- Scientists develop a fatty ‘kryptonite’ to defeat multidrug-resistant ‘Super bugs’ – A team of Canadian scientists have discovered that specific mixtures of antimicrobial agents presented in lipid (fatty) mixtures can significantly boost the effectiveness of those agents to kill the resistant bacteria.
- Schoolchildren to test local water quality in biggest-ever chemistry experiment – A worldwide one-day experiment next week will provide a picture of the planet's pH levels. On 22 June pupils from UK schools will participate in this, the world's biggest-ever chemistry experiment. The experiment will be the largest single collection of data on water quality ever undertaken at one time and will be achieved by hundreds of thousands of youngsters around the globe becoming scientists for a day.
- A new spin on protein NMR – A new way to study proteins using NMR has been developed by Italian and German researchers who have described a new technique for rapidly obtaining solid samples of protein for nuclear magnetic resonance interrogation without needing to crystallise the protein. The method, which combines solid-state NMR with ultracentrifugation, could become a versatile way to study transient proteins or to monitor how the structure of proteins changes in the presence of other molecules.
- Researchers identify why dopamine replacement therapy has a paradoxical effect on cognition – Researchers have identified why dopamine replacement therapy has a paradoxical effect on cognition.
- Sensitive sugar sensor – US scientists have designed a calorimetric sensor as a point-of-care diagnostic instrument that can detect low levels of glucose compared to similar sensors.
- Quantum tunnelling creates the ‘wrong’ molecule – Researchers have managed to make a molecule no-one knew how to synthesise – methylhydroxycarbene – and trapped it in an ultra-cold cryogenic argon matrix. But what happened next was unexpected: the target molecule started disappearing.
Robert Slinn, chemist and writer, picks out six of the best for his regular chemistry news column on Reactive Reports
- Iowa State engineer scales up process that could improve economics of ethanol production – Iowa State's Hans van Leeuwen and a team of researchers have built a pilot plant to test a process designed to improve ethanol production.
- Nuclear Magnetic Resonance With No Magnets – Two groups, at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley, have shown that chemical analysis with NMR is practical without using any magnets at all.
- Liquid crystals spot bacteria to order – Liquid crystals could one day be used as bio-sensors, detecting the presence of minute amounts of pathogens. That is the claim of a US group of researchers, who have demonstrated how a liquid crystal changes orientation in the presence of bacteria.
- Rocket fuel goes green with ionic liquids – Military researchers in the US have developed a novel 'green' rocket fuel whose constituents are less corrosive and toxic than those used in conventional propellant systems.
- Throwing light on molecular logic gates – Scientists in Europe and the US have designed a molecule that can be manipulated using light to carry out multiple and distinct logic functions. The multifunctional molecule, which can be reconfigured by light, could be used in data storage devices and biomedicine, including nanoparticle tracking and drug delivery.
- Splitting water to create renewable energy simpler than first thought? – An international team, of scientists, led by a team at Monash University has found the key to the hydrogen economy could come from a very simple mineral, commonly seen as a black stain on rocks.
Chemist and writer Robert Slinn picks six of the best for his regular web column on Reactive Reports – Slinn Pickings.
- Starting a new metabolic path: Researchers develop technique to help metabolic engineering – Efforts to engineer new metabolic pathways into microbes for the inexpensive production of valuable chemical products, such as biofuels or therapeutic drugs, should get a significant boost in a new development from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI). Researchers there have successfully demonstrated a technique they call "targeted proteomics" that speeds up and improves the ability to identify and quantify specific proteins within a cell or microorganism.
- Cell factories package drugs for delivery – Scientists in Australia and Germany have used living cells as 'factories' to encapsulate particles such as drugs in biological membranes. The system could be used in the future as a biocompatible drug-delivery vehicle that could evade the body's immune and excretory systems, the scientists suggest..
- Hydrocarbons in the deep Earth – A computer modeling study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that at deep Earth pressures and temperatures, longer hydrocarbons may be formed from the simplest one, the methane molecule.
- Sugar helping map new ground against deadly bug – A potential vaccine against bacteria that cause serious gastric disorders including stomach cancer may be a step closer following a pioneering study by a University of Guelph chemist.
- Researchers discover precisely how thalidomide causes birth defects – Thalidomide may have been withdrawn in the early 1960s for use by pregnant women, but its dramatic effects remain memorable half a century later. Now, researchers have taken a major step toward understanding exactly how thalidomide causes the birth defects. This is important as thalidomide is still used to treat diseases like multiple myeloma and leprosy, and is being tested for cancers and autoimmune disorders.
- New biosensor microchip could speed up drug development, Stanford researchers say – A new biosensor microchip that could hold more than 100,000 magnetically sensitive nanosensors could speed up drug development markedly, Stanford researchers say. The nanosensors analyze how proteins bond – a critical step in drug development. The ultrasensitive sensors can simultaneously monitor thousands of times more proteins than existing technology, deliver results faster and assess the strength of the bonds.
Chemist and writer Robert Slinn picks six of the best for his regular web column on Reactive Reports – Slinn Pickings.
- Novel nanosensor platform for direct detection of a cancer biomarker in blood – In a recent development, scientists in Spain have developed a rapid nanochannel-based immunoassay capable of the filtering and subsequent detection of proteins in whole blood without any sample preparation. This is the first time that a simple assay to detect proteins in whole blood using nanochannels has been achieved.
