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Unraveling Xylomannan – natural beetle antifreeze compound

By Damir Beciri
3 March 2012

upis-ceramboidesAnimals and plants living in snow and sub-zero areas have evolved all sorts of chemical tricks that allow them to live in these cold environments. There are various natural antifreeze compounds from such organisms, but researchers from RIKEN Advanced Science Institute at Wako focused on one called xylomannan – a natural antifreeze produced by the… »


Wasp hounds “sniff” explosives and illegal drugs

By Damir Beciri
15 June 2009

parasitic-waspDrug smugglers and terrorists may soon meet their match: a handheld chemical detector powered by trained wasps or bees. Nicknamed “The Wasp Hound” the prototype tool houses five parasitic wasps that react to the smell of explosives, illegal drugs, and plant diseases. In theory, the insects’ movements set off an alarm to alert authorities. Although… »


“Borg” insects – mini spies of the future?

By Rob Aid
12 May 2009

mems08_bti2.jpgInsects’ agility in flight is unmatched. It’s been an inspiration to many inventors as in inventing helicopters or other flying machines. Instead creating robots which resemble insects, a few groups of engineers decided to develop technology which controls insects. An unquestioned fact is that nature developed the insects far better than humans are trying to… »