Devices for artificial photosynthesis are often called “artificial leaves”. This leaves, however, are of no use unless you can create an “artificial forest” from them. Now, scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have reported the first fully integrated nanosystem for artificial photosynthesis.... Read more »
Liu, C., Tang, J., Chen, H., Liu, B., & Yang, P. (2013) A Fully Integrated Nanosystem of Semiconductor Nanowires for Direct Solar Water Splitting. Nano Letters, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/nl401615t
A new study shows how complex biochemical transformations may have been possible under conditions that existed when life began on the early Earth.... Read more »
Georgia Institute of Technology. (2013) RNA was capable of catalyzing electron transfer on early earth with iron's help, study shows. Georgia Institute of Technology. info:/
A new study by scientists at Duke University and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) finds no evidence of groundwater contamination from shale gas production in Arkansas.... Read more »
Warner, N., Kresse, T., Hays, P., Down, A., Karr, J., Jackson, R., & Vengosh, A. (2013) Geochemical and isotopic variations in shallow groundwater in areas of the Fayetteville shale development, north-central Arkansas. Applied Geochemistry. DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2013.04.013
Photosynthetic oxidation of water is one of the central processes of life on Earth, but it is still not completely understood. Now, a German-American team of scientists has set out to observe the intermediate stages of this complex catalytic reaction using ultrashort snap shots taken at light sources including BESSY II in Berlin and the Linac Coherent Light Source at Stanford.... Read more »
Kern, J., Alonso-Mori, R., Hellmich, J., Tran, R., Hattne, J., Laksmono, H., Glockner, C., Echols, N., Sierra, R., Sellberg, J.... (2012) Room temperature femtosecond X-ray diffraction of photosystem II microcrystals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(25), 9721-9726. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1204598109
A team of Canadian and UK researchers has discovered what may be some of the oldest pockets of water on the planet – and they may contain life.... Read more »
Kim Luke, University of Toronto, Office of Public Relations, McMaster University, Aeron Haworth, The University of Manchester, & Lancaster University, News. (2013) Water's secrets. Tracing Knowledge. info:/
Using a combination of microanalytic techniques that at the same time image photoelectric current and chemical reaction rates across a surface on a micrometer scale, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have shed new light on what may become a cost-effective way to generate hydrogen gas directly from water and sunlight.... Read more »
Esposito, D., Levin, I., Moffat, T., & Talin, A. (2013) H2 evolution at Si-based metal–insulator–semiconductor photoelectrodes enhanced by inversion channel charge collection and H spillover. Nature Materials. DOI: 10.1038/nmat3626
"Simple" is often a compliment in the human world, used to describe low-fuss dinners or closet solutions. When scientists use "simple" to describe an animal, they mean something more like, "That sac of goo has no business acting clever." An especially simple creature—a sea slug—recently demonstrated that despite its humble resources, it can learn from experience and form new hunting strategies. Smaller goo sacs, beware.
Despite its squishy stature, the sea slug Pleurobranchaea calif........ Read more »
Noboa, V., & Gillette, R. (2013) Selective prey avoidance learning in the predatory sea-slug Pleurobranchaea californica. Journal of Experimental Biology. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.079384
The newly-sequenced scarlet macaw genome will provide many important insights into avian and human biology, behaviours and genetics and will contribute to parrot conservation.... Read more »
Seabury Christopher M., Dowd Scot E., Seabury Paul M., Raudsepp Terje, Brightsmith Donald J., Liboriussen Poul, Halley Yvette, Fisher Colleen A., Owens Elaine, & Viswanathan Ganesh. (2013) A Multi-Platform Draft de novo Genome Assembly and Comparative Analysis for the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao). PLoS ONE, 8(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062415.s019
Oleksyk Taras K, Pombert Jean-Francois, Siu Daniel, Mazo-Vargas Anyimilehidi, Ramos Brian, Guiblet Wilfried, Afanador Yashira, Ruiz-Rodriguez Christina T, Nickerson Michael L, & Logue David M. (2012) A locally funded Puerto Rican parrot (Amazona vittata) genome sequencing project increases avian data and advances young researcher education. GigaScience, 1(1), 14. DOI: 10.1186/2047-217X-1-14
Heavy metal poisoning is a major health concern across the world. Heavy metal ions frequently leak into the environment from industrial waste causing multiple health problems in humans, animals, and other organisms. While there is no universally accepted definition of … Continue reading →... Read more »
Bertin G., & Averbeck D. (2006) Cadmium: cellular effects, modifications of biomolecules, modulation of DNA repair and genotoxic consequences (a review). Biochimie, 88(11), 1549-1559. DOI: 10.1016/j.biochi.2006.10.001
Schwager Stephan, Lumjiaktase Putthapoom, Stöckli Martina, Weisskopf Laure, & Eberl Leo. (2012) The genetic basis of cadmium resistance of . Environmental Microbiology Reports, 4(5), 562-568. DOI: 10.1111/j.1758-2229.2012.00372.x
LEE JENNIFER G., ROBERTS SAMANTHA B., & MOREL FRANÇOIS M. M. (1995) Cadmium: A nutrient for the marine diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii. Limnology and Oceanography, 40(6), 1056-1063. DOI: 10.4319/lo.1918.104.22.1686
