Category Archives: a_editorial



Muhammad Asif Aziz
Assistant Professor Department of Entomology,
PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Honey and beekeeping have a long history in Pakistan. Bee hives neither demand additional land space nor do compete with agriculture or animal husbandry for any input. The beekeepers need only to spare a few hours in a week to look after their bee colonies. Therefore, there is a great scope for expansion of bee keeping industry in the country. Pakistan currently has around 16000 beekeepers with 0.5 million honeybee colonies. Beekeeping does not compete with other enterprises for resources as the bees use nectar and pollen grains of plants. Therefore, this enterprise can be taken up both at the household and commercial levels to generate substantially more profits.
Floral sources are abundant for beekeeping in most of the areas in Pakistan. Northern Punjab and KPK province of Pakistan are very suitable for beekeeping on account of different ecological zones containing rich bee flora and ideal climatic conditions.  But beekeepers in these areas are facing severe stress to carry on beekeeping activities these days due to continuous non honey production seasons. Factors involved in low honey production are continued raining most of the times, low temperature, delayed flowering and reduced foraging activities of bees.
Last year during October, the beekeepers were able to harvest only 20% of the berry honey, due to sudden rain and wind storms during the middle of the honey flow period, which even took away the bee colonies. As a result flowers containing nectar were dropped and the bees were unable to store honey.
Beekeepers passed the winter season with hope for better conditions during next year but weather conditions also remained unfavorable during current year and frequent rains affected the bee flora drastically. Beekeepers were not able to start queen rearing process for replacing the old queen with young, energetic and healthy queens. New queens are very crucial to maintain the number of colonies and bee population having good inherited characters for the next seasons. Drones necessary for successful queen rearing were killed due to shortage of food in March. Bee colonies started to increase their population one month later than the normal schedule. At the time when foragers were needed to bring and store nectar from the crops, the bees were engaged to consume more food in the form of honey to nourish the young larvae. Abrupt rainfall pattern severely affected the honey to be harvested from Brassica, Citrus, Robinia, Phalai and Carissa plants. A few farmers were able to get honey from Clover and Eucalyptus. Robinia honey in Northern areas remained 25% of the previous crop due to excessive rains. Now the honey flow season is going to end during this month and beekeepers are facing sever trouble to pass the hot summer conditions with weak boxes, without nectar flow bearing heavy input expenses.
Most of our beekeepers are poor people, they get money from middle man to feed and shift colonies at different times of the year and when they produce honey, the borrowed amount is finally adjusted against it. Due to continuous failure in honey production from last October, they are not in good position to bear the expenses of shifting, feeding and medication of bees for the coming season.
Beekeepers are disappointed, due to which many of them are deciding to quit the business and sell the colonies at low rates. Now new beekeepers will emerge with scarce knowledge that will result in low productivity in the coming season. New beekeepers with lack of interest in beekeeping may also lose their colonies due to negligence in hive management Moreover chances of sudden change in weather conditions still exist, and more difficult to wait for next season and get profitable returns in form of abundant honey.
At the same time our crop will be deprived from the pollination services of honey bees, which are provided, free of cost to our farmers and crop yield is increased. Honey bees give 15-20 time more value in the form of pollination then all hive products put together. In USA almond farmers pay 150 dollars per hive per season as a rent for crop pollination to the beekeepers. But our beekeepers provide this service free of cost to our crops. Honey bees are the most efficient pollinators among insect and one bee visits 50-100 flowers in one trip and about 2 million flowers to make one pound honey. Therefore decrease in beekeeping activities is more likely to affect the production in agriculture commodities particularly fruits, vegetables and oilseed crops.
Awareness regarding honeybee health and promoting bee flora are being seriously focused now a days in modern world including USA. In USA, a national strategy to promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators for next ten years has been devised by pollinators health task force formulated under the presidential memorandum of President Obama on May 19, 2015 to promote beekeeping. Similar is the case with other developed countries.

Keeping in view the current scenario the government of Pakistan is requested to provide immediate help to the beekeeping industry to save the beekeepers from monetary losses due to severe climatic change. Moreover the farmers should be advised to cultivate more flowering crops, and government forest departments and other agencies are requested to include trees like Acacia, Robinia, improved varieties of Eucalyptus and Russian olive in their plantation plan along the roadsides, parks and government lands so that food shortage for bees may be addressed to some extent. 


