• Dust contributes valuable nutrients to Sierra Nevada forest ecosystems

    Collecting dust isn't usually considered a good thing.

    But dust from as close as California's Central Valley and as far away as Asia's Gobi Desert provides nutrients, especially phosphorus, to vegetation in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a team of scientists has found. Their study, published in the journal Nature Communications, highlights the importance of dust and the phosphorus it carries in sustaining plant life.

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  • Mustard seeds without mustard flavor: new robust oilseed crop can resist global warming

    BREAKTHROUGH - University of Copenhagen and the global player Bayer CropScience have successfully developed a new oilseed crop that is much more resistant to heat, drought and diseases than oilseed rape. The breakthrough is so big that it will feature as cover story of the April issue of Nature Biotechnology, the most prestigious journal for biotechnology research.

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  • The Race to Rule the High-Flying Business of Satellite Imagery

    In November 2016, satellites captured a curious change in the Tereneyskoe Forest farm in Primorsky Krai, Russia. Images showed the area transformed, from nice and leafy to stark and stumpy. An Earth-monitoring company called Astro Digital noticed the change first—and right away, it informed the World Wildlife Federation. Pixels of evidence in hand, the federation could start legal action to stop the deforestation.

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  • Tetris used to prevent post-traumatic stress symptoms

    Researchers have been able to demonstrate how the survivors of motor vehicle accidents have fewer such symptoms if they play Tetris in hospital within six hours of admission after also having been asked to recall their memory of the accident. The results of the study, which was conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet with colleagues at Oxford University and elsewhere, are published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

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  • Using a method from Wall Street to track slow slipping of Earth's crust

    Stock traders have long used specialized trackers to decide when to buy or sell a stock, or when the market is beginning to make a sudden swing.

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  • Tiny bacterium provides window into whole ecosystems

    William Blake may have seen a world in a grain of sand, but for scientists at MIT the smallest of all photosynthetic bacteria holds clues to the evolution of entire ecosystems, and perhaps even the whole biosphere.

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  • This is how green algae assemble their enzymes

    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”.

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  • Mobile Gold Fingers: Travelling-wave ion mobility mass spectrometry elucidates structures of gold fingers

    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.

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  • Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

    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.

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  • Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light

    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. 

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