Published: Monday 30 November 1998

GARBAGE DISPOSAL MECHANISED: A simple machine called Garbodrain has been desiged for garbage disposal .The machine, developed for WD Industies, Chennai,can be fitted to the sink. After all the waste food is dumped into the sink , the Garbodrain pulps the waste into the fluid state and washes it down the drain.Vegetables peels ,small bones ,egg shells and left over food can easily be drowned in the sink using Garbodrain.The machine has been approved by the Sewerage Board of Tamil Nadu and is marketed by GTEX Holdings, Bangalore.Two models have been developed, one for domestic use and other for marriages ad hotels.

EFFICIENT AND ECONOMICAL: Researchers in the US have dveloped a new catalytic process to turn a common inndustrial chemical into an essential ingredient used in energy efficient alternative fuels. The technique could be the first to make the process economically attractive to chemical companies.Scientists at the department of energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory claim to have developed multi-step catalytic process that converts levulinic acid , a compound commonly used in the production of solvents and pesticides,into a fuel addictive called methyl tetrahydrofuran.This componet along with ethanol and natural gas forms a integral constituent of the new P- series of alternative fuels that the department of energy hopes to introduce into government-owned vehicles.

CONTRACEPTIVE PILL:A light contraceptive pill,Femilon,has been developed by Infar India Limited.The company is an Indian subsidiary of Organon.It is the first pill to contain a low dose of estrogen and the right quantity of progestrone.According to the company,the pill has minimal side-effects .

USEFUL TEST: Ausralian scientists have developed a test that can reveal the presence of food-spoiling microbes.The procedure could help industry produce dairy products with longer shelf life,they claim.Dairy researcher Heather Craven and collegues at Food science ,Australia,the country's largest food science organisation, have named the break through test Psycho-Fast. The technique should offer dairy plants a fast,reliable way to determine whether a batch of milk has been contamiated by spoiling bacteria. Traditional microbe tests are slow, insensitive and often identify the wrong types of bacteria,said Craven .The problem bugs are a group of cold-loving microbes called psychotrophs."In health terms these bacteria are pretty harmless, but they do pose problem if they get into milk because then whole batches can go off,"said Craven.

LATEST LENNSES: One-peice intraocular lenses (IOL) will be for the first time manufactured in India.Pharmacia & Upjohn of the US is settig up a plant in Bangalore to manufacture the latest IOL lenses.These lenses are technologically advanced and offer good alterantive to the three-piece models which are being used. Most of the artificial lenses supplied in the country are imported . IOL are made of special plastics and play a key role in overall treatment of cataract.

TRANSFORMING CROPS: Two US -based companies Dow Chemicals and Rhone-Poulence,have signed a letter of intent to develop and sell genetically - modified plants and seeds .Six crops- corn, canola, soyabeans, sunflower, sugarcane and cotton- will be genetically modified to provide insect resistance and tolerance to herbicides.The financial terms were not disclosed.

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