Ishtiaq Ahmed

Department of Surgery, Al-Nafees Medical College, Islamabad, Pakistan


Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals which are produced in body during metabolism.  They are neutralized in the body by antioxidants, preventing damage to cells. In other words, antioxidants can neutralize the process of oxidation and cellular damage which contributes to aging and disease. The body produces some of the antioxidants indigenously to neutralize the free radicals. To cater the need of other antioxidants, the body relies on exogenous sources like diet and they are known as dietary antioxidants. Vegetables, fruits, and grains are rich source of dietary antioxidants whereas some dietary antioxidants are also available as  supplements from market (Valko and Leibfritz, 2007; Bouayed and Bohn, 2010). Dietary antioxidants include vitamins (A, C and E), selenium, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene (Davis and Tsuji, 2012).


Studies conducted in laboratory and animals have proven that the increased levels of exogenous antioxidants are helpful in  preventing the damage caused by free radicals to body cell especially which are associated with cancer development. In human, different observational studies, including case–control and cohort studies also supported to some extent that the antioxidents are helpful in lowering the risk of cancer development or mortality from cancer in humans (Qiao and Dawsey, 2009; Wright and Virtamo, 2007). To delay the signs of aging and help prevent various disease processes like cancer, cardiac diseases and hypertension, use of foods rich in antioxidants is recommended on a regular basis. Oxidant rich foods such as berries, broccoli, garlic, tomato, red grapes, spinach, carrots, kiwi fruit, grape fruit, bran, corn, sea food, whole grains and green tea should be made a part of daily food (Shulman, 2015).


There is good evidence that taking a diet that includes plenty of vegetables and fruits is healthier and may be used as preventive medicine. People eating more vegetables and fruits have shown lower risks of several diseases; however, it is not clear whether these are related to the amount of antioxidants in vegetables and fruits, other components of these foods, other factors in people’s diets or other lifestyle choices (Valko and Leibfritz, 2007)


In our country, majority of these fruits and vegetables are not grown and also not part of the common man’s routine diet. It is recommended that public awareness should be increased regarding healthy diet that is rich in antioxidants. Also cultivation of such vegetables and fruits should be encouraged.


Professor Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed
Al-Nafees Medical College & Hospital, Islamabad
Enterocutaneous fistulas (ECF) are abnormal communications between the gastrointestinal tract and the skin. Although rare, can result in a number of serious or debilitating complications, varying from disturbance of fluid and electrolyte balance to sepsis. They are associated with considerable morbidity, prolonged hospitalization, patient disability, and enormous cost to health resources. Death related to ECF remains disproportionately high when compared with other surgical conditions. Mortality rates for Enterocutaneous fistulas have been reported to range from 6% to 33% and even death (Rehbour et al 2012), (Allen et al 2014). The patient will almost always suffer from severe discomfort, pain, malodorous drainage fluid, and psychological problems like anxiety, depression etc.
Management of high output entero-cutaneous fistula is always a nightmare for surgeons to treat effectively. Along with other modalities in management, the Octreotide, Somatostatin is among one of the modalities being used in the treatment of entercutaneous fistula. Literature evidence shows its effectiveness with equivocal results and some studies shows no significant fistula output reduction and closure rates (Rehbour et al 2012), (Taggarshe et al 2010),( Philip et al 2011), (Kumar et al 2011). Recently, it is reported that Pasireotide, one of the somatostatin analogue having longer half-life and a broader binding profile by decreasing the pancreatic exocrine secretions is proved helpful in the treatment of CEF or prevention of postoperative pancreatic fistula formation (Allen et al 2014). Literature review shows different randomaized controlled trials, meta-analysis and case control studies supporting that the Perioperative treatment with Pasireotide decreases significant (upto 56%) postoperative pancreatic fistula, leak, or abscess formation (Rehbour et al 2012), (Allen et al 2014), (Kumar et al 2011). The investigators also reported that the other somatostatin analogue and octreotide which are being used to treat ECF has not been clearly associated with pancreatic leak reduction as compared to Pasireotide. They suggested that due to longer half-life and broader binding profile (binding capability of four of the five somatostatin-receptor subtypes compared to just two by octreotide) is the main reason of more effectiveness of Pasireotide (Rehbour et al 2012), (Allen et al 2014). Keeping in view the encouraging results from trials in the treatment of ECF, Pasireotide can be used and further clinical trials should be conducted in our setup.

