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Books received

Agricultural uses of by-products and wastes. Edited by Jack E. Rechcigl and Herbert C. MacKinnon. ACS Symposium Series 668. American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C., 1997. (ISBN 0-8412-3514-7) 284 pages, hardcover. US$99.95.

In the 1970s there was a great deal of interest in the recycling of the world’s enormous quantities of organic waste for the production of food and feed. As population continues to increase, so do agricultural and industrial by-products. This volume, developed from a 1996 symposium, Uses of By-Products and Wastes in Agriculture, lives up to its title by focusing on agricultural uses for these wastes as fertilizer. Therefore, it is of primary interest to agricultural specialists.

The potential of organic wastes from agriculture, industry, and municipalities to be used as substrates for the production of biomass through fermentation receives only brief mention in one chapter. For readers interested in the production of food and feed from organic wastes, the United Nations University monograph Bioconversion of Organic Residues for Rural Communities is still recommended, even though it was published in 1978.

Field guide on rapid nutritional assessment in emergencies. World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, P.O. Box 1517, Alexandria 21511, Egypt, 1995. (ISBN 92-9021-198-9) 63 pages, spiral-bound paperback. US$6.00.

This concise and clearly written field guide is based on a consultation with experts and is intended for all who are faced with the need to make rapid but reliable estimates of nutritional status in emergencies, as a basis for subsequent action. Clear instructions are provided for diagnosing the extent of the problem, identifying groups at highest risk, and monitoring the effectiveness of interventions. Chapter topics include planning the survey, selection of subjects, sampling procedures, survey methodology, data recording, training and supervision, interpretation of results, and reporting findings. Annexes include the CDC/WHO normalized reference table of weight-for-height, instructions for using the Epi-Info computer programme, a list of requisite equipment, and other useful information.

Handbook of antioxidants. Edited by Enrique Cadenas and Lester Packer. Marcel Dekker, New York, 1996. (ISBN 0-8247-9298-X) 602 pages, hardcover. US$150.00.

This book reviews the growing evidence now available that antioxidants play a critical role in wellness, health maintenance, and the prevention of chronic degenerative disease. Four chapters deal with the antioxidant functions of vitamin E, three with carotenoids, and two with ascorbic acid. The current knowledge of antioxidant characteristics of coenzyme Q, uric acid, vitamin A, flavonoids and polyphenols, the herbal antioxidants, tea, gingko extract, a-lipoic acid, and melatonin and aminoindoles receives one chapter for each. Although the volume discusses general current aspects of antioxidant therapy for each of these antioxidant substances, it tends to focus mainly on the positive evidence. However, the specific chapters dealing with the clinical significance of the principal dietary antioxidants, vitamin E, carotenoids, and vitamin C, are more comprehensive. This is a useful current reference book but should not be used as the sole source of information on the health aspects of this important subject.

Introduction to nutrition and metabolism. Second edition. David A. Bender. Taylor and Francis, Bristol, Pa., USA, 1997. (ISBN 0-7484-0781-2) 335 pages, paperback. US$17.95.

This is a well-presented introduction to the principles of nutritional biochemistry and metabolism, with emphasis on the integration and control of metabolic functions. It is written at a level appropriate for undergraduate students with little previous knowledge except for organic chemistry. It serves this purpose well.

Mineral elements. Edited by Boyd L. O’Dell and Roger A. Sunde. Marcel Dekker, New York, 1997. (ISBN 0-8247-9312-9) 691 pages, hardcover. US$195.00.

Although, this handbook is designed primarily for students and professionals in all aspects of nutrition, it is also a valuable source of information for professionals in all areas of biology. Authoritatively written individual chapters on each of 22 minerals cover the full range of these minerals’ biological functions in animals and, where appropriate, in plants and microorganisms. Practising physicians may need to supplement this handbook with more comprehensive clinical examinations, but they will find this book invaluable for the basic information it provides on what is known about the metabolism of all the minerals of established or potential biological significance. This book should be available, at the very least, in every academic and medical library.

Sight and life manual on vitamin A deficiency disorders (VADD). Donald S. McLaren and Martin Frigg. Task Force SIGHT AND LIFE, P.O. Box 2116, 4002, Basel, Switzerland, 1997. (ISBN 3-906412-00-8) 138 pages, paperback. Limited distribution without charge.

This is a clearly written and well-illustrated comprehensive summary of current knowledge of vitamin A functions, food sources, and deficiency and of the methods of assessing vitamin A deficiency. There is also excellent coverage of the ocular complications as well as the effects on morbidity, mortality, growth, and immune response, and other functional consequences of vitamin A deficiency. The book also briefly but effectively discusses the epidemiology and control of vitamin A deficiency. This volume is highly recommended for its readability, authority, and choice of content.

Vitamin C in health and disease. Edited by Lester Packer and Jürgen Fuchs. Marcel Dekker, New York, 1997. (ISBN 0-8247-9313-7) 538 pages, hardcover. US$150.00.

This book provides excellent and balanced coverage of its subject and includes an initial chapter on the history of scurvy and vitamin C, 7 chapters on the chemistry and biochemistry of vitamin C, 11 on physiological and biomedical aspects, and 10 on nutrition and health. This is an adequate and balanced single source of information on this topic and should be available to all professionals concerned with any aspect of nutrition and related health issues.

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