Go to our new-look site, it combines the Biotechnology and Science Learning Hubs with a new look and new functionality. This is our legacy site and is no longer maintained.

Skip to page content

Site navigation


Glossary

An alphabetical glossary of technical terms used on the site.

faecal transplant

A procedure in which faecal matter (poo) is collected from a tested donor and transplanted into a patient. The purpose is to replace good bacteria that have been killed or suppressed.

FART group

The Farmers Against Ridiculous Taxes (FART) group was set up to protest taxing farmers for the methane emissions of their stock.

Fart tax

A colloquial term for a New Zealand government tax on farmers that will fund research into the greenhouse effects caused by belching and flatulence of their sheep and cattle.

Fauna

Animals.

Fecundity

The reproductive capacity of an individual, measured by the number of offspring it produces.

Fermentation

The anaerobic breakdown of a nutrient molecule such as sugar to produce energy. Other byproducts may also be produced, for example, the production of alcohol when yeast breaks down fruit sugars in grapes.

Fertiliser

A substance that provides nutrients to plants need in order to grow.

Filament

A long thin strand of a polymeric substance.

Filter feeder

An organism that gets food by straining edible material (such as krill, shrimp or phytoplankton) from water.

Flatulence

Excessive gas in the stomach and intestines, which can cause farting.

Flavonoid

A group of compounds that give plants their colour and are thought to offer some health benefits.

Flora

Plants.

Flow cytometry

A laboratory technique in which cell numbers and characteristics, such as size, shape or density, are measured using fluorescent dyes.

Fluoresce

Produce light when exposed to radiation of a particular wavelength.

Fluorescence in situ hybridisation

A technique used to look at chromosomes.

Follicle

A fluid-filled sac in the ovary where the egg grows before it is release during ovulation.

Food additive

A substance that is added to a food to add flavour, aroma or colour, alter the texture or nutritional content or preserve the food.

Footrot

Contagious disease of sheep caused by specific bacteria, which can spread rapidly through the flock. Indicated by inflammation between the claws of the hoof.

Forensic

Scientific evidence that is used in the legal system.

Formulating agent

A substance which alters the physical or chemical properties of a product; often used to improve the delivery of a drug to the target tissues.

Fragile-X syndrome

An inherited condition caused by a ‘fragile’ or broken site on the X chromosome, which can cause mental impairment.

Free radical

An atom or group of atoms with an unpaired electron. Because they have a 'free' electron, free radicals are very unstable and highly reactive. The hydroxyl radical (OH.) is an example of a free radical found in cells.

Freeze-dry

A process to dehydrate a material to preserve it, also called lyophilisation. The material is rapidly frozen and then pressurised so the ice becomes vapour and is removed.

Fructose

A sugar found in fruits.

Fry

Newly hatched baby fish.

Functional food

A food with added health benefits.

Functional group

An atom or group of atoms in an organic molecule that give it a particular property or characteristic.

Fungicide

A chemical used to kill fungi, usually when it is growing on plants.

Fungus

A plant-like organism, examples include mushrooms, yeasts, and moulds. The plural is fungi.

Return to top