In this issue

Issue 90

Tree roots defy gravity in the Daintree
Scientists have found that 11 of the 15 dominant tree species at a site south of Cape Tribulation, Qld, have extra roots that grow upwards. The roots are believed to aid the trees' survival.
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A sting in the tail for cancerous cells
A component of bee venom, mellitin, may one day alleviate suffering and prolong the lives of many cancer patients. Researchers are exploring mellitin's potential as a 'magic bullet' to eliminate residual cancerous cells after patients have undergone surgery to remove solid tumours.
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Beware the lure of seaweed
Farming of seaweed is undertaken in several countries. The commercial returns, environmental problems and aesthetic issues must be considered by Australians considering seaweed farming.
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Hong Kong job in the air
CSIRO's Division of Atmospheric Research is part of an international team selected to establish a sophisticated air-modelling system for Hong Kong. The 18 month project involves developing an inventory of emissions affecting air quality, and meteorological and air pollution models of the region.
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Water quality at risk, scientists warn
The report, Agricultural chemicals and algal toxins - emerging water quality issues warns that Australia's surface and groundwater resources are increasingly at risk from agricultural chemical residues and toxins produced by blue-green algae. Many of the processes leading to this contamination are poorly understood.
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Eat to your heart's content
Foods with health potential, or 'functional' foods, could play a critical role in the fight against cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other degenerative illnesses. Research has identified three classes of functional foods with specific health benefits: dietary fibre; antioxidants; and fatty acids contained in oils from plants and fish.
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Making tracks for the future
The Population-Development-Environment Project aims to use scientific understanding of physical ecosystems to develop potential scenarios for long-term national policies. Researchers involved in the project hope to be able to provide useful and interesting insights into improving Australia's environmental quality. It is hoped that these insights will provide a link between national policy decisions and the environmental quality they will deliver.
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Sim cities
CSIRO researchers have developed three computer models - SUSTAIN (Sustainable Urban Structure and Interaction Networks), TOPAZ (Technique for Optimal Placement of Activities in Zones), and AUDIT (Appraisal of Urban Development, Infrastructure and Transport), which are being used by urban planners for planning of transport and water management.
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Life on the rocks: understanding Australia's lion of the sea
The Australian sea lion, Neophoca cinerea, is one of the world's rarest pinnipeds (seals, sea lions and walruses). The sea lions have a sparse distribution and extended breeding cycle. Researchers have been studying the sea lion's distribution, abundance and behaviour as a basis for developing management and conservation strategies.
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Duelling genes: learning the game of disease resistance
Understanding how plants and pathogens interact in the wild can help to improve disease resistance in agricultural crops and conserve native species.
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Defending the ozone
Scientific research on depletion of the ozone layer has led to a global response to ozone depletion.
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Wind energy a hot prospect
An extensive study has identified sites in New South Wales with the potential to generate wind energy. One of these sites, at Crookwell, will be the home of Australia's largest and first grid-connected wind farm.
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