Published: Wednesday 15 March 1995

The UK-based NEC Corporation and Ezaki Glico, a Japanese confectionary company, claim to have mastered the art of controlling and altering the catalytic properties of enzymes. For instance, the structure of neopullunase, a sugar producing enzyme found in starch, can be made to produce 30 per cent more sugar than usual. The companies used a supercomputer to analyse the enzyme's amino acid sequence, its 3D structure, and the reaction mechanism which helped them identify and modify the amino acids.

A highly charged new "superbattery" is now highly charged and sweeping automobile giants off their feet in the US. Manufactured by Electrosource, the superbattery Horizon has revolutionised the lead-acid battery. It is just what an electric car needs, claims an enthused Mike Semmens of Electrosource. It has quick acceleration, is light weight, recharges fast, and has a long life. "It matches the performance of emerging and costlier technologies, like sodium-sulphur or nickel-hydride batteries," says Semmens.
Now, Chrysler is all set to use the superbattery for its first electric vehicle -- the NS minivan.

Listening to the radio may now be a whole new experience for Asian, African and Caribbean listeners. Alcatel Espace, the French space telecommunications group, has recently bagged a US $500 million contract to supply WorldSpace -- an US-based private company with 3 "digital audio broadcast" satellites. These satellites -- Caribstar, Afristar and Asiastar, will be in geostationary orbit over these places by 1998, beaming programmes with a new-generation radio called StarMan.Radio is still the dominant medium in these places.

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