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1.Inter-Specific Competition, but Not Different Soil Microbial Communities, Affects N Chemical Forms Uptake by Competing Graminoids of Upland Grasslands

Author:Medina-Roldan, E;Bardgett, RD

Source:PLOS ONE,2012,Vol.7

Abstract:Evidence that plants differ in their ability to take up both organic (ON) and inorganic (IN) forms of nitrogen (N) has increased ecologists' interest on resource-based plant competition. However, whether plant uptake of IN and ON responds to differences in soil microbial community composition and/or functioning has not yet been explored, despite soil microbes playing a key role in N cycling. Here, we report results from a competition experiment testing the hypothesis that soil microbial communities differing in metabolic activity as a result of long-term differences to grazing exposure could modify N uptake of Eriophorum vaginatum L. and Nardus stricta L. These graminoids co-occur on nutrient-poor, mountain grasslands where E. vaginatum decreases and N. stricta increases in response to long-term grazing. We inoculated sterilised soil with soil microbial communities from continuously grazed and ungrazed grasslands and planted soils with both E. vaginatum and N. stricta, and then tracked uptake of isotopically labelled NH4+ (IN) and glycine (ON) into plant tissues. The metabolically different microbial communities had no effect on N uptake by either of the graminoids, which might suggest functional equivalence of soil microbes in their impacts on plant N uptake. Consistent with its dominance in soils with greater concentrations of ON relative to IN in the soluble N pool, Eriophorum vaginatum took up more glycine than N. stricta. Nardus stricta reduced the glycine proportion taken up by E. vaginatum, thus increasing niche overlap in N usage between these species. Local abundances of these species in mountain grasslands are principally controlled by grazing and soil moisture, although our results suggest that changes in the relative availability of ON to IN can also play a role. Our results also suggest that coexistence of these species in mountain grasslands is likely based on non-equilibrium mechanisms such as disturbance and/or soil heterogeneity.

2.Macroinvertebrate drift-benthos trends in a regulated river

Author:Tonkin, JD;Death, RG

Source:FUNDAMENTAL AND APPLIED LIMNOLOGY,2013,Vol.182

Abstract:Downstream drift plays a fundamental role in the spatial distribution and community structure of lotic macroinvertebrates. We sampled both benthic and drifting macroinvertebrates at 15 sites, in three sections of river with varying flow alteration along the Tongariro River, New Zealand. Our objectives were to examine whether (i) benthic and drift density were linearly related throughout the river, (ii) the presence of dams affected the propensity of macroinvertebrates to drift, and (iii) drift propensity was related to benthic periphyton biomass or natural longitudinal patterns down the river. More taxa were collected from the drift than the benthos, although drift and benthic samples were generally taxonomically similar, despite some structural differences. Nonetheless, differences were evident between the major groups when assessing density and relative abundance links between the benthos and drift. The presence of dams did not affect the propensity of macroinvertebrates to drift on the whole, nor was propensity affected by periphyton biomass or distance from source. These results suggest that although altered periphyton biomass in downstream sections in the Tongariro River is altering the composition of benthic and drifting macroinvertebrates, drift propensity is unaffected. However, some deviations from linear relationships between benthic and drift density are evident suggesting these links may be taxon specific.

3.Plant phenotypic functional composition effects on soil processes in a semiarid grassland

