Why scientists want to turn tree bark and compost into aircraft wings and plastic bags

Trees, crops and even organic waste can be transformed into a bewildering array of plastics to use in products ranging from single-use bags to heavy-duty aeroplane wings. These so-called biopolymers could play a vital role in weaning us off petroleum plastics – which will help cut greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure plastics come from a … Read more

Virus cocktails and ice guns could help to tackle food poisoning risk

Harmful bacteria found in chickens that can cause food poisoning outbreaks and devastate poultry flocks could be better controlled with innovative new solutions being developed by researchers. Bacterial infections are a major problem for poultry producers. Outbreaks of E. coli, for example, can spread quickly through a flock, resulting in high mortality and loss of … Read more

How flood protection can paradoxically put people at risk

Governments who build defences against rising seas can actually increase their citizens’ risk of being flooded – if they fail to take account of the ‘safe development paradox’, according to a flood defence expert. Professor Jeroen Aerts, a hydrologist at the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije University in The Netherlands, says that when a … Read more

Plant-based, probiotics and vitamins: what new diets mean for farmed fish health

Farmed fish are increasingly becoming vegetarian, with plant-based feed now widely used in Europe. Researchers now want to optimise feed to promote fish growth and nutrition. To do this, they are studying fish gut bacteria and the impact of probiotic additives as well as testing nutrient supplements. Aquaculture, which involves farming fish, shellfish and aquatic … Read more

Why climate change could make Mediterranean atmospheric ‘meteotsunamis’ more common

Rogue waves that strike without warning across the Mediterranean and elsewhere may become more frequent as the climate changes, early-stage research suggests. A meteotsunami is a form of tsunami generated by atmospheric conditions, and it can strike any coastline adjacent to a sea floor with a long, shallow shelf. They are not as massive, nor … Read more