Τρίτη, 13 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Diets rich in antioxidant resveratrol fail to reduce deaths, heart disease or cancer

Posted: 12 May 2014 06:41 PM PDT

A study of Italians who consume a diet rich in resveratrol -- the compound found in red wine, dark chocolate and berries -- finds they live no longer than and are just as likely to develop cardiovascular disease or cancer as those who eat or drink smaller amounts of the antioxidant.

Multifunctional nanoparticles for cheaper, cleaner biofuel

Posted: 12 May 2014 12:53 PM PDT

Scientists have created a faster, cleaner biofuel refining technology that not only combines processes, it uses widely available materials to reduce costs. They have developed a nanoparticle that is able to perform two processing functions at once for the production of green diesel, an alternative fuel created from the hydrogenation of oils from renewable feedstocks like algae.

Mobilizing immune system against viruses: New way found

Posted: 12 May 2014 12:53 PM PDT

An intricate chain reaction in the body's immune system has been found by researchers who have used the knowledge to develop a new treatment against harmful viruses. Viral pandemics, such as the coronavirus that caused the deadly SARS outbreak in 2002, have caused hundreds of deaths, yet effective anti-viral drugs are rare.

Potential cure for captive amphibians with chytrid fungus

Posted: 12 May 2014 12:53 PM PDT

Researchers have identified an alternative to a sometimes toxic therapy that protects frogs in zoos from a deadly fungal infection that has been destroying the amphibian populations worldwide.

Corn dwarfed by temperature dip suitable for growing in mines, caves

Posted: 12 May 2014 12:50 PM PDT

Lowering temperatures for two hours each day reduces the height of corn without affecting its seed yield, a study shows, a technique that could be used to grow crops in controlled-environment facilities in caves and former mines. Raising the crops in isolated and enclosed environments would help prevent genetically modified pollen and seed from escaping into the ecosystem and crossing with wild plants.

Molecular motor for packaging virus DNA found, may lead to targeted antiviral drugs

Posted: 12 May 2014 12:50 PM PDT

New light has been shed on a type of molecular motor used to package the DNA of a number of viruses, including herpes and the adenoviruses. Their findings could help in the development of more effective drugs and inspire the design of new and improved synthetic biomotors. Viruses are the enigma of the biological world -- despite having their own DNA and being able to adapt to their environment and evolve, they are not considered to be alive like cells. In order to reproduce and multiply -- a requirement of "life" -- a virus must invade a living cell, eject its DNA into that of the cell, and commandeer the cell's biological machinery.

Alcohol and drugs: Not just for modern humans

Posted: 12 May 2014 12:50 PM PDT

Unlike most modern humans, the prehistoric people of Europe did not use mind-altering substances simply for their hedonistic pleasure. Researchers contend that their use was an integral part of prehistoric beliefs, and that these substances were seen to aid in communication with the spiritual world.

West Antarctic glacier loss appears unstoppable

Posted: 12 May 2014 10:46 AM PDT

A new study finds a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea. The study presents multiple lines of evidence, incorporating 40 years of observations that indicate the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica "have passed the point of no return," according to the lead author.

Climate negotiation as a bargaining game

Posted: 12 May 2014 09:43 AM PDT

For more than two decades, mem­bers of the United Nations have sought to forge an agree­ment to reduce global green­house gas emis­sions. But so far, these inter­na­tional cli­mate nego­ti­a­tions have had lim­ited success. International climate negotiations have failed for 25 years. New research uses game theory to find out why, and what we can do to win the climate game.

Scientists discover a natural molecule to treat type 2 diabetes: Molecule mimics some effect of physical exercise

Posted: 12 May 2014 08:25 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered a natural molecule that could be used to treat insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The molecule, a derivative of omega-3 fatty acids, mimics some of the effects of physical exercise on blood glucose regulation.

Dopamine turns worker ants into warrior queens

Posted: 12 May 2014 07:18 AM PDT

The ritualized fighting behavior of one ant species is linked to increases in dopamine levels that trigger dramatic physical changes in the ants without affecting their DNA, according to research. The researchers studied Indian jumping ants (Harpegnathos saltator), which can undergo significant changes in physiology without any related changes to their DNA. Instead, the changes depend on which genes are turned on or off -- which in turn is determined by social and environmental factors. This has made them a model organism for epigenetics researchers.