Author:Medina-Roldan, E;Huber-Sannwald, E;Arredondo, JT

Source:SOIL BIOLOGY & BIOCHEMISTRY,2013,Vol.66

Abstract:Our knowledge of plant functional group effects on ecosystem processes is relatively well established, but we know much less on how changes in plant phenotypic composition affect ecosystem functioning (i.e., phenotypic functional composition). Understanding phenotypic functional composition (PFC) is relevant in plant communities strongly dominated by a few keystone species, since alteration of phenotypic composition of these species might be a mechanisms by which land management practices such as grazing impact on ecosystem functioning. Here, we report results from a field experiment where we manipulated PFC of Bouteloua gracilis (Kunth) Lag. ex Griffiths, a keystone species in the semiarid shortgrass steppe. B. gracilis' PFC was altered by using plant genetic lines which expressed consistently either high or low leaf tissue lignin content (LC), a plant trait known to affect soil biogeochemical processes. High-LC lines came from an area subjected to low grazing intensities, whereas low-LC lines came from an area historically overgrazed. Additionally, those plant genetic lines expressing high LC also expressed high dry matter content and vice versa. We established experimental plots with High (only high-LC plants), Low (only low-LC plants), and mixed (both high- and low- LC plants, BHL) LC genetic lines; and measured selected soil processes after the application of a small water pulse. We hypothesised that those soil processes related to microbial activity and nitrogen cycling would be higher in Low plots in comparison with High and BHL plots. Phenotypic functional composition did not affect most of our soil processes including ammonium and nitrate concentrations (inorganic N), microbial activity, potential ammonium mineralization, and microbial profiles of substrate utilization). Nonetheless, we observed a general response to the water pulse so that soil inorganic N increased, but soil water content and soil microbial activity decreased 48 h after the pulse application. This general response suggests that fractions of the soil microbial community with different soil moisture optima mineralise N-rich substrates. Overall, lack of response to plant phenotypic functional composition suggests that grazing effects on soil biogeochemical processes in the shortgrass steppe are not directly mediated through how grazing affects the phenotypic functional composition of B. gracilis. (c) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

4.Light attenuation - a more effective basis for the management of fine suspended sediment than mass concentration?

Author:Davies-Colley, RJ;Ballantine, DJ;Elliott, SH;Swales, A;Hughes, AO;Gall, MP

Source:WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY,2014,Vol.69

Abstract:Fine sediment continues to be a major diffuse pollution concern with its multiple effects on aquatic ecosystems. Mass concentrations (and loads) of fine sediment are usually measured and modelled, apparently with the assumption that environmental effects of sediment are predictable from mass concentrations. However, some severe impacts of fine sediment may not correlate well with mass concentration, notably those related to light attenuation by suspended particles. Light attenuation per unit mass concentration of suspended particulate matter in waters varies widely with particle size, shape and composition. Data for suspended sediment concentration, turbidity and visual clarity (which is inversely proportional to light beam attenuation) from 77 diverse New Zealand rivers provide valuable insights into the mutual relationships of these quantities. Our analysis of these relationships, both across multiple rivers and within individual rivers, supports the proposition that light attenuation by fine sediment is a more generally meaningful basis for environmental management than sediment mass. Furthermore, optical measurements are considerably more practical, being much cheaper (by about four-fold) to measure than mass concentrations, and amenable to continuous measurement. Mass concentration can be estimated with sufficient precision for many purposes from optical surrogates locally calibrated for particular rivers.

5.Water quality trends in New Zealand rivers: 1989-2009

Author:Ballantine, DJ;Davies-Colley, RJ

Source:ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT,2014,Vol.186

Abstract:Recent assessments of water quality in New Zealand have indicated declining trends, particularly in the 40 %% of the country's area under pasture. The most comprehensive long-term and consistent water quality dataset is the National Rivers Water Quality Network (NRWQN). Since 1989, monthly samples have been collected at 77 NRWQN sites on 35 major river systems that, together, drain about 50 %% of New Zealand's land area. Trend analysis of the NRWQN data shows increasing nutrient concentrations, particularly nitrogen (total nitrogen and nitrate), over 21 years (1989-2009). Total nitrogen and nitrate concentrations were increasing significantly over the first 11 years (1989-2000), but for the more recent 10-year period, only nitrate concentrations continued to increase sharply. Also, the increasing phosphorus trends over the first 11 years (1989-2000) levelled off over the later 10-year period (2000-2009). Conductivity has also increased over the 21 years (1989-2009). Visual clarity has increased over the full time period which may be the positive result of soil conservation measures and riparian fencing. NRWQN data shows that concentrations of nutrients increase, and visual clarity decreases (i.e. water quality declines), with increasing proportions of pastoral land in catchments. As such, the increasing nutrient trends may reflect increasing intensification of pastoral agriculture.

6.Investigating the Temporal and Spatial Variability of Total Ozone Column in the Yangtze River Delta Using Satellite Data: 1978-2013

