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  • July 2, 2015
  • 11:57 AM
  • 34 views

Digesting bread and pasta can release biologically active molecules

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Biologically active molecules released by digesting bread and pasta can survive digestion and potentially pass through the gut lining, suggests new research. The study reveals the molecules released when real samples of bread and pasta are digested, providing new information for research into gluten sensitivity.... Read more »

  • June 30, 2015
  • 11:14 PM
  • 43 views

Surface matters: using earth-abundant materials to split water for energy storage

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

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  

  • June 25, 2015
  • 03:02 PM
  • 75 views

Synthetic biology used to engineer new route to biochemicals

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Living cells can make a vast range of products for us, but they don’t always do it in the most straightforward or efficient way. Shota Atsumi, a chemistry professor at UC Davis, aims to address that through “synthetic biology:” designing and building new biochemical pathways within living cells, based on existing pathways from other living things.... Read more »

  • June 24, 2015
  • 05:51 PM
  • 63 views

The benefit of order: new organic solar cell structure improves charge separation

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

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  

  • June 15, 2015
  • 01:13 PM
  • 99 views

Avocados may hold the answer to beating leukemia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Rich, creamy, nutritious and now cancer fighting. New research reveals that molecules derived from avocados could be effective in treating a form of cancer. Professor Paul Spagnuolo from the University of Waterloo has discovered a lipid in avocados that combats acute myeloid leukemia (AML) by targeting the root of the disease – leukemia stem cells. Worldwide, there are few drug treatments available to patients that target leukemia stem cells.... Read more »

Lee, E., Angka, L., Rota, S., Hanlon, T., Mitchell, A., Hurren, R., Wang, X., Gronda, M., Boyaci, E., Bojko, B.... (2015) Targeting Mitochondria with Avocatin B Induces Selective Leukemia Cell Death. Cancer Research, 75(12), 2478-2488. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-2676  

  • June 13, 2015
  • 01:44 PM
  • 119 views

Hormone that differentiates sugar, diet sweeteners could exist in humans

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We’ve all been there: We eat an entire sleeve of fat-free, low-calorie cookies and we’re stuffing ourselves with more food 15 minutes later. One theory to explain this phenomenon is that artificial sweeteners don’t contain the calories or energy that evolution has trained the brain to expect from sweet-tasting foods, so they don’t fool the brain […]... Read more »

Monica Dus et al. (2015) Nutrient Sensor in the Brain Directs the Action of the Brain-Gut Axis in Drosophila. Neuron. info:/10.1016/j.neuron.2015.05.032

  • June 11, 2015
  • 03:12 PM
  • 113 views

Milk proteins may protect against cardiovascular disease

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that results in browned foods like seared steaks and toasted bread. When proteins and sugars are mixed together and heated, new chemical compounds are formed. Some are responsible for new flavors and some, according to a new study, may protect us against cardiovascular disease.... Read more »

  • June 6, 2015
  • 06:31 AM
  • 60 views

Humidity Powered Energy

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

We can now power low energy devices using humidity! Scientists harnessed bacteria that shrink in response to changes in humidity to generate energy.... Read more »

Yuan, T., Ormonde, C., Kudlacek, S., Kunche, S., Smith, J., Brown, W., Pugliese, K., Olsen, T., Iftikhar, M., Raston, C.... (2015) Shear-Stress-Mediated Refolding of Proteins from Aggregates and Inclusion Bodies. ChemBioChem. DOI: 10.1002/cbic.201402427  

  • May 27, 2015
  • 03:52 PM
  • 195 views

Expanding the code of life with new ‘letters’

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The DNA encoding all life on Earth is made of four building blocks called nucleotides, commonly known as “letters,” that line up in pairs and twist into a double helix. Now, two groups of scientists are reporting for the first time that two new nucleotides can do the same thing — raising the possibility that entirely new proteins could be created for medical uses.... Read more »

Georgiadis, M., Singh, I., Kellett, W., Hoshika, S., Benner, S., & Richards, N. (2015) Structural Basis for a Six Nucleotide Genetic Alphabet. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b03482  

Zhang, L., Yang, Z., Sefah, K., Bradley, K., Hoshika, S., Kim, M., Kim, H., Zhu, G., Jiménez, E., Cansiz, S.... (2015) Evolution of Functional Six-Nucleotide DNA. Journal of the American Chemical Society. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b02251  

  • May 27, 2015
  • 08:50 AM
  • 145 views

Back in black: record efficiency for black-silicon solar cell

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Crystalline silicon solar cells are reaching their efficiency limit and manufacturing costs. But a new method to create black-silicon solar cells, potentially cheaper, has led to a record 22.1% efficiency. Learn about the physics behind the record here!... Read more »

Savin H, Repo P, von Gastrow G, Ortega P, Calle E, Garín M, & Alcubilla R. (2015) Black silicon solar cells with interdigitated back-contacts achieve 22.1% efficiency. Nature nanotechnology. PMID: 25984832  

