An innovative way of cooking rice that removes more arsenic than the conventional method and a new strain of high-starch, low-methane rice are discussed.... Read more »
Carey M, Jiujin X, Gomes Farias J, & Meharg AA. (2015) Rethinking Rice Preparation for Highly Efficient Removal of Inorganic Arsenic Using Percolating Cooking Water. PloS one, 10(7). PMID: 26200355
Su J, Hu C, Yan X, Jin Y, Chen Z, Guan Q, Wang Y, Zhong D, Jansson C, Wang F.... (2015) Expression of barley SUSIBA2 transcription factor yields high-starch low-methane rice. Nature. PMID: 26200336
Bats are indifferent to whether we're playing soccer, baseball, or beach volleyball under our stadium lights. They only care about the game of catch they're playing with all the bugs attracted to the glow. As bats stuff themselves on swarms of sports-adjacent insects, though, our stadiums may be aiding certain bat species and wiping others out.
Any bat that's willing to visit a lit-up sports stadium will find a bug bonanza there, says Corrie Schoeman, an ecologist at the University of........ Read more »
Schoeman, M. (2015) Light pollution at stadiums favors urban exploiter bats. Animal Conservation. DOI: 10.1111/acv.12220
Scientific experiments with the herpes virus such as the one that causes Marek’s disease in poultry have confirmed, for the first time, the highly controversial theory that some vaccines could allow more-virulent versions of a virus to survive, putting unvaccinated individuals at greater risk of severe illness. The research has important implications for food-chain security and food-chain economics, as well as for other diseases that affect humans and agricultural animals.... Read more »
Andrew F. Read, Susan J. Baigent, Claire Powers, Lydia B. Kgosana, Luke Blackwell, Lorraine P. Smith, David A. Kennedy, Stephen W. Walkden-Brown, & Venugopal K. Nair. (2015) Imperfect Vaccination Can Enhance the Transmission of Highly Virulent Pathogens. PLOS Biology. info:/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002198
It's not only carnivorous plants that bugs have to watch out for. Sure, if an ant tumbles into a pitcher plant or a spider stands in the open maw of a Venus flytrap, we know what's coming next. But certain innocent-looking plants—perhaps very many of them, even including ones in your own yard—murder hosts of insects that they have no plans to eat. They lure passing bugs into a slow death, then exchange their corpses with other insects for protection.
One of these plants is the serp........ Read more »
LoPresti, E., Pearse, I., & Charles, G. (2015) The siren song of a sticky plant: columbines provision mutualist arthropods by attracting and killing passerby insects. Ecology, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1890/15-0342.1
Research from North Carolina State University shows that lightweight composite metal foams are effective at blocking X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation, and are capable of absorbing the energy of high impact collisions. The finding means the metal foams hold promise for use in nuclear safety, space exploration and medical technology applications.... Read more »
Chen, S., Bourham, M., & Rabiei, A. (2015) Attenuation efficiency of X-ray and comparison to gamma ray and neutrons in composite metal foams. Radiation Physics and Chemistry. DOI: 10.1016/j.radphyschem.2015.07.003
There is little hard data bout how fracking affects health outcomes, but a new study provides a first glimpse at a correlation between increased well-drilling and inpatient rates. Read more here!... Read more »
Jemielita, T., Gerton, G., Neidell, M., Chillrud, S., Yan, B., Stute, M., Howarth, M., Saberi, P., Fausti, N., Penning, T.... (2015) Unconventional Gas and Oil Drilling Is Associated with Increased Hospital Utilization Rates. PLOS ONE, 10(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131093
It is still an open research problem to store energy generated from solar cells, but a new, all-vanadium electrochemical cell made at UT Arlington may be a solution.... Read more »
Liu, D., Zi, W., Sajjad, S., Hsu, C., Shen, Y., Wei, M., & Liu, F. (2015) Reversible Electron Storage in an All-Vanadium Photoelectrochemical Storage Cell: Synergy between Vanadium Redox and Hybrid Photocatalyst. ACS Catalysis, 5(4), 2632-2639. DOI: 10.1021/cs502024k
