Check out these high times weed prices images:
Hard times at the bottom of the Bush economy
Image by Renegade98
From a tent city in Reno to a drug dealer’s block in Detroit, I saw how Republican rule has hit those living on the American fringe.
By Dan Hoyle
Oct. 13, 2008 |
The Flying J Truck Stop outside of Jerome, Idaho, has some of the cheapest gas in the area, so on a Tuesday afternoon in late September, vehicles were lined up at its 16 pumps. For Rickie S., this would normally mean brisk business — he’s been an itinerant polisher of semitrailer wheels and hubcaps for the past 26 years. He doesn’t have a résumé or calling card but insists his work is world-class. “Get on a CB and ask about Rickie — I’m known coast to coast,” he says. But lately the truckers, who have been crunched by high gas prices for months, have been reluctant to hire Rickie even for a few bucks to buff and shine their rigs.
Business has gotten so bad that Rickie, who is 50 years old, has decided to abandon his trade.
“I’m done. I just threw away my rags, all my polish. You can’t make any money doing that anymore,” he says, taking a seat on his Army duffel bag and pushing back his Conway trucker’s mesh cap. He glances at the dirt caking the rims of my van, accumulated over 11,000 miles of traversing the country since June, and shares his story of economic blues. “I’ve got three blankets, two dollars, one beer and a 50 percent chance of survival,” he says. “This economy is bad, man! And guess what? The buck stops here.”
With the American financial system in crisis, politicians in both parties have taken every opportunity to denounce the corporate pirates of Wall Street and sound off on behalf of the anxious working majority. But far off embattled Main Street is another troubling picture of the nation’s economic swoon, where the working poor and lifelong scrappers struggle to keep from sliding onto Skid Row. For those on the bottom rung of the economic ladder, the current crisis is in a sense a mere aggravation of years of hard times. But for some it has turned particularly harsh.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor statistics, the national poverty rate increased from a record low of 11.3 percent in 2000 to 12.5 percent in 2007 — an increase of approximately 5.8 million Americans living below the poverty line. “In George W. Bush’s presidency, there’s been an almost total absence of benefits of growth trickling down to the middle class, much less to those at the bottom,” says Jared Bernstein, an economist with the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, whose extensive writing on the working poor includes the book "The State of Working America." The nation’s unemployment rate has risen from 4 percent in 2000 to 6.1 percent at present. Bush’s economic policy has been marked by tax cuts largely beneficial to the wealthy, while federal funding for many programs helping low-income people has not kept pace with inflation.
Traveling around the country for three months this summer and fall, I found abundant evidence of an economy under strain. At the truck stop in Idaho, amid overgrown lots in run-down Detroit, at idle slot machines and in a dusty tent city in Nevada, I met people struggling to survive on the fringes of the faltering economy. Many were suspicious of a journalist’s inquiries and wary of divulging personal information (including their last names). But they were outspoken about the way economic hardship has hit home in recent months.
In Jackpot, Nev., a casino town of 1,416 people, Olivia A., 38, waits tables at Barton’s Club 93 Casino. She is a lot less busy these days, even with the prime rib special dinner on a recent Monday going for the tantalizing price of .98. The casino is not empty — there are still a few older women pulling on long, thin cigarettes and feeding slots with names such as Winning Times and Stinkin’ Rich — but Olivia says business is way down. As a result, her hours have been cut. A mother of three, she never expected to be struggling so hard to pay the bills when she left her job as an accountant in Mexico more than a decade ago to come to the U.S. with her husband. Leaving a middle-class job in Mexico was difficult, yet worth a better life for her children, she had thought.
But lately, every day seems less of an improvement over her previous life in Mexico. “Sometimes, I think about going back,” she says. “the only reason I’m here is for my kids. Back home I was a professional. I had a completely different life.”
The severity of the downturn can also be seen beyond the legal edges of the economy. On a recent Sunday afternoon on Jefferson Avenue, in Detroit’s notorious East Jefferson neighborhood, Joe, 37, is dressed in street-business casual: a white Adidas T-shirt, gray stonewashed jeans, white Adidas sneakers and a black do-rag. But the tattered state of his attire is a telltale sign that sales are down at his corner drug business, where he waits anxiously for today’s payday to come from across Alter Road. Three blocks to the north, the boarded-up storefronts and treeless sidewalks here give way to a leafy, boutique-strewn lane of Jefferson Avenue in Grosse Pointe, the wealthy suburb that is home to many of the top engineers and executives of the American auto industry. They have been some of Joe’s most profitable customers over the years. “When a white person come across Alter Road, they might spend 0 at a time,” explains Joe, “whereas round here, people only looking for dimes and nicks [ and bags].”
Over the past year, Joe’s big buyers from the suburbs have been cutting back. Like everyone else in the Motor City, Joe has felt the impact of losses at Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. “As goes the Big Three, so go Detroit, and I mean everybody,” says Joe. He grew up on welfare, and admits to being “knee deep in the drug game” since he was 15 years old, but he complains that he is even less shielded from the economic crisis as a part of the illegal and informal economy. He says he has been struggling to make child support payments for two kids. “At least the autoworkers get memberships to Sam’s Club and Costco. We have to buy our Pampers at the corner store for !”
Detroit has the highest poverty rate of any American city at 33.8 percent, with many blocks boasting only a lone house surrounded by fields of overgrown weeds. Watching the cars pass by, Joe eyes a yellow BMW. “Right there! That dude spent about 0 last week right here on this corner,” he declares. “But he didn’t come round last weekend like he normally do. You know he’s thinking, ‘I can’t be blowing money now. I might lose my job.’”
Economists across the board agree that this decade has been nothing like the 1990s, which saw sustained, healthy economic growth at most levels. Still, Rea S. Hederman Jr., an economist at the conservative Heritage Foundation, seeks to paint a less bleak picture when it comes to the plight of the working class. He notes that consumption inequality has increased far more slowly than income inequality, as more and more people at the bottom of the economic ladder own cellphones, dishwashers and microwaves. Hederman, preferring the term “pro-growth” to “trickle down” economics, also points to a long streak of positive job growth numbers from August 2003 to January 2008.
