Κυριακή, 25 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Slowing the insect invasion: Wood packaging sanitation yields US $11.7 billion net benefit

Posted: 23 May 2014 04:24 PM PDT

The emerald ash borer, a recent insect immigrant to North America carried in with the wooden packing material of imported goods, is projected to cause over a billion dollars in damages annually over the next decade. Treatment to prevent wood borer introductions treatment is worthwhile when the cumulative damages of widening infestations are considered, report scientists.

Untangling whole genomes of individual species from a microbial mix

Posted: 23 May 2014 04:23 PM PDT

A new approach to studying microbes in the wild will allow scientists to sequence the genomes of individual species from complex mixtures. It marks a big advance for understanding the enormous diversity of microbial communities —- including the human microbiome.

Babbling brooks adding to climate change?

Posted: 23 May 2014 04:23 PM PDT

Studying stream bubbles isn't exactly a walk in the park. What, with the mud and ticks, the long days hiking and swimming through mucky streams, the sun exposure and scratching brush. But in the end, it may prove to be insightful. The bubbles coming from freshwater sources, new research suggests, may be a key and currently unaccounted for source of methane, the second-largest greenhouse gas contributor to human-driven global climate change.

Tiny muscles help bats fine-tune flight, stiffen wing skin

Posted: 23 May 2014 11:53 AM PDT

Bats appear to use a network of hair-thin muscles in their wing skin to control the stiffness and shape of their wings as they fly, according to a new study. The finding provides new insight about the aerodynamic fine-tuning of membrane wings, both natural and human-made.

Straw from oilseed as a new source of biofuels

Posted: 23 May 2014 11:53 AM PDT

Straw from crops such as wheat, barley, oats and oilseed rape is seen as a potential source of biomass for second generation biofuel production. Currently the UK produces around 12 million tonnes of straw. Although much is used for animal bedding, mushroom compost and energy generation, there still exists a vast surplus. Preliminary lab findings are pointing at ways that the process of turning straw from oilseed rape into biofuel could be made more efficient, as well as how the straw itself could be improved.

Measuring fine dust concentration via smartphone

Posted: 23 May 2014 11:52 AM PDT

Big cities in the smog: Photos from Beijing and, more recently, Paris clearly illustrate the extent of fine dust pollution. But what about our direct environment? What is the pollution concentration near our favorite jogging route? Scientists are developing a sensor that can be connected easily to smartphones. In the future, users are to take part in drawing up a pollution map via participatory sensing. The precision of the map will be the higher, the more people will take part.

Electricity use slashed with efficiency controls for heating, cooling

Posted: 23 May 2014 11:51 AM PDT

Commercial buildings could cut their heating and cooling electricity use by an average of 57 percent with advanced energy-efficiency controls, according to a year-long trial of the controls at malls, grocery stores and other buildings across the country.

Disaster Planning: Risk assessment vital to development of mitigation plans

Posted: 23 May 2014 06:42 AM PDT

Wildfires and flooding affect many more people in the USA than earthquakes and landslide and yet the dread, the perceived risk, of the latter two is much greater than for those hazards that are more frequent and cause greater loss of life. Research suggests that a new paradigm for risk assessment is needed.

10 'golden rules' of strategic flood management revealed by water scientists

Posted: 23 May 2014 05:26 AM PDT

With many families across the UK still dealing with the consequences of last winter's flooding, water scientists have recently released 10 'golden rules' for strategic flood management. While the authors acknowledge the 'remarkable progress in cultivating the concepts of flood risk management' that has taken place over the last few decades, they also recognize that 'the challenge now is to turn the now commonly accepted concepts of managing risks and promoting opportunities into common flood-management practice'.

Protective milk shot: How mother's milk protects piglets from parasite infections

Posted: 23 May 2014 05:26 AM PDT

Antibodies against C. suis are transferred via the sow's very first milk to the piglets immediately after birth. This was discovered by a veterinarian and parasitologist in 2013. These findings prompted other researchers to look for a way to increase the level of these antibodies in sows. The ultimate goal was to provide the piglets with as much antibodies as possible via their mother's milk during the first few days of life.

