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Safe to drink.

Micropollutants such as steroid hormones contaminate drinking water worldwide and pose a significant threat to human health. Scientists at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have developed a new chemical process to remove hormones using photocatalysis to transform the pollutants into safe products.

The results can be viewed in Applied Catalysis B: Environmental: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S092633732100223X?via%3Dihub

#sciencenews #environment
Light out of thin air.

Most commercial chemicals require catalysts to produce, which normally take the form of metal nanoparticles. A team at Vienna University of Technology have shown how the atomic scale surface structures of such catalysts can critically influence their reactive properties. They visualise the oxidation of hydrogen on a single rhodium nanoparticle in real time.

Their insights are published in Science: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2021/05/19/science.abf8107

#sciencenews #nano #physics
Plastic to combat pollution.

Biodegradable plastics are better for the environment, but their rapid degradation means they can’t be recycled. Researchers from the University of Canterbury have developed a method to convert the plastics to a foam that can be reused for insulation or flotation devices.

Their method is described in the journal Physics of Fluids: https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0050649

#sciencenews #environment #chemistry
Recycling electric vehicle batteries.

University of Leicester researchers have developed an ultrasonic delamination technique to controllably separate the different metals used in lithium-ion batteries, improving the yield and purity of the recovered materials.

Their analysis is detailed in Green Chemistry: http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/D1GC01623G
#sciencenews #chemistry #environment
Down the nano-hole.

A sensing technique developed at the University of Cambridge has been used to reveal the fundamental physics governing the transport of DNA threads through nanopores. They assembled DNA molecules with ‘bumps’ at specific locations that could be used to track the passage of the molecule.

The study is published in Nature Physics: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41567-021-01268-2

#sciencenews #genetics #nano
Life beneath Antarctic ice.

Pioneering research at the University of Bristol has shown the erosion of ancient sediments found deep beneath Antarctic ice is a vital source of the nutrients and energy needed to sustain for subglacial microbial life. Their lab-based experiments replicated the conditions in Lake Whillans, 800m underneath Antarctica, where crushed sediments could release methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen in substantial concentrations.

Learn about their insight in Communications Earth & Environment: https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-021-00202-x?proof=t

#sciencenews #environment
The earthworm in a new light.

By combining novel imaging techniques, a team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology has imaged the exciting variety of chemical interactions that take place inside the earthworm. Their chemo-histo-tomography method combines chemical imaging of the metabolites using mass spectrometry with micro-computed X-ray tomography of the microanatomy of the animal.

The work has recently been published in PNAS: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2023773118

#sciencenews #microscopy #biology #microbiology
Visualizing atomic-scale structures with the optical force.

Researchers from Osaka University have achieved the first ever sub-nanometre resolution in photoinduced atomic force microscopy. They eliminated noise sources to map out the forces acting on quantum dots in 3D with a precision never previously achieved.

Their work has been published in Nature Communications: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24136-2

#sciencenews #microscopy #quantum
A mouse in a Petri dish.

University of Virginia biologists have grown the most sophisticated in-vitro mammal model known from stem cells. The tiny mouse embryo has a heart that beats, and its muscles, blood vessels, gut, and nervous system are beginning to develop. The model will aid understanding of mammalian development to help grow new tissues and organs for transplants.

Their latest results are published in Nature Communications: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23653-4

#sciencenews #biology #embriology
On the brink of chaos.

Scientists at the University of Sydney and Japan's National Institute for Material Science have discovered that an artificial network of nanowires can be tuned to respond in a brain-like way to electrical stimuli. By keeping the network of nanowires in a chaotic, brain-like state optimized its performance.

Their insights are published in Nature Communications: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24260-z
#sciencenews #nano #AI
Quantum random numbers.

Most random numbers aren’t truly random. However, using quantum computers can achieve levels of randomness only limited by the basic laws of quantum physics. Researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China have built the fastest known real-time quantum random number generator by combining state-of-the-art photonic integration with advanced post-processing technologies.

Their machine is described in Applied Physics Letters: https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0056027

#sciencenews #Quantum #photonic
Environmental brain effects.

A stimulating environment helps to keep the hippocampus young through molecular mechanisms affecting gene regulation. Studies in mice by the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases provide clues as to why an active, varied lifestyle can help preserve mental acuity in old age.

Their insights are described in Nature Communications: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23993-1

#sciencenews #environment #biology
Viruses fighting cancer.

Researchers at the Luxembourg Institute of Health have developed a cancer-destroying virus that binds to laminins on the surface of cancer cells to gain entry to the cell before ultimately killing it. The viruses hold significant potential for deployment in targeted cancer therapies.

The work has recently been published in Nature Communications: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24034-7

#sciencenews #medicine #health
Fighting Alzheimer’s.

Researchers from the University of Barcelona are working to develop new compounds that can bind to specific receptors in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Their studies in mice improved the cognitive deficit and the biomarkers related to the disease.

Their work has been published in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0223523421003895?via%3Dihub

#sciencenews #biology #neuroscience
Kirigami cameras.

University of Houston researchers have developed a kirigami-inspired camera with a curvy, adaptable imaging sensor that could improve image quality in endoscopes, night-vision goggles, artificial compound eyes and fish-eye cameras.

Learn about their system in Nature Electronics: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41928-021-00600-1

#sciencenews #sensors #physics #optics
Vision in mice.

Mouse vision was thought to be different to that of humans because humans have a region of the retina specialized for fine details called the 'fovea' whereas mice do not. However, researchers from the Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience have shown that the visual cortex of mice in fact contains a region of enhanced visual sensitivity - the 'focea'. This makes mice a better model for human vision than previously predicted.

The results can be read in Nature Communications: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24311-5

#sciencenews #biology #neuroscience
Synthesising cancer treatments.

Rice University chemists have developed a simplified method for the facile synthesis of halichondrin B and related compounds. This important molecule has potent anti-tumour properties of great interest to medical research.

Their insights are published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.1c05270

#sciencenews #chemistry #cancer
Gravitational waves from black holes swallowing neutron stars.

Scientists from LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA have detected gravitational waves generated over 900 million light-years away by the merging of a neutron star with a black hole, broadening the field of gravitational wave astronomy to another astrophysical system.

The preliminary report has been published in Astrophysical Journal Letters: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/ac082e

#sciencenews #astrophysics
Sensitive coronavirus testing.

A new corona test developed at the University Hospital Bonn can simultaneously analyse a large number of swabs using sequencing technology and has a similarly high sensitivity to the common qPCR tests. The innovative method offers great potential for rapid systematic testing without the drawbacks of most methods.

The test is described in Nature Biotechnology: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41587-021-00966-9

#sciencenews #coronavirus #molecularbiology
Cancer testing from blood.

A microfilter device that can easily separate and capture trace amounts of cancer cells in blood has been developed by a Kumamoto University research group. The palm-sized device is being used to develop new cancer diagnostic technologies, detecting even at concentrations of just 5 cancer cells per millilitre.

The research is reported in Talanta:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0039914021001600?via%3Dihub

#sciencenews #cancer #medicine