Our star, the Sun, provides most of the energy on this planet. (Essentially, all the energy except for nuclear, comes directly or indirectly from it.) Our current methods of converting solar radiation into electricity (photovoltaics) are not very efficient in comparison with plants. Researchers at the University of Georgia looked to nature for inspiration, and they are now developing a new technology that makes it possible to use plants to generate electricity.... Read more »
Calkins, J., Umasankar, Y., O'Neill, H., & Ramasamy, R. (2013) High photo-electrochemical activity of thylakoid–carbon nanotube composites for photosynthetic energy conversion. Energy . DOI: 10.1039/C3EE40634B
As the world shifts from coal to natural gas, it is becoming more important to find ways of using natural gas efficiently and environmentally friendly. Now chemical engineering researchers have identified a new mechanism to convert natural gas into energy up to 70 times faster, while effectively capturing the greenhouse gas—carbon dioxide.... Read more »
Galinsky, N., Huang, Y., Shafiefarhood, A., & Li, F. (2013) Iron Oxide with Facilitated O Transport for Facile Fuel Oxidation and CO Capture in a Chemical Looping Scheme . ACS Sustainable Chemistry , 1(3), 364-373. DOI: 10.1021/sc300177j
A new robotic sensor deployed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Gulf of Maine coastal waters may transform the way red tides or harmful algal blooms (HABs) are monitored and managed in New England. The instrument was launched at the end of last month, and a second such system will be deployed later this spring.... Read more »
WHOI Media Relations Office. (2013) New Robotic Instruments to Provide Real-Time Data on Gulf of Maine Red Tide. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution . info:/
When Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) marine paleoecologist Marco Coolen was mining through vast amounts of genetic data from the Black Sea sediment record, he was amazed about the variety of past plankton species that left behind their genetic makeup (i.e., the plankton paleome).... Read more »
WHOI Media Relations Office. (2013) The Black Sea is a Goldmine of Ancient Genetic Data. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. info:/
If Valium makes you groggy, and Ambien makes you sleepwalk…
A compound that blocks a brain receptor you probably have never heard of may hold the key to the next generation of sleeping pills—and there is always a next generation of sleeping pills.
A new class of hypnotic compounds that serve as antagonists for the neurotransmitter orexin may combat insomnia without the “confusional arousals” that have come to plague some users of zolpidem, otherwise known as Ambien. Sleepwalking, s........ Read more »
Uslaner J. M., Tye S. J., Eddins D. M., Wang X., Fox S. V., Savitz A. T., Binns J., Cannon C. E., Garson S. L., & Yao L. (2013) Orexin Receptor Antagonists Differ from Standard Sleep Drugs by Promoting Sleep at Doses That Do Not Disrupt Cognition. Science Translational Medicine, 5(179), 179-179. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3005213
University of Utah metallurgists created a “recipe” to produce solar cell material in a microwave oven. Using this kitchen appliance, a nanocrystal semiconductor suitable for photovoltaic applications can be manufactured rapidly from cheap abundant and less toxic metals than other semiconductors.... Read more »
Sarswat, P., & Free, M. (2013) An investigation of rapidly synthesized Cu2ZnSnS4 nanocrystals. Journal of Crystal Growth, 87-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2013.03.022
When you bring up the subject of listening to music while stoned, you get a range of responses, almost all of them positive. While you might enjoy a song in a non-altered state, under the influence of Cannabis, it has been established that listening to and creating music is somehow a deeper and more intense experience. The disputed issue that arises is why this happens and if the feeling is real.... Read more »
Scientists from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have developed a relatively cheap, long-life “flow” battery that can be used to mitigate power fluctuations from solar and wind energy plants, therefore enabling them to become major suppliers to the electrical grid.... Read more »
Yang, Y., Zheng, G., & Cui, Y. (2013) A membrane-free lithium/polysulfide semi-liquid battery for large-scale energy storage. Energy , 6(5), 1552. DOI: 10.1039/C3EE00072A
It’s a problem most scientists don’t have; what would happen if your experiment outlived you? For physicist John Mainstone at the University of Queensland, this has become an important question. He’s the leader of what’s being called the world’s oldest experiment.... Read more »
We've been talking about some of the most cutting edge intracellular visualization techniques lately. Array tomography and Serial block-face electron microscopy have been featured. Today we'll talk about STORM imaging. STORM imaging (Xu et al., 2013)STORM stands for Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy. While Array tomography and Serial block-face EM are both revolutionary in that they can combine very high resolution imaging with relatively large volumes of tissue, STORM is an advanceme........ Read more »
Xu K, Zhong G, & Zhuang X. (2013) Actin, spectrin, and associated proteins form a periodic cytoskeletal structure in axons. Science (New York, N.Y.), 339(6118), 452-6. PMID: 23239625
Quantum laws loom ever larger in physical world as new research finds quantum phenomena in effect on a molecular level... Read more »
University of Cambridge. (2013) Movement of pyrrole molecules defy ‘classical’ physics. University of Cambridge Research News. info:/
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