Have you ever wondered what is the most discussed science discipline on the Web? As far as I am concerned, yes, I have.

So, firstly, I looked for both a popular and influential classification of science disciplines.
Therefore, I considered the Essential Science Indicators Subject Areas classification and I loosely adapted it for quering on line, resulting in the following 26 clusters:

1) Agricultural Sciences
2) Biology
3) Biochemistry
4) Chemistry
5) Clinical Medicine
6) Computer Science
7) Economics
8) Engineering
9) Ecology
10) Geosciences
11) Immunology
12) Materials Science
13) Mathematics
14) Microbiology
15) Molecular Biology
16) Genetics
17) Neuroscience
18) Pharmacology
19) Physics
20) Plant Science
21) Animal Science
22) Psychiatry
23) Psychology
24) Social Sciences
25) Space science
26) Toxicology

Then, I made the analysis of the presence on Google search engine of those terms, and these are the results:

science disciplines cloud

science disciplines cloud

As you can see in the above cloud, “Engineering” is the most used word, followed at a distance by “Economics”, “Chemistry”, “Physics” and the other ones, until “Animal Science”, the loss employed term.



The Dutch tyre company Apollo Vredestein, a partner in the EU-PEARLS European project, has produced the first prototypes of tyres manufactured using natural rubber in Europe, further to the cultivation of two innovative plants and the extraction of latex from them.

This success is opening up new market expectations that in a next future will be able to break the Asian (Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand) rubber monopoly.

Nowadays all the latex used in Europe for various kinds of industries and essential in the manufacture of surgical gloves, condainly extracted from the rubber tree (Hevea Brasiliensis).

Natural rubber is a unique biopolymer that cannot be substituted by synthetic alternatives in many of its most important applications, like medical products, condoms, footwear or adhesives. For this reason the European Union would avoid the latent risk that the producing countries may decide to carry out a co-ordinated increase in the price of this raw material, also due to the recent demand for natural rubber in the emerging countries.

Moreover, proteins in Hevea latex cause allergy and protein removal from this plant is elaborate and expensive.
Finally, the rubber tree is highly vulnerable to pests and diseases and its cultivation is closely linked to very specific climate conditions which exist mainly in tropical zones of Asia and South America.

The EU-PEARLS European project, begun four years ago, is being funded by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme and developed by partners from eight different countries.
Initial studies have shown that both the Russian dandelion (Taraxacum koksaghyz) and guayule (Parthenium argentatum) plants are a good alternative to the rubber tree. In particular, the guayule is regarded as the more promising crop for cultivation in the Mediterranean areas,

Taraxacum koksaghyz

whereas the Russian dandelion is more suited to the northern and eastern countries of Europe.

Parthenium argentatum

Parthenium argentatum

Then, to increase the production of rubber and the agricultural productivity of these two plants, the research team has investigated the biochemical pathways involved in rubber biosynthesis.
Afterwards, latex produced from EU-grown guayule was tested, to be able to select suitable sites for commercial guayule farms, as well as best growing and extraction practices for the Old Continent.

For those who understand Dutch language, click here and watch a video explaining the EU-PEARLS research project.