But with regard to those numbers, Bernstein, of the Economic Policy Institute, says that the period from March 2001 to December 2007 was “the worst business cycle on record for job growth, and you won’t find an economist to disagree with that," with jobs growing at just 0.7 percent annually, well below the 2 percent annual average. Put another way, in the 1990s, 21 million jobs were created, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while in this decade only between 5 and 7 million jobs have been created, according to various estimates. (The decade isn’t over yet, but few economists are likely to be predicting a bonanza of job creation in the two years remaining.)
A stark picture of what it means to be down and out these days has cropped up just four blocks from the towering casino hotels of downtown Reno. After a local homeless shelter reached overflow capacity this spring, people began pitching tents in the dirt of an open lot; a tent city of more than 50 structures has since sprung up. On a warm late September afternoon, I weaved my way around people’s makeshift homes, some adorned with T-shirts featuring arty designs, others guarded by plastic animal lawn ornaments. People’s stories were a potent mixture of misfortune, bad decisions and dwindling opportunities.
In recent times, Bill Rosenbaum, 48, was installing carpet for new subdivision homes in Southern California and Arizona, traveling so much that he found it easier to stay in hotels. Then his van blew out and the home foreclosure crisis crippled the market for new carpet installation — and he was homeless for the first time in his life. He recently found a day job picking up pine cones for a rancher outside town. He hopes to save enough money to buy a new van and start his business back up.
Tammy Tyra, 47, of Seymour, Texas, was a trucker for the Landstar Carrier Group until last November, when she started having seizures. Diagnosed with epilepsy, she was forced to quit. Unable to find a new job, she eventually found her way to the tent city in Reno. She put her goal in simple terms: “I want to get me a freakin’ job!”
Alden Collins, 56, lost his job when he refused to take a pay cut from to an hour at a restaurant in Lake Tahoe. As he told his story, it quickly devolved into a song. (His friends nearby noted that he had been off his medication recently.) Nashing his teeth between notes, and banging his foot in the dirt to keep time, he sang, “Trying to go to work/ yeah yeah yeah/ but workin’ in the dirt just don’t work for me.”
Many of the people at the tent city suffered from mental health issues, and as social programs have been cut, they have less access to services. Those at the bottom have suffered in multiple ways, Bernstein says. “They’ve been hit on two sides. The markets are letting them down, and our government is letting them down.”
Debbie Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs, a Washington-based advocacy group for low-income people, says that “there’s been a great deal of shrinkage of a bunch of different kinds of services.” The organization has tracked 97 federally funded programs during Bush’s second term in office; according to data from Weinstein, federal funding for all but 13 of the 97 programs failed to keep up with inflation. Funding for major initiatives such as the Center for Mental Health, Adult job Training and Homeless Assistance Grants (which have budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars), was down between 8 and 17 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars from 2004 to 2008.
According to both Bernstein and Hederman, those at the bottom usually receive less attention in times of economic crisis. They are a politically insignificant group compared to the broad American middle class, and expressing support in policy terms for the poor, who are often seen as lazy recipients of the un-American handout, can be risky for a politician in a close election. “The poor have been pretty invisible on the political stage,” Bernstein says. “It’s usually only in boom times that we look at those issues closely, and people debate if there are policy failures or they are just lazy bums.”
“I’d like to think people are more sympathetic in terms of volunteerism and charitable contributions," Hederman says. But a bad economy can get in the way, he says. "People are also looking to save in case things get worse.”
Setting aside any moral imperatives to aid the working class and poor, it’s evident that the relative health of this population tells us something about the state of the country.
At the truck stop outside Jerome, Idaho, Rickie speaks of two decades as a troubled but hard-working independent contractor to truckers across the country. On a good day he said he could make 0 to 0 polishing rigs; lately, he was lucky to make to . He expresses sharp frustration with the truckers, many of whom were loyal customers for years. “I feel like getting on that CB radio and saying, ‘Y’all are the sorriest motherfuckers I know, driving around the country with dirty wheels and dirty trucks. You gotta have some pride in your ride!’”
He cocks his head and watches a 18-wheeler with dirty rims easing out into traffic. “But people just don’t have any money for that anymore," he adds. "I know.”
– By Dan Hoyle
PriceRitePhotos Supposed “Out of Stock” Camera
Image by Thomas Hawk
Yesterday I posted an image here for my article on the abusive sales practices taking place at PriceRitePhoto in New York. Interestingly enough, the camera that two days ago they told me was "out of stock" when I refused to buy their overpriced accesories is still showing even with today’s date on their website.
As an update to my photo from Tuesday, since then here is what has gone on with the attention that this story has received:
Update #1: Found this text on their eBay store ad: "We guarantee our customers to have the best quality products and the best customer service! Our customers love us for our friendly attitude, buy with confidence!"
This just makes me sick. If you want to Digg this story you can here.
Update #2: Well I just received a call back from Steve Phillips at PriceRitePhoto. He said that I should be expecting a call from the "FBI" shortly and that "my tactics" of flooding his store’s phone lines was "illegal." When I asked him to hold on as I wanted to turn on my recorder to record our conversation he hung up on me.
Of course I have not called his store at all but I’d imagine that the attention that his abuse has recieved from Digg and other places on the internet may have something to do with that.
My boss did have a conversation with me about the fact that this guy called him yesterday and was very understanding about the situation.
Update #3: Also since calling my boss, Steve Phillips has called my boss’ assistant several times this morning as well. Contrary to Steve Phillips claims, I still have had no police officers show up at my office to "arrest me." Nor have I been contacted by the "FBI."
Last night when I called AMEX it appeared that PriceRitePhoto had not charged my card yet. My guess is that when I refused to buy their high priced accessories that they never had any intention of sending me the camera at their advertised price. I blocked the card with AMEX and will be getting a new number to prevent them from further abusing my credit card.