SUMMARY: Recent research suggests that the commonly prescribed psychiatric drug, Prozac, occurs at environmentally relevant concentrations that can significantly alter behaviour and physiology in wild birds .. Read more... Read more »
Bean, T., Boxall, A., Lane, J., Herborn, K., Pietravalle, S., & Arnold, K. (2014) Behavioural and physiological responses of birds to environmentally relevant concentrations of an antidepressant. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 369(1656), 20130575-20130575. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0575
Crockett, M., Siegel, J., Kurth-Nelson, Z., Ousdal, O., Story, G., Frieband, C., Grosse-Rueskamp, J., Dayan, P., & Dolan, R. (2015) Dissociable Effects of Serotonin and Dopamine on the Valuation of Harm in Moral Decision Making. Current Biology, 25(14), 1852-1859. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.05.021
Markman, S., Müller, C., Pascoe, D., Dawson, A., & Buchanan, K. (2011) Pollutants affect development in nestling starlings Sturnus vulgaris. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48(2), 391-397. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01931.x
Women who use feminine care products called douches may increase their exposure to harmful chemicals called phthalates–and black women may be at particularly high risk due to frequent use. Public health officials advise against the use of douching products, which can hide vaginal infections and lead to other serious health problems. Despite that, douching products are still a popular item on the drug store shelf, and are disproportionately used by black women.... Read more »
Francesca Branch et al. (2015) Vaginal douching and racial/ethnic disparities in phthalate exposures among reproductive-aged women: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2004. Environmental Health. info:/10.1186/s12940-015-0043-6
We have all thought and talked about how dirty money is. Those notes are transferred all over the world, touched by thousands of people, and find themselves in every sort of hygienic situation. But how dirty is money really? What kinds of microbes (bacteria, viruses, etc) are sitting on your cash, and can they make you sick? To provide us with some insight ...... Read more »
Jalali S, Kohli S, Latka C, Bhatia S, Vellarikal SK, Sivasubbu S, Scaria V, & Ramachandran S. (2015) Screening currency notes for microbial pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes using a shotgun metagenomic approach. PloS one, 10(6). PMID: 26035208
The fleshy parts of plants we eat tend to change colour. This can be due to ripening (e.g. various berries turning red as they mature), intentional injury (e.g. apple slices turning brown after being cut), or changing external pH (e.g. red cabbage turning pink in vinegar). Let's look a bit at how and why this happens using a couple of examples.Strawberry fruit develops through green, white, and red stages. These correspond to changing levels of chlorophyll, anthocyanins, flavonoids, tannins, and........ Read more »
Chi M, Bhagwat B, Lane WD, Tang G, Su Y, Sun R, Oomah BD, Wiersma PA, & Xiang Y. (2014) Reduced polyphenol oxidase gene expression and enzymatic browning in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) with artificial microRNAs. BMC Plant Biology, 62. PMID: 24618103
Cho J, Lee EJ, Yoo KS, Lee SK, & Patil BS. (2009) Identification of candidate amino acids involved in the formation of blue pigments in crushed garlic cloves (Allium sativum L.). Journal of Food Science, 74(1). PMID: 19200080
While filleting a bass I found a dead snake inside, when the fish was caught it was a healthy fighting fish. My question is: Is it safe to eat the fish? Thanks,
You better believe that this e-mail caught my attention. It reminded me of this letter about whether it was safe to eat a fish that had been bitten by a Cottonmouth. In that case, I probably would not eat the fish. But, I did... Read more »
R. Arbaugh, T. Arbaugh., & D. A. Steen. (2015) Nerodia fasciata (Southern Watersnake). Predation. Herpetological Review. info:/
If you already think everything at the bottom of the ocean is slightly terrifying, Iosactis vagabunda won't change your mind. It's transparent, can tunnel underground, and hunts animals 15 times its size. And scientists are now realizing that there might be way, way more of these roaming killers than they'd previously thought.
