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3Episodes
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.

October 28, 2019

Episode 350 - Developing, tracking, recycling new materials

Smart phones, computers, televisions and even children's toys are part of what makes our modern world so exciting. But these often rely on plastics and rare earth metals which are hard to recycle. Are there efficient ways to capture all those rare earth metals? How are rare earth metals in old phones recycled today, and can we make it better? Knowing which bin to put plastic in is difficult, so what if there was a more universal way to recycle plastics? How does turning plastic into a gas with the help of steam help create a circular plastic economy? How can some steam power help crack plastics back into their most basic forms? Is it possible to recycle plastics without to build whole new plastic refineries? Regulation is often playing catch up to making materials safe. Are the latest generation of 'safe' fire retardants any safer than those that came before? 

 

References:

Robert F. Higgins, Thibault Cheisson, Bren E. Cole, Brian C. Manor, Patrick J. Carroll, Eric J Schelter. Magnetic Field Directed Rare-Earth Separations. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/anie.201911606

Arlene Blum, Mamta Behl, Linda S. Birnbaum, Miriam L. Diamond, Allison Phillips, Veena Singla, Nisha S. Sipes, Heather M. Stapleton, Marta Venier. Organophosphate Ester Flame Retardants: Are They a Regrettable Substitution for Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers? Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 2019; DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.9b00582

Henrik Thunman, Teresa Berdugo Vilches, Martin Seemann, Jelena Maric, Isabel Cañete Vela, Sébastien Pissot, Huong N.T. Nguyen. Circular use of plastics-transformation of existing petrochemical clusters into thermochemical recycling plants with 100% plastics recovery. Sustainable Materials and Technologies, 2019; 22: e00124 DOI: 10.1016/j.susmat.2019.e00124

October 21, 2019

Episode 349 - Domesticating fungus for our food

Humans have been using micro-organisms like fungus and bacteria to help improve our food for millennia. Can we tame new wild species of fungus to help create new types of our favourite foods like cheese? Penicillin is mostly known for antibiotics but it also helps give Camembert its particular taste. What causes cheese to rapidly tame wild strains of fungus? We are not the only ones who use microbes to help our food. Ants help stop disease from destroying plants by spreading their own antibiotics. Ant base antibiotics help stop plant pathogens. Sometimes bacteria don't fight against each other but rather team up and work together. Survival of kindest rules for bacteria, which helps different strains work together to survive.

References:

  1. Bodinaku, I., Shaffer, J., Connors, A. B., Steenwyk, J. L., Biango-Daniels, M. N., Kastman, E. K., … Wolfe, B. E. (2019). Rapid Phenotypic and Metabolomic Domestication of Wild Penicillium Molds on Cheese. MBio, 10(5). doi: 10.1128/mbio.02445-19
  2. Joachim Offenberg, Christian Damgaard. Ants suppressing plant pathogens: a review. Oikos, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/oik.06744
  3. Wenzheng Liu, Samuel Jacquiod, Asker Brejnrod, Jakob Russel, Mette Burmølle, Søren J. Sørensen. Deciphering links between bacterial interactions and spatial organization in multispecies biofilms. The ISME Journal, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41396-019-0494-9
October 14, 2019

Episode 348 - More efficient Lithium-Ion batteries and Organic Batteries

We launch from the Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2019 into current battery research and development. Creating the ubiquitous Lithium Ion battery took decades of collaborative research across the globe. How are scientists working together today to make the new generation of batteries? Can we improve LI batteries with new electrolyte mixes? How can we use Silicon instead of graphite in our batteries to give them a boost? Is it possible to make an organic recyclable battery? How can we use proteins and peptides to make organic batteries? Can we make batteries without damaging the environment?

References:

  1. Nobel Foundation. (2019, October 9). Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019: Lithium-ion batteries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 11, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191009082508.htm
  2. Binghong Han, Chen Liao, Fulya Dogan, Stephen E. Trask, Saul H. Lapidus, John T. Vaughey, Baris Key. Using Mixed Salt Electrolytes to Stabilize Silicon Anodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries via in Situ Formation of Li–M–Si Ternaries (M = Mg, Zn, Al, Ca)ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2019; 11 (33): 29780 DOI: 10.1021/acsami.9b07270
  3. American Chemical Society. (2019, August 26). Producing protein batteries for safer, environmentally friendly power storage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 12, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190826092322.htm5
October 7, 2019

Episode 347 - Capturing carbon with better farms and forests

Capturing carbon is important for helping offset CO2 emissions and tackling climate changes. Farming has an important role to play in improving CO2 sequestration with the use of cover crops and compost. Forests are important carbon sinks too, but they are at risk releasing a lot of the trapped carbon if care is not taken to stop invasive species. Plus fertilisers have helped feed the planet but can leech out nitrogen into the environment, so how do we better manage and improve the nitrogen cycle.

