《中英對照讀新聞》Belgian scientists look for biofuel clues in panda poo 比利時科學家在貓熊便便裡尋找生物燃料線索
Belgian researchers are examining the excrement of giant pandas to try to understand how they can digest tough bamboo, hoping for clues on how to develop new generations of biofuel.
The genetic make-up of endangered pandas is that of a carnivore but the animals have adapted to a diet consisting almost exclusively of bamboo.
While a few scientific studies have looked into the digestive tract of the panda, the researchers say their study is the first to focus on the microorganisms in the animal’s gut.
"We can look for new enzymes which could be used to degrade tough biomass," said Korneel Rabaey, professor for biochemical and microbial technology at Ghent University, standing outside the giant panda enclosure at the Pairi Daiza zoo in Belgium.
The results of the study may point to new, cheaper ways to produce so-called second generation biofuels made from plants and biomass not destined for consumption such as corn stalks.
Six-year-old panda Xing Hui, whose name means sparkling star, and his female partner Hao Hao, meaning kind, paid little attention to the scientists collecting their droppings on Monday, instead soaking up the sun and chewing through the first stems of their daily 10-kg portion of bamboo.（Reuters）
tract：名詞，指大片土地、神經束、小冊子、傳單、短文。例句：She wrote a tract on this subject.（她針對這項主題寫了篇短文。）
destined：形容詞，指命中注定的、預定的。例句：It was destined that they would meet each other.（他們會相遇是命中注定。）
soak：動詞，指浸泡、滲透、沉浸、酗酒；名詞，指溼透、酒鬼。例句：Don’t soak up everything without thinking.（切勿未經思索就每事照單全收。）