I have also filed a complaint with the New York Attorney General’s office regarding their behavior and have left negative reviews on my experience with their company on most of the shopping comparison services that they are included in. Hopefully from the attention that this story has received they will reflect on the appropriateness of their sales tactics going forward.
If anyone has a contact at Yahoo! Shopping it would be nice to learn from them that they were being delisted or at least investigated over this.
Interestingly enough, it was just two weeks back that Yahoo! made an announcement about an overhaul to their shopping service. It would seem that they plan to include more social networking type reviews on products and vendors in the future. Hopefully whatever new system they put in place will help weed out the bad apples like PriceRitePhoto.
Of course even as late as today, they still have the camera that they told me as out of stock on their internet site for sale for ,899.
Update #4: Received this email back from the New York State Attorney General’s Office today: "Dear Consumer:
Thank you for your submission to the New York State Attorney General’s Internet Bureau. On behalf of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, I want to thank you for taking the time to alert us to this matter. Your assistance is vital to our efforts to serve the people of the State of New York.
We have added your submission to our files. It is through complaints such as yours that we learn of patterns of fraud and illegality. If you have any questions about this matter, please call us at (212) 416-8433. For other consumer-related matters, please call our consumer hotline at (800) 771-7755.
Thank you for contacting us."
Update #5: Thanks to a complaint by Digg User loker269, PriceGrabber has now delisted PriceRitePhoto. Nice to see PriceGrabber do the responsible thing here.
Update #6: This story has risen to the number one dugg story on Digg this year with 5439 diggs so far today. Thanks diggers!
I also received this email today from Joe Lazarus, Director of Marketing for Yahoo! Inc.: "Tom, I wanted to follow up on a comment I added to your post on PriceRitePhoto. I work at Yahoo! Shopping. I passed your issue along to our Customer Care team who will investigate and take the appropriate action per our merchant Guidelines and Terms of Service. I covered some more details in my comment. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions. ~ Joe"
Update #7: This story just made the front page of Slashdot. It was also on Boing Boing and Metafilter today along with many, many other blogs. I truly hope that this attention shines a light on the abusive bait and switch tactics that so many of you have also unfortunately experienced and shared in your comments.
The support is overwhelming and very much appreciated. And, yes, yes, yes, I do know that I was stupid and should have known better and done my homework before buying from these guys — but that doesn’t negate the fact that their sales tactics are wrong and deserve to be stopped.
Update #8: Although I have not heard directly back from Yahoo! or their Marketing Director Joe Lazarus. It would appear at least that for the time being, today, PriceRitePhoto is not operating on Yahoo! Shopping. They are still listed as a mechant there and there is a link to their store but when you do a search by their store for products for sale through Yahoo! you get the following message: "We didn’t find any product results for mid:1016578." I’m not sure if Yahoo! pulled their listings or if PriceRitePhoto did or if that is just part of what happens when Yahoo! investigates a company. I hope that if after investigating Yahoo! concludes that this company is acting unethically that they will in fact delist them altogether. I will update as I hear more on this.
Also, fortunately, my server has held up remarkedbly well with all of the traffic being sent to this story from the above sources. I recently had to move from a shared server to a dedicated server with lots of excess capacity because I’ve had many highly ranked Google Images that had been eating through my bandwidth in the past. Also it helps keep my bandwidth usage down as the photos that are included as part of this story are actually hosted by Flickr my favorite site on the internet and as I oft like to repeat, "almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world." Ironically, of course in all of this, Flickr is owned by Yahoo!
Below is an image of the company’s website this morning. As you can see, the camera that was supposedly "out of stock" when I refused to purchase their high priced accessories is still being shown for sale at the ,899 price even still today. I suspect that they do actually have the camera in stock but that they only sell it to those who load up on expensive accessories and warranty plans from them.
Immature pods of Theobroma Cacao … Trái Cacao non ….
Image by Vietnam Plants & America plants
Chup hình ở Bến Tre, VietNam
Taken in Bến Tre province, Southern of VietNam
Vietnamese named : Cacao
English names : Cacao, Cocoa
Scientist name : Theobroma cacao
Family : Sterculiaceae ‘ Cacao family . Họ Trôm
KingdomPlantae – Plants
SubkingdomTracheobionta – Vascular plants
SuperdivisionSpermatophyta – Seed plants
DivisionMagnoliophyta – Flowering plants
ClassMagnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
GenusTheobroma L. – theobroma
SpeciesTheobroma cacao L. – cacao
Searched from :
Ca cao (Theobroma cacao) thuộc thứ Theobroma họ Stercu-liaceae. Thứ Theobroma bao gồm 22 loài, trong đó chỉ có loài Theobroma ca cao được trồng rộng rãi còn các loài khác hoặc hoang dại, hoặc rất ít được trồng.
Các tác giả chia Theobroma cacao ra hai loài phụ là :
Theobroma cacao spp. cacao, gồm các quần thể dạng Criollo.
Theobroma cacao sphaerocarpum, gồm các quần thể còn lại, trong đó có Forastero.
Các loài phụ này đều là các dòng nhị bội, với số nhiễm sắc thể 2 n = 20.
I. SINH TRƯỞNG THÂN
Khi hạt ca cao nẩy mầm, rễ mọc ra trước, sau đó 2 lá mầm được đội lên khỏi mặt đất 3 – 4 cm. Đó là giai đoạn sinh trưởng thứ nhất.
Giai đoạn sinh trưởng thứ hai bắt đầu từ lúc các lá sò mở ra sau đó 4 lá đầu tiên xuất hiện. Cây sinh trưởng tiếp tục trong 6 ( 7 tuần lễ và chiều cao có thể đạt trên 1 m.
Giai đoạn sinh trưởng thứ ba bắt đầu sau đó, lúc việc sinh trưởng theo chiều cao bắt đầu chậm lại và 5 chồi bên phát triển đồng thời, tạo thành một “tầng” lá.
Sau một số năm, cây ca cao có thể đạt chiều cao 4 ( 10 m tùy theo mật độ và độ che sáng. Các chồi vượt thường hình thành từ thân cành chính và cũng tạo ra các “tầng” lá, làm cho cây ca cao tạo tán rõ rệt. Tán cây ca cao có liên quan nhiều đến sản lượng, vì vậy việc tạo tán cho cây là một kỹ thuật quan trọng trong nghề trồng ca cao.
