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Category: Science

A fun take on the latest science news with enough data to sink your teeth into. Lagrange Point goes beyond the glossy summary and gets in depth with the research from across the world.

February 22, 2021

Episode 419 - Testing life on Mars here on Earth

Perseverance has landed and begun it's long mission, but how can scientists on Earth help research on Mars? Can we study life on Mars here on Earth? Robotic missions aren't the only way Martian rock has made it's way to Earth. Rare meteorites from Mars can be used to test how life would grow in Martian soil. Just how old is the Jezero crater? Can you date a crater without doing detailed tests? How does measuring lunar craters help us put a date on the age of Martian craters like Jezero?

  1. T. Milojevic, M. Albu, D. Kölbl, G. Kothleitner, R. Bruner, M. Morgan. Chemolithotrophy on the Noachian Martian breccia NWA 7034 via experimental microbial biotransformationCommunications Earth & Environment, 2021 DOI: 10.1038/s43247-021-00105-x
  2. Cassata, W. S., Cohen, B. E., Mark, D. F., Trappitsch, R., Crow, C. A., Wimpenny, J., . . . Smith, C. L. (2018). Chronology of martian breccia nwa 7034 and the formation of the martian crustal dichotomyScience Advances, 4(5). doi:10.1126/sciadv.aap8306
  3. Simone Marchi. A new martian crater chronology: Implications for Jezero craterThe Astronomical Journal, 2021 [abstract]
February 15, 2021

Episode 418 - Venus Fly Taps, Magnets and Sugar in plants

Can plants produce magnetic fields? By studying Venus Fly Traps, scientists can figure out if plants can make their own magnetic fields. Do pulse of plants produce magnetic fields like those we see in animal muscles? Can you give a plant an MRI? The iconic Venus Fly trap can help us understand how to study the health of plants without harming them. Is there a way to measure the metabolism of a plant directly? By studying the sugar inside plant cells, scientists can understand their growth and response to stress.

  1. Anne Fabricant, Geoffrey Z. Iwata, Sönke Scherzer, Lykourgos Bougas, Katharina Rolfs, Anna Jodko-Władzińska, Jens Voigt, Rainer Hedrich, Dmitry Budker. Action potentials induce biomagnetic fields in carnivorous Venus flytrap plantsScientific Reports, 2021; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-81114-w
  2. Chiara Diacci, Tayebeh Abedi, Jee Woong Lee, Erik O. Gabrielsson, Magnus Berggren, Daniel T. Simon, Totte Niittylä, Eleni Stavrinidou. Diurnal in vivo xylem sap glucose and sucrose monitoring using implantable organic electrochemical transistor sensorsiScience, 2021; 24 (1): 101966 DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2020.101966
February 8, 2021

Episode 417 - Umami, vitamins, juice and drinks

What is umami and how can it make our food taste better? You've heard of umami in food, but can you also get it from drinks? Can you get an umami boost from combining certain food and drinks? Chemically what happens inside food and drink to give it an umami boost? Can different juicing techniques lead to healthier drinks? Does blending or squeezing lead to different amounts of vitamins in drinks?

  1. Charlotte Vinther Schmidt, Karsten Olsen, Ole G. Mouritsen. Umami potential of fermented beverages: sake, wine, champagne, and beer. Food Chemistry, 2021; 128971 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.128971
  2. Junyi Wang, Guddadarangavvanahally K. Jayaprakasha, Bhimanagouda S. Patil. Untargeted Chemometrics Evaluation of the Effect of Juicing Technique on Phytochemical Profiles and Antioxidant Activities in Common Vegetables. ACS Food Science & Technology, 2020; DOI: 10.1021/acsfoodscitech.0c00013
February 1, 2021

Episode 416 - Sourdough starters and less allergens in wheat and peanuts

Sourdough baking has rising to become a global hobby, but how diverse are they? Each sourdough starter is a tiny ecosystem, and a global study shows how diverse they are. Scientists analysed 500 sourdough from across the world to find out what makes the best loaf. Baking is about carefully cultivating a microbiome.   What can be done to make wheat and peanuts less dangerous for people with allergies? Can you make wheat and peanuts that are better for allergies?

  1. Elizabeth A Landis, Angela M Oliverio, Erin A McKenney, Lauren M Nichols, Nicole Kfoury, Megan Biango-Daniels, Leonora K Shell, Anne A Madden, Lori Shapiro, Shravya Sakunala, Kinsey Drake, Albert Robbat, Matthew Booker, Robert R Dunn, Noah Fierer, Benjamin E Wolfe. The diversity and function of sourdough starter microbiomeseLife, 2021; 10 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.61644
  2. American Society of Agronomy. (2021, January 27). Making wheat and peanuts less allergenic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210127085239.htm