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Chinese scientists identify genes for more heat-tolerant rice

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Chinese scientists have found two genes in rice that can make the staple crop more heat-resistant, providing a new way to breed highly thermotolerant crops, according to a study published in the journal Science.

The researchers from the Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Shanghai Jiao Tong University revealed the mechanism by which the rice’s cell membrane senses external heat-stress signals before communicating with chloroplasts – the organelles in which photosynthesis occurs.

Screenshot of the study from the website of Science.

Too much heat can damage a plant’s chloroplasts. When temperatures exceed a crop’s usual tolerance, its yields tend to drop.

The researchers identified a locus with two genes: Thermo-tolerance 3.1 (TT3.1) and Thermo-tolerance 3.2 (TT3.2). They interact in concert to enhance rice thermotolerance and reduce grain-yield losses caused by heat stress.

The researchers found that accumulated TT3.2 triggers chloroplast damage regarding heat stress, but, in that scenario, TT3.1 can serve as a remedy.

Upon heat stress, TT3.1, a potential thermosensor, will remove the cell membrane from the cell to degrade the mature TT3.2 proteins, according to the study.

“The study elucidates a fresh molecular mechanism that links plant cell membranes with the chloroplast in responding to heating signals,” said the paper’s co-corresponding author Lin Hongxuan with the Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology.

Then, the researchers used hybridization to translate the TT3 locus of African rice into Asian species.

The field test has shown that the new species is more heat tolerant. It can withstand heat at 38 degrees Celsius without crop failure, while the output of normal species would be reduced above 35 degrees Celsius, said the researchers.

The newly-found gene might also be used in other plants, including wheat, maize, bean, and vegetables, to cultivate heat-tolerant strains, according to the researchers.

Source: CGTN

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China’s first bio-aviation kerosene producer trials clean energy production

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China’s leading oil producer Sinopec announced the country’s first successful trial production of bio-aviation kerosene on Tuesday, marking China’s solid step towards large-scale commercial production of aviation biofuel.

The first trial production, conducted by Sinopec Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Company, generated around 606 tonnes of bio-aviation kerosene, part of which will be supplied to airline companies.

Bio-aviation kerosene is produced from renewable resources such as waste cooking oil and animal and plant fat. Compared with traditional petroleum-based aviation fuel, the new biofuel can reduce CO2 emissions by over 50 percent or more throughout an airplane’s service cycle.

A view of Sinopec Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Company in Ningbo City of east China’s Zhejiang Province. /CMG

Self-developed high-tech project

In 2009, Sinopec started to conduct research on bio-aviation kerosene. It obtained China’s first bio-aviation kerosene airworthiness certificate in 2014, making it the first country in Asia and the fourth country in the world to have self-developed bio-aviation kerosene technology.

In August 2020, China built its first large-scale industrial plant for producing bio-aviation kerosene with a designed annual capacity of processing around 100,000 tonnes.

Huang Aibin, director of the Sinopec Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Company, told China Media Group (CMG) that “the amount of waste cooking oil recycled in a city with a 10 million population is about 10,000 tonnes per month. If runs at full capacity, this plant can almost digest all the recycled gutter oil of a city this size annually.”

A view of Sinopec Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Company in Ningbo City of east China’s Zhejiang Province. /CMG

Huang also mentioned the biggest difficulty is handling gutter oil as it contains a large number of fatty acid compounds, sulfur, chlorine, metal elements and other impurities, which are extremely difficult to remove. Huang’s team independently developed a special catalyst to optimize the processes of mixing, catalysis and heating.

According to data, if China replaces its current aviation kerosene of around 30 million tonnes aviation kerosene with biofuel, the country can reduce about 55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which is equivalent to dropping driving over 30 million family economic cars for a whole year.

Source: CGTN

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China launches 1st 2,000-tonne offshore wind farm installation vessel

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Baihetan, China’s first 2,000-tonne offshore wind farm installation vessel, was launched on Wednesday in Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong Province.

Built by China Three Gorges Corporation, the 126-meter-long, 50-meter-wide vessel has a full load displacement of 37,000 tonnes and integrates functions such as transport, self-elevation, self-propulsion, lifting and dynamic positioning.

With a maximum variable load of 6,500 tonnes and a deck area of 4,200 square meters, the vessel can be used for the installation of offshore wind turbines of up to 15 megawatts.

The vessel is able to lift goods as heavy as 2,000 tonnes and work underwater as deep as 70 meters, which greatly enhances the country’s construction and installation capacity in offshore deep-water and off-lying sea areas.

The construction of the vessel started in July 2021. It is expected to be delivered and put into operation within this year, and will be mainly operated in Guangdong and Fujian provinces, according to the company.

Source: CGTN

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China’s new telecom carrier launches 5G services

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China Broadnet, China’s fourth telecommunication operator, has formally launched 5G services.

The launch event held at the Museum of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was attended by Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee.

The official website of China Broadnet, www.10099.com.cn, opened to the public on the same day. People can order new China Broadnet SIM cards on the site. The phone number will start with 192.

The website said the current commercial 5G service is still in the test phase, which means problems may occur to users, and the company won’t take responsibility for the consequences. The end date of the test phase has not been announced yet.

The company’s mobile service starts at 38 yuan (about $6) monthly, with 10 gigabytes of data and 50 minutes of voice calling, and goes as high as 588 yuan (about $88) with 398 GB data and 1,600 minutes of voice calling.

At this price, China Broadnet appears more cost-effective than China Mobile. But the established three carriers all offer many discounts to attract users.

The number in the website’s domain name, 10099, is also the company’s service phone number, which now provides 5G-related services.

No information about home broadband service can be found of the website as of Monday afternoon.

The service launch marks a breakthrough in the integration of national cable TV networks, and 5G integrated development and early successes in developing a new “cable plus 5G” integrated development paradigm for China’s radio and TV networks.

A key advantage of China Broadnet’s 5G is the 700 megahertz signal, which is better than the other three carriers’ services in signal strength.

Yet, the company has to build many base stations to cover the whole country. China Broadnet is cooperating with China Mobile to share base stations.

Also, the lower signal frequency will limit the max speed of China Broadnet’s 5G, which may not have a big impact on users’ choices since even 4G speed can satisfy most users for now.

With the 5G services’ launch, China Broadnet vows to speed up the development of a new-type radio and TV communication network, a national cultural network, and a national, new-type infrastructure network.

The company has rebranded as its current name and launched phone number reservations in early June.

China Broadnet was granted a 5G license for commercial use in 2019.

 

Source: CGTN

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