  1. Nicole E. Tautges, Jessica L. Chiartas, Amélie C. M. Gaudin, Anthony T. O'Geen, Israel Herrera, Kate M. Scow. Deep soil inventories reveal that impacts of cover crops and compost on soil carbon sequestration differ in surface and subsurface soilsGlobal Change Biology, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14762
  2. Songlin Fei, Randall S. Morin, Christopher M. Oswalt, Andrew M. Liebhold. Biomass losses resulting from insect and disease invasions in US forestsProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019; 201820601 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1820601116
  3. Benjamin Z. Houlton, Maya Almaraz, Viney Aneja, Amy T. Austin, Edith Bai, Kenneth G. Cassman, Jana E. Compton, Eric A. Davidson, Jan Willem Erisman, James N. Galloway, Baojing Gu, Guolin Yao, Luiz A. Martinelli, Kate Scow, William H. Schlesinger, Thomas P. Tomich, Chao Wang, Xin Zhang. A World of Cobenefits: Solving the Global Nitrogen ChallengeEarth's Future, 2019; DOI: 10.1029/2019EF001222
September 23, 2019

Episode 345 - Overactive immune brain cells and brain cells failing to eat themselves

Is it possible to stop Alzheimer's in it's tracks? How does the formation of plaques on your brain cells lead to Alzheimer's. Does the your brain immune cells fighting back against plaques lead to Alzheimers? Amino acids in the brain tying themselves into knots, can lead to super strong sealed zippers forming which dry out proteins, damage neurons and eventually can lead to diseases like Alzheimer's. An enzyme missing a repair or two over 60 years can lead to build up of kinked amino acids chains which can lead to neuron-degenerative diseases. What causes a cell to eat itself? Well its actually a pretty healthy thing to do. If a brain cell doesn't eat itself at the right time, well it can lead to a whole bunch of diseases.

  1. Rebeccah A. Warmack, David R. Boyer, Chih-Te Zee, Logan S. Richards, Michael R. Sawaya, Duilio Cascio, Tamir Gonen, David S. Eisenberg, Steven G. Clarke. Structure of amyloid-β (20-34) with Alzheimer’s-associated isomerization at Asp23 reveals a distinct protofilament interfaceNature Communications, 2019; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11183-z
  2. Elizabeth Spangenberg, Paul L. Severson, Lindsay A. Hohsfield, Joshua Crapser, Jiazhong Zhang, Elizabeth A. Burton, Ying Zhang, Wayne Spevak, Jack Lin, Nicole Y. Phan, Gaston Habets, Andrey Rymar, Garson Tsang, Jason Walters, Marika Nespi, Parmveer Singh, Stephanie Broome, Prabha Ibrahim, Chao Zhang, Gideon Bollag, Brian L. West, Kim N. Green. Sustained microglial depletion with CSF1R inhibitor impairs parenchymal plaque development in an Alzheimer’s disease modelNature Communications, 2019; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11674-z
  3. Yi Yang, Thea L. Willis, Robert W. Button, Conor J. Strang, Yuhua Fu, Xue Wen, Portia R. C. Grayson, Tracey Evans, Rebecca J. Sipthorpe, Sheridan L. Roberts, Bing Hu, Jianke Zhang, Boxun Lu, Shouqing Luo. Cytoplasmic DAXX drives SQSTM1/p62 phase condensation to activate Nrf2-mediated stress responseNature Communications, 2019; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11671-2
September 9, 2019

Episode 343 - The circadian rhythm of plants, and fighting back against fungus

Growing enough food to feed the planet is a challenge that will only get harder as the climate changes. So how do farmers and scientists work together to make crops more sustainable, more resilient to disease, and use less herbicides? With genetic engineering, one of the worlds most important crops, rice, can be made even tougher. Using a two type bait gene, rice can be engineered to fight off fungus like rice blast. If you have to spray with herbicides, when should you do it? Well you need to pay attention to the circadian rhythm of the plants.

