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In recent decades, there has been a growing interest in the use of herbs and herbal medicinal products, both in developing and developed countries. While electronic medium has become a more and more important tool for presenting information about health-related issues, several studies demonstrated that the internet often contains inaccurate and/or misleading information. In our study we assessed 30 Hungarian websites and 2 cellphone applications intended for public use and evaluated the quality and credibility of the information presented about medicinal plants recommended. It was found that websites showed very diverse safety: most websites gave mixed information, that is, some medicinal herbs and their potential hazard were properly described, while others were not. There were, however, websites, which completely missed to give information about any potential hazard. As credibility of public websites can be in most cases questioned, it is strongly recommended for potential users to consult more than one source of information.

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Acta Biologica Hungarica
Authors: G. Paulovits, Nóra Kováts, A. Ács, Á. Ferincz, Anikó Kovács, B. Kakasi, Sz. Nagy, and Gy. Kiss

The main function of the Kis-Balaton Water Protection System is to retain nutrients and total suspended solids, thus protecting the water quality of Lake Balaton. In this paper, the toxic nature of the sediment in the 2nd reservoir of the KBWPS has been characterised, using a battery of tests: Vibrio fischeri acute bioassay on whole sediment samples, and V. fischeri bioassay on pore water and elutriate samples. The latest version of the V. fischeri bioluminescence inhibition was applied, the Flash assay which uses a kinetic mode and is able to detect the toxicity of solid, turbid/coloured samples. Whole sediment toxicity showed a clear spatial distribution of toxicity, in parallel with elutriate toxicity. However, no pore water toxicity was detected, leading to the conclusion that contaminants are not water soluble.

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Acta Biologica Hungarica
Authors: Á. Staszny, Enikő Havas, R. Kovács, B. Urbányi, G. Paulovits, Dóra Bencsik, Á. Ferincz, T. Müller, A. Specziár, Katalin Bakos, and Zs. Csenki

Intraspecific morphological variability may reflect either genetic divergence among groups of individuals or response of individuals to environmental circumstances within the frame of phenotypic plasticity. Several studies were able to discriminate wild fish populations based on their scale shape. Here we examine whether the variations in the scale shape in fish populations could be related to genetic or environmental factors, or to both of them. In the first experiment, two inbred lines of zebrafish, Danio rerio (Hamilton 1822) reared under identical environmental conditions were compared. Secondly, to find out what effect environmental factors might have, offsprings were divided into two groups and reared on different diets for 12 weeks. Potential recovery of scales from an environmental effect was also assessed. Experimental groups could successfully be distinguished according to the shape of scales in both experiments, and the results showed that both genetic and environmental factors may notably influence scale shape. It was concluded that scale shape analysis might be used as an explanatory tool to detect potential variability of environmental influences impacting genetically homogeneous groups of fish. However, due to its sensitivity to environmental heterogeneity, the applicability of this technique in identifying intraspecific stock membership of fish could be limited.

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