Biologist working in forestry

field work


Working in forestry from a biologists point of view is quite interesting.

Work days consist of field work and office days, what predominates depends on the season. The interesting part is, of course, working in nature. We conduct various measurements. For example, one type of measurements is called constant sample surfaces. There has to be a team of two, equipped with measure tapes, compass, maps, gps and a folder with the specification sheets. The maps and gps lead us to the exact spot on the particular surface where we monitor the state of the forest, the state of particular trees and wood increment. Continue reading

“Tooth paste”, baking soda and coconut oil

benefits of oil pulling and using baking soda

A while ago I promissed to write about how to make our own tooth paste using baking soda. I was testing this for a good few months and here’s what I foud out…

It’s not a DIY tooth paste tutorial, but it can (and should) replace the usual toothpaste once or a couple of times a week. What I do is, once or max twice a week I brush my teeth using baking soda. Just put a small amount on the toothbrush and brush normally. The teeth are incredibly smooth and you’re left with a fresh taste in your mouth. As it is well known, baking soda has an abrasive effect on the enamel, hence only once or twice a week. It’s supposed to have a bleaching effect too. But I haven’t noticed this after almost a year of practicing.

The other thing is coconut oil. This method I use every morning after first brushing my teeth. It’s supposed to be done before, but I can’t. Anyway, make sure to use organic virgin coconut oil. Take about ½ coffee spoon (some work their way up to a tablespoon) and swish the oil around in the mouth slowly. Make sure that oil reaches all parts of the mouth. Do this for ten to twenty minutes, gradually try to work up to twenty minutes. This oil then contains bacteria and toxines from the mouth so do not swallow. Spit all of it out when done (in the toilet) and rinse your mouth well with water.

oil pulling

Besides antibacterial and detox effects, practicing this is also supposed to make teeth whiter. Though the latter’s not working for me either, I do however feel very good after doing this. Healthier.

The exact antibacterial mechanism of the action of coconut oil is supposedly still unclear. But it was hypothesized that monolaurin and other medium chain monoglycerides can alter bacterial cell walls, penetrate and disrupt cell membranes, inhibit enzymes involved in energy production and nutrient transfer, leading to the death of the bacteria. Mostly aerobic, but it also affects some anaerobic strains (including some lactic acid bacteria).

In case of having any infections in the mouth, you should benefit greatly from both of the mentioned methods .


A week in Madeira

a week in madeira


In march we travelled to this fascinating island and were accordingly – fascinated.

The first thing while landing, the landscape reminds of a piece of aluminum foil when it gets crumpled, that’s how up and down it is. I mean, anyone can see photos on the internet and search through google maps, but in no world can one ever imagine that, untill actually there. Madeira is purely of volcanic origin, so the base is basalt rock, tuff on some places, thus all the rocks are colored brown to black (but they’re actually not that visible, as every square cm is covered with greenery).

I mentioned landing – if you haven’t been yet and are planning on going, just a hearty advice – do not watch the videos of planes landing on Madeira. Okay?

It’s a small island, so a week is enough to see everything one wants to see and at least drive through just about all the larger towns and villages. I’ll mostly let the photos do the talking and make comments along with them. I recommend seeing all the listed places, unless stated otherwise. As a biologist, I was mostly concentrated on geology, flora and fauna, as you will see in the photos, not so much on history and culture. But not at all saying these aspects are not interesting, because they are!

A walk through the capital – Funchal.

funchal center

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Nitrogen fixing bacteria in plants

How the process is carried out and evolution of nitrogenase.

There is 78 % of molecular nitrogen (N2) in the atmosphere which can be bound in compounds only by procaryotes. Eukaryotes cannot fix (that is make useful compounds of) atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into an ion, therefore they need symbiosis with prokaryotes as atmospheric nitrogen is relatively inert, it does not easily react with other chemicals to form new compounds. The fixation process frees up the nitrogen atoms from their triply bonded diatomic form, N≡N, to be used in other ways.

Biological nitrogen fixation is carried out by:

  • free-living soil bacteria (aerobic Azotobacter sp., anaerobic Clostridium sp.);
  • cyanobacteria (Nostoc sp., Calothrix sp.), both in water and on land;
  • plant associated bacteria (Rhizobium sp.) – this is what we’re concetrating on in this post;
  • epiphytic lichens in the tropics (Cyanobacterium sp. – which presents the algae part of the lichen, the other part is a fungus).

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