Πέμπτη, 22 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Coffee bean roasting acoustics

Posted: 21 May 2014 01:29 PM PDT

People around the world are drawn to coffee's powerful allure -- for its beloved smell, and taste, and for the caffeine boost it provides. As you enjoy your coffee beverage, however, odds are good you're probably not thinking about the coffee bean roasting process behind it. But for some the love of coffee runs so deep that they go so far as to roast their own coffee beans.

Oil, gas development homogenizing core-forest bird communities

Posted: 21 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

Conventional oil and gas development in northern Pennsylvania altered bird communities, and the current massive build-out of shale-gas infrastructure may accelerate these changes, according to researchers. The commonwealth's Northern Tier -- one of the largest blocks of Eastern deciduous forest in the entire Appalachian region -- is an important breeding area for neotropical migrant songbirds. These diminutive, insect-eating creatures, which breed in Pennsylvania and winter in Central and South America, contribute greatly to the health of forests.

New, fossil-fuel-free process makes biodiesel sustainable

Posted: 21 May 2014 10:38 AM PDT

A new fuel-cell concept will allow biodiesel plants to eliminate the creation of hazardous wastes while removing their dependence on fossil fuel from their production process. The platform, which uses microbes to glean ethanol from glycerol and has the added benefit of cleaning up the wastewater, will allow producers to reincorporate the ethanol and the water into the fuel-making process.

Weak chemical forces combined to strengthen novel imaging technology

Posted: 21 May 2014 10:38 AM PDT

Increasing the effectiveness of certain contrast agents is often used for imaging blood vessels and internal bleeding by associating them with nanoparticles, biomedical researchers report. The contrast agent being used is packaged inside or bonded to the surface of microscopic particles, which can be designed to target certain regions of the body or prolong the agent's activity.

Environmental changes connected to spike in infectious disease, study shows

Posted: 21 May 2014 10:38 AM PDT

Anthropogenic changes in Africa's Lake Malaui are a driving force behind the increase of urogenital schistosomiasis, a debilitating disease caused by parasitic flatworms. In some villages along Lake Malaui, 73 percent of people and up to 94 percent of schoolchildren are infected. The research suggests the spike in infection is linked to an increase in human populations and agricultural activities near Lake Malaui.

A new way to harness waste heat: Electrochemical approach has potential to efficiently turn low-grade heat to electricity

Posted: 21 May 2014 10:36 AM PDT

Vast amounts of excess heat are generated by industrial processes and by electric power plants; researchers around the world have spent decades seeking ways to harness some of this wasted energy. Now researchers have found a new alternative for low-temperature waste-heat conversion into electricity.

Soil bacteria may provide clues to curbing antibiotic resistance

Posted: 21 May 2014 10:31 AM PDT

Bacteria that naturally live in the soil have a vast collection of genes to fight off antibiotics, but they are much less likely to share these genes, a new study has revealed. Drug-resistant bacteria annually sicken 2 million Americans and kill at least 23,000. A driving force behind this growing public health threat is the ability of bacteria to share genes that provide antibiotic resistance.

Lipid transport: Research breakthrough paves way for understanding serious diseases

Posted: 21 May 2014 07:20 AM PDT

New basic research reveals how the body's cells transport lipid. Defects in the mechanism can lead to serious neurological diseases, liver diseases and involuntary childlessness, and the new knowledge is an important step on the way to understanding and treating these diseases.

Racehorses: Equine nasal strip reduces lung damage, may improve performance

Posted: 21 May 2014 07:18 AM PDT

The Flair nasal strip was tested by researchers who found the product reduced lung hemorrhaging in horses by about 50 percent. Unlike humans, horses only breathe through their nose. When a horse breathes, it can generate a negative pressure in its lungs. High-intensity activities like races, combined with a narrow nasal passageway, put extra pressure on the horse and often result in a hemorrhage in the lungs.

Iron from melting ice sheets may help buffer global warming

Posted: 21 May 2014 06:49 AM PDT

A newly-discovered source of oceanic bioavailable iron could have a major impact our understanding of marine food chains and global warming. Scientists have discovered that summer meltwaters from ice sheets are rich in iron, which will have important implications on phytoplankton growth.

