Chemistry

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.


Nothing says fun to a kid like talking about carbon dioxide and nucleation sites and surfactants.

Actually, that sounds really, really boring. But if you instead tell them you are going to cause a giant geyser of soda to erupt in the driveway, they will get pretty excited. Then they will ask what happens if you use different sodas, and then different candies, and suddenly a little experimental physicist or chemist is born.
Caribou Coffee, founded in 1992, says nationwide surveys show that the number one complaint of coffee-drinkers is the way it stains. Be it coffee rings to drips on white dress shirts to stains on teeth, a cup of coffee can start your day off right or ruin it right away. 

So they responded with a proprietary new coffee blend that has removed the color while, they say, retaining all the flavor. They say this entirely colorless, stain-free beverage is the result of an innovation in bean cultivation techniques and processing.
If there is a pleasant, chemically-induced but culturally acceptable pastime, someone at U.C. Davis is probably studying it. They have one of my favorite beer scholars, Prof. Charles Bamforth, and are even setting up a coffee science group. Their nutrition department has been generously funded by Mars candy company and, no surprise, a whole 'science of chocolate' panel appeared at an AAAS meeting as a result. 

The popular TV series "CSI" may be fiction but real-life crime scene investigators and forensic scientists have been collecting and analyze evidence to determine what happened at crime scenes almost as long as there have been crime scenes.

There is evidence during the Qin dynasty that the Chinese used handprints as evidence in crimes as far back as 2,200 years ago and by the 1860s the process for lifting fingerprints from evidence was developed. As guns became more common, gunpowder residue became a way to know if a weapon was fired.


Sausage experts know that the key to perfect meat is simmering in beer first - and in Science 2.0's definitive article on outdoor cooking, The Science Of Grilling, we learned that beer has multiple uses in cuisine, and an article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry adds to this important body of work, noting that a beer marinade helps reduce the formation of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats.