Published: Friday 30 September 1994

By harvesting the world's first crop of genetically-engineered wheat, the Swiss-owned Ciba Seeds has shown that scientists can alter the characteristics of important cereals reliably, by giving them genes from other species. Within a few years, the work is expected to result in new wheat varieties with increased resistance to drought and disease, decreased requirement for fertilisers, besides other improvements.

German automobile giant Mercedes-Benz is convinced that by the turn of the century, the demand for emission-free commercial vehicles will soar to unprecedented heights. To avoid being caught unawares, the company is all set to launch a development centre for producing environment-friendly vehicles. Company officials say that its latest car models, T1N and TO, are suitable for direct entry into this new market. These vehicles could be first fitted with electric motors and then with other emission-free motors when the technology had been perfected.

Fresh frozen fruits! Sounds incredible? But France-based Distillerie du Perigord is promising just that to its customers. Usually frozen soft fruit looses much of its flavour and shape and takes too much time to defrost, besides posing other problems in handling. But now the French company has introduced a new fruit processing method which firms up the fruit, increases its shelf life to a year and heightens its flavour. The fruit's sugar content, acid content and permeability is analysed. It is then dipped in sugar at low temperatures, immersed in an alcohol solution and then flavoured with spices.

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