Nature's imagination seems endless, and so is Man's. For as long as humans have existed, they have twisted Nature to meet their own needs. Wood has been used to keep them warm. Whale oil has been used to make light. Water has been harnessed to make electricity. And when the era of bio-engineering developed, it was not long before scientists found ways to tinker with an organism's genome for the benefits of mankind. Nowadays, the realm of medication depends heavily on biotechnology. And so, undoubtedly, will novel biofuels. With fossil fuels slowly trickling away, it is becoming paramount to find alternative sources of fuel. And ethanol, though not a new idea, is one. Ethanol is synthesized quite naturally by microorganisms - usually as a waste product - and is the result of the degradation of sugars, by an enzyme known as inulinase, and their subsequent fermentation.
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Snapshot : Tyrannosaurus rex and collagen
Fossils are old because they are made out of stone. Until recently, as far as science was concerned, organic tissues - such as bone matrix - had little chance to survive the passage of time. Organic soft tissues - such as cells and blood vessels for instance - had almost no chance at all. Two years ago though, a 68 million year-old Tyrannosaurus rex was unearthed from one thousand cubic metres of sandstone. The mineral from the bone of one of its femurs was removed and, to the scientists' astonishment, they found minute traces of organic soft tissue which had survived millions of years.
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