Tech vs. Trees: Nanocellulose could sustainably boost yield of wild blueberries, Pirelli to introduce tires with wood-based lignin filler, US print book sales down in H1 after strong pandemic-era growth

Sample article from our Forestry & Timberland

July 15, 2022 () –

A roundup of recent trends pitting technology against the printed word:

Trees: Nanocellulose could sustainably boost yield of wild blueberries

Wild blueberries could get a boost in crop yield thanks to nanocellulose, according to a University of Maine study. Researchers came to this preliminary finding after using nanocellulose with liquid fertilizers and applying it to the plant leaves of common lowbush wild blueberries and velvet-leaved lowbush ones, according to a university release on July 8. They attribute the increased yield to nanocellulose potentially making it easier for plant leaves to retain and absorb nutrients. However, more studies will need to be conducted to determine whether more nanocellulose in the fertilizer could result in an even greater yield. “Nanocellulose provides an environmentally friendly approach for growers to enhance fertilizer use efficiency, and to increase yield,” said Yongjiang Zhang, an assistant professor involved in the study. He added that nanocellulose will also be tested in the prevention of frost in late spring.


Trees: Pirelli to introduce tires with wood-based lignin filler

In an aim to be more sustainable, automobile innovators globally have recently incorporated wood-based materials in various parts of a vehicle, and Italy-based Pirelli will soon be launching a tire with its own wood-derived element. Later in 2022, the manufacturer will unveil a passenger car tire that uses a lignin filler content, which is a sustainable substitute for filler content called carbon black, European Rubber Journal reported July 5. The move comes as automotive original equipment manufacturers focus on incorporating renewables, said Luciano Tadielli, innovative materials researcher for Pirelli. Developing the tire was the result of years of research and development, such as figuring out how to mix lignin into rubber compounds. The tire will initially be for the replacement segment “to see what happens from a market point of view,” Tadielli said.


Trees: US print book sales down in H1 after strong pandemic-era growth

After print books enjoyed strong pandemic-era sales, this year’s figures so far are slowing though they’re still higher than 2019, according to NPD BookScan. In the first half of 2022, unit sales of print books fell 6.6% year-over-year to 362.6 million units, which were still 15% above the first half of 2019, Publisher’s Weekly reported July 8. For the first six months of 2022, all major categories fell, except adult fiction, which was led by two of Colleen Hoover’s titles, “Verity” and “Reminders of Him.” During the pandemic era, US publishers sold 825.7 million print books in 2021 and 750.9 million units in 2020, in contrast with 693.7 million in 2019, according to NPD. While book sales for the rest of 2022 remain to be seen, the first week of the second half hasn’t been encouraging, as sales of print book units declined 8.8% year-over-year in the week ending July 10.

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