Research Picks – September 2016

In the first September edition of Inderscience Research Picks, David Bradley highlights another four excellent papers from the journals on topics as diverse as improving biodiesel, taking control of seed regulations, sub-Saharan food security and peer-to-peer network safety.

Oiling up the biobus

A new energetic assessment of the vegetable oil components of biodiesel, and specifically esters derived from sunflower oil, reveals that the effective work and efficiency of such fuels in diesel engines falls rapidly if too much bio is used in a blend of conventional petroleum-derived fuel and the biofuel, according to researchers in Turkey. The team has used the laws of thermodynamics and an assessment of “exergy” to show that 75% and 50% ethyl ester blends are the most appropriate fuels for the engine in terms of its performance. The findings should be used to adjust the fuel blends being used by biofuelled vehicles running on esters derived from sunflower oil.

Yamık, H. (2016) ‘Energetic and exergetic assessments of an internal combustion engine with sunflower ester blends’, Int. J. Exergy, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp.482–495.

Seed governance

Seed governance is a global issue say researchers in The Netherlands who have looked at organic seed regulation in the European Union, Mexico, and the USA. Based on a study extending from 2007 to 2014, the researchers suggest that regulatory imbalances and trade incompatibilities arising from divergent stakeholder interests along the organic seed value chain have hindered the development of this important commercial sector. They add that progress towards regulatory harmonisation has so far been slow and highlight three cases wherein this has been a critical issue. There are, however, new opportunities to improve the situation for growers and users if the industry and regulators can learn the lessons of developing coherent policies.

Renaud, E.N.C., Lammerts van Bueren, E.T. and Jiggins, J. (2016) ‘The meta-governance of organic seed regulation in the USA, European Union and Mexico’, Int. J. Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp.262–291.

Sub-Saharan food security

Subsistence farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity, according to researchers from Germany. The team has been investigating participatory research that might help stabilise and enhance food security through the development and implementation of upgrading strategies. However, their research has shown that the perception of such strategies is different among male and female scientists from Germany and Tanzania and that the issues that arise from these different approaches must be addressed if they are found to be somewhat universal so that sustainable upgrades can be implemented. Fundamentally, where there are general differences in opinion between scientists from different regions and between genders, these differences must be discussed in advance of implementation of improvement strategies.

Graef, F. and Uckert, G. (2016) ‘Male and female scientists differ in their suitability assessments of food-securing upgrading strategies’, Int. J. Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp.305–326.

Peer-to-peer security

Peer-to-peer, or P2P, networks have become infamous as the mainstay of users circumventing copyright laws to share digital commodities, such as music, video content, software and even textbooks. However, the underlying technology has many legitimate applications in improving the efficiency of distribution of open source information and materials to which users have shared or free access. However, as with any networking system there are always security concerns. Researchers in India have developed a security system wherein some peers are assessed as being more equal than others so that the most trusted nodes in the network become the validated, forwarding peers for file sharing. The file splitting algorithm also reduces network overheads for file transmission and by utilising trusted nodes more improves the success rate of the system overall.

Senthil Madasamy, N. and Revathi, T. (2016) ‘A secure P2P file sharing model using trust management and data integrity verification’, Int. J. Wireless and Mobile Computing, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp.335–344.

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.