Chemistry

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.

Thermochromic nano-coatings can help reduce energy usage and generate savings by absorbing heat or permitting its reflection, depending on temperature.
 
The reasn is because minute dimensions can still have major effects - nanoparticles have an especially large surface-area-to-volume ratio, making them them extremely efficient and reactive. Researchers of the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal near Karlsruhe are utilizing this characteristic to create novel coatings and incorporating active nano-materials into polymer systems. These coatings can be applied easily like paint or varnish.

Rubber is natural and the main ingredient for many everyday products, from boots to condoms to surgical gloves. Roughly 70 percent of the global supply of rubber is used in tires. 

All plants store solar energy in the form of carbohydrates with the help of a metallic compound. Chemically storing sunlight would also be ideal for society's energy needs but developing this requires a better understanding of exactly what happens when photons strike molecules. The primary processes run on timescales of only a few hundred femtoseconds (one femtosecond = 10-15s).

An international collaboration has been able to map the evolution of the chemical bonds in these kinds of ultrafast processes on the level of orbitals.  Using quantum chemical calculations, they were successful in interpreting the data and obtaining a detailed picture of the intermediates and reaction kinetics.