Posts tagged with International
Department of State

Compliance with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC)

This week the State Department released the unclassified version of a report on specific countries’  “Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Committees” (henceforth referred to as the Compliance Report). One section of this report covers compliance issues with the Biological and Toxins Weapon Convention (BWC, aka BTWC).  The Compliance […]

Aspergillus flavus

Aflatoxin Contamination of Maize in Africa

2.3 million bags of maize are contaminated with aflatoxins this year in Kenya, according to afrol News.  Aflatoxins are produced by the Aspergillus species of fungus, most notably Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, and are highly carcinogenic and damaging to the liver.  This natural outbreak in Kenya has made a large portion of “maize unfit […]

Cassava Roots (Credit: Wikimedia)

Emerging Disease Threatens Cassava Crop

The New York Times reported today on the emergence of Cassava Brown Streak Virus in regions of Africa where the tuber is a key food crop. Emphasizing the food’s importance, the Times notes:

“After rice and wheat, cassava is the world’s third-largest source of calories. Under many names, including manioc, tapioca and yuca, it is eaten by 800 million people in Africa, South America and Asia.”

The new virus, a recently characterized emerging variant in East Africa, renders the crop inedible. The estimated $50 million in research funding aimed at deterring the disease is a small fraction of the amounts spent on diseases that infect humans in the developing world.

Cape Town, South Africa

“Dr. Death”–Head of South Africa’s Biological & Chemical Weapons Program

The South African chemical and biological warfare program, called “Project Coast,” was established in 1981 under the apartheid regime, violating the Biological Toxins and Weapons Convention of 1972.  The project’s researchers studied Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), Vibrio colerae (cholera), salmonella and Botulinum toxin, in addition to a variety of chemical agents, such as MDMA (ecstasy), PCP, […]