB1 receptor is highly expressed in the brain, whereas the CB2 receptor is mainly found in cells of the immune system. It was found that the activation of the CB1 receptor in the brain is responsible for the typical effects of being high after consuming drugs containing THC. Endocannabinoids: the body s own marijuana The presence of cannabinoid receptors in mammals suggested the existence of endogenous molecules in the brain, which bind and activate these proteins. In 1992, almost 30 years after his discovery of THC, professor Mechoulam isolated the first endogenous compound for these receptors from porcine brain tissue. This component proved to be a lipid: N-arachidonoylethanolamine. The compound was called anandamide, after the Sanskrit word for internal bliss (ananda). Three years later, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), was found as a second endogenous ligand for the cannabinoid receptors. Anandamide and 2-AG are termed endocannabinoids: the body s own marijuana (Figure 2). The discovery of the endocannabinoids and their receptors, together called the endocannabinoid system, has opened a new road to study the effects of marijuana and to investigate its participation in normal body function in health and disease. It is thought that the endocannabinoid system is involved in the regulation of a variety of physiological processes, such as pain sensation, appetite, memory, blood pressure and motor coordination. The endocannabinoid system may play a role in several diseases, such as neuropathic pain, cancer, Parkinson s disease, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia and obesity. For example, it is well known that smoking marijuana leads to binge eating (i.e. having the munchies ). Inspired by this observation, researchers have found that increased endocannabinoid levels in the hypothalamus led to chronic cannabinoid CB1 receptor activation, which was 20 Origin - Universiteit Leiden

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