Chemistry

The periodic table of the elements is about to get crowded on the heavy side.

Evidence for the artificial creation of element 117 was recentlyobtained at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, an accelerator laboratory located in Darm-stadt, Germany.


You won't see these in a Whole Foods any time soon, but science has a way to improve the microbiological safety of meat; antimicrobial agents incorporated into edible films. As a bonus, they seal in flavor, freshness and color, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Using films made of pullulan -- an edible, mostly tasteless, transparent polymer produced by the fungus Aureobasidium pulluns -- researchers evaluated the effectiveness of films containing essential oils derived from rosemary, oregano and nanoparticles against foodborne pathogens associated with meat and poultry.


Water testing can  be a cumbersome process, with labs and delays and waiting. 

Chemical engineers from McMaster University have reduced the sophisticated chemistry required for testing water safety to a simple pill, by adapting technology found in...a breath strip. 

Want to know if a well is contaminated? Drop a pill in a vial of water and shake it. If the color changes, there's the answer. The development has the potential to dramatically boost access to quick and affordable testing around the world.

The idea occurred to team member Sana Jahanshahi-Anbuhi, a PhD student in Chemical Engineering who came across the breath strips while shopping and realized the same material used in the dissolving strips could have broader applications. 


Inspired by the fist-like club of a mantis shrimp, researchers have developed a design structure for composite materials that is more impact resistant and tougher than the standard used in airplanes.

The peacock mantis shrimp, or stomatopod, is a 4- to 6-inch-long rainbow-colored crustacean with a fist-like club that accelerates underwater faster than a 22-caliber bullet. Researchers, led by Kisailus, an associate professor of chemical engineering, are interested in the club because it can strike prey thousands of times without breaking.


On the scale of earth-friendly materials, most people don't think of polyester but scientists are figuring out how to extract a natural, waterproof, antibacterial version of it from...cork.
Writing in Biomacromolecules, Cristina Silva Pereira and colleagues explain that polyesters are ubiquitous in modern life, and for good reason. Their durability and other traits make them ideal for use in cushioning and insulating materials, in liquid crystal displays, holograms, filters, and as a high-gloss finish on guitars and pianos.


Invasive fungal infections kill about 1.5 million people in 3 million cases each year,
more than are killed by malaria or tuberculosis. That half of the patients who enter a hospital with an invasive fungal infection in their blood die anyway makes it a medical crisis that isn't going away.  

Amphotericin is the most effective broad-spectrum antifungal drug available, but its use is limited by its toxicity to human cells.  Scientists have long sought to make amphotericin less toxic, but have been hindered by an obvious problem: Because it is so hard to study, no one knew exactly how it worked. 


Since the Blood Moon - whatever that is, it sounds Biblical - was last night, and it spells the beginning of our doom, according to a guy trying to sell some books, it's time to start prepping for the days of ultimate holy war. That means no more Southern blots and particle colliders, it's back to basics.

In preparation, this weekend the kids and I decided to see what kind of life we could make for ourselves while the Four Horsemen duke it out with the Holy Ghost in what would arguably be the best D&D game ever.

Singlet oxygen is an electronically excited state of oxygen that is less stable than normal oxygen. Its high reactivity has enabled its use in photodynamic therapy, in which light is used in combination with a photosensitizing drug to generate large amounts of singlet oxygen to kill cancer cells or various pathogens. 


Self-healing materials can repair themselves by restoring their initial molecular structure after the damage and scientists from Evonik Industries
and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have developed a chemical crosslinking reaction that ensures good short-term healing properties of the material under mild heating.   


Rubén Martínez, a graduate in Biology and Biochemistry at Elhuyar Fundazioa, and colleagues have developed a new methodology that makes it possible to know what physiological state the yeast is in at each point in the wine fermentation process. 

This knowledge is of particular interest for producers, since changes in the grape directly affect the chemical composition of the must.