Monday, 27 Jul, 2009 Offbeat
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Oxytocin Used to Boost Plant Growth in India

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Farmers in India decided to use oxytocin in order to improve the increase of pumpkins and cucumbers. Previously at www.InfoNIAC.com we wrote about oxytocin, which is a hormone that has a role in social behavior, anxiety, trust and love; it also plays an important role in female reproduction.

According to the Indian Ministry of Agriculture, it intends to forbid the use of the hormone in farming. Currently the practice is very popular in the Uttar Pradesh and Punjab regions, located in northern India. The ministry warns that "indiscriminate use of oxytocin may cause health hazards if taken through vegetables over a period of time".

It is currently unclear how the hormone stimulates the development of plants. Some scientists, including those from the British Rothamsted Research in Harpenden and Durham University, doubt that oxytocin boosts plant development, reports New Scientist. Malcolm Hawkesford of Rothamsted Research said: "It is unlikely, but not impossible that there could be an effect in plants, but I seriously doubt that this would massively impact on crop yields in most situations."

Previously oxytocin was used in India to increase milk production in animals, but the practice was banned by the Indian government.

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