Health Benefits of Pumpkins

What’s the best way to get healthy antioxidants out of pumpkins?

What’s the best way to get healthy antioxidants out of pumpkins?

It’s pumpkin season!  This widely grown squash has a high and diverse abundance of healthy nutrients, including antioxidant carotenoids that the body can convert into vitamin A.  The health benefits of pumpkins have anti-diabetic, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory qualities.

In the U.S., Halloween will be celebrated on October 31 with carved and decorated pumpkins.  Unfortunately the Cucurbita maxima variety used for jack o’ lanterns is not bred for eating, and these pumpkins are usually discarded after Halloween.

The food industry has tried using organic solvents to extract the carotenoids from discarded pumpkins, but these substances raise environmental concerns.  An alternative method is supercritical-CO2 fluid extraction, but this method produces much lower yields.  Chinese scientists discovered they can increase carotenoid yield – and antioxidant activity – by combining SC-CO2 extraction with modifiers such as olive oil, ethanol or even water.

In a separate study, researchers in Malaysia wanted to determine how to increase the production of carotenoids in pumpkins.  Scientists harvested pumpkins at various times of the year.  November pumpkins had the most zea-xanthin; February pumpkins had the most β-carotene, and June pumpkins had the most lutein.  The team also found that storing pumpkins at 20°C for two months would maximize the amounts of β-carotene and lutein.

Both studies used Agilent equipment, including an Agilent high-performance liquid chromatograph and an Agilent UV diode array detector, for their research.

This information is for research purposes only.  It is not intended for any use in diagnostic procedures.


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Radio Signals from Outer Space!

Telephone interference led to the birth of radio astronomy

Telephone interference led to the birth of radio astronomy

The Bell Telephone Company noticed that static was interfering with its telephone lines, and assigned an engineer to find out why.  Karl Guthe Jansky immediately identified two sources: nearby and distant thunderstorms.  But there was a third source of static – a faint, steady hiss – that he couldn’t pinpoint.

Jansky did what any engineer would do: he built a 100-foot antenna in a field to determine the cause.  Could it be the sun?  No; the static cycle repeated four minutes shy of 24 hours – a sidereal day versus a solar day.  Jansky finally determined that the static was originating from the constellation Sagittarius – the same direction as the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

The year was 1931.  Jansky had discovered the first radio waves to originate from beyond the solar system.  His discovery made the front page of the New York Times.  Then it was forgotten.  Bell Labs rejected Jansky’s request for additional funding.  He was reassigned and did no further work in astronomy.

Today, radio astronomy has surpassed traditional optical astronomy for studying the cosmos.  Jansky’s discovery was Nobel Prize-worthy, but he died at age 44 from a heart condition.  Two scientists who built on his work did become Nobel laureates.  Robert Wilson (1978 winner) discovered cosmic microwave background radiation and advanced the Big Bang theory.  Joseph Taylor (1993 winner) discovered a new type of pulsars.  The “jansky” is now the unit of measure for extraterrestrial electromagnetic energy.

The precision and sensitivity of Keysight Technologies (Agilent’s electronic measurement business) spectrum and signal analyzers make them ideal for advanced radio astronomy research.  Keysight flash analog-to-digital converters have helped enable astronomers to observe gamma rays, which occupy the highest levels of the electromagnetic spectrum.

In November, Keysight will become a standalone, publicly traded company.


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Agilent’s Longest-Serving Employee

Joyce Bertozzi is celebrating 55 years of service at HP/Agilent!

Joyce Bertozzi is celebrating 55 years of service at HP/Agilent!

Joyce Bertozzi just celebrated her 55-year anniversary working continuously for Agilent and its predecessor, Hewlett-Packard! Joyce holds the record as both the company’s longest-serving employee and its longest-serving active employee.

Yes, she’s still working!  When the Santa Clara, Calif., administrative assistant is asked why she still works after more than half a century, she replies, “What else would I do?”

Joyce started working for HP after graduating high school in 1959. That same year, the integrated circuit was patented, the Barbie doll was introduced, and the dark side of the moon was photographed for the first time.

With a career that spans more than half a century, Joyce has seen her share of change. “Business is a lot more cutthroat than it was years ago,” she remarks. “The atmosphere used to be more relaxed. Your work stayed at work and your home life was separate. Nowadays you have so much contact with your work, thanks to computers and cell phones, it seems like you can’t get away from it.”

Nevertheless, Joyce has no plans for retirement. “As long as I’m able, I’d like to keep working,” she says. “It keeps me active. I enjoy the people I work with, and I enjoy my job. I think it keeps me younger.”

What’s her next goal? “I want to reach 60 years of service,” she says, laughing.

Agilent CEO-Elect Mike McMullen congratulates Joyce for her 55 years

Agilent CEO-Elect Mike McMullen congratulates Joyce for her 55 years


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