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Evolutionary relic

April 2, 2015 3:56 pm | by Bonnie Prescott, Harvard Univ. | News | Comments

Pseudogenes, a subclass of long noncoding RNA  that developed from the human genome’s 20,000 protein-coding genes but has lost the ability to produce proteins, have long been considered nothing more than genomic junk.

Biofuel crops replace grasslands nationwide

April 2, 2015 11:27 am | by Kelly April Tyrrell, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

Clearing grasslands to make way for biofuels may seem counterproductive, but Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison researchers show in a study that crops, including the corn and soy commonly used for biofuels, expanded onto 7 million acres of new land in the U.S. over a recent four-year period, replacing millions of acres of grasslands.

Scientists develop perfume activated by sweat

April 2, 2015 7:46 am | by Queen’s Univ. Belfast | News | Comments

The first-ever perfume delivery system to ensure the more a person sweats, the better they will smell, has been developed by scientists at Queen’s Univ. Belfast. The researchers have developed a unique new perfume delivery system which releases more of its aroma when it comes into contact with moisture, meaning a person smells nicer when their sweat levels increase.

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New insecticide class offers safer, more targeted mosquito control

April 2, 2015 7:37 am | by Natalie van Hoose, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Purdue Univ. researchers have identified a new class of chemical insecticides that could provide a safer, more selective means of controlling mosquitoes that transmit key infectious diseases such as dengue, yellow fever and elephantiasis. Known as dopamine receptor antagonists, the chemicals beat out the neurotransmitter dopamine to lock into protein receptors that span the mosquito cell membrane.

Scientists reveal mechanism of natural product with powerful antimicrobial action

March 31, 2015 8:04 am | by The Scripps Research Institute | News | Comments

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have uncovered the unique mechanism of a powerful natural product with wide-ranging antifungal, antibacterial antimalaria and anticancer effects. The new study sheds light on the natural small molecule known as borrelidin.

Chemists make new silicon-based nanomaterials

March 27, 2015 8:01 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | News | Comments

Chemists from Brown Univ. have found a way to make new 2-D, graphene-like semiconducting nanomaterials using an old standby of the semiconductor world: silicon. In a paper published in Nanoletters, the researchers describe methods for making nanoribbons and nanoplates from a compound called silicon telluride. The materials are pure, p-type semiconductors that could be used in a variety of electronic and optical devices.

Algae from clogged waterways could serve as biofuels, fertilizer

March 25, 2015 11:31 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Water-borne algal blooms from farm fertilizer runoff can destroy aquatic life and clog rivers and lakes, but scientists will report today that they are working on a way to clean up these environmental scourges and turn them into useful products. The algae could serve as a feedstock for biofuels, and the feedstock leftovers could be recycled back into farm soil nutrients.

Food additive could serve as safer antifreeze

March 25, 2015 8:36 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

The sweet taste and smell of antifreeze tempts children and animals to drink the poisonous substance, resulting in thousands of accidental poisonings in the U.S. every year. But today researchers will describe a new, nontoxic product based on a common food additive that could address this health issue and help the environment at the same time.

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New technique paints tissue samples with light

March 24, 2015 3:48 pm | by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

One infrared scan can give pathologists a window into the structures and molecules inside tissues and cells, enabling fast and broad diagnostic assessments, thanks to an imaging technique developed by University of Illinois researchers and clinical partners.

Catching and releasing tiny molecules

March 23, 2015 1:47 pm | by Paul Karoff, Harvard Univ. | News | Comments

Employing an ingenious microfluidic design that combines chemical and mechanical properties, a team of Harvard Univ. scientists has demonstrated a new way of detecting and extracting biomolecules from fluid mixtures. The approach requires fewer steps, uses less energy, and achieves better performance than several techniques currently in use and could lead to better technologies for medical diagnostics and chemical purification.

Squid-inspired invisibility stickers to protect soldiers

March 23, 2015 8:21 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Squid are the ultimate camouflage artists, blending almost flawlessly with their backgrounds so that unsuspecting prey can't detect them. Using a protein that's key to this process, scientists have designed "invisibility stickers" that could one day help soldiers disguise themselves, even when sought by enemies with tough-to-fool infrared cameras.

Mapping redox switches in cyanobacteria advances use as biofuel

March 20, 2015 8:19 am | by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | News | Comments

Chemical reactions involving reduction and oxidation, or redox, play a key role in regulating photosynthesis in plants and metabolism in animals and humans, keeping things running on an even keel. Now, in a recently published study, a team of scientists shed light on the role redox plays in cyanobacteria, tiny organisms with the potential to produce a lot of energy.

New transitory form of silica observed

March 20, 2015 7:28 am | by Carnegie Institute | News | Comments

A Carnegie Institute-led team was able to discover five new forms of silica under extreme pressures at room temperature. Silica is one of the most-abundant natural compounds and a major component of the Earth's crust and mantle. It is well-known even to non-scientists in its quartz crystalline form, which is a major component of sand in many places. It is used in the manufacture of microchips, cement, glass and even some toothpaste.