Author:Chen, LJ;Yu, BL;Chen, ZQ;Li, BL;Wu, JP

Source:REMOTE SENSING,2014,Vol.6

Abstract:The objective of this work is to analyze the temporal and spatial variability of the total ozone column (TOC) trends over the Yangtze River Delta, the most populated region in China, during the last 35 years (1978-2013) using remote sensing-derived TOC data. Due to the lack of continuous and well-covered ground-based TOC measurements, little is known about the Yangtze River Delta. TOC data derived from the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) for the period 1978-2005 and Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) for the period 2004-2013 were used in this study. The spatial, long-term, seasonal, and short-term variations of TOC in this region were analyzed. For the spatial variability, the latitudinal variability has a large range between 3%% and 13%%, and also represents an annual cycle with maximum in February and minimum in August. In contrast, the longitudinal variability is not significant and just varies between 2%% and 4%%. The long-term variability represented a notable decline for the period 1978-2013. The ozone depletion was observed significantly during 1978-1999, with linear trend from (-3.2 +/- 0.7) DU/decade to (-10.5 +/- 0.9) DU/decade. As for seasonal variability, the trend of TOC shows a distinct seasonal pattern, with maximum in April or May and minimum in October or November. The short-term analysis demonstrates the day-to-day changes as well as the six-week system persistence of the TOC. The results can provide comprehensive descriptions of the TOC variations in the Yangtze River Delta and benefit climate change research in this region.

7.Mutual relationships of suspended sediment, turbidity and visual clarity in New Zealand rivers

Author:Ballantine, DJ;Hughes, AO;Davies-Colley, RJ

Source:SEDIMENT DYNAMICS FROM THE SUMMIT TO THE SEA,2014,Vol.367

Abstract:Many river water quality monitoring programmes do not measure suspended particulate matter (SPM) mass concentrations despite significant interest in its multiple effects on aquatic ecosystems. Regular monthly sampling usually intercepts rivers in baseflow when suspended sediment mass concentrations and fluxes are relatively low and not of particular interest. New Zealand's National Rivers Water Quality Network (NRWQN) is probably typical in not measuring SPM mass, although visual clarity and nephelometric turbidity are routinely measured. In order to better characterize SPM in NZ rivers, total suspended sediment (TSS) was temporarily added to the NRWQN. Turbidity, visual clarity and TSS are mutually inter-related over all 77 sites, although with considerable data scatter. However, within individual rivers turbidity and visual clarity are typically fairly closely related to TSS and provide fair to excellent surrogates. Therefore, TSS need not be measured routinely because it can be estimated with sufficient precision for many purposes from visibility or turbidity.

8.Estimating the impact threshold for wind-blown sand

Author:Li, BL;Ellis, JT;Sherman, DJ

Source:JOURNAL OF COASTAL RESEARCH,2014,Vol.70

Abstract:In many aeolian studies, it is commonplace to use Bagnold's (1936) equation to calculate threshold shear velocity (u*(t),), which includes an empirical constant, A, typically set at about 0.082 for maintaining saltation (the dynamic, or impact, threshold). Here, we present data from a pilot study to assess the variability of A to improve estimations of u*(t), which in turn, should improve transport rate predictions. Using field data from three coastal environments, we measured or calculated all parameters within the Lettau and Lettau (1978) model and u*(t) equation. In Jericoacoara, Brazil (BRA), Inch, Ireland (IRE), and Esposende, Portugal (POR) wind velocities were measured with cup anemometer towers and transport rates were measured using traps for 31 data runs lasting 120 to 1020 seconds each. Mean grain sizes were 0.17 mm (IRE), 0.31 mm (POR), and 0.30 mm (BRA), and mean shear velocities were 0.38 m s(-1) (IRE), 0.40 m s(-1) (POR), and 0.49 in 54 (BRA). Empirically determined, adjusted A values ranged from 0.02 to 0.21 with a mean and standard deviation of 0.11 and 0.04. No relationship exists between estimates of A and grain Reynolds number. A statistically significant (p < 0.001), negative relationship was found between A and mass transport rate, leading to substantial over-prediction of transport rates near the threshold and under-prediction during fast winds if a constant of 0.082 is used.

9.Graphene Based Electrochemical Sensor for the Detection of Volatile Organic Compounds

Author:Yixin Zhang;Kim KT Lau;

Source:Learning Weekly,2014,Vol.

Abstract:Many household consumables contain volatile organic compounds(VOCs)as the active ingredient.Long term exposure to VOCs could cause various health problems,especially to the respiratory system.Graphene has attracted a lot of attention recently for its potential to be used as sensing material for VOCs...

10.Impacts of land use changes on soil properties and processes.

