Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

helpful germs: Scientists have found a bacteria that could help transform disposable cups and plates into a biodegradable plastic, according to a recent study.

The useful microbes are a special strain of the soil bacterium Pseudomonas putida, according to Kevin O'Connor of University College Dublin, Ireland, the study's corresponding author.

citrus chip: Researchers from the University of California, Riverside, USA, in partnership with a private company Affymetrix, have designed a chip to improve citrus varieties. By determining which genes are turned on in a tissue of citrus for instance those associated with taste and disease the chip provides information useful to researchers to rectify existing problems for better yield.

The chip allows analysis of expression of more than 20,000 different genes. The researchers will also use the chip to study traits pertinent to the citrus industry such as easy peeling, seedlessness and nutritional characteristics.

radioactive waste: Researchers at Penn State University and the Savannah River National Laboratory, both in USA, have developed a method to process certain radioactive liquid wastes into a solid form, called hydroceramic, for safe disposal.

The new process uses low temperatures (less than or equal to 90C) to solidify and stabilise low-activity radioactive waste. The resulting hydroceramic is strong and durable and has the potential to tie-up and hold minor radioactive components in its zeolitic structure. According to the scientists, the preparation is similar to the way rocks are formed in nature.

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