What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Butter may help make eco-friendly fuel

In the search for new raw materials for making biodiesel fuel, scientists have now closed in on an unlikely farm product — butter.

In a new study, researchers have claimed that butter could be used as an eco-friendly feedstock, or raw material, for making diesel fuel.

Michael Haas and colleagues cite rising global demand for biodiesel, and the desire to expand the feedstock base, as motivating factors for their research.

As researchers seek additional and affordable feedstocks for biodiesel production, scientists turned to butter, one billion pounds of which are produced annually.

In an effort to find out if surplus, spoiled, or nonfood-grade butter could be used to make biodiesel at competitive prices, scientists recovered the fat from a quarter-tonne of butter and converted it into the fatty acid esters that constitute biodiesel.

They found that the resulting material met all but one of the official test standards for biodiesel.

The study concluded that with further purification or by blending with biodiesel from other feedstocks butter biodiesel could add to the supply of biobased fuel for diesel engines.

CPR without mouth-to-mouth breathing is better

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) without mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing could be a better option to save victims of cardiac arrest, according to a study.

A leading CPR expert has said that two new studies from US and European researchers support the case for dropping mouth-to-mouth by bystanders and using ‘hands-only’ chest compressions during the life-saving practice.

The expert has recommended hands-only (or compression-only) CPR by bystanders who are not adequately trained or who feel uncomfortable with performing rescue breathing on other adults who collapse from sudden cardiac arrest.

In an editorial accompanying the studies, cardiologist Myron ‘Mike’ Weisfeldt, physician in chief at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and director of the Department of Medicine at Hopkins’ School of Medicine, says ‘less may be better’ in CPR, calling the findings straightforward, practical and potentially life-saving.

The two studies were conducted between 2004 and 2009 on more than 3,000 men and women who needed CPR.

Among their key findings are that survival rates were similar for adults who received their CPR from bystanders randomly assigned to provide only chest compressions and those who were instructed to do standard CPR with rescue breathing.

A green way of decomposing BPA-containing plastic

BPA (bisphenol A) containing plastic is a huge environmental hazard but scientists have found an eco-friendly way of decomposing the plastic waste.

Mukesh Doble and Trishul Artham pre-treated polycarbonate with ultraviolet light and heat and exposed it to three kinds of fungi.

The scientists found that fungi grew better on pre-treated plastic, using its BPA and other ingredients as a source of energy and breaking down the plastic.

After 12 months, there was almost no decomposition of the untreated plastic, compared to substantial decomposition of the pre-treated plastic and zero release of BPA. The new study is published in ‘ACS’ Biomacromolecules’.

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