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Newsletter – February 2009

Term 1 has started and we’ve just published some brand new teaching resources about Potatopak, a New Zealand company that uses wastewater from chip processing to make environmentally friendly disposable products.

What's new on the Hub?

Our new Potato plates focus story showcases Potatopak’s technology and product development. Potatopak makes plates, bowls, trays and possum bait stations from waste potato starch. These products are sustainably produced and biodegradable, so they have a minimal impact on our environment.

Potato plates – Focus story
The Potato plates focus story will help you explore issues of biodegradability, sustainability and product development with your students. Learn about Potatopak’s innovative technology using our information sheets, images, video clips and interactive.

Environmental benefits of potato plates – Information sheet
Discover why synthetic plastics are bad for our environment, while biopolymers – like Potatopak’s potato starch products – are more environmentally friendly.

Potato plate manufacturing process – Interactive
Click on each step in the flow diagram to view video clips of the potato plate manufacturing process.

Potato plate video gallery – Video clips
Check out our interview with Potatopak’s Director, Richard Williams.

Teaching activities

Designing a new product from potato starch - Unit plan

A unit plan for upper primary and lower secondary school students. This unit plan will help students develop their knowledge of sustainability by getting them to design a disposable product as a sustainable alternative to an existing product.

Latest biotech news

Keep up to date with the latest biotechnology news, events and radio broadcasts.

Power potential in pig poo – News item
The potential to turn pig poo into energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be examined over the next eight months in a new project launched by the Pork Industry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

Dung beetles could be potential biocontrol – News item
Farmers’ feedback is being sought on the possibility of importing pastoral dung beetles as a new biocontrol agent.

Cradle to cradle product development – Radio New Zealand audio
Chemist Michael Braungart is a strong proponent of the idea that, given the right mindset, we can design every product so it can be taken apart and remade into new products over and over again. Audio duration: 21’ 34”

More news and events

We welcome your ideas

Email us at enquiries@biotechlearn.org.nz if you have any questions about the Hub, or complete our online feedback form.

Best wishes for 2009,

Dr Diane Dinnis, Project Manager
New Zealand Biotechnology Learning Hub


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