June 19, 2009

Beetle juice proves powerful antifreeze

A powerful frost resistant made from beetle juice could prove invaluable as a de-icing coating on aircraft wings, Danish researchers said.

Genes from the Longhorn beetle, common in Northern Europe, can be used to produce an artificial protein that acts as a natural antifreeze and mixes easily with paints and oils, researchers at Roskilde University told The Copenhagen Post in a story published Friday.

The discovery has attracted the interest of an aircraft paint company, Scandinavian Airlines and Vestas, a wind turbine manufacturer, said Casper Wilkins, who led the beetle juice studies with researchers Hans Ramlov and Anders Lobner-Olesen.

The substance also makes yeast more frost tolerant, which could mean millions in savings for bread manufacturers, Ramlov said.