Published: Thursday 31 May 2007

Fertile herbs A cocktail of herbal drugs can cure male infertility caused by diabetes, claims a research team from West Bengal. The team from Vidyasagar University has found that the cocktail produced from banana root, tamarind, jamun seeds and ivy gourd leaves not only decreased levels of blood glucose but also restored normal activity and health of sperms in diabetic rats. Diabetes robs the viability and motility of sperm and lowers testosterone levels. The cocktail restored the normal levels of testosterone among rats. In diabetes, stress of free radicals leaves damaging effect on sperm motility and viability due to reduced activity of free-radical scavenging enzymes like catalase and peroxidise, they reported in a recent issue of journal Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin.
More biofuel When cornstalks are processed to produce ethanol, particles inside them undergo structural changes, researchers at Purdue University have found. This new insight will help establish a viable method for large-scale production of ethanol from plant matter, they reported in the April 26 issue of Biotechnology and Bioengineering. The research demonstrates that pre-treating corn plant tissue with hot water--an accepted practice that increases ethanol yields three to four times--works by exposing minute pores of the plant's cell walls, thus helping to break down the cell wall.

Home-made robots Anyone can build these robots with off-the-shelf parts. Researchers at USA's Carnegie Mellon University have put together these sophisticated machines that can wirelessly connect to the Internet. The robots can take many forms, from a three-wheeled model with a mounted camera to a flower loaded with infrared sensors. They can be easily customised and their ability to wirelessly link to the Internet allows users to control and monitor their robots actions from any Internet-connected computer in the world. Developed by Associate Professor of Robotics Illah Nourbakhsh, these highly capable robots are said to be affordable for students and anyone interested in robots.

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