  • May 20, 2015
  • 06:04 PM
  • 186 views

Tiny grains of lithium dramatically improve performance of fusion plasma

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

While fusion might still be a far off dream, a new discovery may help bring that dream closer to reality. Scientists have discovered a phenomenon that helps them to improve fusion plasmas, a finding that could quicken the development of large scale fusion energy. The scientists found that when they injected tiny grains of lithium into a plasma undergoing a particular kind of turbulence then, under the right conditions, the temperature and pressure rose dramatically.... Read more »

Kaye, S., Abrams, T., Ahn, J., Allain, J., Andre, R., Andruczyk, D., Barchfeld, R., Battaglia, D., Bhattacharjee, A., Bedoya, F.... (2015) An overview of recent physics results from NSTX. Nuclear Fusion, 55(10), 104002. DOI: 10.1088/0029-5515/55/10/104002  

  • May 15, 2015
  • 03:13 PM
  • 150 views

The fingerprint drug test

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have demonstrated a new, noninvasive test that can detect cocaine use through a simple fingerprint. For the first time, this new fingerprint method can determine whether cocaine has been ingested, rather than just touched.... Read more »

  • May 15, 2015
  • 10:03 AM
  • 148 views

Nature's natural fix to the ticking carbon time bomb in the peatlands

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Peatlands have long been seen as a dangerous store of carbon that could be released as glaciers melt and temperatures increase. But new research suggests Nature has some natural adaptations at hand to prevent such a release from occurring!... Read more »

  • May 11, 2015
  • 12:21 PM
  • 136 views

Microbial nitrogen transformation in constructed wetlands

by Ruth Garcia de la Calle in ADVOCATE Marie Curie Network

Microbial nitrogen transformation in constructed wetlands for the treatment of contaminated groundwater... Read more »

Coban, O., Kuschk, P., Kappelmeyer, U., Spott, O., Martienssen, M., Jetten, M., & Knoeller, K. (2015) Nitrogen transforming community in a horizontal subsurface-flow constructed wetland. Water Research, 203-212. DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2015.02.018  

  • May 8, 2015
  • 07:56 AM
  • 181 views

MPs with Science Degrees: How did Science & Technology do in the UK General Election 2015?

by Duncan Hull in O'Really?

In case you missed it, the people of the United Kingdom just elected 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) to run their government for the next give years. How many of these newly elected MPs have science backgrounds? Like many, I was inspired by Mark Henderson’s book The Geek Manifesto [1] back in 2012 after reading an article which argued that (quote) “with just one British MP having a scientific background, the people who run the country clearly need some expert advice”. So when I........ Read more »

  • May 7, 2015
  • 05:46 PM
  • 198 views

What you need to know about the newly proposed science funding legislation

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

The House Science Committee, chaired by Lamar Smith, unveiled their new science budget last week. Read on to see what it proposes and what it means for science.... Read more »

  • May 7, 2015
  • 03:17 PM
  • 182 views

Nanoparticles in products can significantly alter normal gut microbiome

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Nanoparticles, it’s the new buzzword that cosmetics and even consumer “anti-aging” products use to promote their brand. As the word suggests, nanoparticles are small and it shouldn’t be too surprising that these nanoparticles are causing problems in nature because of their prevalence. In that light, it might not be a surprise that there could also be some serious health issues associated with these nanoparticles.... Read more »

  • May 4, 2015
  • 07:22 PM
  • 244 views

Fracked, shale-drilling additives in drinking-water taps near leak

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Shale oil has helped the US see lower gas prices and even an opportunity to start exporting. However, it isn’t as great as it might sound, hydraulic fracturing — also known as fracking — has been scrutinized by environmentalists since it’s inception. As it turns out, for good reason, substances commonly used for drilling or extracting Marcellus shale gas foamed from the drinking water taps of three Pennsylvania homes near a reported well-pad leak, according to new analysis from a team of........ Read more »

Garth T. Llewellyn, Frank Dorman, J. L. Westland, D. Yoxtheimer, Paul Grieve, Todd Sowers, E. Humston-Fulmer, & Susan L. Brantley. (2015) Evaluating a groundwater supply contamination incident attributed to Marcellus Shale gas development. PNAS. info:/10.1073/pnas.1420279112

  • May 1, 2015
  • 12:08 AM
  • 218 views

Eyes on Environment: the search for artificial photosynthesis

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

How can we mimic plant photosynthesis to move to a fossil-free economy? Read here to find out!... Read more »

Sun, K., Saadi, F., Lichterman, M., Hale, W., Wang, H., Zhou, X., Plymale, N., Omelchenko, S., He, J., Papadantonakis, K.... (2015) Stable solar-driven oxidation of water by semiconducting photoanodes protected by transparent catalytic nickel oxide films. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201423034. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1423034112  

  • April 30, 2015
  • 04:26 PM
  • 204 views

Pesticides alter bees’ brains, making them unable to live and reproduce adequately

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new report suggests that a particular class of pesticides called “neonicotinoids” wreaks havoc on the bee populations, ultimately putting some crops that rely on pollination in jeopardy. Specifically, these pesticides kill bee brain cells, rendering them unable to learn, gather food and reproduce. The report, however, also suggests that the effects of these pesticides on bee colonies may be reversible by decreasing or eliminating the use of these pesticides on plants pollinated by bees and........ Read more »

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