Analyzing sperm cells to learn about animal infidelity, evolution

Posted: 12 May 2014 07:15 AM PDT

The analyzing of sperm cells to learn more about bird evolution and behavior is a new area of research. "To understand sexual infidelity in species, interpreting DNA is not enough. We also need to look at the shape and behavior of the sperm cells. Sperm research has opened up a completely new world to us," says one researcher.

How fish were able to colonize poisonous springs: A tale of survival

Posted: 12 May 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Hydrogen sulphide is a potent inhibitor of aerobic respiration. However populations of shortfin molly fish managed to colonize springs with high concentrations of dissolved hydrogen sulphide. In a new study, researchers present evidence of genetic changes minimizing the harmful effects of H2S which enable the fish to survive in this deleterious environment. The study provides insight into the molecular mechanisms of this key adaptation for the first time.

Artificial magnetic bacteria 'turn' food into natural drugs

Posted: 12 May 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Scientists have successfully created magnetic bacteria that could be added to foodstuffs and could, after ingestion, help diagnose diseases of the digestive system like stomach cancer. These important findings constitute the first use of a food as a natural drug and aid in diagnosing an illness, anywhere in the world.

Plant welfare is improved by fungi in soil

Posted: 12 May 2014 07:14 AM PDT

A team of biologists has discovered how plants use fungi to help them to gather vital nutrients from the soil. The researchers found that a protein, known as a proton pump, at the interface of fungus and root cells energises cell membranes creating a pathway into the plant cell for nutrients such as phosphorus. The research may point the way to the development of higher yield crops using plants' own organic tools rather than fertilizers.

Human microbiome studies should include wider diversity of populations, experts warn

Posted: 11 May 2014 06:48 PM PDT

Microbial samples taken from populations living in the US and Tanzania reveal that the microbiome of the human hand is more varied than previously thought, according to new research. These findings suggest that the 'standard' hand microbiome varies depending on location and lifestyle. Results compared the microbes on the hands of women in the U.S. and Tanzania and found that organisms that have commonly been identified in prior human skin microbiome studies were highly abundant on U.S. hands, while the most abundant bacterial species on Tanzanian hands were associated with the environment, particularly soil.

Fate of methane following Deepwater Horizon spill examined by researchers

Posted: 11 May 2014 01:55 PM PDT

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout discharged roughly five million gallons of oil and up to 500,000 tons of natural gas into Gulf of Mexico offshore waters over a period of 84 days. In the face of a seemingly insurmountable cleanup effort, many were relieved by reports following the disaster that naturally-occurring microbes had consumed much of the gas and oil.

Hijacking bacteria's natural defences to trap, reveal pathogens

Posted: 11 May 2014 01:54 PM PDT

Bad bacteria could soon have no place left to hide, thanks to new materials that turn the cell's own defenses against them. Scientists have developed a technique that could locate the potential source of an infection by hijacking the normal processes of pathogens, thus revealing their location. And by using fluorescent markers to tag these cells, they have even been able to detect them by using a simple mobile phone camera.

New atlas of molecules paves way for improved understanding of metabolic diseases

Posted: 11 May 2014 01:54 PM PDT

A comprehensive study of associations between genetic variation and human metabolism will improve our understanding of the molecular pathways underlying common complex diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Researchers have linked 145 genetic regions with more than 400 molecules involved in human metabolism.

Conducting polymer films decorated with biomolecules for cell research use

Posted: 09 May 2014 11:03 AM PDT

The ability to create conducting polymer films in a variety of shapes, thicknesses and surface properties rapidly and inexpensively will make growing and testing cells easier and more flexible, according to a team of bioengineers. The researchers create their hydrogel stamps from agarose -- a sugar extracted from seaweed -- poured into molds.

Intestinal enzyme maintains microbial balance: Study shows how

Posted: 09 May 2014 10:00 AM PDT

The mechanism by which an enzyme produced in the intestinal lining helps to maintain a healthy population of gastrointestinal microbes has been identified by researchers. The research team describes finding that intestinal alkaline phosphatase promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria by blocking the growth-inhibiting action of adenosine triphosphate -- an action first described in this paper -- within the intestine.

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