Weekly News Bites

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are algae-produced oil, glowing ocean waves, and a dusty Mars rover.

Harvesting palm oil is environmentally harmful but it is present in lots of food items on our shelves. Scientists from Nanyang Technological University and University of Malaya are planning to scale up oil produced by microalgae to replace palm oil with a more sustainable product, which also has the added benefit of being more nutritious!

Wildfires could cause more socioeconomic damage in the future according to researchers from universities including Peking University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The team used 13 Earth simulator models to simulate the atmosphere and look at where wildfires will strike. As countries, such as in western and central Africa, become more developed and populated areas become drier, such as in the US or Australia, these wildfires will affect agricultural and residential land.

Low-income households have to bear the brunt of the burden caused by COVID-19-induced inflation says a report by the Korea Economic Research Institute. Higher prices on essential spending, such as food, housing, and utilities, affect the lower 20% of households more than more affluent households.

In COVID news, a study from Hong Kong Polytechnic University has shown that adults of all ages are susceptible to developing long COVID with symptoms with women being more prone than men. These symptoms can last for months that can include fatigue and shortness of breath but on the positive side, most people recovered fully after a six-week exercise course.

Glowing ocean waves may seem magical but are actually just due to chemistry! Scientists from the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering and the National University of Singapore explain that these sparkles are actually phytoplankton that produce an enzyme (luciferase) that reacts with oxygen.

The latest “selfies” sent back from the Mars rover Zhu Rong show red dust on the surface of the robotic vehicle, which may suggest that there are dust storms on Mars says the China National Space Administration.