Shattering past of the 'island of glass': Pantelleria, a little-known island near Sicily, was once covered in a searing-hot layer of green glass

Posted: 21 May 2014 06:47 AM PDT

A tiny Mediterranean island visited by the likes of Madonna, Sting, Julia Roberts and Sharon Stone is now the focus of a ground-breaking study by geologists. Pantelleria, a little-known island between Sicily and Tunisia, is a volcano with a remarkable past: 45 thousand years ago, the entire island was covered in a searing-hot layer of green glass.

Cholesterol plays key role in cell migration, study shows

Posted: 21 May 2014 06:47 AM PDT

Cholesterol plays a key role in cell mobility and tissue invasion, scientists have concluded. The results of a study prove that the accumulation of LDL cholesterol cells —- the one carried by low-density lipoproteins -— may play a crucial role in promoting cell mobility. On the contrary, high levels of HDL cholesterol —- the one carried by high-density lipoproteins -— may avoid cell propagation. This is a key study to better understand cancer metastasis, the process in which cancer cells invade healthy tissues, and foster the discussion on the relationship between cholesterol levels and cancer incidence.

Fungi clean oil-polluted soil, study shows

Posted: 21 May 2014 06:47 AM PDT

Fungi can be harnessed to clean polluted soil which cannot be cleaned using traditional composting, researchers have found, demonstrating that soil that has been polluted by organic pollutants such as oil can be treated by composting. However, it is not effective against many other organic pollutants such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons and dioxins. Soil polluted with other organic pollutants than oil accounts for as much as 45% of excavated contaminated soil.

Nasal bacteria may be predictor of skin infections

Posted: 21 May 2014 06:43 AM PDT

Bacteria found in the nose may be a key indicator for future development of skin and soft-tissue infections in remote areas of the body, researchers say. The nose is the primary S. aureus reservoir in humans and nearly 80% of the time, an individual's colonizing strain is the same strain that causes subsequent remote skin infections. Establishing a nose "marker microbiome" associated with development of SSTI infections may pave the way for focused preventive treatments that target the microbiome, rather than S. aureus itself.

Experiments using virulent avian flu strains pose risk of accidental release

Posted: 20 May 2014 03:47 PM PDT

Experiments creating dangerous flu strains that are transmissible between mammals pose too great a risk to human life from potential release, according to an editorial by experts. The researchers are calling for greater scrutiny of experiments that make virulent influenza strains transmissible, and for future studies on flu transmission to use safer and more effective alternative approaches.

Evolution of venomous centipedes: First widespread look by researchers

Posted: 20 May 2014 03:47 PM PDT

Venomous creatures usually conjure up images of hissing snakes or stinging scorpions. But for a team of scientists, an overlooked group -- centipedes -- are all the rage. Centipedes prey on bugs and other pests by stinging them with venom secreted from and injected from their first pair of pincer-like legs, called forcipules.

Genetic alterations in lung cancers help select treatment

Posted: 20 May 2014 01:30 PM PDT

Multiplexed testing of lung cancer tumors identified genetic alterations that were helpful in selecting targeted treatments, a study has shown. Patients that received matched therapy for lung cancer lived longer than patients who did not receive directed therapy, although randomized clinical trials are required to determine if this treatment strategy improves survival.

'Supermodel' mouse reveals mechanisms that regulate metabolism

Posted: 20 May 2014 12:29 PM PDT

A lean "Supermodel" mouse type has revealed the potentially critical role played by a largely unknown gene that regulates metabolism, findings that could provide new insight into diseases ranging from diabetes to obesity. The Supermodel mouse's phenotype -- the physical characteristics that result from its gene makeup -- include being very small in size, with an unusual body form caused by abnormal distribution of fat.

Brain steroids make good dads: Fish study provides insight

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:07 PM PDT

Insights from a highly social fish can help understand how other androgenic steroids, like testosterone, can shape a male's parenting skills. Once bluebanded gobies become fathers, they stay close to the developing eggs, vigorously fan and rub them until they hatch, and also protect them from mothers who would eat them.

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