  1. Freya A Varden, Hiromasa Saitoh, Kae Yoshino, Marina Franceschetti, Sophien Kamoun, Ryohei Terauchi, Mark J. Banfield. Cross-reactivity of a rice NLR immune receptor to distinct effectors from the rice blast pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae provides partial disease resistanceJournal of Biological Chemistry, 2019; jbc.RA119.007730 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.007730
  2. Fiona E. Belbin, Gavin J. Hall, Amelia B. Jackson, Florence E. Schanschieff, George Archibald, Carl Formstone, Antony N. Dodd. Plant circadian rhythms regulate the effectiveness of a glyphosate-based herbicideNature Communications, 2019; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11709-5
September 2, 2019

Episode 342 - Better chemistry and physics in everyday objects

How can we use physics and chemistry to help improve our everyday objects? Melting ice is very important for airplanes and air-conditioners. How can you melt unwanted on objects ice more efficiently? Ice on an airplane wing can be dangerous, so how do we melt it more efficiently. Flame retardants are important to stop fire spreading, but how do we make them safer and environmentally friendly? Flame retardants often rely on petroleum which are not environmental friendly. How can we stop flame retardants leeching into the environment or into our households? How do you get white paint without relying on environmentally intensive additives. What can beetles and recycle plastic teach us about making whiter paint.

References:

  1. S. Chavan, T. Foulkes, Y. Gurumukhi, K. Boyina, K. F. Rabbi, N. Miljkovic. Pulse interfacial defrosting. Applied Physics Letters, 2019; 115 (7): 071601 DOI: 10.1063/1.5113845
  2. Stephanie L. Burg, Adam Washington, David M. Coles, Antonino Bianco, Daragh McLoughlin, Oleksandr O. Mykhaylyk, Julie Villanova, Andrew J. C. Dennison, Christopher J. Hill, Pete Vukusic, Scott Doak, Simon J. Martin, Mark Hutchings, Steven R. Parnell, Cvetelin Vasilev, Nigel Clarke, Anthony J. Ryan, Will Furnass, Mike Croucher, Robert M. Dalgliesh, Sylvain Prevost, Rajeev Dattani, Andrew Parker, Richard A. L. Jones, J. Patrick A. Fairclough, Andrew J. Parnell. Liquid–liquid phase separation morphologies in ultra-white beetle scales and a synthetic equivalent. Communications Chemistry, 2019; 2 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s42004-019-0202-8
  3. American Chemical Society. (2019, August 26). Flame retardants -- from plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 31, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190826092330.htm
August 26, 2019

Episode 341 - Forming, Saving and preserving new memories

Your brain uses proteins synthesis and redundancy to help form and keep memories. Intricate biochemistry helps your neurons connect to each other to form new memories. Forming new memories is a sticky situation.  Keeping them stuck together over time in a long lasting memory relies on protein synthesis. Its important not just to have strong connections between neurons to form memories, you also need spares. By having redundancy and backups it means that you can still remember a key memory if one of those connections fails.

References

  1. Lenzie Ford et al. CPEB3 inhibits translation of mRNA targets by localizing them to P bodiesPNAS, 2019 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1815275116
  2. Walter G. Gonzalez, Hanwen Zhang, Anna Harutyunyan, Carlos Lois. Persistence of neuronal representations through time and damage in the hippocampusScience, 2019: Vol. 365, Issue 6455, pp. 821-825 DOI: 10.1126/science.aav9199
August 19, 2019

Episode 340 - Insects revolutionizing agriculture

Insects are often thought of as the enemy of farmers, but they can help improve farming. From helpful worm pheromones, to farming crickets and hungry termites. Worms can help boost the resilience of crops like wheat, corn and maize to common threats. Worm pheromones help plants fight back against bacteria, viral and fungal invaders. If insects are the super food of the future, how do you successfully farm them on a large scale? What nutrient rich feed do insect farms need to give their herds? If you are growing crickets and locusts do they need different food? What food is best for termites and how can they be used to help better manage forest?

