A new batch of ten Slinn Pickings

  • Sterility in frogs caused by environmental pharmaceutical progestogens – Frogs appear to be very sensitive to progestogens, a kind of pharmaceutical that is released into the environment. Female tadpoles that swim in water containing a specific progestogen, levonorgestrel, are subject to abnormal ovarian and oviduct development, resulting in adult sterility.
  • Inhaling ‘Red Mud Disaster’ dust may not be as harmful to health as feared – Scientists in Hungary are reporting that the potential health effects of last October’s Red Mud Disaster, one of the worst environmental accidents in Europe, may be less dangerous than previously feared.
  • First identification of endocrine disruptors in algae blooms – Scientists are reporting for the first time that previously unrecognized substances released by algae blooms have the potential to act as endocrine disruptors, which can interfere with the normal activity of reproductive hormones. The effect is not caused by microcystin toxins, long recognized as potentially harmful to humans and aquatic animals, but as yet unidentified substances. As a result, the scientists are calling for a revision of environmental monitoring programs to watch for these new substances.
  • Discovery of blood proteins that are red flags for ectopic pregnancy – A long, urgent search for proteins in the blood of pregnant women that could be used in early diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy has resulted in discovery of biomarkers that seem to be specific enough to begin testing in clinical trials, scientists are reporting in a new study in ACS’s Journal of Proteome Research.
  • Killer paper for next-generation food packaging – Scientists are reporting development and successful lab tests of “killer paper,” a material intended for use as a new food packaging material that helps preserve foods by fighting the bacteria that cause spoilage. The paper, described in ACS’s journal, Langmuir, contains a coating of silver nanoparticles, which are powerful anti-bacterial agents.
  • New material provides 25 percent greater thermoelectric conversion efficiency – Automobiles, military vehicles, even large-scale power generating facilities may someday operate far more efficiently thanks to a new alloy developed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory.
  • Pivot Points – Criminal Chemists – Unfortunately, as in any discipline, criminal chemists do exist and are increasingly trawling the scientific literature for inspiration and legal workarounds.
  • Monitoring morphological changes during electrodeposition of material with AFM – The copper Damascene electrodeposition is a key fabrication process, currently used in state-of-the-art, multilevel copper metallization of microelectronic interconnects that range from transistor to circuit board length scale. This report effectively demonstrates the ability of the FlexAFM to monitor morphological changes during electrodeposition of material on an electrode surface.
  • Zinc can ease cold symptoms – study – Zinc supplements can reduce the severity and duration of common cold symptoms, a study has found.
  • Remote powered lab on a chip – A team of US scientists has developed the first lab on a chip device to be powered remotely. Wen Qiao at the University of California, San Diego, made a microfluidic chip that can be powered with a commercially available radio frequency transmitter for electrophoresis experiments.

Another high yielding news day from Robert Slinn for Reactive Reports in his regular column: Slinn Pickings.