“Eat less salt” is a mantra of our health-conscious times and is seen as an important step in reducing heart disease and hypertension. Too much salt in the diet, specifically sodium, is widely acknowledged as a major risk factor for high blood pressure. However, scientists have found that salt’s other oft-overlooked constituent chloride might also play an important role.
The amazingly efficient lungs of birds and the swim bladders of fish have become the inspiration for a new filtering system to remove carbon dioxide from electric power station smokestacks before the main greenhouse gas can billow into the atmosphere and contribute to global climate change. A report on the new technology was presented Monday at the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
In the parallel universe of the microbiological world, there is a current superstar species of blue-green algae that, through its powers of photosynthesis and carbon dioxide fixation, or uptake, can produce (count ’em) ethanol, hydrogen, butanol, isobutanol and potentially biodiesel. Called Synechocystis 6803, it also has the potential to make commodity chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
Computer-designed proteins that can recognize and interact with small biological molecules are now a reality. Scientists have succeeded in creating a protein molecule that can be programmed to unite with three different steroids. The achievement could have far wider ranging applications in medicine and other fields, according to the Protein Design Institute at the Univ. of Washington.
An international research team has published results from a three-year study outlining the microbial diversity in The Cedars, a high-pH, ultrareducing, low-salinity systems of springs located in Northern California. This type of environment is common in the deep ocean where tectonic plates meet, but are very rare elsewhere and could offer clues about the origin of life on Earth.
Scientists at Rice Univ. have trapped bismuth in a nanotube cage to tag stem cells for x-ray tracking. Bismuth is probably best known as the active element in a popular stomach-settling elixir and is also used in cosmetics and medical applications. Rice chemist Lon Wilson and his colleagues are inserting bismuth compounds into single-walled carbon nanotubes to make a more effective contrast agent for CT scanners.
In all the centuries that humans have studied chemical reactions, just 36 basic types of reactions have been found. Now, thanks to the work of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Univ. of Minnesota, a 37th type of reaction can be added to the list. The newly explained reaction is an important part of atmospheric reactions that lead to the formation of climate-affecting aerosols.
In some of this planet’s driest regions, where rainfall is rare or even nonexistent, a few specialized plants and insects have devised ingenious strategies to provide themselves with the water necessary for life: They pull it right out of the air, from fog that drifts in from warm oceans nearby. Now researchers are seeking to mimic that trick on a much larger scale, potentially supplying significant quantities of clean, potable water.
The Department of Systems Biology at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) have formed a collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific to pursue breakthroughs in the understanding of how cellular protein networks drive important diseases. Under the collaboration, Thermo Fisher will provide early access to new technology and designs, and DTU proteomics scientists will provide feedback and collaborate on new applications.
Titanium dioxide is an inexpensive, yet versatile material. The use of titanium oxide in the electronics industry is currently being investigated. An international team of researchers has confirmed theoretically-predicted interactions between single oxygen molecules and crystalline titanium dioxide and the implications of these findings could be important for a variety of applications.
Bionic leaves that could produce fuels from nothing more than sunlight, water and carbon dioxide, with no byproducts other than oxygen, represent an ideal alternative to fossil fuels but also pose numerous scientific challenges. In a major advance, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a method by which molecular hydrogen-producing catalysts can be interfaced with a semiconductor that absorbs visible light.
Steven Benner of Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology will tell geochemists gathering Thursday at the annual Goldschmidt conference that an oxidized mineral form of the element molybdenum, which may have been crucial to the origin of life, could only have been available on the surface of Mars and not on Earth.
In the latest advance in efforts to find an inexpensive way to make hydrogen from ordinary water, scientists are reporting that powder from high-grade charcoal and other forms of carbon can free hydrogen from water illuminated with laser pulses.
Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new oxygen “sponge” that can easily absorb or shed oxygen atoms at low temperatures. It consists of strontium cobaltite which has been synthesized in a desirable phase known as perovskite. Materials like this would be useful in devices such as rechargeable batteries, sensors, gas converters and fuel cells.
Using carbon nanotubes, a research team in Switzerland and California has developed a sensor that greatly amplifies the sensitivity of commonly used but typically weak vibrational spectroscopic methods, such as Raman spectroscopy. This type of sensor makes it possible to detect molecules present in the tiniest of concentrations.
In the midst of an intensifying global water crisis, scientists are reporting development of a more economical way to use one form of the “ice that burns” to turn very salty wastewater from fracking and other oil and gas production methods into water for drinking and irrigation. The method removes more than 90% of the salt.
The Dow Chemical Co. has developed a new binder, called EVOQUE Pre-Composite Polymer Technology, which interacts with the surface of titanium dioxide to improve dispersal.
Silver has been known for centuries to possess excellent antimicrobial activity. However, silver is thermally and photochemically reactive, and rapidly discolors in the presence of heat and light. When stabilized, silver has been shown useful in textiles to prevent the accumulation of odor-causing bacteria. But conventional methods, such as diffusion or ion exchange, are not adequate. Dow Microbial Control, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Co., has developed SILVADUR as a way to more effectively use silver’s natural properties.
Ultraviolet (UV) curing is increasingly used in place of conventional high-heat processing to produce coatings and paints with improved processing, less environmental impact and less cost. The process is easily applied to wood and plastic, but solid-color UV-curable paints for metal proved more problematic. And until now, a cost-effective white coating has been unavailable because of the high refractive index of titanium oxide.
This week, Thermo Fisher Scientific announced that it would allocate nearly $700,000 per year to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) scholarships at some of the world’s most prestigious universities. The company has established a competitive program to provide financial assistance to students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree or equivalent in a STEM field.
In recent years, thermoelectric materials have enabled the re-use of otherwise wasted thermal energy as electrical power. But this ability is limited to materials, typically complex crystals, exhibiting high electrical conductivity and low thermal conductivity. Scientists have now discovered a way of suppressing thermal conductivity in sodium cobaltate, opening new paths for energy scavenging.
Human activities are changing the basic chemistry of many rivers in the Eastern U.S., with potentially major consequences for urban water supplies and aquatic ecosystems, a Univ. of Maryland-led study has found. Over time spans of 25 to 60 years, two-thirds of the 97 streams and rivers reviewed in the study had become significantly more alkaline and none had become more acidic.
In a new study, biologists have compiled and analyzed all available data on the reaction of marine animals to ocean acidification. From this collection of 167 studies with data from more than 150 different species, they found that while the majority of animal species investigated are affected by ocean acidification, the respective impacts are specific and can vary widely from species to species.
The Univ. of Utah is investigating allegations that chemical engineering researchers might have altered microscopic images in a research paper to prove that their theory involving nanotechnology was correct. The paper was published in June, but Nano Letters retracted it Aug. 15, citing concerns over data integrity.
A RMIT Univ. research collaboration with top scientists in Australia and Japan is advancing next-generation solar cells. Currently, cadmium or lead elements dominate colloidal nanocrystals synthesis, despite toxicity concerns. In its research, the team has discovered a new selective synthesis of tetrahedrite and famatinite copper antimony sulphide nanocrystals, which could be promising for printable solar cell applications.