Scientists have recently discovered that the Chinese violet cress has two fatty acids which behave differently from other similar oils, making it a perfect candidate for engine lubricant.
Chinese violet cress Image: Commons
Previous analysis had missed these particularly fatty acids in the cress - a member of the Brassica family which includes mustard, broccoli, cabbage and turnips.
Following the discovery at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, further study was undertaken at the University of North Texas.
The oil works in a similar way to castor oil but is more efficient at high temperatures and has less of a tendency to become gummy when used as an engine lubricant.
Will this mean mass crop farming of Chinese voilet cress?
Diane Berman of the University of North Texas offers some clues: “This oil doesn’t just have the potential to supplement or replace petroleum-based oil; it can also replace synthetics. It is a renewable solution to a limited-resource problem.”
Published 29th October, 2018
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