Lá ca cao phát triển thành từng đợt. Mỗi đợt các chồi đỉnh phát triển nhanh tạo ra từ 3 đến 6 cặp lá mới. Các lá mới đều có màu xanh nhạt hoặc hơi đỏ nhưng khi thành thục hoàn toàn sẽ có màu xanh của lá trưởng thành. Sau mỗi đợt lá mới, các chồi đỉnh lại đi vào tình trạng ngủ một thời gian dài hay ngắn tùy vào một số điều kiện ngoại cảnh.
Ở một đợt ra lá mới, chất dinh dưỡng được chuyển một phần từ các lá già về và làm các lá già này rụng. Vì vậy có người còn gọi mỗi đợt lá mới ở ca cao là thay áo. Trong các yếu tố ngoại cảnh dẫn đến đợt lá mới chủ yếu là nhiệt độ và độ ẩm. Mưa giúp các đợt ra lá mới dày hơn và ở các cây ca cao không được che nắng lá mới cũng ra nhiều hơn ca cao trồng có che.
Sinh trưởng của cây ca cao
Các khí khổng đều nằm ở mặt dưới phiến lá.
Trồng ở khoảng cách thích hợp, các tầng lá của vườn ca cao trưởng thành sẽ đan thành một thảm xanh dày. Ánh sáng lọt qua tầng lá của các cây che bóng cao hơn vẫn đủ cho cây ca cao quang hợp và chuyển hóa chất dinh dưỡng. Việc che bóng cho cây ca cao đặc biệt cần thiết ở giai đoạn cây con trong vườn ương . Vì có nguồn gốc là những cây mọc dưới tán rừng rậm nhiệt đới, ca cao thuộc loài cây ưa bóng. Nếu nhiều ánh sáng quá, sinh trưởng ca cao ở vườn ương sẽ không bình thường, cây không đủ độ cao và nhanh biến thành dạng bụi nhiều nhánh. Khi trưởng thành, vườn ca cao không có cây che phủ dễ bị sâu phá hại và gió làm thương tổn các đợt lá mới.
Bộ rễ ca cao gồm một rễ trụ chính có thể dài tới 2 m, kèm theo một hệ thống rễ phụ chủ yếu nằm ở tầng đất mặt 20 cm. Bộ rễ phụ đan dày đặc giúp ca cao hút chất dinh dưỡng và rễ trụ có nhiệm vụ hút nước và chất dinh dưỡng ở tầng sâu lên.
Hoa ca cao phát triển trực tiếp trên thân và cành ở các chỗ đã hóa gỗ ít nhất 2 – 3 năm. Hoa nhỏ, màu hồng có 5 cánh, 5 đài hoa và bầu nhị có 5 ngăn. Cánh hoa ở dưới thon lại trên phình rộng ra, làm cho cánh hoa ca cao có hình thù khá đặc biệt. Hoa ca cao có 10 nhị đực trong đó chỉ có 5 nhị đực nằm phía trong là có chức năng sinh sản. Mỗi nhị đực này có 2 túi phấn.
Khi một nụ hoa đã thành thục, các đài hoa tách vào buổi chiều, hoa tiếp tục nở qua đêm và sáng hôm sau là lúc các túi phấn tung phấn và thụ phấn xảy ra trong ngày. Các hoa không được thụ phấn sẽ rụng.
Trên mỗi cây ca cao trưởng thành có thể thấy rất nhiều hoa hình thành nhưng thông thường chỉ 1 – 5% được thụ tinh và kết trái.
Việc thụ phấn chủ yếu do côn trùng thuộc họ Ceratopogonidae. Vì chúng rất nhỏ nên khó quan sát thấy. Chúng sống ở những nơi mát, tối và ẩm và sinh sản trên các tàn dư thực vật, kể cả trên các vỏ quả ca cao. Vòng đời của loài côn trùng này khoảng 28 ngày và quần thể chúng tăng rõ rệt vào mùa mưa. Cả côn trùng đực và cái đều làm nhiệm vụ thụ phấn nhưng những con cái tích cực hơn. Chúng hoạt động thụ phấn chủ yếu vào chiều tối, bay từ cây nọ qua cây kia ở một khoảng cách nhỏ. Mặc dù thụ phấn do côn trùng, việc phun thuốc sâu chỉ ảnh hưởng một thời gian vài ngày tới mật độ quần thể côn trùng vì chúng phục hồi rất nhanh, và vì vậy chưa có bằng chứng rõ rệt về ảnh hưởng xấu của việc phun thuốc sâu lúc ra hoa đến sản lượng quả.
Ca cao có mức độ thụ phấn chéo cao vì phần lớn các giống trồng hiện nay đều tự bất thụ. Mức độ tự bất thụ cũng không giống nhau ở các loài phụ khác nhau.
V. QUẢ VÀ HẠT
Sau khi thụ phấn, hạt phấn nảy mầm trên đầu nhị cái và vòi phấn chui vào để thụ tinh với noãn. Hợp tử bắt đầu phát triển để thành hạt ca cao.
Trong 40 ngày đầu quả ca cao phát triển chậm nhưng sau đó nhanh dần. Quả đạt kích thước lớn nhất sau thụ phấn độ 75 ngày. Sau 85 ngày phôi hạt bắt đầu lớn nhanh, noãn sào được lấp đầy các chất nội nhũ nhày. Sau 140 ngày phôi hạt đã tiêu thụ gần hết số chất nhày này để phát triển, trong hạt tích lũy một lượng lớn dầu béo. Khi phôi hạt ngừng phát triển là lúc quả chín.
Như vậy thời gian từ khi thụ phấn đến khi quả chín kéo dài 5 ( 6 tháng.