Iosactis vagabunda lives on the Porcupine Abyssal Plain, a seabed southwest of Ireland that ranges from 4,000 to nearly 5,000 meters deep. The species was alread........ Read more »
Durden, J., Bett, B., & Ruhl, H. (2015) The hemisessile lifestyle and feeding strategies of Iosactis vagabunda (Actiniaria, Iosactiidae), a dominant megafaunal species of the Porcupine Abyssal Plain. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 72-77. DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr.2015.04.010
Scientists have developed a new way to grow hematite as an electrode in solar water-splitting devices to greatly improve efficiency!... Read more »
Jang, J., Du, C., Ye, Y., Lin, Y., Yao, X., Thorne, J., Liu, E., McMahon, G., Zhu, J., Javey, A.... (2015) Enabling unassisted solar water splitting by iron oxide and silicon. Nature Communications, 7447. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8447
Researchers led by Toru Takumi at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered a key mechanism underlying how animals keep track of the seasons. The study shows how circadian clock machinery in the brain encodes seasonal changes in daylight duration through GABA activity along with changes in the amount of chloride located inside certain neurons.... Read more »
Myung J, Hong S, DeWoskin D, Schutter E, Forger, DB, and Takumi T. (2015) GABA-mediated repulsive coupling between circadian clock neurons in the SCN encodes seasonal time. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1421200112
Despite heavy development, the U.S. still has millions of acres of pristine wild lands. Coveted for their beauty, these wilderness areas draw innumerable outdoor enthusiasts eager for a taste of primitive nature. But University of Georgia researchers say these federally protected nature areas have a problem: Their boundaries have become prime real estate.... Read more »
Lauren K. Ward, & Gary T. Green. (2015) Wilderness Zoning: Applying an Adapted Biosphere Reserve Model to Wilderness Areas. Illuminare. info:/http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/illuminare/article/view/13341
We may call someone gutless who's acting afraid. But certain coral-reef dwellers take gutless to a whole other level: they shoot their digestive tracts out of their bodies when they feel threatened. This seems to deter nearby fish from taking a bite. Even more amazing, though, is how quickly the gutless animals grow back their organs.
Polycarpa mytiligera is a little tube-shaped creature called an ascidian, or sea squirt. It resides in tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. Wit... Read more »
Shenkar N, & Gordon T. (2015) Gut-spilling in chordates: evisceration in the tropical ascidian Polycarpa mytiligera. Scientific reports, 9614. PMID: 25880620
Cats are increasingly earning themselves a reputation as wildlife killers with estimates of animals killed every year by domestic cats in the UK numbering into the millions. This new study on the attitudes of cat owners suggests that proposals to keep cats indoors in order to preserve wildlife would not be well received.... Read more »
McDonald, J., Maclean, M., Evans, M., & Hodgson, D. (2015) Reconciling actual and perceived rates of predation by domestic cats. Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1553
I own a couple of neat old medical books. One was published in 1935 and is entitled The Canadian Formulary. It's essentially a cookbook for pharmacists, particularly ones who plied their trade at the military hospital in Kingston, Ontario (there's a stamp on the inside cover). The book contains some interesting recipes, to say the least, which is what you get when your ingredient list includes arsenic, lead, mercury, strychnine, and chloroform.One recipe in particular that recently caught my eye........ Read more »
Latifi, A., Nabavi, S., Mirzaei, M., Tavalaei, M., Ghafurian, H., Hellio, C., & Nabavi, S. (2012) Bioremediation of toxic metals mercury and cesium using three types of biosorbent: bacterial exopolymer, gall nut, and oak fruit particles. Toxicological , 94(9), 1670-1677. DOI: 10.1080/02772248.2012.728603
Shrestha, S., Kaushik, V., Eshwarappa, R., Subaramaihha, S., Ramanna, L., & Lakkappa, D. (2014) Pharmacognostic studies of insect gall of Quercus infectoria Olivier (Fagaceae). Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 4(1), 35-39. DOI: 10.1016/S2221-1691(14)60205-7
Organic solar cells suffer from fast electron-hole recombination, limiting efficiency, but scientists have found a cool new structure to prevent such limitations!... Read more »
Huber, R., Ferreira, A., Thompson, R., Kilbride, D., Knutson, N., Devi, L., Toso, D., Challa, J., Zhou, Z., Rubin, Y.... (2015) Long-lived photoinduced polaron formation in conjugated polyelectrolyte-fullerene assemblies. Science, 348(6241), 1340-1343. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa6850
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