Waste plastic choking corals

• A new paper in the journal Science estimates that reefs across the Asia-Pacific region are littered with more than 11 billion pieces of plastic larger than 5 centimetres. These included chairs, diapers and bottles (the Great Barrier Reef in pic above ). To make matters worse, corals with plastic on them were 20 times more likely to be diseased than those that were not polluted.

Mustard oil to fly

• The world's first biofuel powered passenger plane recently flew from Los Angeles to Melbourne. It used 24,000 litres of blended fuel of which 10 per cent was derived from Brassica carinata - a type of mustard seed that can be grown between regular crop cycles. It reduced carbon emissions by 7 per cent compared to the usual flight. The mustard used to produce the biofuel was grown on 150 acres - about three times the size of Calcutta Zoo.

Swat therapy

• If you keep swatting at a mosquito, it may leave you alone. That's because it learns to associate your swatting vibrations with your scent, a study published in Current Biology suggests. How it processes the 200 chemicals in a person's scent isn't fully understood, but dopamine, a brain chemical that contributes to learning, plays a part.



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