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Newsletter – May 2012

Our May newsletter features some of the latest resources published on the Hub.

Biotechnology features in TVNZ’s Ever Wondered? Series 2 and Innovation Stories. You can view the whole series on our sister site the Science Learning Hub and use our classroom teaching resources to engage your students in topics such as forensics and medical uses for honey.


Download video clips from TVNZ’s Ever Wondered? Series 2 and Innovation Stories and use the Hub’s teaching resources to find out more about cutting-edge New Zealand research.

Developing new forensic tools – Video clip
In Episode 10, Part 2 of Ever Wondered? Series 2, Dr John Watt meets two Auckland University postgraduate students researching potential new methodologies for forensic science.

DNA profiling – Information sheet
DNA profiling is the process where a specific DNA pattern, called a profile, is obtained from a person or a sample of body tissue.

Solving a mystery using a scientific approach – Unit plan
Students collect, store and analyse forensic samples from a mock crime scene and process the evidence so that it can be presented to a ‘jury’ with a focus on fair testing.

Solving a mystery using a technological approach – Unit plan
Students develop a mobile evidence-collection system designed to collect forensic evidence from a crime scene in a reliable, repeatable way.

Comvita – using the healing properties of mānuka honey

Innovations – Comvita – Video clip
Comvita’s mānuka honey is not just a tasty spread for toast. The company employs the renowned healing properties of the native mānuka in healthcare and skincare products.

Honey to heal – Focus story
You may have been spreading honey on your toast for a few years, but people have been using it to treat illnesses for thousands of years! Now, honey is being used to make a product that can help wounds heal more quickly.

The properties of honey – Experiment
Honeys are a complex mixture of sugars, water, enzymes and various other compounds. In this experiment, you can compare the taste, colour, texture and pH of different honeys.

Antibacterial effects of honey – Experiment
Honey is antibacterial and can prevent growth of most types of bacteria. This experiment compares the effect of different types of honey on bacteria growing on agar plates.

The Hub is on Twitter

Would you like to keep up to date with what’s new on the Biotechnology Learning Hub? Following us on Twitter makes it easy to track our latest content. We’ll also let you know how our resources link to current events, and we’ll highlight other educational resources that are relevant to New Zealand teachers. Twitter is also a great place to give us feedback or ask questions.

To follow the Hub on Twitter, follow this link: http://twitter.com/#!/NZBiotechLearn.

Cheesemaking – new focus story coming soon

Cheesemaking is the focus of our new focus story to be added to the Hub later this term. Watch out for this resource, which includes information sheets on the science of cheese, creating different cheese characteristics and manufacturing Gouda cheese. Video clips and interactives provide insight into the hands-on processes of traditional cheesemaking, and teaching ideas show how you could use these resources to support classroom activities.

News and events   

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

FDA approval for NZ-made acne treatment – News item
Auckland-based Douglas Pharmaceuticals has gained Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to sell its prescription acne medication isotretinoin in the United States.

The human genome – now done in a day – News item
A genome sequencer can now produce a personal human genome in a day at a cost of NZ$1199, but a shortage of analysts means our ability to analyse the data from the genome lags behind.

Waste 2 Gold – RNZ audio
The Rotorua District Council and Scion are testing new technologies to reduce waste and create valuable products.

More news and events

Contact us

We’d like to hear from you if you’re using Hub resources in the classroom or if you’re interested in helping us develop new resources. Please email enquiries@biotechlearn.org.nz, and we’ll be in touch.

Best wishes
The Biotechnology Learning Hub team


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