References:

  1. Daniel F. Klessig, Murli Manohar, Shine Baby, Aline Koch, Wiseborn B. Danquah, Emily Luna, Hee‐Jin Park, Judith M. Kolkman, B. Gillian Turgeon, Rebecca Nelson, Jan E. Leach, Valerie M. Williamson, Karl‐Heinz Kogel, Aardra Kachroo, Frank C. Schroeder. Nematode ascaroside enhances resistance in a broad spectrum of plant–pathogen systems. Journal of Phytopathology, 2019; 167 (5): 265 DOI: 10.1111/jph.12795
  2. P. Straub, C.M. Tanga, I. Osuga, W. Windisch, S. Subramanian. Experimental feeding studies with crickets and locusts on the use of feed mixtures composed of storable feed materials commonly used in livestock production. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 2019; 255: 114215 DOI: 10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2019.114215
  3. Martin F. Jurgensen, Chris A. Miller, Carl T. Trettin, Deborah S. Page-Dumroese. Bedding of Wetland Soil: Effects of Bed Height and Termite Activity on Wood Decomposition. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 2019; 0 (0): 0 DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2018.12.0492
August 12, 2019

Episode 339 - Australian Science - life on gold, in the oceans and in deadly gas

To celebrate National Science Week in Australia we are turning our attention to Australian research on the global scale. This week it means tales from microbiology. Stories of how life can survive or sometimes thrive in strange situations. Whether it be Fungi that eat gold, or bacteria chewing deadly gas, microbiology is always full of surprises. How do the tiniest parts of the food-web of our oceans hunt for food in the swirling of stagnant currents of the ocean? How do bacteria turn deadly gas into a food source? Is the secret to tuberculosis's resistance its ability to survive off deadly gas? How do bacteria turn carbon monoxide and hydrogen into something palatable?

References:

  1. Cordero, P. R., Bayly, K., Leung, P. M., Huang, C., Islam, Z. F., Schittenhelm, R. B., . . . Greening, C. (2019). Atmospheric carbon monoxide oxidation is a widespread mechanism supporting microbial survival. The ISME Journal. doi:10.1038/s41396-019-0479-8
  2. Islam, Z. F., Cordero, P. R., Feng, J., Chen, Y., Bay, S. K., Jirapanjawat, T., . . . Greening, C. (2018). Two Chloroflexi classes independently evolved the ability to persist on atmospheric hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The ISME Journal. doi:10.1101/457697
  3. Lehmann, E. (n.d.). Gold-coated fungi are the new gold diggers. Retrieved from https://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2019/Gold-coated-fungi-are-the-new-gold-diggers
  4. Bohu, T., Anand, R., Noble, R., Lintern, M., Kaksonen, A. H., Mei, Y., . . . Verrall, M. (2019). Evidence for fungi and gold redox interaction under Earth surface conditions. Nature Communications, 10(1). doi:10.1038/s41467-019-10006-5
  5. Holland, D., & University of Melbourne. (2019, August 05). The superheroes of nutrient detection living in our oceans. Retrieved from https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/the-superheroes-of-nutrient-detection-living-in-our-oceans#
  6. Brumley, D. R., Carrara, F., Hein, A. M., Yawata, Y., Levin, S. A., & Stocker, R. (2019). Bacteria push the limits of chemotactic precision to navigate dynamic chemical gradients. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(22), 10792-10797. doi:10.1073/pnas.1816621116
July 14, 2019

Episode 335 - Oceans, ocean size algae, deserts and fresh water in strange places

Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink or nutrient for that matter. The Ocean can sometimes be a inhospitable place with barely any nutrients to survive off. Other times it can be home to large ocean spanning algae blooms. The oceans from the Pacific to the Atlantic can hold lots of secrets (even fresh water) beneath the surface. This week we look at 3 different papers which outline strange parts of the ocean, from large algae blooms to hidden aquifers.