Số lượng hoa thụ tinh mặc dù nhỏ so với tổng số hoa nhưng cây ca cao thường không duy trì được hết số quả đã hình thành. Trong vòng 100 ngày sau khi thụ tinh chủ yếu vào các thời điểm sau 50 và 70 ngày, quả non có thể trở nên vàng, ngừng sinh trưởng sau đó đen lại nhưng vẫn dính trên cây.
Tỷ lệ quả không đi đến được giai đoạn chín tùy thuộc rất nhiều vào loài và điều kiện ngoại cảnh. Sâu bệnh cũng là một yếu tố quan trọng.
Cây ca cao ra trái
Mỗi quả ca cao thường chứa 30 – 40 hạt, chung quanh hạt có màng chất nhầy bao bọc. Màng nhầy có vị hơi ngọt và là cơ chất cho quá trình lên men khi ủ hạt sau này.
Quả ca cao có kích thước hình dáng màu sắc khá đa dạng. Kích thước có thể từ 10 – 30 cm (dài), hình dáng có thể từ gần tròn đến dài dạng ống, vỏ ngoài có thể tương đối nhẵn hoặc xù xì. Màu sắc có thể từ xanh vàng đến tím sẫm hoặc hơi đỏ.
Tập tính của ca cao là thụ phấn chéo bằng côn trùng vì vậy sự phân ly tính trạng rất rõ rệt. Các quả trên cùng một cây có thể giống nhau nhưng trong cùng một vườn có thể gặp nhiều dạng quả khác nhau rõ rệt.
**** TRƯỜNG ĐẠI HỌC NÔNG LÂM THÀNH PHỐ HỒ CHÍ MINH : Kỷ thuật trồng cây Cacao .
**** TVVN.ORG : bài viết về cây Cacao của Dược sĩ Trần Việt Hưng : ( Xin nhấp vào link để đọc đầy đủ thông tin của bài viết này. )
Giá trị dinh dưỡng của bột Cacao
(100 gram chứa )
- Calories 229
- Chất đạm19.6 g
- Chất béo13.7 g
- Calcium128 mg
- Sắt13.86 mg
- Magnesium499 mg
- Phosphorus734 mg
- Potassium1.524 mg
- Sodium21 mg
- Kẽm6.81 mg
- Đồng3.788 mg
- Mangnese3.83 mg
-Beta Carotene (A)20 IU
- Thiamine (B1)0.078 mg
- Riboflavine (B2)0.241 mg
- Niacin (B3)2.185 mg
- Panthothenic acid0.254 mg
- Pyridoxine0.018 mg
- Folic acid32 mcg
Cacao seeds are the source of commercial cocoa, chocolate, and cocoa butter. Fermented seeds are roasted, cracked and ground to give a powdery mass from which fat is expressed. This is the cocoa from which a popular beverage is prepared. In the preparation of chocolate, this mass is mixed with sugar, flavoring, and extra cocoa fat. Milk chocolate incorporates milk as well. Cocoa butter is used in confections and in manufacture of tobacco, soap, and cosmetics. Cocoa butter has been described as the world’s most expensive fat, used rather extensively in the emollient "bullets" used for hemorrhoids.
Reported to be antiseptic, diuretic, ecbolic, emmenagogue, and parasiticide, cacao is a folk remedy for alopecia, burns, cough, dry lips, eyes, fever, listlessness, malaria, nephrosis, parturition, pregnancy, rheumatism, snakebite, and wounds (Duke and Wain, 1981). Cocoa butter is applied to wrinkles in the hope of correcting them (Leung, 1980).
Per 100 g, the seed is reported to contain 456 calories, 3.6 g H2O, 12.0 g protein, 46.3 g fat, 34.7 g total carbohydrate, 8.6 g fiber, 3.4 g ash, 106 mg Ca, 537 mg P, 3.6 mg Fe, 30 mg b-carotene equivalent, 0.17 mg thiamine, 0.14 mg riboflavin, 1.7 mg niacin, and 3 mg ascorbic acid. According to the Wealth of India, the edible pulp of the fruit contains 79.7–88.5% water, 0.5–0.7% albuminoids, astringents, etc.; 8.3–13.1% glucose, 0.4–0.9% sucrose, a trace of starch, 0.2–0.4% non-volatile acids (as tartaric), 0.03% Fe2O3 and 0.4% mineral salts (K, Na, Ca, Mg). The shell contains 11.0% moisture, 3.0% fat, 13.5% protein, 16.5% crude fiber, 9.0% tannins, 6.0% pentosans, 6.5% ash, and 0.75 theobromine. Raw seeds contain 0.24 mg/100 g thiamine, 0.41 riboflavin, 0.09 pyridoxine, 2.1 nicotinamide, and 1.35 pantothenic acid. The component fatty acids of cocoa butter are 26.2% palmitic and lower acids, 34.4 stearic and higher acids, 37.3% oleic acid, 2.1% linoleic and traces of isoleic. In g/100g the individual amino acids in the water soluble fractions of unfermented and fermented beans are lysine 0.08, 0.56; histidine 0.08, 0.04; arginine 0.08, 0.03; threonine 0.14, 0.84; serine 0.88, 1.99; glutamic acid 1.02, 1.77; proline 0.72, 1.97; glycine 0.09, 0.35; alanine 1.04, 3.61; valine 0.57, 2.60; isoleucine 0.56, 1.68; leucine 0.45, 4.75; tyrosine 0.57, 1.27; and phenylalanine 0.56–3.36 g/100g. Unfermented and fermented beans contain p-hydroxybenzoic acid, vanillic acid, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, and syringic acid, while the fermented beans also contain protocatechuic, phenylacetic, phloretic acid and the lactone esculetin and o- and p-hydroxyphenyl acids. Caffeic acid occurs in the unfermented beans (C.S.I.R., 1948–1976). According to an article in the Chicago Sun Times, people who suffer extreme depression as victims of unrequited love have an irregular production of phenylethylamine. Such individuals often go on chocolate binge during periods of depression. Chocolate is particularly high in phenylethylamine, perhaps serving as medication. Theophylline is a potent CNS and cardiovascular stimulant with diuretic and bronchial smooth muscle relaxant properties. Recently this drug was proven effective in preventing and treating apnea in premature infancy. Cocoa contains over 300 volatile compounds, including esters, hydrocarbonslactones, monocarbonyls, pyrazines, pyrroles, and others. The important flavor components are said to be aliphatic esters, polyphenols, unsaturated aromatic carbonyls, pyrazines, diketopiperazines, and theobromine. Cocoa also contains about 18% proteins (ca 8% digestible); fats (cocoa butter); amines and alkaloids, including theobromine (0.5 to 2.7%), caffeine (ca 0.25% in cocoa; 0.7 to 1.70 in fat-free beans, with forasteros containing less than 0.1% and criollos containing 1.43 to 1.70%), tyramine, dopamine, salsolinol, trigonelline, nicotinic acid, and free amino acids; tannins; phospholipids; etc. Cocoa butter contains mainly triglycerides of fatty acids that consist primarily of oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids. Over 73% of the glycerides are present as monounsaturated forms (oleopalmitostearin and oleodistearin), the remaining being mostly diunsaturated glycerides (palmitodiolein and stearodiolein), with lesser amounts of fully saturated and triunsaturated (triolein glycerides). Linoleic acid levels have been reported to be up to 4.1%. Also present in cocoa butter are small amounts of sterols and methylsterols; sterols consist mainly of b-sitosterol, stigmasterol, and campesterol, with a small quantity of cholesterol. In addition to alkaloids (mainly theobromine), tannins, and other constituents, cocoa husk contains a pigment that is a polyflavone glucoside with a molecular weight of over 1500, this pigment is claimed to be heat and light resistant, highly stable at pH 3 to 11, and useful as a food colorant; it was isolated at a 7.9% yield (Leung, 1980).
