Stories for the Royal Australian Chemical Institute’s 13th International Convention and the 12th IUPAC International Congress of Pesticide Chemistry held in Melbourne from 4-8 July 2010.

We supported by the Commonwealth Government’s National Enabling Technologies Strategy (NETS) and delivered a media program for the event.

The events’ major sponsors were: Croplife International, Nufarm, Syngenta and Sigma Aldrich.

Visit the conference website at

Eight for apples, 46 for muffins

What does food do – time to move beyond the glycaemic index

It’s time to get smarter about food labelling according to Dr John Monro, speaking at the international chemistry conference in Melbourne this week.

“We need to know not just what is in the food, but what the food is going to do in our bodies,” he says. John is a researcher with the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research.

“And we need easy to follow guides that make sense when we’re pushing our trolleys around the supermarket.”

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Spinning the world clean

Prof Colin Raston and his colleagues in the Centre for Strategic Nano-Fabrication at the University of Western Australia are setting about cleaning up the world—and chemical industry in particular—through developing a suite of technologies to enable continuous, rather than batch, processing.

“We’re working at getting rid of the round-bottom glass in the laboratory, and the array of tanks and pipes in chemical plants.” [continue reading…]

Eight for apples, 46 for muffins and other chemistry stories

Eight for apples, 46 for muffins

Plants protect plants and triple yields in East Africa

Spinning the world clean

Thursday, 8 July 2010 at Chemistry for a Sustainable World, an international conference organised by RACI, the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. Speakers in Melbourne and available for interview. More info on all stories online. [continue reading…]

Plants protect plants and triple yields in East Africa

More than 30,000 East African farmers are using plants to protect their corn (maize) crops from insect and weed attack. The crop protection strategy was developed by Kenyan and UK scientists.

Termed “Push-Pull’, it relies on strategically deploying attractive and repellent plants in alternating rows to control the growth of African witchweed and stemborer insects. These are the biggest threat to cereal crops in Sub-Saharan Africa. Stem borers often destroy 80% of a crop.

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Can we feed nine billion people by 2050?

IUPAC Plenary Six and Seven, Wednesday 9:45am

Chris Leaver, University of Oxford

The world’s population has more than doubled in the past 50 years and the relative abundance of food has kept pace, with the poorest benefiting most. Yet one billion people are malnourished and live below the poverty line.

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Vegetable oil to lubricate your car, tractor and truck

IUPAC Symposium 6B – Crop Biofactories: Plants as Sustainable Bio-Production Systems for Industrial Raw Materials, Wednesday 3:30pm

Sten Stymne, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Vegetable oil is the agricultural product that chemically most resembles fossil oils and has therefore great potential to replace it, says Sweden’s Sten Stymne.

He’s part of an 11-million-Euro global project to engineer seed oils for bio-lubricant uses.

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Could your lawn, golf course or pasture make its own weedkiller?

IUPAC Symposium 4A – Natural Products, Tuesday 1:45PM – 3:00PM

Leslie Weston, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga

Leslie Weston has discovered and patented two weedkillers made by plants. Now she’s investigating Patterson’s curse to see what tricks it uses to invade grasslands and repel herbivores. Her vision is to use plants or plant extracts to control plants, as an alternative to synthetic pesticides and herbicides.

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