Editor’s note: As a service to our readers, we provide news about the work of others in ag utilization. Often, research done elsewhere complements AURI’s work. Please note that ARS is the USDA’s research division.

Driving with sweet tires

Drivers could soon be traveling on more sustainable tires. A technology is being tested to replace some of the petroleum ingredients in tires with renewable feedstocks. Annually, seven billion gallons of crude oil go into producing one billion tires worldwide.

The new tire material will use sugars derived from switchgrass, corn, corn cobs or sugar cane to produce bioisoprene. The sugar-based isoprene may be used in other rubber products, such as diapers and surgical gloves, to replace petroleum-based isoprene.

From: Biobasednews.com
March 26, 2010

Waste fuels the skies

Plants and fat are helping fuel our aircraft. Alaska Airlines recently announced that it is using 15,000 gallons of biofuel in an 80/20 blend with ordinary jet fuel for some of its flights. The biofuel is derived from chicken fat, algae oil, used fryer grease and plants.

Biofuel can be used in planes with no modifications. Researchers say that if just three dozen U.S. commercial airports use the biofuel blend, more than half the U.S. passenger jet traffic would fly with renewable fuels.

From: Soyatech.com
November 16, 2011

Plants surviving the ozone

USDA scientists are breeding more ozone-tolerant crops after finding that future ground-level ozone could reduce soybean yields by 23 percent. Researchers are testing plants under conditions predicted for 2050, when ozone levels could be 50 percent higher than today’s concentrations. Researchers are finding different ozone tolerances in plants, which could help determine breeding for more ozone-tolerant varieties.

From: USDA-ARS
August 22, 2011

Soy scrubbing in for surgery

A soy-protein isolate could potentially be used in surgical dressings for burns, in facial masks and for reducing wound inflammations, a China study shows. Researchers studied color, transparency and heat-sealing ability of the soy-protein films.

From: Soyatech.com
January 26, 2012

Omega-3 to fight nerve damage

Omega-3 may help protect and regenerate nerves, according to University of London research. Studies on damaged mouse nerve cells found that omega-3 fatty acids gave cells protection and decreased cell death. Another study found that the sciatic nerves of mice recover more quickly and fully with omega-3. Studies suggest the fatty acid could have a role in treating peripheral nerve injuries.

From: MedicalNewsToday.com
January 12, 2012

Malaysian plant could lower blood sugar

Extracts from a Malaysian plant, the Water Apple, may help diabetics. A research team from Monash University in Malaysia found that the plant’s leaf extracts contain flavanoids that can lower or stabilize blood sugar levels. Certain flavanoids were found to be more effective than some diabetes medications.

Along with being an anti-hyperglycemic agent, these extracts could potentially help control diabetes complications and are currently under further laboratory study.

From: Food Chemistry
January 2012

Soda bottles made from plants

Coca-Cola recently announced it will have 100 percent plant-based bottles on the market within five years. Currently, the company’s recyclable PlantBottle is made from 30 percent plant materials. The company is evaluating molasses, sugarcane and plant-residual materials for its
new bottles.

From: Foodproductiondaily.com
December 16, 2011