Edible insects can help to meet the human food needs of the 21st century; open invitation for research and review articles

Munir Ahmad*

Department of Entomology, PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

*Corresponding author: e-mail:

World human population is increasing at great pace due to availability of better food, health and living environments. Every day more than six million humans are added in the world population. Present and new comers demand us to generate and develop such food reserves that could meet their needs for survival. We are focusing on food production for plants and animals by breeding new cultivars, high yielding varieties or breeds to generate food and feed for ever increasing hungry mouths of human population. These animals and plants production systems force us to manage different problems during their production, processing and storage conditions from different pests. Major pests include the pathogens, diseases and insect pests. Insects are not only harmful but also beneficial to mankind and different insects and their products have been used since centuries.

Major contributions come from beneficial predatory insects as bio-control agents of insect pests, honeybees, silkworms, lac worms, butterflies and insect zoos. Different value added products like honey, royal jelly, beewax, bee venom, propolis, lac, silk, worms as animal feed, butterfly for food and aesthetic sense etc. are some aspects commonly known by us. Other benefits include insects as food for humans, feed for animals and bait for fishing, insect fighting, insect tea and insects for different medical importance. Insects have also been used to introduce them as diverse organisms as insect zoos and butterfly parks for recreation.

Different societies do not prefer or avoid directly consuming insects in their diet where such places can be well utilized with insects as replacement of other protein sources in animal feed with higher quantities of micronutrients. Chicken diet can be improved with insects like grasshoppers, termites, flies, moths as great replacement of protein source. In comparison to rear other animals as protein source, these insects require less space, less food to meet their needs and less labor. Commercial rearing and multiplication can improve it in a much better way than currently produced meat in the form of chicken etc. and can get higher price as compared to that fed on commercial poultry feed. Flies larvae and adult reared on chick manure when fed to chicks, yielded higher protein profile than on soybean or fish meal. This conversion of chicken manure to flies can not only reduce wastes management problems but also increase the biomass and provides cheaper replacement for protein diet.

Different organizations at global scale are very much interested to utilize this food reserve to meet the needs of food, feed and medicine for humans. FAO has launched the program for its full utilization and different consortiums have been established to make these food reserves get better utilized especially in developing and under developed world countries. Such aspects need our attention not only to meet our needs but also for provision of these resources to provide economic benefits as new industries with less environmental hazards. It is, now, the duty of all those related to these fields of knowledge and expertise to develop rearing procedures for their commercialization.

Keeping in view the importance of entomophagy, it is an open invitation for all the respective researchers, university teachers and professionals to submit articles relevant to this field and enhance the food production to meet the ever increasing need of human hungry mouths.

Why there was need of Asian Journal of Agriculture and Biology?

Zahid Iqbal*
Department of Pharmacology, Isra University, Islamabad Campus, Islamabad, Pakistan
& Managing Editor, Asian Journal of Agriculture and Biology

*Corresponding author: e-mail:


Knowledge is exploding with every moment and science is discovering new horizons with every passing day. To encompass this knowledge and, particularly disseminate it to the scientific community free of cost, was the major inspiring force behind the launch of Asian Journal of Agriculture and Biology (AJAB). Another factor that motivated us was the narrow spectrum of the most of existing journals which cover only one or two specific fields and do not focus on interdisciplinary approach. The need was deeply felt by our team members and we decided to start a journal which would focus on all interrelated disciplines of agricultural and other biological sciences. From here we perceived the idea of the name of our new journal “Asian Journal of Agriculture and Biology”. We also decided that this would be online only to save the wastage of paper as most of the scientific literature is accessed through internet and people are least interested in printed copies of the articles. We deliberated a lot over free access of the journal and concluded in its favor, keeping in view the basic right of every human being to have free access to the knowledge of scientific discoveries and literature. It was also decided that AJAB will publish original research manuscripts, short communications and review articles on environmental, plant, animal and human sciences. Environmental sciences will cover areas of soil related research, residues and food quality. Plant sciences will focus on plant diversity, distribution, genetics, bioinformatics and biotechnology related issues. Animal sciences will deal with the health and diseases of vertebrate and invertebrate animals and their treatment related research. Human sciences will relate to different aspects of health and diseases of humans and various issues arising in medical sciences. The first issue of AJAB is before you and we hope your constructive feedback to improve its matter and quality.