- Multifunctional nanobioprobes detect and isolate multiple types of cancer cells – Multifunctional nanomaterials have become widely researched in nanomedicine with the goal of developing highly accurate probes for detecting and isolating cancer cells. Of particular interest here are magnetic nanoparticles, which offer the capability of cell isolation from original or enriched samples without the use of centrifugation or filtration.
- University of Nevada, Reno, teams with IMMY to make new life-saving blood test – A new, rapid blood test that could lead to early diagnosis and potentially save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people stricken with fungal meningitis, a leading cause of AIDS-related deaths in developing countries, is getting closer to market with a recent collaboration between the University of Nevada, Reno, and Immuno-Mycologics (IMMY) in Oklahoma.
- BNCT, a new-generation radiation treatment, is effective in advanced head and neck cancer – The years of work done on developing and clinically testing of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy in Helsinki, Finland, are now paying off. BNCT?based treatment has been successfully used to treat patients with advanced head and neck cancer who have not responded to previous treatments and generally have poor prognosis.
- Biomimetic new optical sensor for the detection of antibiotics – Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM), in collaboration with the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), have developed an optical sensor based on biomimetic plastic that detects antibiotics without markers or biological receptors.
- Laser treatment for late-stage cancer – Scientists from China, the US and Peru claim to have successfully treated late-stage breast cancer patients using laser therapy to stimulate patients' own immune systems to fight the cancer.
- Real-world treatment for dye-contaminated effluents – US scientists have found that a dye oxidation process using low levels of an iron catalyst could be used to degrade highly contaminated wastewater under ambient conditions.
- Harvesting energy from soft drinks – Scientists in China have made a biofuel cell that harvests energy from soft drinks such as iced tea and juices.
- Tracking the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease – UK researchers can track the early steps of formation of peptide clumps linked to Alzheimer's disease using the peptide's fluorescent ability. This could help design effective therapies for the disease at an early stage.
- JQI physicists demonstrate coveted ‘spin-orbit coupling’ in atomic gases – Physicists at the Joint Quantum Institute, a collaboration of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Maryland-College Park, have for the first time caused a gas of atoms to exhibit an important quantum phenomenon known as spin-orbit coupling. Their technique opens new possibilities for studying and better understanding fundamental physics and has potential applications to quantum computing, next-generation "spintronics" devices and even "atomtronic" devices built from ultracold atoms.
Robert Slinn scours the web for the latest chemistry news for Reactive Reports.
- Fish oil fights weight loss due to chemotherapy – A new analysis has found that supplementing the diet with fish oil may prevent muscle and weight loss that commonly occurs in cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy. Published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study indicates that fish oil may help combat cancer-related malnutrition.
- Free radicals may be good for you – Fear of free radicals may be exaggerated, according to scientists from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet. A new study, published in the Journal of Physiology, shows that free radicals act as signal substances that cause the heart to beat with the correct force.
- Stretched Rubber Offers Simpler Method For Assembling Nanowires – Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a cheap and easy method for assembling nanowires, controlling their alignment and density. The researchers hope the findings will foster additional research into a range of device applications using nanowires, from nanoelectronics to nanosensors, especially on unconventional substrates such as rubber, plastic and paper.
- Fingerprints of a gold cluster revealed – Nanometer-scale gold particles are currently intensively investigated for possible applications in catalysis, sensing, photonics, biolabeling, drug carriers and molecular electronics. The particles are prepared in a solution from gold salts and their reactive gold cores can be stabilized with various organic ligands.
- Drug to fight tumors also fights the flu and possibly other viruses – There's new hope for flu-free winters in the years to come thanks to a new discovery by researchers who found that a drug called DMXAA, originally developed as anti-tumor agent, enhances the ability of flu vaccines to ward off this deadly virus. This discovery was published in the March 2011 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.
- Compound Useful for Studying Birth Defects May Also Have Anti-Tumor Properties – In an interesting bit of scientific serendipity, researchers at North Carolina State University have found that a chemical compound useful for studying the origins of intestinal birth defects may also inhibit the growth and spread of cancerous tumors.
- New peptide could be effective treatment for triple negative breast cancer – A new leptin receptor antagonist peptide developed by researchers at Temple University has demonstrated efficacy against triple negative breast cancer.
- Researchers develop curious snapshot of powerful retinal pigment and its partners – In a Journal of Biological Chemistry "Paper of the Week," a Berlin-based research team reports that it has uncovered surprising new details about a key protein-protein interaction in the retina that contributes to the exquisite sensitivity of vision. Additionally, they say, the proteins involved represent the best-studied model of how other senses and countless other physiological functions are controlled.
- Catalyst cleans up C-C bond formation – Researchers in the US have developed an iridium catalyst that promotes carbon-carbon bond formation between methanol and allenes. The process enables direct conversion of methanol to higher alcohols, with no byproducts.
- Protein nanotubes trap viruses – Japanese researchers have used nanotubes made from human blood proteins to trap hepatitis B virus (HBV). They say their work lays the foundations for a new chemistry of protein-based nanotubes with biomedical applications.
Robert Slinn selects ten from the latest chemistry news for Reactive Reports.