DNA testing to help save corals

Posted: 23 May 2014 05:26 AM PDT

To avert coral demise, experts report the establishment of DNA markers that might be applicable to all species of the Acropora reef-building coral, giving accurate identification to individual corals. The technique, similar to DNA profiling in humans, enables scientists to study genetic diversity and connectivity among the Acropora coral populations, thus finding clues to help with the conservation of coral reef ecosystems in waters around the world.

Low-carb vegan diet may reduce heart disease risk, weight

Posted: 22 May 2014 07:51 AM PDT

In addition to weight loss, a vegan low-carbohydrate diet may also reduce the risk of heart disease by 10 percent over 10 years, researchers have demonstrated for the first time. The diet is a low-carbohydrate vegan diet. Many low-carbohydrate diets have been proven to improve weight loss but most emphasize eating animal proteins and fats, which may raise cholesterol. Diets that are high in vegetable proteins and oils may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering "bad cholesterol."

Symbiosis or capitalism? A new view of forest fungi

Posted: 22 May 2014 07:49 AM PDT

Symbiotic relationships between trees and the mycorrhyzae that grow in their roots may not be as mutually beneficial as previously thought. Recent experiments had brought into a question a long-held theory of biology: that the fungi or mycorrhizae that grow on tree roots work with trees in a symbiotic relationship that is beneficial for both the fungi and the trees, providing needed nutrients to both parties. But in contrast to the current paradigm, the new research shows that they may be the cause rather than the cure for the nutrient scarcity.

Cannabis effects on PTSD: Can smoking medical marijuana reduce symptoms?

Posted: 22 May 2014 07:48 AM PDT

Clinical research supports a conclusion that smoking cannabis [marijuana] is associated with PTSD symptom reduction in some patients. The results of a recent study indicated that patients in the sample reported an average of 75 percent reduction in all three areas of PTSD symptoms while using cannabis, yet further research is still called for by the researchers. "Many PTSD patients report symptom reduction with cannabis, and a clinical trial needs to be done to see what proportion and what kind of PTSD patients benefit, with either cannabis or the main active ingredients of cannabis," said one of the researchers.

Composting program with used coffee grounds

Posted: 22 May 2014 07:47 AM PDT

Used coffee grounds from a campus coffee shop are being used as compost to cultivate gourmet mushrooms at a student farm. By composting alone, 50 pounds a week -- or about 30 percent of the coffee shop's total waste -- has been diverted from landfills. While developing the compost program, the researchers made an important discovery: coffee grounds are a great compost for cultivating mushrooms, particularly gourmet mushrooms, such as oyster, shiitake and reishi. The U.S. gets nearly 45 percent of mushrooms from China, and there is a need for more local suppliers of gourmet mushrooms, said one researcher.

Pulsed electrical fields destroy antibiotic-resistant bacteria infecting burn injuries

Posted: 21 May 2014 03:00 PM PDT

Application of a technology currently used to disinfect food products may help to get around one of the most challenging problems in medicine today, the proliferation of bacteria resistant to antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs. About 500,000 individuals are treated for burn injuries in the U.S. each year. Standard burn treatment involves removal of burned tissue, skin grafts, and the application of antiseptic and antimicrobial dressings to prevent and treat infection. The growing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is behind the frequent failure of antibiotic treatment, necessitating novel approaches to eliminate infecting pathogens.

Osteosarcoma immunotherapy study has potential to benefit both dogs, humans

Posted: 21 May 2014 02:59 PM PDT

Osteosarcoma is a highly aggressive bone tumor that affects at least 10,000 dogs annually in the United States. It is most commonly seen in the adult large and giant breeds such as Rottweilers, Labrador retrievers, greyhounds, Newfoundlands, Irish wolfhounds, Great Danes and Scottish deerhounds. "Since dogs with osteosarcoma represent spontaneous bona-fide model of the same disease in children, it is likely that the same approach will provide significant survival benefits in children with the same disease," one researcher commented.

Superfood chia seeds may be potential natural ingredient in food product development

Posted: 21 May 2014 01:27 PM PDT

The consumer demand for natural, healthy and non-animal source food ingredients are on the rise. A new study shows that chia seeds when placed in water produce a gel that could be potentially be applied in food product development. The results of the study indicate that chia gel can be easily extracted and have great potential in food product development as a thickener and emulsifier, as well as a stabilizer in frozen foods.

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