Report of Research Grantees.
Mr. B. C. Aston, who in 1926 took over from Dr. Malcolm a balance of £9 16s 7d for research on the Pukatea, reported on the 21st April, 1936, that Dr. W. S. Fogg's work of pukateine, the chief alkaloid in the bark of the tree, originally discovered by the grantee, has been published in the American Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics for June, 1935, although received by the Editor of that Journal in June, 1934. Since the publication of Dr. Fogg's paper, Mr. Aston has supplied direct to firms in Europe and America amounts of the dried bark for which those firms refunded the cost of collection and postage.
The possibility of the use of pukateine in medicine is foreshadowed by Dr. Fogg's statement in his published paper:—
Pukateine in doses of 10 mgm. were found to act in a manner similar to morphine. In view of the close relationship to apomorphine, the patients were carefully questioned concerning any nausea they may have experienced as a result of a subcutaneous injection of the drug. In one patient with secondary carcinoma of the spine with attacks of root pain, 10 mgm. proved effective in producing alleviation of the pain on several occasions. In another patient with carcinoma of the stomach, suffering from pain in the region of the epigastrium and nausea, the injection of 10 mgm. produced sleep, alleviation of pain and no increase in the nausea. In no case in which it has been used in this dosage has there been observed nausea or vomiting. Further work is being carried out, but at present the drug would appear to approximate to morphine in its power to alleviate pain.
Dr. Fogg regrets that since his return to New Zealand he has not been able to carry out much experimental work owing to increased professional duties at the Hospital. However, he expects shortly to again attack the research. It is hoped in due course to supply other investigators approved by Dr. Fogg with pure material for their individual researches.
The unexpended balance in the grant amounts to £2 19s 7d.
Miss L. M. Cranwell, who in 1930 was granted £20 for an ecological survey of the marine algae, reported on the 1st April that she has been absent from New Zealand during the greater part of the year, and while abroad she took the opportunity of visiting several algologists and has had access to the collections in their charge. At Lund she saw Agardh's types of New Zealand algae collected by Dr. Berggren, and received duplicates of much of his most important material from Professor Skottesberg. She gave illustrated lectures of New Zealand algae in Uppsala, Stockholm and Gothenburg.
The whole of the grant has been expended.
Dr. G. H. Cunningham, who in 1929 was granted £25 for a mycological survey of the Tongariro National Park, reported on the 1st May that he had been unable during the year to visit the Park. No expenses were incurred, and the balance stands at £18 1s.
Dr. O. H. Frankel, who in 1929–30 was granted £42 10s and in addition a Hutton grant of £25 for research on the cytology of New Zealand plants, reported on the 30th April that during the year he had spent two and a-half months at the John Innes Horticultural Institute in London, which period was chiefly occupied with a study of micro-slides brought from New Zealand. A considerable amount of new information on the cytology of Hebe and Veronica was obtained.
A paper for the International Botanical Conference in Amsterdam was concluded and will be published shortly. A further paper is now in the hands of a New Zealand Journal. It is hoped to conclude a study of Hebe and Veronica
in the course of the coming season and to publish a monograph on the subject. In the meantime material for other genera is being prepared, comprising chiefly grasses and liliaceous plants. The Hutton grant of £25 was expended as a grant in aid at the John Innes Horticultural Institution.
Mr. A. W. B. Poweill, who in 1925 was granted £50 for research on molluscan fauna, reported on the 27th April that the whole of the grant has been expended, and the results are to be incorporated in the Reports of the Waitemata Harbour Survey.
Mr H. F. Skey, who took over from Captain Isitt in 1926 the balance of a grant for Upper Air research, and who in 1927 was granted an additional £175, reported on the 29th April that the expense of making pilot balloon flights and reducing same is now borne by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, and these flights are observed daily, weather permitting, except on Sundays and holidays. The resultant data for direction and velocity of the air motion up to 3300 metres are coded and telegraphed to the Dominion Meteorologist for use in weather forecasting and for the information of aeroplane pilots.
In view of the increased activity in aviation, observations are being continued in Christchurch. The whole of the apparatus, including the aerotheodolite (large aperture) and the slide rule purchased out of the grant are in good order. The second aero-theodolite, at the request of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, was forwarded to Auckland for use there.
Mr. Skey considers that the accuracy of the observations and their utility is much enhanced by their being made at a permanent observatory, and he urges a continuation of the work. In his opinion the observations made in Auckland, which is more or less on the fringe of the New Zealand network, will be of direct advantage in the prediction of North Island weather.
Up to date 1566 flights have been observed at Christchurch.
There is an unexpended balance of £48 1s 4d in the grant.
Waitemata Harbour Committee, which in 1925 was granted £65 and an additional Hutton grant of £25, reported through Mr. Powell on the 27th April that further dredging trips have been made during the year, but it was not possible to finalise the work owing to unfavourable weather. However, it is hoped to do this next season.
Mr. Falla has added to his reports on the feeding and seasonal distribution of sea birds, and Mr. Powell has done similar work with the fishes. Miss Cranwell's work on the seaweeds has been curtailed during the past six months owing to her absence in Europe.
There is an unexpended balance of £6 11s 3d in the grant.
Messrs R. A. Falla and A. W. B. Powell were in 1934 granted £40 from the Hutton Fund for research on the molluscan and bird fauna of the Sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand. On the 29th April Mr. Falla reported that no work has been done in connection with this research.
As late as the 12th March, 1936, the Marine Department advised them that the proposed trip of the Government steamer to the Sub-Antarctic Islands had been postponed and would possibly take place next summer. In the circumstances, Messrs Falla and Powell would esteem it a favour if the amount could be held over for work at the end of this year.
The reports of the various grantees were considered and adopted.