Top 10 scientific breakthroughs of 2010

Just what it says up there.


Egg allergies

The number of people with life-threatening food allergies has been on the increase in recent years. The condition, called anapylaxis, can be caused by the smallest amounts of a food allergen.


Two of the more prevalent foods that can cause anaphylaxis are peanuts and eggs. Now, Swiss and German chemists have developed a technique to produce egg-derived food products with just 1% of the allergenic potential of normal eggs. Exposing raw egg to heat and enzymes breaks known allergens down into harmless by-products.

While the safety of this kind of product for people who are potentially anaphylactic is a long way from being assured, it will definitely allow people who have milder allergic responses to egg products to have their cake and eat it, too!

Solar Power Record

Reports today that a new record has been set in the efficiency of solar-generated electricity: slightly more than 31% efficiency on a particularly cold but very sunny day in New Mexico during January.

This technique is different to the photovoltaic panels seen on house roofs or solar vehicles, the kind that generates electricity directly from solar radiation but which can only manage a maximum efficiency of about 14%.

Rather, this facility uses an array of mirrors to reflect and focus the sun’s heat onto a central, sealed ‘engine’ containing hydrogen where heat transfer causes pressure changes that drive a generator.

Parts of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia could use this kind of technology in the future to generate clean, sustainable energy.