References:

  1. Greta Reintjes, Halina E. Tegetmeyer, Miriam Bürgisser, Sandi Orlić, Ivo Tews, Mikhail Zubkov, Daniela Voß, Oliver Zielinski, Christian Quast, Frank Oliver Glöckner, Rudolf Amann, Timothy G. Ferdelman, Bernhard M. Fuchs. On-Site Analysis of Bacterial Communities of the Ultraoligotrophic South Pacific Gyre. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2019; 85 (14) DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00184-19
  2. Mengqiu Wang, Chuanmin Hu, Brian B. Barnes, Gary Mitchum, Brian Lapointe, Joseph P. Montoya. The great Atlantic Sargassum belt. Science, 2019; 365 (6448): 83 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw7912
  3. Chloe Gustafson, Kerry Key, Rob L. Evans. Aquifer systems extending far offshore on the U.S. Atlantic margin. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44611-7
May 13, 2019

Episode 326 - Capturing, reusing, recycling and cleaning water.

Water is essential for life, but we need to take care of the complete water cycle. Treating waste water can help remove harmful pollutants from cosmetics and medication. Industrial processes and landfill can also make super salty water, that we need to clean before releasing. Without good water management then we can end up without water in times of drought, and in times of flood more water than we can handle. This week we find out about ways to better manage the most precious of resources, water.

References:

  1. Qian Yang, Bridget R Scanlon. How much water can be captured from flood flows to store in depleted aquifers for mitigating floods and droughts? A case study from Texas, US. Environmental Research Letters, 2019; 14 (5): 054011 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab148e
  2. Rui Zhao, Tingting Ma, Shuying Li, Yuyang Tian, Guangshan Zhu. Porous Aromatic Framework Modified Electrospun Fiber Membrane as a Highly Efficient and Reusable Adsorbent for Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products Removal. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2019; 11 (18): 16662 DOI: 10.1021/acsami.9b04326
  3. Chanhee Boo, Robert K. Winton, Kelly M. Conway, Ngai Yin Yip. Membrane-less and Non-evaporative Desalination of Hypersaline Brines by Temperature Swing Solvent Extraction. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 2019; DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.9b00182
April 22, 2019

Lagrange Point Episode 323 - Keeping your immune system in fighting shape

How can we keep our immune systems in fighting shape? What happens when our immune systems are responding well or are missing key genes? is there targeted gene therapies that can be used to help save lives of those most at risk from infection?  How does our body hunt down and stop Listeria in it's tracks? Plus undercooked wild game or pork can lead to parasitic infections, but how does the body fight back?

References:

  1. E Mamcarz et al. Lentiviral gene therapy with low dose busulfan for infants with X-SCIDThe New England Journal of Medicine, April 17, 2019; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1815408
  2. Kazuhito Sai, Cameron Parsons, John S. House, Sophia Kathariou, Jun Ninomiya-Tsuji. Necroptosis mediators RIPK3 and MLKL suppress intracellular Listeria replication independently of host cell killingThe Journal of Cell Biology, 2019; jcb.201810014 DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201810014
  3. Nicola Steel, Aduragbemi A. Faniyi, Sayema Rahman, Stefanie Swietlik, Beata I. Czajkowska, Bethany T. Chan, Alexander Hardgrave, Anthony Steel, Tim D. Sparwasser, Mushref B. Assas, Richard K. Grencis, Mark A. Travis, John J. Worthington. TGFβ-activation by dendritic cells drives Th17 induction and intestinal contractility and augments the expulsion of the parasite Trichinella spiralis in micePLOS Pathogens, 2019; 15 (4): e1007657 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007657
March 25, 2019

Episode 319 - Changing lakes and rivers in the Antarctic and Arctic. Plus carbon capture and storage

Trying to understand how the climate will change is difficult. For every big event like the break up of an ice shelf, there are thousands of little factors that play a role. Sometimes this little things turn into a torrent of a river, or a calm lake which can cause an entire continent to bend and flex. We find out about research into the Arctic Tundra and it's changing lakes which are one of the largest natural emitters of greenhouse gases. Plus ways to capture greenhouse gases and store them safely.

References:

  1. Alison F. Banwell, Ian C. Willis, Grant J. Macdonald, Becky Goodsell, Douglas R. MacAyeal. Direct measurements of ice-shelf flexure caused by surface meltwater ponding and drainageNature Communications, 2019; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-08522-5
  2. Sarah W. Cooley, Laurence C. Smith, Jonathan C. Ryan, Lincoln H. Pitcher, Tamlin M. Pavelsky. Arctic‐Boreal lake dynamics revealed using CubeSat imageryGeophysical Research Letters, 2019; DOI: 10.1029/2018GL081584
  3. Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo. (2019, February 13). Carbon gas storage cavern is the best way to obtain clean energy from a fossil fuel. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 15, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190213124358.htm
March 18, 2019

Episode 318 - Stubborn Moose, repulsive smells and Otters with tools

We recap March Mamma Madness Round 1, and look at some latest science stories that relate. From what happens inside your brain when you smell a repulsive smell, to making the right call on fleeing or standing your ground. Plus we look at using archaeological techniques to help understand the history of animal tool use like with otters. 

