If you look hard enough, you will find everything you need in nature. From rust proofing, to anti-bacteria to even bullet resistant material, it can all be found in nature. It so happens, as Dr. Nguyen Thi Hoe of Kova Paint Corporation found, that all four properties were in the humble rice husk. The beauty of it is that it's the husk, the part that's discarded once the grain has been removed, not the grain that is used as a staple in Eastern diets. This is a double bonus because the new use will not compete with the human consumption of the grain while, if anything, an increased demand for the husk could increase the supply of rice and bringing the price of rice down, allowing millions more to be fed. It's a brilliant development.
According to Dr. Nguyen, the component in the husk that is relevant is called nano silica. That is the magic component that allows it to be used in anti-bacteria formulations, anti-rust and bullet resistant materials. Developing the paint took a tremendous amount of research and testing. The final product is a paint that, once painted on a surface, becomes anti-bacterial and is able to keep it free from 99% of bacteria.
The same paint is not easily burned. An item coated with this paint can resist fire from anywhere between two and six hours. That's an amazing feature as it sounds like it can be used as a paint for fireproof safes and, in fact, painting the entire room with it or even the door can keep the door and room bacteria-free and fire proof.
Technology, like what we find here, is about finding what's already in nature and just combining it with something else and coming up with something that solves a whole array of issues. Imagine, from sand, came computer chips; from hydrocarbons, came jet fuel; and now, from rice husk, comes a flame retardant, anti-bacteria, bulletproof paint. Imagination, indeed, is greater than knowledge, as Einstein once said.