Reviewing the work on safrole, Buchanan (J. Food Safety 1:275.1978) concluded that it is the most thoroughly investigated methylenedioxybenzene derivative. The major flavoring constituent in sassafras root bark, safrole also occurs in basil (Perdue and Hartwell, eds., 1976), black pepper, cinnamon leaf oil, cocoa, mace, nutmeg, parsley, and star anise oil. When safrole was identified as a "low grade hepatocarcinogen, it was banned in root beer, and the FDA in 1976 banned interstate marketing of sassafras for sassafras tea. The oral LD50 for safrole in rats is 1950 mg/kg body weight, with major symptoms including ataxia, depression, and diarrhea, death occurring in 4–5 days. Ingestion of relatively large amounts of sassafras oil produced psychoactive and hallucinogenic effects persisting several days in humans. With rats, dietary safrole at levels of 0.25%, 0.5% and 1% produced growth retardation, stomach and testicular atrophy, liver necrosis, and biliary proliferation and primary hepatomas. Sutton (1981) reports the collapse and death of a 3-year old bitch that had eaten a 250 g package of cocoa. Postmortem examination revealed congestion of lungs, liver, kidney, and pancreas, and petechial and ecchymotic hemorrhage of the thymus, all compatible with acute circulatory failure. The stomach contained high concentrations of theobromine and/or caffeine. Though used cosmetically, cocoa butter has been reported to have allergenic and comedogenic properties in animals. Tyler (1982) produces a chart comparing various caffeine sources to which I have added rounded figures from Palotti (1977).
Cup (6 oz.) expresso coffee:310 mg
Cup (6 oz.) boiled coffee:100 mg
Cup (6 oz.) instant coffee:65mg
Cup (6 oz.) tea:10–50 mg
Cup (6 oz.) cocoa:13 mg
Can (6 oz.) cola:25 mg
Can (6 oz.) coca cola:20 mg
Cup (6 oz.) mate:25–50 mg
Can (6 oz.) pepsi cola:10 mg
Tablet Caffeine:100–200 mg
Tablet (800 mg) Zoom (Paullinia cupana):60 mg
In humans, caffeine, 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine, is demethylated into three primary metabolites: theophylline, theobromine, and paraxanthine. Since the early part of the 20th century, theophylline has been used in therapeutics for bronchodilation, for acute ventricular failure, and for long-term control of bronchial asthma. At 100 mg/kg theophylline is fetotoxic to rats, but no teratogenic abnormalities were noted. In therapeutics, theobromine has been used as diuretic, as a cardiac stimulant, and for dilation of arteries. But at 100 mg, theobromine is fetotoxic and teratogen (Collins, FDA By-lines No. 2, April 1981). Leung (1980) reports a fatal dose in man at 10,000 mg, with 1,000 mg or more capable of inducing headache, nausea, insomnia, restlessness, excitement, mild delirium, muscle tremor, tachycardia, and extrasystoles. Leung also adds "caffeine has been reported to have many other activities including mutagenic, teratogenic, and carcinogenic activities; … to cause temporary increase in intraocular pressure, to have calming effects on hyperkinetic children…to cause chronic recurring headache…"
Small tree usually 4–8 m tall, rarely up to 20 m; at 1–1.5 m the terminal bud breaks into 3–5 meristems to give several lateral upright shoots; primary branching by successive whorls of normally spreading branches; young branchlets terete, grayish green or brownish, densely or sparsely pubescent, with simple or furcate hairs 0.1–0.3 mm long, later glabrate, more or less striate; stipules subulate, very acute, 5–14 mm long, 0.5–1.5 mm broad at base, pubescent, deciduous; leaves large, coriaceous or chartaceous, alternate, distichous on normal branches, green; petiole pubescent or tomentose, with simple, rather dense, spreading hairs, thickened pulvinate at ends; blades 12–60 cm long, 4–20 cm broad, elliptic to obovate-oblong, entire, glabrous; inflorescence on trunk and branches, usually borne on small tubercles in short cymose branchlets, peduncles 1–3 mm long, stellate-pubescent; bracts ovate or ovate-oblong, pubescent; bracteoles ovate-oblong, acute or subacute, 0.5–1.2 mm long, pubescent, deciduous; pedicels capillary, rigid, pale green, whitish or reddish, 5–15 mm long, with stellate or furcate hairs and sparce many-celled, glandular, capitate trichomes; sepals lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, acute, white, greenish-white, pale violaceous or reddish, faintly 3-veined, united at base, 5–8 mm long, 1.5–2 mm broad, with hairs and trichomes; petals contorted in aestivation, thick-membranous, hood 3–4 mm long, 0.5–2 mm wide, obovate, rounded at apex, white, 3-veined, lamina pale yellowish, 1.5–2.5 mm long, 1.5–2 mm broad, obovate, attenuate at apex; staminodes 4–6 mm long, narrowly subulate, red or purplish, minutely papillose-pilose, ciliate, with slender, simple hairs; stamens diantheriferous, with anthers about 0.4 mm long; ovary oblong-ovoid, superior, with 5 carpels; fruits usually considered drupes but referred to as pods, indehiscent, variable in size and shape, 10–32 cm long, spherical to cylindrical, pointed or blunt, smooth or warty, with or without 5 or 10 furrows; pods white, green or red, ripening to green, yellow, red or purple; seeds 20–60 per pod, arranged in 5 rows, variable in size, 2–4 cm long, 1.2–2 cm broad, ovoid or elliptic; cotyledons white to deep purple, convoluted, large. Seeds/kg 625–1125. Roots mostly a mass of surface-feeding roots, with taproot penetrating to 2 m in friable soil, less deeply where compacted (Reed, 1976).
