Monthly Archives: November 2016

Obtaining kenaf fibres with ease

This enzyme will degrade pectic substances that bind kenaf fibres together in bundles form, releasing the single kenaf fibres from the kenaf bundles.

Eco-Zyme is developed by a team of five researchers, led by Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences Lecturer, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wan Zuhainis Saad.

Mercury contamination found in Everglades dolphins

FIU scientists examined dolphins from the lower Florida Keys, Everglades National Park and Florida Bay, looking for mercury and organic pollutants in their skin and blubber. Not only did they find high mercury levels in the coastal Everglades dolphins, but they found the highest levels of concentration ever recorded. Potential sources of mercury are both natural and from man-made sources. The finding raises concerns about potential impacts on the health of local populations.

UW–Madison researchers study plant aging, gain insights into crop yields

In a new paper published today (Tues., Nov. 22) in the journal eLife, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Xuehua Zhong and her colleagues describe how an epigenetic protein complex acts as a link between the environment and the genome to promoting the onset of aging in plants.

Korean Exobrain beats four human quiz champions

In the quiz contest, Exobrain dominated the human competitors, but the system did not get all the answers right. The research team explained that Exobrain made a few wrong answers because some questions were related to fields the system had not learned about yet and the system did not have sufficient data to infer correct answers. The team added that further research and development would be required to conduct a semantic analysis of languages.

Food scientist aiding fuel ethanol with new engineered bacteria

The fermentation of beer and wine can be plagued by contamination with lactic acid bacteria, which make lactic acid rather than alcohol. The same problem affects the ethanol industry.

Steele’s new company, Lactic Solutions, is advancing a judo-like remedy: using genetic engineering to transform enemy into friend. Instead of killing lactic acid bacteria with antibiotics, he’s spliced in genes for ethanol production so these organisms produce ethanol, not lactic acid.

Mares machine

Muscle strength drops during spaceflight and researchers need to know why this happens in order to prepare for long missions and safe space tourism. Mares is an exercise bench that offers detailed information about how muscles behave in space.

Live cell imaging of asymmetric cell division in fertilized plant cells

An international group of plant biologists have succeeded for the first time in visualizing how egg cells in plants divides unequally (asymmetric cell division) after being fertilized. The direction of this asymmetric cell division determines the body axis of flowering plants, i.e. the top part producing leaves and flowers, and the bottom part developing into roots. This mechanistic discovery on asymmetric cell division in plants provides insight into finding out how flowering plants have evolved to form their body shape.

Sweat it Out! Skin Patch Aims to Test Sweat for Health

“Sweat has biochemical components within it that tell us a lot about physiological health,” said John A. Rogers, who directs Northwestern University’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics and led the new research.

Today’s wearable technology helps people track their calories, activity and heart rate. A wearable biosensor would be “radically different,” Rogers said.

Adamas Labyrinthus

Icy material certainly played a role in this region’s appearance at some point: the larger impact craters show characteristic “pancake” debris blankets, which indicate heating and melting of a subsurface ice layer at the time of the impact.

Sponge-like materials capture, store, and release essential small molecules

Prof. Ryotaro Matsuda, the Graduate School of Engineering at Nagoya University, and Prof. Susumu Kitagawa, the Department of Synthetic Chemistry & Biological Chemistry and the Director of the Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences at Kyoto University, won the contest “Air Liquide Essential Molecules Challenge.” For the first edition of the challenge, their research project was selected as one in three from a total of 130 scientific proposals submitted by academic teams, R&D departments, and start-ups from 25 countries.

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