Chemistry

Alcohol, including red wine which has acquired its own modern health food mythology, may be damaging to your health in a way you hadn't thought about before.

It isn't just the booze itself, a group of scholars contends it's the packaging. Phthalate compounds are widespread in our environment and present in many plastics. Obviously, any toxicity of phthalates varies depending on their chemical composition and some compounds are considered to be potential hormone disruptorrs, so they are regulated on an international level, including for those likely to come into contact with food and drink packaging.

A new strategy enables molecules to be disconnected essentially anywhere, even remote from functionality.  

The organic synthesis strategy, developed by Professor Varinder Aggarwal and Dr Ramesh Rasappan in the School of Chemistry, involves a new method for combining smaller fragments together in which there is no obvious history in the product of their genesis.

Their paper describes not only this new strategy, but also its application to the shortest known synthesis, just 14 steps, of hydroxyphthioceranic acid, a key component of the cell wall lipid of the virulent mycobacterium tuberculosis. The method is now being developed to explore the possibility of creating a tuberculosis (TB) vaccine. 


Highly purified crystals that split light with uncanny precision are key parts of high-powered lenses, specialized optics and, potentially, computers that manipulate light instead of electricity. Producing these crystals often involves etching them with a precise beam of electrons and can be difficult and expensive.

Researchers at Princeton and Columbia universities have proposed a new method that could allow scientists to customize and grow these specialized materials, known as photonic crystals, with relative ease. 




There is a little miracle of science happening in your body right now. As you read this, a minuscule 5 grams of a high-energy molecule called adenosine triphosphate - ATP - is causing all kinds of reactions in order to give you the energy to sit at your computer. In total, 8 ounces of ATP is being recycled hundreds of times each day, so many times that a human can use their body weight - 200 pounds of ATP in my case – every 24 hours. 

 An 'organic cage molecule' called CC3 has been found to separate krypton, radon and xenon from air at concentrations of only a few parts per million. 

Gases such as radon, xenon and krypton all occur naturally in the air but in minute quantities – typically less than one part per million. As a result they are expensive to extract for use in industries such as lighting or medicine and, in the case of radon, the gas can accumulate in buildings.

In the US, radon accounts for around 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year.




At a secret enclave in the San Francisco metropolitan area, synthetic biologists and DIYBio tinkerers have been hacking nature up to fix the one thing about the vegan diet that would be difficult for many Americans: going without cheese.

iGEM - the 10th international Genetically Engineered Machine competition - is tackling expressing casein proteins in yeast to make cheese. Not a cheese substitute, real cheese, without milk from a cow or a goat.  

A new assay is inexpensive, simple, and can tell whether or not one of the primary drugs being used to treat malaria is genuine – an enormous and deadly problem in the developing world.

The World Health Organization has estimated that up to 200,000 lives a year may be lost due to the use of counterfeit anti-malarial drugs. When commercialized, the new technology may be able to help address that problem by testing drugs for efficacy at a cost of a few cents.


Liquid water is essential for almost every biological process so understanding liquid water is crucial for understanding biology - including some of its exceptional behavior.  

According to classical understanding, when water contacts other water, it will spread out and finally both mix together, i.e., water always completely wets water due to the hydrogen bonds formed among water molecules.



A new pressure cell makes it possible to simulate chemical reactions deep in the Earth's crust. The cell allows researchers to perform nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measurements on as little as 10 microliters of liquid at pressures up to 20 kiloBar.