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ELSEWHERE in ag utilization

Editors note: Elsewhere provides news from around the globe on new uses for agricultural products. Please note that ARS is the research arm of USDA.

Palm power

Brazilian researchers are attempting to use palm-oil biodiesel to produce electricity in remote regions of the country. In the Amazon, dense stands of tucuma palm produce a widely-consumed fruit. But the pit, which is 80 percent of the fruit’s weight and contains 40-percent oil, is thrown away. A project is underway to separate the pit from the fruit, then extract its oil to produce biodiesel for power generators. Palm-oil biodiesel could bring round-the-clock electricity to villages where power lines are not viable.

From: Global International Network

July 31, 2008

Open Sesame

Sesame-seed extract may protect against some strains of E. coli and salmonella bacteria, a study shows. Researchers at Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands found that sesame extract binds bacteria and keeps it from attaching to cells in the host, offering protection against infection or reducing severity of E. coli and salmonella symptoms..


August 5, 2008

Hemp milk

Milk from hulled seeds of the cannabis sativa plant is gaining popularity on the West Coast. Produced from industrial hemp strains, the beverage doesn’t contain THC, the compound found in its disreputable cousin. But it does contain protein, vitamins and Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Living Harvest of Portland, Ore. produces the hemp milk, expected to generate about $6 million in sales in 2008. Hemp milk sales are growing at an explosive rate compared to soy and rice milk.

July 27, 2008


Praise the peanut

Fat-free peanut flour, whole peanuts and peanut oil all may have cardio-protective properties, a study suggests. ARS scientists fed four groups of hamsters high-fat and high-cholesterol diets, with one containing peanut products. The animals fed the diet with peanuts showed significantly lower levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol, while the HDL or “good” cholesterol levels held steady.


June 30, 2008

Switchgrass for soils

Soils covered with native plants such as switchgrass have higher levels of a key soil component, glomalin, than soils planted with non-native species, according to ARS researchers. Glomalin is a sugar- protein compound that could trigger soil’s formation. The more present, the better and less-erodible the soil appears to be.


July 17, 2008

Pining for fewer bugs

A naturally-occurring compound in pine oil may repel ticks and prevent mosquito bites. Discovered by ARS scientists, the patented compound repelled mosquitoes more effectively than DEET and deterred ticks equally as well. The plant-based compound can be extracted inexpensively and in large quantities, making it an attractive option for insect protection, particularly in areas of the world where malaria, dengue fever and typhus are major problems.


June 23, 2008

Nuts to you BessieThe cast offs from cashew snacking may help battle bovine belches. Tests in Japan show that oil from cashew shells may slash up to 90 percent of methane emissions from belching cows when added to feed, according to oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan Company. Some claim that livestock methane emissions are contributing to climate change.

From: Reuters

June 15, 2008

Laundering piggy pooHog farms stink because microbes in manure storage pits release hydrogen sulfide and other smelly compounds. Borax, a natural mineral used in laundry boosters, was shown to neutralize up to 99 percent of the offending microbes in tests by ARS and the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research. Results included dramatic air-quality improvement.


June 3, 2008