Category Archives: Plants & Technology

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The New Mushroom House: Be Your Own Garden Gnome

Mycologist Philip Ross is seriously into mushrooms, but not as a food — instead, he uses fungi as a building material.

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Plants Teach MIT Researchers How To Build Things

From an engineer’s perspective, plants such as palm trees, bamboo, maples and even potatoes are examples of precise engineering on a microscopic scale. Like wooden beams reinforcing a house, cell walls make up the structural supports of all plants. Depending on how the cell walls are arranged, and what they are made of, a plant … Continue reading Plants Teach MIT Researchers How To Build Things

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Fir Trees May Replace “Whale Vomit” In Perfumes

His lab's discovery of a much more efficient process using the balsam fir gene could mean that production of a plant-based substitute could be both cheaper and more sustainable than ambergris collection.”Certainly you would not have to go back anymore to pick up whale barf off of the beaches

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Bacteria Stunner: Sewage In, Electricity Out.

A fuel cell powered by naturally occurring bacteria has successfully converted 13 per cent of the energy in sewage to electricity — and cleaned the waste water at the same time. It's hoped genetic engineering could make this much more efficient.

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A New Way To "Light Up:" Tobacco As Biofuel!

The leaves would then be crushed, and the fuel extracted and separated. The scientists estimate that about 1000 acres of tobacco could yield more than one million gallons of fuel.

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Making Solar Panels From Plant Waste

Within a few years, people in remote villages in the developing world may be able to make their own solar panels, at low cost, using otherwise worthless agricultural waste as their raw material.

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Palm Biodiesel As Polluting As Oil

So palm oil and soy bean biodiesel is just a touch less polluting than fuel from tar sands: that's pretty damning. Maize and sugar do better than crude oil but still cause significant carbon emissions.

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Plants Engineered To Detect Bombs and Pollutants

We've 'taught' plants how to detect things we're interested in and respond in a way anyone can see, to tell us there is something nasty around.

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Plants Would Make The Best Pharmaceutical Factories

Plants are particularly suitable for producing complex active substances. The reason is that these substances can be produced inexpensively and on a large scale in plants

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Harnessing Algae To Consume Nuclear Waste

Researchers… have an enhanced understanding of a common freshwater alga and its remarkable ability to remove strontium from water. Insight into this mechanism ultimately could help scientists design methods to remove radioactive strontium from existing nuclear waste.