Tuesday, July 27, 2021

BIOTECHNOLOGY – A World of Possibilities

The application of biotechnology is widespread. These are some of the topics researchers have been exploring lately.

Trucks can now run on discarded melons

Markets tend to discard blemished watermelons, that are almost a quarter of the total production a year. It is considered a loss by farmers, who plow them back into the soil. The waste generated by these watermelons reached 360,000 tons, back in 2007. This wastage had lead to its research by many biotech consulting firms.

Thanks to a study done in Oklahoma, researchers have found that wasted melons produce fermentable sugars, which are perfect for making ethanol biofuels. The fruit’s liquid is readily fermentable, so using it for some purpose is entirely sensible. A watermelon’s liquid can also be extracted for its nutritional value before it is used to fuel vehicles. This is an advattage to the farmer as he might be able to get fuel for his farm or sell his watermelons for ethanol. 

Top Life Science consulting firms suggests that one can also get health benefits by combining biotechnology with biofuels. Several compounds found in watermelon flesh, such as lycopene, have shown to benefit prostate health, while the amino acid found in L-citrulline is indirectly linked to the function of blood vessels.

Get rid of the mosquitoes

Biotechnology will soon be providing us with a newer, more effective bug killer that can make evenings outside a bit less painful. A recent study has used nanoparticles to feed mosquito larvae double-stranded ribonucleic acid. The researchers have targeted genes that produce chitin, the main component of insect exoskeletons, with RNAi. This molecule prevents insects from producing certain genes that blocks them from biting, which means they will either die or pesticides will make them easier to kill.

Bring out the radiance in your skin with the new less harmful sunscreen

Current metal-based sunscreens may not be as effective as ivy nanoparticles in protecting skin. Ivy rootlets secrete tiny particles that can be used as adhesives in medicine, for drug delivery, and as sunscreen. At a conference, a presentation on metal-based nanoparticles suggested that there may have harmful effects on humans because of the metal oxides found in sunscreens. They can also make their way to the liver or brain, which can lead to fatal diseases.

Since nanoparticles display unique physical and chemical properties that let them absorb and scatter light, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are currently used for sunscreens. Scientists discovered tis by pondering why the ivy on his backyard fence was clinging so tightly. Under a microscope, a yellowish material was discovered using ivy for climbing, containing a number of nanoparticles. These tiny particles were about a 1000 times smaller in diameter than a human hair. These tiny roots support the vine almost twice as much as its weight.

The study showed that ivy nanoparticles are four times more effective at absorbing ultraviolet light that causes sunburns than metal-based particles. Nanoparticles derived from ivy are less toxic for mammals and less likely to penetrate human skin. They are also biodegradable. It is possible that the nearly invisible, ivy-based sunscreen can be applied for longer periods of time without need for reapplication after swimming since the plant’s nanoparticles hold better than traditional sunscreens. 

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