Making plant fibres flame-retardant might make them fly

There is renewed interest in natural materials, as recyclability and environmental safety become more important in manufacturing and consumables, writes MSc candidate Tshepiso Princess Molaba of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.This article is part of the Mail & Guardian’s Science Voices series.    It looks like a sleek car dashboard, but under its smooth surface flax fibres criss-cross…

#Science Voices: A new ready-to-eat twist on old grains

A locally produced nutritious ready-to-eat composite meal produced from locally available indigenous grains using non-traditional low cost processing methods could be a possible solution to the malnutrition situation in rural African communities. Nokuthula Vilakati, a PhD candidate at the University of Pretoria, does research on this.This is her story in the Mail & Guardian’s Science Voices…

SCIENCE VOICES: ‘Insect farming’ a possible industry for rural communities

For some southern African communities, stinkbugs are a culinary delicacy, writes Cathy Dzerefos in an article that forms part of the Mail & Guardian’s Science Voices series. Dzerefos is a PhD candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand. “If you have thongolifha you can leave the meat!” says a middle-aged office worker at Komatiland Forests. “Thongolifha is…

SCIENCE VOICES: Is life at its heart a quantum problem?

Can quantum biology help us to understand what distinguishes a bunch of molecules from a living organism? By Adriana Marais, a PhD candidate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. #ScienceVoices In the beginning, during the first billion years (Gyr) of the Earth’s 4.5Gyr life, space debris bombarded the planet. High-energy collisions with meteorites up to 500km in…