Giant pandas are found only in China. 99% of their diet consists of bamboo shoots. China doesn’t sell or gift giant Pandas but loans them to desiring Zoos all over the world. All giant pandas in the world, barring two ageing animals in a Mexico zoo, are the property of the Chinese government.
China loans them to friendly countries as ‘ambassadors’ at very high rates, and on very strict terms. Each year, it gets millions of dollars for its loaned pandas. Renting a giant panda costs 1 million $ per year. When cubs are born outside the country, it charges a royalty on them. It charges roughly $400,000 per live birth in custody. Cubs born in foreign zoos have to be returned just after 2 year.
What’s more, the loaned pandas and the cubs born abroad have to be returned to China at the end of the contract period.
The length of a panda loan is 10 years after which all animals have to be returned.
Feeding the giant pandas bamboo shoots can cost
$500,000 to western countries every year.
Since 1941, China has loaned 64 giant pandas to other countries.
Chillies are not native to India and came to India in 15th century. Chillies are native to Mexico where these were cultivated since 3500 BCE. Christopher Columbus although took voyage to India in search of spices especially Black Pepper reached America in 1493 and thought it to be India. He and his companions also mistook chillies for black pepper. He brought back the chillies pepper with him.
Portuguese reached in India in the end of 15th century and introduced it in India. This gave the birth to red hot Goan curries. Cultivation of chillies took India by storm and use of chillies in food became very popular.
Some chillies of India
Dhani lanka or Bird’s eye Chilli: Grown mostly in North East and Bengal
Bhoot Jhalokia: Native to Assam and Nagaland. Hottest chilli in the world. 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. In Nagaland these are known as Raja Mircha.
Kashmiri Chillies: Mild and famed for aroma and color. Add lovely colors to many Indian dishes.
Mundu Chillies: Grown mostly in Tamilnadu and Andhra. They have very delicate skin and nice flavour. Mild in nature
Guntur chillies: Known for their powerful taste. Used for adding heat to Andhra and Madhya Pradesh cuisine.
Corn along with rice and maize are the basic grains used all over the world. They evolved in different parts of the world in different climates and conditions. Wheat for example is said to have originated in Middle East. Rice requires plenty of water for cultivation and thus grown where rains are heavy or other sources of water are easily available. Here we are talking about the evolution of corn.
Evolution of the parent wild varieties have taken place man’s patient, persistent by a method of selective breeding over the centuries. The history of modern-day maize begins at the dawn of human agriculture, about 10,000 years ago. Ancient farmers in what is now Mexico took the first steps in domesticating maize when they simply chose which kernels (seeds) to plant.
These farmers noticed that not all plants were the same. Some plants may have grown larger than others, or maybe some kernels tasted better or were easier to grind. The farmers saved kernels from plants with desirable characteristics and planted them for the next season’s harvest. This process is known as selective breeding or artificial selection. Maize cobs became larger over time, with more rows of kernels, eventually taking on the form of modern maize.
Evolution is said to be gradual and slow. But in the case of corn, it evolution occurred in a burst of fairly small time. After a long search, the scientists became sure about the ancestor of maize. Its name is Teosinte. Plants are totally dissimilar but the DNA is very similar and two can be easily crossed to produce modified intermediate varieties. Samples bear an unmistakable resemblance to modern maize.
Following shows a collection of sizes and shapes of cobs beginning from the earliest.
Second picture shows the comparison of Maize and Teosinte plant and cobs from which Corn has evolved over thousands of year. The hybrid corn resulting from crossing the two is also shown at bottom.
Vanilla is rated as the second most valuable spice after Saffron. One of the reasons for their being the most valuable species in addition to right kind of climate is its labor intensive farming. Vanilla is famous for essence and find used in numerous food items.
The flavor is imparted by a organic compoundVanillin which has chemical having the name 4-hydroxy-3 methoxy benzaldehyde. Some other compounds also make contribution. Vanillin is not present in the beans. Beans contain odorless compoumd vanillin glucoside which when fermented releases the oil.
Vanilla is a native of Mexico. The pollination is possible due to the symbiotic relationship of the plant with a Melipona bee which is endemic to Mexico. The crop takes a long time of nine months to mature. Due to this reason Mexico was the only place where vanilla was found.
The vine was brought to other regions to be cultivated. The vines grew very well but were sterile because of the absence of the pollinating bee. Particularly the vine was brought to Reunion near Mauritius. Now can you believe that creativity is God gift. There on one of the farms was a slave labor whose name was Edmund Albius. At the time he was a 12 year boy, he hit upon a method of pollination by hand dusting which made it possible to pollinate the flowers and yield the crop. This was in 1841.
After this the monopoly of of Mexico was broken and due to the method developed by Edmond Albius the Madagascar and Mauritius region has become the major producer.
After the abolition of the slavery, he left the farm where he worked as a kitchen servant. He was arrested and accuse of stealing jewelery and other valuables and was jailed but was pardoned and released on account of the immense contribution made by him in making it possible for the vanilla cultivation at other places in addition to its origin location of Mexico.