Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Honda co-develops process to make biomass ethanol

Honda Motor said on last week that it has co-developed the world’s first practical process for producing ethanol out of cellulosic biomass in what would be a big step towards using non-edible plant materials as fuel. Ethanol is a major source of motor fuel in Brazil and is gaining popularity in the US, France and other countries, but the renewable fuel is produced mainly from sugar cane and corn, raising the issue of balancing supply against the use of the crops as food. Honda and its partner Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, or RITE, a non-profit entity set up by the Japanese government and private enterprises, said the new method allows large volumes of ethanol to be produced from widely available waste wood, leaves and other so called soft biomass.
The Economic Times
New Delhi, 15 September 2006

Glowing firefly fish to indicate pollution

Schools of glowing fish could become a tool for monitoring water quality. The US government's National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS) has been funding research into fish that glow like a firefly when exposed to polluted water, a patent application reveals.
Fireflies light up when an enzyme in their stomach called luciferase oxidises luciferin. The NIEHS hopes to insert luciferase-producing genes from fireflies into the eggs of zebrafish. A related approach has been proposed previously (see Glowing red GM fish to sell in US).
Other genes would then be injected into the zebrafish making them sensitive to a particular pollutant. This could make the fish generate luciferase in the presence of mercury, for example.
The genetically modified fish could then be dangled in a cage into water at risk of pollution. After half an hour they could be removed and dunked into a solution containing luciferin. If they start to glow, it means the water is polluted. The brightness of their glow could even reveal just how bad the pollution is. And the fish should survive the process for re-use later.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Turmeric turning out to be a Brain Booster!

We call it turmeric, yellow ginger, 'haldi' or E100, the yellow root of Curcuma longa, a staple ingredient in curry, is turning out to be very healthy. Now Tze-Pin Ng and colleagues at the National University of Singapore have discovered that curry eating seems to boost brainpower in elderly people.

Curcumin, a constituent of turmeric, is an antioxidant, and reports indicate that it inhibits the build-up of amyloid plaques in people with Alzheimer's. Ng's team looked at the curry-eating habits of 1010 Asian people unaffected by Alzheimer's and aged between 60 and 93, and compared their performance in a standard test of cognitive function, the Mini Mental State Examination. Those people who consumed curry "occasionally" (once or more in 6 months but less than once a month) and "often" (more than once a month) had better MMSE results than those who only ate curry "never or rarely"

(American Journal of Epidemiology, DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwj267).

Popular curry spice is a brain booster

(From New Scientist Print Edition, 04 August 2006)


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin Killed....

News.com has reported that Steve Irwin was killed in a freak accident while filming one of his well-known documentaries. Surprisingly it wasn't a crocodile, it was a sting-ray."

Down below is the Media statement released (Dated: 4th September 2006) on http://www.crocodilehunter.com/

At 11am today, the 4th September 2006, Steve Irwin was fatally wounded by a stingray barb to his heart whilst filming a sequence on Batt Reef off Port Douglas for his daughter’s new TV series.

Emergency services were called from Cairns Rescue Base and met Croc One, Steve’s rescue vessel at Low Isle on the Great Barrier Reef. The Croc One crew performed constant CPR during the thirty minute dash to Low Isle, but the medical staff pronounced Steve dead at approx. 12 noon.

His producer and closest friend, John Stainton said on Croc One today,

“The world has lost a great wildlife icon, a passionate conservationist and one of the proudest Dads on the planet. He died doing what he loves best and left this world in a happy and peaceful state of mind. Crocs Rule!”

More Steve Irwin photos at: http://news.yahoo.com/photos/ss/events/lf/090406steveirwin

Read more about this news at: