Sci/tech

This is how green algae assemble their enzymes
March 27, 2017 12:48 PM - Ruhr-University Bochum

For almost a decade, researchers from Bochum have been developing biotechnological methods for hydrogen production. Green algae might be the key.

Researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum have analysed how green algae manufacture complex components of a hydrogen-producing enzyme. The enzyme, known as the hydrogenase, may be relevant for the biotechnological production of hydrogen.

To date, little is known about the way organisms form this type of hydrogenases under natural conditions. Using novel synthetic biology methods, the team around Dr Anne Sawyer, PhD student Yu Bai, assistant professor Dr Anja Hemschemeier and Prof Dr Thomas Happe from the Bochum-based research group Photobiotechnology, discovered that a specific protein machinery in the green algal chloroplasts is required for the production of a functional hydrogenase. The researchers published their findings in “The Plant Journal”.

This is how green algae assemble their enzymes
March 27, 2017 12:48 PM - Ruhr-University Bochum

For almost a decade, researchers from Bochum have been developing biotechnological methods for hydrogen production. Green algae might be the key.

Researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum have analysed how green algae manufacture complex components of a hydrogen-producing enzyme. The enzyme, known as the hydrogenase, may be relevant for the biotechnological production of hydrogen.

To date, little is known about the way organisms form this type of hydrogenases under natural conditions. Using novel synthetic biology methods, the team around Dr Anne Sawyer, PhD student Yu Bai, assistant professor Dr Anja Hemschemeier and Prof Dr Thomas Happe from the Bochum-based research group Photobiotechnology, discovered that a specific protein machinery in the green algal chloroplasts is required for the production of a functional hydrogenase. The researchers published their findings in “The Plant Journal”.

Mobile Gold Fingers: Travelling-wave ion mobility mass spectrometry elucidates structures of gold fingers
March 27, 2017 10:23 AM - Wiley

Drugs containing gold have been used for centuries to treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, they might be effective against cancer and HIV. One mechanism by which they work could occur because gold ions force the zinc ions out of zinc fingers—looped, nucleic acid binding protein domains. American researchers have characterized such “gold fingers” using ion mobility mass spectrometry. As reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, they identified the exact gold binding sites.

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere
March 27, 2017 09:48 AM - CAGE - Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment

At the same time the pH of the surface waters in these oceans decreased, making them more acidic. Both of these findings imply changes in ocean circulation and primary productivity as a result of natural climate changes of the time. The findings were recently published in Nature Communications.

Oceans changed function

Today the cold Arctic and Nordic Seas are especially efficient areas for uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere. The oceans have been capable of mitigating some of the increase in greenhouse gas release resulting from human activities such as combustion of fossil fuels, by absorbing about 40% of the emitted CO2

“Our research shows that areas in Norwegian Sea had changed their function on  several occasions through the past 135 000 years: Instead of absorbing CO2 from the air, they released more of the greenhouse gas into it.” says first author of the study Mohamed Ezat from Centre of Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate (CAGE), Department of Geosciences at UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light
March 24, 2017 03:25 PM - Rice University

Rice University scientists have created an efficient, simple-to-manufacture oxygen-evolution catalyst that pairs well with semiconductors for solar water splitting, the conversion of solar energy to chemical energy in the form of hydrogen and oxygen. 

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light
March 24, 2017 03:25 PM - Rice University

Rice University scientists have created an efficient, simple-to-manufacture oxygen-evolution catalyst that pairs well with semiconductors for solar water splitting, the conversion of solar energy to chemical energy in the form of hydrogen and oxygen. 

UTA biologist quantifying coral species' disease susceptibility by examining immune traits
March 24, 2017 02:31 PM - University of Texas At Arlington

A biologist from The University of Texas at Arlington is leading a new study aimed at quantifying how susceptible coral species are to disease by examining their immunity through a series of novel experiments and approaches.

Laura Mydlarz, associate professor of biology, is principal investigator of the project, titled “Immunity to Community: Can Quantifying Immune Traits Inform Reef Community Structure?” and funded by a two-year, $220,331 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences. Co-principal investigators are Marilyn Brandt, research associate professor of marine and environmental science at the University of the Virgin Islands, and Erinn Muller, staff scientist at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota, Fla. 

UTA biologist quantifying coral species' disease susceptibility by examining immune traits
March 24, 2017 02:31 PM - University of Texas At Arlington

A biologist from The University of Texas at Arlington is leading a new study aimed at quantifying how susceptible coral species are to disease by examining their immunity through a series of novel experiments and approaches.

Laura Mydlarz, associate professor of biology, is principal investigator of the project, titled “Immunity to Community: Can Quantifying Immune Traits Inform Reef Community Structure?” and funded by a two-year, $220,331 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences. Co-principal investigators are Marilyn Brandt, research associate professor of marine and environmental science at the University of the Virgin Islands, and Erinn Muller, staff scientist at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota, Fla. 

WPI, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and the U.S. Coast Guard Successfully Test a Novel Oil Spill Cleanup Technology
March 24, 2017 02:22 PM - Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Tests conducted this week of a novel technology that can greatly accelerate the combustion of crude oil floating on water demonstrated its potential to become an effective tool for minimizing the environmental impact of future oil spills. Called the Flame Refluxer, the technology, developed by fire protection engineering researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with funding from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), could make it possible to burn off spilled oil quickly while producing relatively low levels of air pollutants.

The tests of the Flame Refluxer were conducted this week by WPI and BSEE at the United States Coast Guard’s Joint Maritime Test Facility on Little Sand Island, located in Mobile Bay. WPI is the first university to work on research at the facility since it reopened in 2015. The tests involved controlled burns of oil in a specially designed test tank on the island.

Extreme space weather: protecting our critical infrastructure
March 24, 2017 02:05 PM - European Commission Joint Research Centre

Extreme space weather has a global footprint and the potential to damage critical infrastructure on the ground and in space. A new JRC report calls for bridging knowledge gaps and for better coordination at EU level to reduce the potential impact of space weather events.

The sun shapes the space environment around the Earth. This so-called space weather can affect space assets but also critical infrastructure on the ground, potentially causing service disruptions or infrastructure failures. Numerous space weather events affecting the power grid, aviation, communication, and navigation systems have already been documented.

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