References:

  1. Ahmed A. M. Mohamed, Tom Retzke, Sudeshna Das Chakraborty, Benjamin Fabian, Bill S. Hansson, Markus Knaden, Silke Sachse. Odor mixtures of opposing valence unveil inter-glomerular crosstalk in the Drosophila antennal lobeNature Communications, 2019; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09069-1
  2. Michael Haslam, Jessica Fujii, Sarah Espinosa, Karl Mayer, Katherine Ralls, M. Tim Tinker, Natalie Uomini. Wild sea otter mussel pounding leaves archaeological tracesScientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-39902-y
  3. B. A. Oates, J. A. Merkle, M. J. Kauffman, S. R. Dewey, M. D. Jimenez, J. M. Vartanian, S. A. Becker, J. R. Goheen. Antipredator response diminishes during periods of resource deficit for a large herbivoreEcology, 2019; e02618 DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2618
March 11, 2019

Lagrange Point Episode 317 - Hydrogen fuel cells, storage, and cleaner generation

One of the futuristic technologies always touted is Hydrogen fuel cells. So why are they not everywhere? we look at the challenges in production,storage, and use of hydrogen from cars to factories. Plus we examine if our electricity grid will be able to cope with the drastic weather condition changes from climate change in the year 2100.

References:

  1. Yinjun Xie, Peng Hu, Yehoshoa Ben-David, David Milstein. A Reversible Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier System Based on Methanol-Ethylenediamine and Ethylene UreaAngewandte Chemie International Edition, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/anie.201901695
  2. Gunther Glenk, Stefan Reichelstein. Economics of converting renewable power to hydrogenNature Energy, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41560-019-0326-1
  3. Smail Kozarcanin, Hailiang Liu, Gorm Bruun Andresen. 21st Century Climate Change Impacts on Key Properties of a Large-Scale Renewable-Based Electricity SystemJoule, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2019.02.001
February 18, 2019

Episode 314 - Ancient life and life in extreme places

From the bottom of the ocean, to the earliest days of the earth, life has managed to not just survive but thrive. We look at several cases which change our understanding of the earliest life on earth and just what that might mean for understanding life on this planet and beyond. From moving life fossilised in mud, to using isotopes to study metabolism and discovering whole new methods of getting food, life continues to astound researchers with its inventiveness.

References:

  1. Min Sub Sim, Hideaki Ogata, Wolfgang Lubitz, Jess F. Adkins, Alex L. Sessions, Victoria J. Orphan, Shawn E. McGlynn. Role of APS reductase in biogeochemical sulfur isotope fractionationNature Communications, 2019; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07878-4
  2. Abderrazak El Albani, M. Gabriela Mangano, Luis A. Buatois, Stefan Bengtson, Armelle Riboulleau, Andrey Bekker, Kurt Konhauser, Timothy Lyons, Claire Rollion-Bard, Olabode Bankole, Stellina Gwenaelle Lekele Baghekema, Alain Meunier, Alain Trentesaux, Arnaud Mazurier, Jeremie Aubineau, Claude Laforest, Claude Fontaine, Philippe Recourt, Ernest Chi Fru, Roberto Macchiarelli, Jean Yves Reynaud, François Gauthier-Lafaye, Donald E. Canfield. Organism motility in an oxygenated shallow-marine environment 2.1 billion years agoProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019; 201815721 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1815721116
  3. Stephanie A. Carr, Sean P. Jungbluth, Emiley A. Eloe-Fadrosh, Ramunas Stepanauskas, Tanja Woyke, Michael S. Rappé, Beth N. Orcutt. Carboxydotrophy potential of uncultivated Hydrothermarchaeota from the subseafloor crustal biosphereThe ISME Journal, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41396-019-0352-9
February 4, 2019

Episode 312 - Making water work for us in a Polar Vortex, Drought and Power plant

Water is essential for life, but if its too cold it can cause havoc on infrastructure. If it's too hot there is not enough to go around. If it's too salty its not good for organic material, and if its saturated with CO2 its even more dangerous. So how do we keep water working for us as our climate changes and we have more droughts, more polar vortexes and more power plants? This week we find out about advances in chemistry and materials science that can help make better use of water.

