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Vietnamese scientists create safe alternative to toxic additive
Posted: Mar 29,2006

A group of Vietnamese female scientists developed a harmless preservative to replace borax, a toxin substance used to texturize a Vietnamese meatloaf dish

The scientists from the Institute of Chemistry of Vietnam successfully formulated “PDP powder” from chitin, a polymer molecule found on the cell walls of many animals and fungi.

The powder, derived from shrimp and crab shells, is nontoxic and cheap, said team leader Associate Professor, Doctor Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tu.

The chemical additive is currently on sale and being used in pork paste, meatloaf, sausages and rice noodles by manufacturers including Vissan, a leading food company and others in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

However, Vietnam’s cottage industry meatloaf producers still resort to the traditional method of borax and formaldehyde, which worries Tu.

“Successfully researching and manufacturing a scientific product is difficult enough. It proves more so to publicize it. Scientists are busy and cannot conduct research and market the product at the same time,” Tu said.

Tu shared the VIFOTEC award with another female colleague in 2004 for her innovative work on PDP powder.

VIFOTEC stands for Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations' Vietnam Fund for Supporting Technological Creations.

Thanh Nien Newspaper

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"... From the beginning of the first century A.D., when the two Trung Sisters rose up to fight the enemy and save the nation, until now, whenever our country has faced danger, our women have contributed whatever they could toward the cause of national liberation.

Our people are grateful that our mothers from South and North alike have borne and raised our nation's generation of heroes....

Under the Socialist system, tens of thousands of women have become specialists in different fields and, as cadre, serve as directors and vice-directors of factories, leaders of farming cooperatives, presidents of People’s Committees, and general secretaries of Party Cells....

And so, the women of Vietnam from ancient times until now, from South to North, from young to old, are truly heroes ..."

(Excerpted from President Ho Chi Minh's speech on the 36th Anniversary of Vietnam Women's Union 20 October 1966)

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