Robert Slinn’s chemical picks

  • Could Ketamine be used to treat depression? – Scientists at the University of Cambridge are investigating the possibility that Ketamine – a horse tranquiliser, used illegally as a class C hallucinogen – could be used medicinally to treat depression.
  • What does your body odour say about you? – Prof Paul Thomas's research group at Loughborough University's Centre for Analytical Science is part of a European Union-funded project led by the National Technical University of Athens. The various groups are developing a portable device, termed the Second Generation Locator for Urban Search and Rescue (or SGL for short), for use in disaster zones such as earthquake-struck cities. The device – which contains a sensitive microphone, an infra-red detector, and a sophisticated chemical "nose" in the form of an ion mobility spectrometer – is designed to be placed in the environment of a collapsed building. From there, the various sensors will collect and combine data which rescuers could then use to locate a trapped human.
  • Chemically-modified viruses and their applications – There is a growing need in both therapeutics and material science for unique, controllable nanoscaffolds such as viruses. Viruses are ideal substrates for nanotechnology because of their varied size in the nanometer range, low polydispersity, high polyvalency, inexpensive production, renewability, and low toxicity to the mammalian system. In addition, each virus can be further chemically-tailored to yield viral nanoparticles (VNPs) that are specific for each wanted application.
  • Sharp rise reported in Scots fish lice chemical – The level of chemicals used by fish farmers to treat sea lice infestations has risen dramatically, a BBC Scotland investigation has learned.
  • Firefighters need more protection from chemical fumes – Kenneth Fent and his team at the US Public Health Service and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, have shown that firefighters are actually exposing themselves to almost ten times the acceptable level of 75 volatile organic compounds, including benzene, acetonitrile and acetone.

Robert Slinn refluxes the chemistry news and extracts a goodly yield for Reactive Reports.