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Study holds great promise for advancing sustainable energy

March 19, 2015 12:56 pm | by Rutgers Univ. | News | Comments

New research published by Rutgers Univ. chemists has documented significant progress confronting one of the main challenges inhibiting widespread utilization of sustainable power: Creating a cost-effective process to store energy so it can be used later.

Green tea could improve MRIs

March 19, 2015 8:29 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Green tea’s popularity has grown quickly in recent years. Its fans can drink it, enjoy its flavor in their ice cream and slather it on their skin with lotions infused with it. Now, the tea could have a new, unexpected role—to improve the image quality of MRIs. Scientists report in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces that they successfully used compounds from green tea to help image cancer tumors in mice.

Researchers create fast-growing trees that are easier to turn into fuel

March 19, 2015 7:50 am | by James Hataway, Univ. of Georgia | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Georgia have discovered that manipulation of a specific gene in a hardwood tree species not only makes it easier to break down the wood into fuel, but also significantly increases tree growth. In a paper, the researchers describe how decreasing the expression of a gene called GAUT12.1 leads to a reduction in xylan and pectin.

Researchers fine-tune quantum dots from coal

March 18, 2015 1:54 pm | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Graphene quantum dots made from coal, introduced in 2013 by the Rice Univ. laboratory of chemist James Tour, can be engineered for specific semiconducting properties in either of two single-step processes. In a new study, Tour and colleagues demonstrated fine control over the graphene-oxide dots’ size-dependent band gap, the property that makes them semiconductors.

A better way of scrubbing carbon dioxide

March 17, 2015 12:46 pm | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

A means by which the removal of carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants might one day be done far more efficiently and at far lower costs than today has been discovered by a team of researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. By appending a diamine molecule to the sponge-like solid materials known as MOFs, the researchers were able to more than triple the carbon dioxide-scrubbing capacity of the MOFs.

Filtration Revealed Through Tests of Precision

March 17, 2015 9:29 am | by Chandreyee Das, PhD, Sample Preparation and Protein Detection, EMD Millipore | Articles | Comments

Repeatability underlies a researcher’s ability to control variation and increase sensitivity in an experiment. For sensitive analyses, such as cell-based assays, mass spectrometry and high-resolution protein structure determination, precise repeatability requires careful factorial design of experiments by systematically varying experimental parameters.

Clean energy future

March 17, 2015 8:16 am | by Deborah Smith, Univ. of New South Wales | News | Comments

Univ. of New South Wales Australia scientists have developed a highly efficient oxygen-producing electrode for splitting water that has the potential to be scaled up for industrial production of the clean energy fuel, hydrogen. The new technology is based on an inexpensive, specially coated foam material that lets the bubbles of oxygen escape quickly.

Supercomputers help solve puzzle-like bond for biofuels

March 16, 2015 4:25 pm | by Jorge Salazar, TACC | News | Comments

One of life's strongest bonds has been discovered by a science team researching biofuels with the help of supercomputers. Their find could boost efforts to develop catalysts for biofuel production from non-food waste plants.

A better method for making perovskite solar cells

March 16, 2015 2:33 pm | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | News | Comments

Research led by a Brown Univ. graduate student has revealed a new way to make light-absorbing perovskite films for use in solar cells. The new method involves a room-temperature solvent bath to create perovskite crystals, rather than the blast of heat used in current crystallization methods.

Tips for Successful LC-MS: Keep the Sample In Focus

March 13, 2015 2:26 pm | by Vivek Joshi, PhD, EMD Millipore | Articles | Comments

Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) is taking over as an analytical technique of choice in diverse fields. While a LC-MS analyst may be tempted to rely on the most commonly used sample prep techniques, columns and mobile phases in his/her field, we show successful LC-MS demands these workflow elements be chosen with the physico-chemical properties of the analyte in mind.

Researchers address mysteries behind anti-wear motor oil additive

March 13, 2015 1:41 pm | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | News | Comments

The pistons in your car engine rub up against their cylinder walls thousands of times a minute; without lubrication in the form of motor oil, they and other parts of the engine would quickly wear away, causing engine failure. Motor oil contains chemical additives that extend how long engines can run without failure, but, despite decades of ubiquity, how such additives actually work to prevent this damage have remained a mystery.

Bond and bond alike

March 13, 2015 11:35 am | by Jes Andersen, Univ. of Copenhagen | News | Comments

As with magnets and alternating current, positively charged molecules never aim for one another. Indeed, similarly charged poles are repelled. Nevertheless, a team from the Univ. of Copenhagen managed to become the first to bond positively charged phosphorus atoms with positively charged hydrogen ones. Their insight may prove pivotal to understanding how biologically important molecules such as DNA and proteins form properly.

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