Author:Paz González Antonio; de Abreu Cleide Aparecida; Tarquis Ana Maria; Medina-Roldán Eduardo

Source:TheScientificWorldJournal,2014,Vol.2014

11.Total phosphorus concentrations in surface water of typical agro- and forest ecosystems in China, 2004-2010

Author:Xie Juan;Zhang Xinyu;Xu Zhiwei;Yuan Guofu;Tang Xinzhai;Sun Xiaomin;Ballantine D J

Source:Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering,2014,Vol.8

Abstract:The concentrations of total phosphorus (TP) from 83 surface water sampling sites in 29 of the Chinese Ecosystem Research Network (CERN) monitored ecosystems, representing typical agro- and forest ecosystems, were assessed using monitoring data collected between 2004 and 2010 from still and flowing surface water. Results showed that, TP concentrations were significantly higher in agro-ecosystems than those in forest ecosystems both for still and flowing surface water. For agroecosystems, TP concentrations in the southern area were significantly higher than those in the northern and northwestern areas for both still and flowing surface water, however no distinct spatial pattern was observed for forest ecosystems. In general, the median values of TP within agro- and forest ecosystems did not exceed the Class V guideline for still (0.2 mg·L~(-1)) or flowing (0.4 mg·L~(-1)) surface water, however, surface water at some agroecosystem sampling sites was frequently polluted by TP. Elevated concentrations were mainly found in still surface water at the Changshu, Fukang, Linze and Naiman monitored ecosystems, where exceedance (>0.2 mg·L~(-1)) frequencies varied from 43%% to 78%%. For flowing water, elevated TP concentrations were found at the Hailun, Changshu and Shapotou monitored ecosystems, where exceedance (>0.4 mg·L~(-1)) frequencies varied from 29%% to 100%%. Irrational fertilization, frequent irrigation and livestock manure input might be the main contributors of high TP concentrations in these areas, and reduced fertilizer applications, improvements in irrigation practices and centralized treatment of animal waste are necessary to control P loss in these TP vulnerable zones.

12.A wind tunnel study of aeolian sediment transport response to unsteady winds

Author:Li, BL;Neuman, CM

Source:GEOMORPHOLOGY,2014,Vol.214

Abstract:Although moderate attention has been paid to the response of the aeolian mass transport rate to wind gusts, it is still unclear how the particle size and volumetric concentration affect this relation. Very little is known about the response time of the particle speed, and specifically, how the sensor scale and elevation affect measurements of this variable. The present study addresses this knowledge gap through a series of wind tunnel experiments in which a gusty wind was generated by programming the fan motor to adjust to a randomly selected rpm every 10 s. Beds consisting of either medium or coarse sand were investigated through synchronous, co-located measurements of the local wind speed and particle speed/count rate obtained via a customized laser Doppler anemometry (LDA) system. The vertically integrated sand transport rate (Q) and the wind speed in the freestream were quantified using a passive sand trap and pitot tube, respectively. The results of the experiments indicate that the response of the aeolian transport system to wind gusts is generally faster in terms of the particle speed than the mass transport rate, while the degree of correlation is found to vary with the sensor elevation, as well as with the particle size and volumetric concentration. In essence, the coupling within the transport system is demonstrated to be strongly scale dependent. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

13.Surveillance video summarisation by jointly applying moving object detection and tracking

Author:Chen,Ying;Zhang,Bailing

Source:International Journal of Computational Vision and Robotics,2014,Vol.4

Abstract:With the growth of massive storage of surveillance video data, it has become imperative to design efficient tools for video content browsing and management. This paper describes an integrative approach for surveillance video summarisation that jointly apply moving object detection and tracking. In the proposed scheme, moving objects are first detected and tracked. The static summarisation is generated to contain some key frames which provide details of the moving objects. The main advantages of our approach include the preservation of important information and economic computational cost. The high performance background modelling with Gaussian mixture model, together with the multi-scale morphological processing, brings together a highly accurate moving object detection tool. The proposed matching criterions for Kalman filtering enhances the tracking accuracy. We experimented with highway surveillance videos and outdoor surveillance videos, demonstrating satisfactory performances. Copyright © 2014 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

14.Environmental context for late Holocene human occupation of the South Wellesley Archipelago, Gulf of Carpentaria, northern Australia

Author:Moss, P;Mackenzie, L;Ulm, S;Sloss, C;Rosendahl, D;Petherick, L;Steinberger, L;Wallis, L;Heijnis, H;Petchey, F;Jacobsen, G

