Chemistry

Do consumers make different choices based on the fragrance surrounding them?  If they do not, a billion dollar advertising segment would disappear. Studies have found, for example, that lavender is the fragrance of trust and groups are always working to improve the ambiance of the marketplace. 

A new study in the Journal of Marketing says that the “temperature” of scents in a store atmosphere may have a powerful effect on what and how much customers buy. So if you want people to spend money, spread the cinnamon around.
It's become a fad for nutritionists to claim that oranges are better than orange juice, and they list numerous reasons - from added sugar in juice to better uptake of carotenoids, flavonoids and Vitamin C in whole oranges.

But how different are they? Unless you are someone on a nutrition website selling the lifestyle and health fad of the moment, not much. It is true that some juices have more sugar but that is offset by the biological fact nutrients in orange juice seem to be easier for the body to absorb from juice than when a person consumes them from unprocessed fruit. 

And there is convenience. It is better to have a health benefit from something than no health benefit at all.


By Ian Musgrave, Senior lecturer in Pharmacology at University of Adelaide.

A paper has just been released that will raise health concerns about Bisphenol A again. The paper, “Low-dose exposure to bisphenol A and replacement bisphenol S induces precocious hypothalamic neurogenesis in embryonic zebrafish” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This is a very interesting paper, but in terms of implications for human health everything hinges on what “low dose” means.

Bisphenol A, known as BPA, is in the middle of an environmental culture war and a hurriedly-rushed replacement, Bisphenol S (BPS), is just as big a concern.

We need plastic, food items are covered in plastic to make them last longer and protect them from microbes, but we know that plastic bottles and films take between 100 and 400 years to degrade, so the quest for alternative materials to plastics has been ongoing. That means we should not rush to embrace things just because they are 'not BPA', which still has no evidence of harm (unless hyperactive zebrafish count).



Image: Jeff Kubina via flickr, CC BY 

BY Jyoti Madhusoodanan, Inside Science 

(Inside Science) -- Showers fall to Earth’s surface as rain, snow, sleet or hail. But high in the clouds, water molecules often begin to come together as tiny ice crystals that form around miniscule particles of dust. The microscopic crystals are big players in creating rain and lightning, and also heat and cool the planet by bouncing sunlight off clouds.

A new study finds that fructose is bad.  Biologists who fed mice sugar in doses proportional to what many people eat found that the ratio of fructose and glucose in high-fructose corn syrup was more toxic than than random variations found in sucrose (table sugar). They conclude that the precisely-determined fructose reduced both the reproduction and lifespan of female rodents. 


Current carbon capture schemes are not really ready for prime time, plagued by toxicity, corrosiveness and inefficiency, but a team of chemists have invented low-toxicity, highly effective carbon-trapping "sponges" that could lead to increased use of the technology.

Used in natural gas and coal-burning plants, the most common carbon capture method today is called amine scrubbing, in which post-combustion, carbon dioxide-containing flue gas passes through liquid vats of amino compounds, or amines, which absorb most of the carbon dioxide. The carbon-rich gas is then pumped away - sequestered - or reused. The amine solution is extremely corrosive and requires capital-intensive containment.



When looked at the right way, even cement can be beautiful. This is the crystal structure of tricalcium aluminate, a vital mineral in cement.

By Helen Maynard-Casely, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation