There is more to the brown, slimy stuff covering rocks and plants in rivers, wetlands and estuaries than meets the eye. Diatoms, the microscopic algae found in almost all aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats, are playing an increasingly important role in the assessment and monitoring of the health of South Africa’s water resources.
The building and construction sector is a significant consumer of raw and natural materials, while also contributing to the emission of global warming gases. In line with strategies proposed in Agenda 21 - a United Nations programme in support of sustainable development - the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is investigating the application of natural fibre composites (NFCs) in construction, with the aim of producing construction materials that are less harmful, recyclable and made mainly from renewable materials.
Dr Garth Cambray Methanol is an essential ingredient in the production of biodiesel, a fuel which can potentially help reduce the amount of fossil carbon released into the atmosphere. SASOL, a world leader in fuel technologies, is the only producer of methanol in South Africa. This article looks at how this important chemical is synthesized in South Africa.
It is estimated that 15 years from now, 50 per cent of the global economy will be bioeconomy-based, according to the Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Turner Isoun, as recently stated in an address to the 8th international conference of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), held in Port Harcourt. Hence, by 2020, any nation which does not align itself economically with biotechnology, may miss out on the rewards of yet another revolution.
Greg Gilbert Biotechnology may still be considered as a fledgling industry in South Africa, and has yet to make any discernable impact on the local economy. This is attributable to a number of reasons, among them the current nature of the relationship between universities and entities in the sector. For the biotech industry to flourish, sound collaborative projects that incorporate elements of both the public and the private sectors are essential, and these must be actively pursued.