An international team of researchers from Taiwan, Australia, India and Bangladesh has successfully developed a method of converting agricultural biomass into commercially valuable chemicals for food and pharmaceutical companies, the Financial Express reported on Monday.
The new method is “significantly cheaper and more environmentally friendly and efficient” than existing conversion methods, because the catalyst materials used are recyclable and the process produces a high yield of valuable chemicals, the Indian English-language newspaper said.
Specifically, the researchers used “raw biomass, such as bagasse, rice husk, wheat straw, cotton stalk, corn cob and low-grade jute from different areas of India and Bangladesh, and converted it into high-value chemicals, such as xylose and arabinose, furfural and HMF [hydroxymethylfurfural],” Shahriar Hossain, a materials scientist at University of Wollongong’s Australian Institute for Innovative Materials, was quoted as saying.
The report quoted Wu Chia-wen (吳嘉文), a professor of chemical engineering at National Taiwan University who was also involved in the project, as saying that such chemicals have widespread uses in the food and pharmaceutical sectors.
“Xylose and arabinose ... can play an important role in the management of blood glucose and insulin levels related to sucrose intake” when used in food products, Wu said.
Furfural can be applied as “fungicides, pesticides, drugs and bioplastics, flavor enhancers,” the report said.
“This discovery will add significant economic value to the agricultural waste materials through industrialization of our technique in Bangladesh and other South Asian countries,” the researchers were quoted as saying.
Researchers from National Taiwan University, Australia’s University of Wollongong, Bangladesh’s Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University and Indian schools were involved in the project.
The coast guard on Friday took a Chinese fishing boat and the 17 people on board into custody, after it rammed into a patrol boat while attempting to flee. A 100-tonne coast guard vessel at about 8am discovered a Chinese fishing boat illegally operating in waters about 11 nautical miles (20.4km) northwest of Hsinchu, the Hsinchu offshore flotilla of the Coast Guard Administration said. The crew refused to allow law enforcement to board the ship and attempted to flee, it added. The coast guard vessel and another ship chased the fishing boat for about a half hour, during which time the Chinese boat
Vice President William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said that Beijing was trying to “annex” Taiwan, while China said its recent series of drills near Taiwan are aimed at combating the “arrogance” of separatist forces. The Ministry of National Defense earlier this month said that it had observed dozens of Chinese fighters, drones, bombers and other aircraft, as well as warships and the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, operating nearby. The increased frequency of China’s military activities has raised the risk of events “getting out of hand” and sparking an accidental clash, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said last week. Asked about the spurt
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Monday said he would not attend the official Double Ten National Day celebrations for the first time this year, as its English name, “Taiwan National Day,” implies “Taiwan independence.” Writing on Facebook, Ma said he has attended every National Day celebration since entering public service 40 years ago, but “with an exceedingly heavy heart,” has decided to reject this year’s invitation. For the past three years, the government under President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has used “Taiwan National Day” for the event’s official English-language title, leaving the “Republic of China” nowhere to be found, he said. The move
RUNWAY UPGRADES: Airports and ports mainly scattered around southwestern Japan are being given major overhauls, primarily serving as civilian-use facilities Japan has chosen 33 airports and ports as candidates for improvement to enhance military capabilities, with a particular focus on infrastructure that could be utilized in a Taiwan emergency, according to a recent report in Japan’s Nikkei Shimbun. Citing the Japanese government’s fiscal budget proposal for next year, the newspaper said Toyko is to name some facilities as essential bases and receive funding for upgrades in line with the revamped national security strategy published last year. According to an unofficial policy document drafted last month and reviewed by the Nikkei, the Japanese government designated 14 airports and 19 ports for improvement, including