Reported from the South and Middle American Centers of Diversity, cocoa, or cvs thereof, is reported to tolerate some diseases, heavy soils, laterite, low pH, photoperiod, shade, slope, and waterlogging (Duke, 1978). Several subspecies and forms of cacao have been recognized, from which a great number of cvs have been developed. Some cvs are named according to the place where they were found or developed. Others are classified as ‘Criollo’ types which have elongated, ridged, pointed fruits and white cotyledons and ‘Forastero’, with short, roundish, almost smooth fruits and purplish cotyledons. Hybrids have been obtained with other species, e.g. Th. grandiflora, mainly to incorporate disease-resistance. (2n = 20)
Native to South America, probably on the equatorial slopes of the Andes; now cultivated pantropically, especially in West Africa.
Ranging from Subtropical Dry to Wet through Tropical Very Dry to Wet Forest Life Zones, cacao is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 4.8 to 42.9 dm (mean of 109 cases = 16.3), annual temperature of 18.0 to 28.5°C (mean of 108 cases = 25.3), and pH of 4.3 to 8.7 (mean of 43 cases = 6.4) (Duke, 1978). Grown from 20°N to 20°S with the bulk between 10°N and 10°S, usually below 300 m, but in sheltered valleys of Colombia at 900 m. Requires uniformly high temperatures with recommended mean of 26.6°C. Trees are wind-intolerant and therefore are often planted on hillsides for wind protection and good drainage. Being drought-intolerant, cacao thrives in climates with high humidity and rainfall. Plants are shade-tolerant, and thrive in rich, organic, well-drained, moist, deep soils. Shallow laterite soils are said not to be suitable. Maximum temperature of 33.5°C and minimum 13°C, with diurnal temperature variation between 33.5 and 18°C are suggested (Reed, 1976).
Propagation may be by cuttings, buddings or graftings, but seeding is cheaper. Seeds germinate at maturity, and are viable only a short time. They may be stored 10–13 weeks if moisture content is kept at 50%. Soon after picking, pulp is removed from seed which are planted in shaded nursery beds or baskets. Transplant in few months (when ca 0.6 m tall) into shaded fields at 2.4 m x 2.4 m or 3.6 m x 3.6 m. Spacing is closer if soils are poor and elevations above 300 m. Fields should remain shaded for 3 years. Remove floral buds until trees are 5 years old. Cacao is of ten intercropped with other trees of economic value, as bananas, rubber, oil palm, or coconut. Weeding is by hand or herbicides. Irrigation may be practiced, but drain ditches should always be provided to prevent excess water. Responds to fertilizers, mostly in the absence of shade; recommended is 5 cwt urea, 2.5 cwt triple superphosphate, 10 cwt potassium sulfate per hectare. Windbreaks are usually provided.
Although fruits mature throughout the year, usually only two harvests are made. In West Africa, the main harvest begins in September, extends to February, with a second smaller harvest in May–June. From fertilization to harvesting the fruit requires 5–6 months. Harvest season lasts about 5 months. Pods are cut from trees and allowed to mellow on the ground. Then pods are cracked and the beans removed, the husks are burned. Beans are fermented in leaf-lined kegs 2–8 days before drying in sun, at which time they change from purple to brown. Beans are then bagged and shipped. Further processing includes roasting, crushing, and separating out the kernel, grinding the nibs and extraction of about half of the fat.
Yields and Economics
The world low production yield is 29 kg/ha in American Samoa, an international production yield of 346 kg/ha, and a world high production yield of 2,000 kg/ha in Haiti. Yields of 3,375 kg/ha of dry beans are possible on good plantations. The oil content (35–50%) suggests potential oil yields of more than 1750 kg/ha. Average yields range from 0.5–10 kg/tree; 2.25 MT beans/ha. Over 3375 kg/ha of dry cacao beans have been produced on plantations well-manured, well-shaded, and with excellent control of weeds, pests and diseases. In 1980, the US is estimated to have consumed more than 75,000 MT of cocoa butter, in a business amounting to nearly 0 million. Chocolate manufacturers consumed nearly half. One ton went into suppositories, 10 to 20% of which are made with a cocoa butter base. In 1981, there was a world surplus of ca 700,000 tons, close to 6 months production, and price down to ca .30/kg. In July 1965, a record cocoa crop in Ghana sent cocoa bean prices to below .20/kg, an all-time low. A dozen years later, the beans spiralled to more than .00/kg. Normally cocoa butter runs 25 times as high as the bean (Anon., 1981b). Two-thirds of the world’s production presently comes from Ghana, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast in West Africa, and one-third from Brazil and Dominican Republic. In 1971, the US imported from Africa about 200,908 MT of cocoa beans, valued at 0 millions, and from Latin America, 107,841 MT valued at millions. World production of beans in 1971 was 1.59 million MT. Major consumers are United States, West Germany, Netherlands, and United Kingdom. New York prices on ‘Accra’ beans in 1971 was .68/kg. Cocoa is produced in tropical countries, but is processed and consumed in temperate countries.