Source:QUATERNARY INTERNATIONAL,2015,Vol.385

Abstract:A 2400 year record of environmental change is reported from a wetland on Bentinck Island in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria, northern Australia. Three phases of wetland development are identified, with a protected coastal setting from ca. 2400 to 500 years ago, transitioning into an estuarine mangrove forest from ca. 500 years ago to the 1940s, and finally to a freshwater swamp over the past +60 years. This sequence reflects the influence of falling sea-levels, development of a coastal dune barrier system, prograding shorelines, and an extreme storm (cyclone) event. In addition, there is clear evidence of the impacts that human abandonment and resettlement have on the island's fire regimes and vegetation. A dramatic increase in burning and vegetation thickening was observed after the cessation of traditional Indigenous Kaiadilt fire management practices in the 1940s, and was then reversed when people returned to the island in the 1980s. In terms of the longer context for human occupation of the South Wellesley Archipelago, it is apparent that the mangrove phase provided a stable and productive environment that was conducive for human settlement of this region over the past 1000 years. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. All rights reserved.

15.Water quality change along urbanization processes according to pesticides and PPCPs distribution within different population area in Suzhou, China

Author:Qin, SJ;Jeong, HJ

Source:ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY,2015,Vol.250

16.Antibiotic resistance genes in manure-amended soil and vegetables at harvest

Author:Wang, FH;Qiao, M;Chen, Z;Su, JQ;Zhu, YG

Source:JOURNAL OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS,2015,Vol.299

Abstract:Lettuce and endive, which can be eaten raw, were planted on the manure-amended soil in order to explore the influence of plants on the abundance of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in bulk soil and rhizosphere soil, and the occurrence of ARGs on harvested vegetables. Twelve ARGs and one integrase gene Until) were detected in all soil samples. Five ARGs (sulI, tetG, tetC, tetA, and tetM) showed lower abundance in the soil with plants than those without. ARGs and intI1 gene were also detected on harvested vegetables grown in manure-amended soil, including endophytes and phyllosphere microorganisms. The results demonstrated that planting had an effect on the distribution of ARGs in manure-amended soil, and ARGs were detected on harvested vegetables after growing in manure-amended soil, which had potential threat to human health. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

17.Potent substances-An introduction

Author:Lo, V;Kadetz, P;Datiles, MJ;Heinrich, M

Source:JOURNAL OF ETHNOPHARMACOLOGY,2015,Vol.167

18.Progress toward universal health coverage in ASEAN

Author:Van Minh, H;Pocock, NS;Chaiyakunapruk, N;Chhorvann, C;Duc, HA;Hanvoravongchai, P;Lim, J;Lucero-Prisno, DE;Ng, N;Phaholyothin, N;Phonvisay, A;Soe, KM;Sychareun, V

Source:GLOBAL HEALTH ACTION,2014,Vol.7

Abstract:Background: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is characterized by much diversity in terms of geography, society, economic development, and health outcomes. The health systems as well as healthcare structure and provisions vary considerably. Consequently, the progress toward Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in these countries also varies. This paper aims to describe the progress toward UHC in the ASEAN countries and discuss how regional integration could influence UHC. Design: Data reported in this paper were obtained from published literature, reports, and gray literature available in the ASEAN countries. We used both online and manual search methods to gather the information and 'snowball' further data. Results: We found that, in general, ASEAN countries have made good progress toward UHC, partly due to relatively sustained political commitments to endorse UHC in these countries. However, all the countries in ASEAN are facing several common barriers to achieving UHC, namely 1) financial constraints, including low levels of overall and government spending on health; 2) supply side constraints, including inadequate numbers and densities of health workers; and 3) the ongoing epidemiological transition at different stages characterized by increasing burdens of non-communicable diseases, persisting infectious diseases, and reemergence of potentially pandemic infectious diseases. The ASEAN Economic Community's (AEC) goal of regional economic integration and a single market by 2015 presents both opportunities and challenges for UHC. Healthcare services have become more available but health and healthcare inequities will likely worsen as better-off citizens of member states might receive more benefits from the liberalization of trade policy in health, either via regional outmigration of health workers or intra-country health worker movement toward private hospitals, which tend to be located in urban areas. For ASEAN countries, UHC should be explicitly considered to mitigate deleterious effects of economic integration. Political commitments to safeguard health budgets and increase health spending will be necessary given liberalization's risks to health equity as well as migration and population aging which will increase demand on health systems. There is potential to organize select health services regionally to improve further efficiency. Conclusions: We believe that ASEAN has significant potential to become a force for better health in the region. We hope that all ASEAN citizens can enjoy higher health and safety standards, comprehensive social protection, and improved health status. We believe economic and other integration efforts can further these aspirations.

