We revealed the value of Zambia's wild yam. Why it matters

Wild harvested crops are a vital source of food in much of the world. Some common wild edible plants in southern Africa include wild mushrooms, such as Termitomyces titanicus, orchids from the genera Disa, Habenaria and Satyrium, ...

Charred flowers and the fossil record

One of the main types of fossil used to understand the first flowering plants (angiosperms) are charred flowers. These charcoals were produced in ancient wildfires, and they provide some evidence for the types of plants that ...

Air pollution becomes Israel-Palestinian wedge issue

For years, residents of central Israel have been complaining about air pollution from Palestinian factories in the nearby West Bank. Now that authorities have finally cracked down, shutting a group of the worst offending ...

Wildfire - it's not spreading like wildfire

A new analysis of global data related to wildfire, published by the Royal Society, reveals major misconceptions about wildfire and its social and economic impacts.

Restoring the American chestnut

The American chestnut was once a mainstay in hardwood forests as far north as Maine and as far south as Georgia and Mississippi. A massive chestnut blight in the early part of the 20th century ended the mighty chestnut's ...

Cameroon start-up offers clean streets, cleaner fuel

The streets and marketplaces of Cameroon's economic capital Douala are strewn with fruit and vegetable debris of all sorts: banana peels, corncobs, coffee grounds, mashed sugarcane... you name it.

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Charcoal

Charcoal is the dark grey residue consisting of carbon, and any remaining ash, obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances. Charcoal is usually produced by slow pyrolysis, the heating of wood or other substances in the absence of oxygen (see pyrolysis, char and biochar). It is usually an impure form of carbon as it contains ash; however, sugar charcoal is among the purest forms of carbon readily available, particularly if it is not made by heating but by dehydrating with sulphuric acid to minimise introducing new impurities, as impurities can be removed from the sugar in advance. The resulting soft, brittle, lightweight, black, porous material resembles coal.

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