Chemistry

Want to improve tomato crop yields without using more fertilizer? Try  verimcompost leachate. That is a soil ameliorant, which is basically a fertilizer but made of an organic liquid produced by earthworm poop. If you are really organic, you can even make tea from it. 

A research project recently studied the effects of vermicompost leachate on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress. 


New findings about carbon deep beneath the Earth's surface suggest it might have influenced the history of life on the planet - and diamonds.

There is little understanding of how carbon behaved deep below the Earth's surface so researchers have created a model to try and calculate how much carbon and what types exist in fluids at 100 miles below the Earth's surface at temperatures up to 2,100 degrees F. 


For many years, scientists around the world have been intensely interested in bisphenol A (BPA)

In the fight against HIV, microbicides, which are chemical compounds applied topically to the female genital tract to protect against sexually transmitted infections, are touted as an alternative to condoms.

There's just one problem. They don't work outside a petri dish. Clinical trials using microbicides have failed and a new study from the Gladstone Institutes and the University of Ulm finds that this may be due to the primary mode of transportation of the virus during sexual transmission, semen.


In hydraulic fracturing - fracking - a mixture of sand, water and chemicals is injected into deep wells to release fossil fuels. This has led to environmental corporation claims that the reduced emissions from natural gas are being offset environmentally by surfactants.

A surfactant is basically a detergent. It reduces the surface tension between water and oil, allowing for more oil to be extracted from porous rock underground. 

 A University of Colorado Boulder study has found there is little to fear. The surfactant chemicals found in samples of fracking fluid collected in five states were no more toxic than substances commonly found in homes - including organic products.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning Whole Foods customers not to consume a line of organic raw almonds due to elevated levels of hydrogen cyanide (prussic acid/formonitrile - chemical formula HCN). Hydrogen cyanide is a natural toxic chemical that interferes with oxygen in our organs so it can quickly be fatal, but even in smaller exposure can be damaging to the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system and the pulmonary system.

Laundry detergent pods became popular 2010, because they are more precise than liquids or powder. Are they more dangerous than liquids or powder?



I'll have a clean cage with a side of fertility issues. Mouse image via www.shutterstock.com

By Anne-Marie Hodge, University of Wyoming

An organic compound called limonene provides the pleasant smell of cleaning products and air fresheners but some byproducts of these sweet-smelling compounds could be adding to the air while they remove germs and odors.

By cleaning your house, you could be adding smog and ozone to it. 


Researchers on an international team recently showed a way to quickly and reliably find the fastest way through a city maze. But rather than using a satellite navigation system, they used chemistry.

It needs a little work before UPS can use it, since the chemical processor was in alkaline liquid, bit it is intriguing proof of concept.