Chemistry

We have all seen "fat bloom", that unwelcome white layer that occasionally forms on chocolate. It is harmless but Europe once banned ugly fruit so cosmetics are clearly important to them and for that reason Nestlé and the Hamburg University of Technology got the DESY synchrotron's high brilliance X-ray source PETRA III on the case.


A common black fungus, Aspergillus carbonarius ITEM 5010, found in decaying leaves, soil and rotting fruit has been used to to create hydrocarbons, the chief component of petroleum, similar to those in aviation fuels. The fungus produced the most hydrocarbons on a diet of oatmeal but also created them by eating wheat straw or the non-edible leftovers from corn production.

Fungi have been of interest for about a decade within biofuels production as the key producer of enzymes necessary for converting biomass to sugars. Some researchers showed that fungi could create hydrocarbons, but the research was limited to a specific fungus living within a specific tree in the rainforest, and the actual hydrocarbon concentrations were not reported.


Lisa Marie Potter, Inside Science -- Skin has to be flexible enough to jump, crawl, and kick with us.

It also has to be resilient enough to withstand our falls, scrapes, and cuts. Scientists have marveled at skin's strength for years without knowing why it's so durable.

Now, scientists have identified the mechanical properties that give skin its toughness. Their findings are the first to show that collagen, the most abundant protein in skin, moves to absorb stress and prevent the skin from tearing. In the future, this knowledge could help us use nature's blueprint to make better synthetic skin and improve the strength of man-made materials.

By Sara Rennekamp, Inside Science - Is your wine vegan? It seems like an odd question: wine is made of grapes, grapes fall solidly under the "not an animal product" label, therefore it would seem that wine is a vegan-friendly beverage.

However, many people who adhere to a vegan diet refrain from consuming any food or drink that is processed using animal products as well as the animal products themselves. Unfortunately for vegans, some wines are processed using animal products.

The culprit: a process called fining.

Hot vents on the seabed could have spontaneously produced the organic molecules necessary for life, according to a model which shows how the surfaces of mineral particles inside hydrothermal vents have similar chemical properties to enzymes, the biological molecules that govern chemical reactions in living organisms.

This means that vents are able to create simple carbon-based molecules, such as methanol and formic acid, out of the dissolved CO2 in the water. This would explain how some of the key building blocks for organic chemistry were already being formed in nature before life emerged - and may have played a role in the emergence of the first life forms.


In an effort that reaches back to the 19th-century laboratories of Europe, a discovery by chemistry researchers establishes new possibilities for the semiconductor industry - chemists have been able to trap molecular species of silicon oxides. 


The discovery of a gene involved in determining the melting point of cocoa butter should lead to new varieties of the cocoa plant that could extend the climate and soil-nutrient range for growing the crop


Karin Heineman, Inside Science TV –  Beer! Most Americans choose it over all other alcoholic beverages.

It's also one of the world's oldest beverages. In fact the first evidence of beer production dates back to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in the fifth millennium BC. People have been brewing beer for a very long time, even before anyone really understood what turns its ingredients into alcohol.


While mandatory labels for organic or genetically modified foods have been regarded by the public as unnecessary bureaucracy, a group of analysts are calling for just that when it comes to wine.

Production methods and added chemicals can affect the color and taste and should be noted, the authors of a new study write. Dr. Heli Sirén and colleagues from the University of Helsinki analyzed the chemical profiles of eight Pinot Noir wines from different regions in the USA, France, New Zealand and Chile and they found that each wine had a different profile, affected by the processes used to make it.

Carbon capture could play a central role in keeping greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere so many materials are being tested for the purpose of capturing CO2
New results show that ordinary clay can work just as effectively as more advanced materials. Clay offers many benefits compared to other materials, particularly because other potential materials can be expensive, difficult to produce, toxic and not particularly environmentally friendly. A possible practical future use of this discovery could be to include clays in CO2 filters for industrial-scale CO2 emissions reduction.