References:

  1. Peyman Irajizad, Abdullah Al-Bayati, Bahareh Eslami, Taha Shafquat, Masoumeh Nazari, Parham Jafari, Varun Kashyap, Ali Masoudi, Daniel Araya, Hadi Ghasemi. Stress-Localized Durable Icephobic SurfacesMaterials Horizons, 2019; DOI: 10.1039/C8MH01291A
  2. Peyman Irajizad, Abdullah Al-Bayati, Bahareh Eslami, Taha Shafquat, Masoumeh Nazari, Parham Jafari, Varun Kashyap, Ali Masoudi, Daniel Araya, Hadi Ghasemi. Stress-Localized Durable Icephobic SurfacesMaterials Horizons, 2019; DOI: 10.1039/C8MH01291A
  3. Neil Williams et al. CO2 Capture via Crystalline Hydrogen-Bonded Bicarbonate DimersChem, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.chempr.2018.12.025
  4. Image: Cory W Watts, 2009
January 21, 2019

Episode 310 - Glial cells and Neurons, putting a stop to degenerative neurological conditions

A brain injury like a stroke or a neuro degenerative condition like Huntingdon's or Parkinson’s disease can be a long and arduous ordeal. It can be difficult to diagnose and there are no clear treatments, but scientists are working hard to solve it. We find out about the important role Glial cells play in supporting neurons and how things can go wrong if they are disrupted. We also find out about ways to use the abundance of Glial cells to make new neurons. Plus we get a better understanding of cell death and repair and the roll proteins can play in slowing down those processes to give your brain time to recover.

  1. Mikhail Osipovitch, Andrea Asenjo Martinez, John N. Mariani, Adam Cornwell, Simrat Dhaliwal, Lisa Zou, Devin Chandler-Militello, Su Wang, Xiaojie Li, Sarah-Jehanne Benraiss, Robert Agate, Andrea Lampp, Abdellatif Benraiss, Martha S. Windrem, Steven A. Goldman. Human ESC-Derived Chimeric Mouse Models of Huntington’s Disease Reveal Cell-Intrinsic Defects in Glial Progenitor Cell Differentiation. Cell Stem Cell, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2018.11.010
  2. Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. (2018, December 20). Parkinson's disease protein buys time for cell repair. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 5, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181220080000.htm
  3. Penn State. (2018, November 5). New gene therapy reprograms brain glial cells into neurons. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 5, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181105122433.htm
December 31, 2018

Episode 307 - Ancient druidic treatments, wasp venom and peptide cages

The arms race against antibiotic resistant bacteria continues. As the world faces down this challenge, we turn to stranger and stranger places for treatment. So how can you turn ancient druidic treatments into modern new antibiotics? How do you make wasp venom actually a useful treatment? Can you trap bacteria inside a cage and just starve them to this? This week we find out about the fight back against bacteria.

References:

  1. Luciana Terra, Paul J. Dyson, Matthew D. Hitchings, Liam Thomas, Alyaa Abdelhameed, Ibrahim M. Banat, Salvatore A. Gazze, Dušica Vujaklija, Paul D. Facey, Lewis W. Francis, Gerry A. Quinn. A Novel Alkaliphilic Streptomyces Inhibits ESKAPE Pathogens. Frontiers in Microbiology, 2018; 9 DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.02458
  2. Sina Krokowski, Damián Lobato-Márquez, Arnaud Chastanet, Pedro Matos Pereira, Dimitrios Angelis, Dieter Galea, Gerald Larrouy-Maumus, Ricardo Henriques, Elias T. Spiliotis, Rut Carballido-López, Serge Mostowy. Septins Recognize and Entrap Dividing Bacterial Cells for Delivery to Lysosomes. Cell Host & Microbe, 2018; 24 (6): 866 DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2018.11.005
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2018, December 7). Engineers repurpose wasp venom as an antibiotic drug. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 29, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181207112651.htm

 

Antibiotics from druidic recipes in the Irish countryside.