For every kilogram of dry beans, there can be 2 kg of pod meal; indicating a 1:2 seed:pod ratio. To convert production figures into pod waste figures, this suggests we multiply by two. Pod meal contains ca 12.6% moisture, 7.6% ash, 8.1% protein, 34.8% crude fiber, 3.3% fat, and 33.6% N-free extract. One hundred kg cacao pod meal has the same feeding value as 96–97 kg chopped corn (including husks). Prunings could amount to 1–8 MT/ha/yr, depending on biological and environmental variables. During the third year, main branches may be reduced to 3 or 4, and thenceforth, excess limbs and diseases tissues should be removed. For each MT of production, it seems safe to conclude there will be 2 MT of pods and 2 MT of prunings as residue, perhaps more in unshaded cacao. Shade trees might best be selected on basis of (1) nitrogen fixed, (2) fuelwood produced, (3) nonantagonism or amelioration of cacao. Seedling cacao does best with only 25% full sunlight, saplings with closer to 50%. Species of energy-fixing species of Albizia, Erythrina, Gliricida, Inga, Leucaena, Musanga, Peltophorum, and Terminalia have been recommended as shade trees or "Madre de Cacao". (Purseglove, 1968)
Midges are thought to be the pollinators of cacao, but aphids, ants, thrips, wild bees, or a combination of these are also suspect. Cacao grows in areas with high humidity; several hundred fungi have been reported as attacking this tree. However, the most important fungi that cause diseases which must be controlled include the following: Armillaria mella (Collar crack), Botryodiplodia theobromae (Pod rot), Botryobasidium salmonicolor (Pink disease), Calonectria rigidiuscula (Green point cusion-gall), Cephaleuros virescens (Algal spot), Ceratobasidium stevensii (Thread blight), Ceratocystis fimbriata (Canker), Corticium incisum (Thread blight), Fomes lamaensis (Brown rot), F. lignosus (White rot), F. noxius (Brown crust), Marasmius byssicola (Brown thread), M. perniciosus (South American witches broom), M. scandens (White thread), M. trichorrhizus (Brown thread), Monilia roreri (Gray pod rot), Nectria cacaoicola (Pod rot), Phytophthora palmivora (Black pod), Rosellinia bunodes (Root rot), R. pepo (Root rot), Septobasidium tanakae (Felty fungus), Sphaerostilbe repens (Violet root rot), Taphrina bussei (Witches broom), Thielaviopsis paradoxa (pod rot), Trachysphaera fructigena (Mealy pod), Ustilina zonata (Collar rot), and Verticillium dahliae (Sudden death). Bacteria known to cause disease in cacao include: Agrobacterium tumefasciens, Bacillus megatherium, B. subtilis, B. undulatus, Bacterium accendens, B. aceti, B. orleanense, B. xylineum, B. xylmoides, and B. xylum. Golden (p.c. 1984) lists the following nematodes: Aphasmatylenchus nigeriensis, Criconemella goodeyi, Helcotylenchus cavenessi, H. concavus, H. microcephalus, H. multicinctus, Hoplolaimus seinhorst, Meloidogyne incognita, M. incognita acrita., M. javanica, M. sp., Paratylenchus arculatus, Pratylenchus brachyurus, P. coffeae, P. sp., Rotylenchulus reniformis, Scutellonema clathricaudatum, Tylenchorhynchus annulatus, T. nudus, Xiphinema ebriense, X. elongatum, X. ifacolum, X. nigeriense, and X. setariae. Viruses isolated from cacao include: Akaran, Apoplectic disease, Asalu, Ilesha, Konongo, Kpeve cacao, Mottle leaf, Necrosis, New Juaben (B.C.), New Juaben cacao, Offa Igbo (Nigeria) cacao, Offa Igbo 1 and 2, Olanla 1 and 2, Red mottle, Swollen-shoot, Trinidad cacao, Vein clearing, and Viruses 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1M. Cacao trees may be parasitized by Cuscuta campestris, C. cublinclusa, and Phthirusa theobromae.
Chemical Analysis of Biomass Fuels
Analysing 62 kinds of biomass for heating value, Jenkins and Ebeling (1985) reported a spread of 19.04 to 17.97 MJ/kg, compared to 13.76 for weathered rice straw to 23.28 MJ/kg for prune pits. On a % DM basis, the hulls contained 67.95% volatiles, 8.25% ash, 23.80% fixed carbon, 48.23% C, 5.23% H, 33.19% O, 2.98% N, 0.12% S, and undetermined residue.
Buchanan, R.L. 1979. Toxicity of spices containing methylenedioxybenzene derivatives: A review. J. Food Safety 1:275.
C.S.I.R. (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research). 1948–1976. The wealth of India. 11 vols. New Delhi.
Duke, J.A. 1978. The quest for tolerant germplasm. p. 1–61. In: ASA Special Symposium 32, Crop tolerance to suboptimal land conditions. Am. Soc. Agron. Madison, WI.
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Palotti, G. 1977. The ‘time for a Coca Cola’ may not be right. Industrie Alimentairi 16(12):146–148.
Perdue, R.E., Jr. and Hartwell, J.L. (eds.). 1976. Plants and cancer. Proc. 16th Annual Meeting Soc. Econ. Bot. Cancer Treatment Reports 60(8):973–1215.
Purseglove, J.W. 1968–1972. Tropical crops. 4 vols. Longman Group Ltd., London.
Reed, C.F. 1976. Information summaries on 1000 economic plants. Typescripts submitted to the USDA.
Sutton, R.H. 1981. Cocoa poisoning in a dog. Veterinary Record 109(25/26):563–4.
Tyler, V.E. 1982. The honest herbal. George F. Stickley Co., Philadelphia, PA.