19.Interpretation of complexometric titration data: An intercomparison of methods for estimating models of trace metal complexation by natural organic ligands

Author:Pižeta,I.;Sander,S. G.;Hudson,R. J.M.;Omanović,D.;Baars,O.;Barbeau,K. A.;Buck,K. N.;Bundy,R. M.;Carrasco,G.;Croot,P. L.;Garnier,C.;Gerringa,L. J.A.;Gledhill,M.;Hirose,K.;Kondo,Y.;Laglera,L. M.;Nuester,J.;Rijkenberg,M. J.A.;Takeda,S.;Twining,B. S.;Wells,M.

Source:Marine Chemistry,2015,Vol.173

Abstract:With the common goal of more accurately and consistently quantifying ambient concentrations of free metal ions and natural organic ligands in aquatic ecosystems, researchers from 15 laboratories that routinely analyze trace metal speciation participated in an intercomparison of statistical methods used to model their most common type of experimental dataset, the complexometric titration. All were asked to apply statistical techniques that they were familiar with to model synthetic titration data that are typical of those obtained by applying state-of-the-art electrochemical methods - anodic stripping voltammetry (ASV) and competitive ligand equilibration-adsorptive cathodic stripping voltammetry (CLE-ACSV) - to the analysis of natural waters. Herein, we compare their estimates for parameters describing the natural ligands, examine the accuracy of inferred ambient free metal ion concentrations ([M ]), and evaluate the influence of the various methods and assumptions used on these results.The ASV-type titrations were designed to test each participant's ability to correctly describe the natural ligands present in a sample when provided with data free of measurement error, i.e., random noise. For the three virtual samples containing just one natural ligand, all participants were able to correctly identify the number of ligand classes present and accurately estimate their parameters. For the four samples containing two or three ligand classes, a few participants detected too few or too many classes and consequently reported inaccurate 'measurements' of ambient [M ]. Since the problematic results arose from human error rather than any specific method of analyzing the data, we recommend that analysts should make a practice of using one's parameter estimates to generate simulated (back-calculated) titration curves for comparison to the original data. The root-mean-squared relative error between the fitted observations and the simulated curves should be comparable to the expected precision of the analytical method and upon visual inspection the distribution of residuals should not be skewed. f f

20.Manufacturing risk: reframing the discourse of safety of commodified potent substances

Author:Kadetz, P

Source:JOURNAL OF ETHNOPHARMACOLOGY,2015,Vol.167

Abstract:Ethnopharmalogical relevance: The rapid commodification of plant-based medicines has led to the development of regulatory guidelines and standards by the World Health Organization to ensure the safety of these products. However, these standards have been identified to be selectively implemented, if implemented at all, in many contexts. A primary concern for proving the safety of intrinsic factors of plant-based medicines, may result in less attention paid to the often more problematic extrinsic factors of mass production. This article critically examines the normative global discourse of safety concerning plant-based medicines and problematises many of the assumptions identified in this discourse. Materials and methods: This qualitative research was conducted in the Traditional Medicine Unit of the Western Pacific Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) and in field work in the rural Philippines. Data was collected through archival research, analysis of WHO data sets, semi-structured and structured interviews and surveys, participant observation concerning local plant-based medicine use in the Philippines and participant observation in WHO meetings regarding future strategies for traditional Asian medicines. Results: Although informants reported concerns of safety for every aspect of the production, marketing and sales of plant-based medicines, this research has identified that the implementation (WHO guidelines) has been uneven and inconsistent over the past ten years in the Western Pacific Region of the WHO. Differences in local contexts that are not consistent with global guidelines and standards were reported by informants. Issues have also been identified in the inconsistent regulation of plant-based medicines as pharmaceuticals within only certain, rather than all, processes of production. Conclusions: It is imperative to understand plant-based medicines as the potent substances they are, whose rapid global commodification may affect both their potency and safety. The WHO discourse of the need for safety in the use of plant-based medicines has justified the need for biomedical oversight through processes of commodification. Yet, it is often through these very processes of commodification and mass production that safety may be compromised. This research suggests that the discourse concerning the safety of the plant-based medicines needs to be reframed from a primary focus on the intrinsic factors of plant-based medicines to a greater focus on the extrinsic factors of global commodification. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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