In this issue

Issue 79

Perth's mysterious red Swan
Scientists at CSIRO and the Wedgewatch program are gathering data about the Swan River's nutrient levels, biological environment and water chemistry. The data will be used to create a predictive model of algal blooms in the river, and assist in averting potential blooms.
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Gas emissions reduced with pulsed power
Scientists at CSIRO's divisions of Coal and Energy Technology and Applied Physics are investigating the workings and design of the electrostatic precipitator, one of the means of reducing industrial flue emissions. The team has also found that pulsed power supply improves dust collection in the precipitator. Another project at the Division of Coal and Energy Technology involves the commercial development of a process that recycles transformer oil. The $2.3 million project aims to develop a simple economic process that can be used at remote power stations and electricity substations.
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Tracking chemicals in a matter of minutes
Simple test kits for tracking pesticides and herbicides in the environment have the potential to help protect ecosystems near horticultural and agricultural areas. CSIRO has developed a kit based on enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technology. It enables on-site analysis for a number of pesticides and herbicides for only a few dollars a sample and takes less than 20 minutes to run in the field.
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Waste incentives needed
A greater effort is needed to find ways of reducing industrial wastes, according to a survey report published by CSIRO and the University of Western Sydney. The report says that in Australia the use of some of the waste materials generated could be encouraged with economic incentives and assistance to companies with waste management problems.
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Selecting trees for salt-affected land
Finding ways to deal with dryland salinity was one focus of CSIRO's recently concluded Land and Water Care Project. An important line of attack is the strategic planting of trees for water table control. One research project has identified tree species and provenances that grow in saline conditions and help reclaim sites by lowering the local water table.
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The fur seal fights back
New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) once hunted almost to extinction, are again thriving in Australia's southern waters.
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New rules for the paper game
Australia earns $370 million a year from export woodchips, yet spends triple that amount on imported pulp and paper. Ways of redressing this balance without harming the environment are being coordinated by the National Pulp Mill Research Program (NPMRP). The NPMRP is looking at cleaner production for all stages of bleached eucalypt kraft pulp processing, from pulping and bleaching to effluent treatment, marine dispersal and environmental monitoring.
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Making more of Australia's leather
The Australian leather industry, supported by CSIRO's Leather Research Centre, is moving to cut pollution and increase efficiency. A cleaner, more efficient Australian tanning industry producing quality hides and skins has the potential to add millions of dollars in Australian exports by adding value to hides and skins.
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Mineral extraction: refining the process
Producing refined metal from raw ore is complex, costly and often polluting. Improved processing methods to help Australia's minerals industry compete in a competitive world are being developed at CSIRO's Division of Mineral and Process Engineering. Fortunately, many of the new methods being adopted by processors not only cut costs, but also benefit the environment.
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Microwave chemistry heats up
Australia is a world leader in microwave heating technology, a clean, efficient and flexible alternative to the conventional heating methods traditionally used in practical chemistry.
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Who counted the kangaroos?
A profile of CSIRO biologist Dr Graeme Caughley is presented. His work has helped to rewrite the history of New Zealand, to save Africa's elephants and to survey Australia's camels and kangaroos.
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Salt lakes and global change: the inland connection
CSIRO's smallest research vessel, the RV Albedo, carries instruments to measure the reflectance (or albedo) characteristics of Australia's large inland lakes. Scientists will use these measurements to enhance the value of satellite imagery as a tool for understanding global change and its implications for Australia.
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