Published: Saturday 30 September 2000

friendly plastic: A new plastic made from plant sugar will be soon introduced in the market. The plastic called NatureWorks PLA is being manufactured by Cargill Dow Polymers, a Nebraska-based company. Unlike conventional plastic, NatureWorks can break down in a compost pile if subjected to the right combination of heat and humidity. It can be used to make products such as clothing, carpets, cups and candy wrappers. NatureWorks has the texture of natural fibers like cotton and silk. It is cost effective and has the stain resistant capacity of synthetics, officials of the Cargill Dow Polymers claim.

nutritious rice: Thai researchers have created a new variety of rice, whose protein content is 12 times more as compared to regular varieties. Scientist said that Khao Hom Nil , the new variety, was created through natural method of pollination and not by high-tech genetic modification. "I can say that Khao Nil is the only rice species in the world that contains 12 per cent protein and tastes good," said Apichart Vanavichit, head of the team working on the rice project at the Kasetsart University .

safe pesticide: Chinese scientist have developed a genetically modified pesticide, which according to them will get rid of the most vicious pests affecting vegetables. "The pesticide made by combining the genetic elements of two existing viruses of vegetable pests is environmentally friendly," said Qi Yipeng, professor at Wuhan University, in Hubei province, where the pesticide was developed. According to Yipeng, the pesticide does not harm the natural enemies of the vegetable pests and hence will not disturb the eco-system.

smart driving: Riva, India's first eco-friendly electric car will be soon launched in the market. Slightly bigger than an autorickshaw, the car is expected to cost around Rs two lakh. The running cost of the car will be only 40 paise per kilometre. To cover a distance of 80 kilometres the car will take seven hours to fully charge, which will only cost Rs 27. "Reva will appeal to all those who require economical and eco-friendly city mobility," says Vijay Chandy, senior vice-president of Reva Electric Company, the company which is manufacturing the car.

sensory detection: A portable sensor that allows water supply companies to detect pollution instantly has been developed by school students. The members of the science club of the Archbishop Tenison's School in Croydon, south London along with their teacher have developed the sensor, which to detect pollution particles uses a simple technique based on the principle of light retracting when hitting a solid object.

ever lasting paper: A Japanese company has developed a new variety of paper that it claims will last for 1000 years. Oji Paper, the company has reduced the lignin content of the paper. Lignin is a complex oxygen-rich substance that is the chief constituent of wood along with cellulose. The lignin content has been reduced by treating the wood pulp twice with a secret chemical, to produce paper that the company claims can "record information in the 21st century until the 30th century." Most paper deteriorates because it has high lignin content, which makes paper change colour and, therefore, the print fades.

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