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The Lead

Antibacterial Compounds Pose Risks to Fetuses

August 21, 2014 | by ACS | News | Comments

As the FDA mulls over whether to rein in the use of common antibacterial compounds that are causing growing concern among environmental health experts, scientists are reporting that many pregnant women and their fetuses are being exposed to these substances.

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Material Cherry-picks Molecules

August 21, 2014 7:00 am | by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | News | Comments

Countless products are based on ethylene, a simple two-carbon molecule, which requires an energy-intense separation process to pluck the desired chemical away from nearly identical ethane. To eliminate the extreme cooling required in the separation, researchers have designed a material with a porous framework that greatly prefers ethylene.

Test Gauges Purity of Graphene

August 21, 2014 7:00 am | by Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Graphene may be tough, but those who handle it had better be tender. The environment surrounding the atom-thick carbon material can influence its electronic performance, according to researchers who have come up with a simple way to spot contaminants.

Nanoparticles Aid Antibody Purification

August 21, 2014 7:00 am | by A*STAR | News | Comments

Monoclonal antibodies represent the largest and fastest-growing segment of international biopharma. While these therapeutic agents are a boon for global healthcare, productivity constraints pose a serious challenge. Now, researchers have developed a high-capacity method to purify monoclonal antibodies that uses magnetic nanoparticles and also introduces new operating conditions.


‘Dancing’ Light Advances Cancer Research

August 21, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

A new technique that traps light at the nanoscale to enable real-time monitoring of individual molecules bending and flexing may aid in our understanding of how changes within a cell can lead to diseases such as cancer.

Minuscule Chips Enable Portable Spectroscopy

August 12, 2014 7:00 am | by Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences | News | Comments

A team of engineers has created a truly portable device for NMR spectroscopy. They dramatically shrunk the electronic spectrometer components, fitting them on a silicon chip smaller than a sesame seed. Combined with a compact permanent magnet, this minuscule spectrometer represents the smallest device that can presently perform multidimensional NMR spectroscopy.

Test Spots Fillers in Coffee

August 12, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

Coffee drinkers beware: surprise ingredients that are neither sweet nor flavorful may be hiding in your coffee, and growing coffee shortages may increase the chance of having these fillers in your cup of joe in the future. The good news is that a highly accurate test is in the works to quickly find coffee containing unwanted fillers before the beverage reaches stores and restaurants.

GCMS Helps Fight Currency Smuggling

August 12, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

Criminals are smuggling an estimated $30 billion in U.S. currency into Mexico each year from the U.S., but help could be on the way for border guards, researchers report. The answer to the problem: a portable device that identifies specific vapors given off by U.S. paper money.

Optical Cancer Probe May Reduce Unnecessary Biopsies

August 12, 2014 7:00 am | by American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

As thousands of vacationers hit the beach this summer, many of them will expose their unprotected bare limbs to direct UV sunlight, potentially putting them at risk of skin cancer later in life. To fight back, scientists turned to light, designing optical devices that may detect cancerous skin lesions early on, leading to better treatment outcomes and ultimately saving lives.


Sensor Amplifies Molecular Signature 100 Billion-fold

August 12, 2014 7:00 am | by Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Nanophotonics experts have created a unique sensor that amplifies the optical signature of molecules by about 100 billion times. Newly published tests found the device could accurately identify the composition and structure of individual molecules containing fewer than 20 atoms.

Forensic Tech Monitors Drug Residues in Milk

July 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Iowa State Univ. | News | Comments

Veterinarians are using advanced forensic techniques and the same technology used by crime scene investigators to monitor drug residues in milk and meat. They are working with producers to strengthen food safety and make sure animals are medicated properly.

Protein Factory has Alternate Operating Manual

July 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Maryland | News | Comments

Working with a gene that plays a critical role in HIV infection, researchers have discovered that some human genes have an alternate set of operating instructions written into their protein-making machinery. The alternate instructions can quickly alter the proteins' contents, functions and ability to survive.

Researchers Learn One Secret of Mysterious Amber

July 17, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

The warm beauty of amber was captivating and mysterious enough to inspire myths in ancient times, and even today, some of its secrets remain locked inside the fossilized tree resin. But for the first time, scientists have now solved at least one of its puzzles that had perplexed them for decades.

Martian Salts Must Touch Ice to Make Liquid Water

July 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

In chambers that mimic Mars' conditions, researchers have shown how small amounts of liquid water could form on the planet despite its below-freezing temperatures. A type of salt present in Martian soil can readily melt ice it touches. But this Martian salt cannot, as some scientists suggested, form liquid water by sucking vapor out of the air through a process called deliquescence.

Spray Could Save Cocoa Crop

July 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Penn State Univ. | News | Comments

Cocoa farmers will lose an estimated 30 to 40 percent of their crop to pests and disease this year. With chocolate prices having risen globally by roughly two-thirds in the past decade, concern is growing about sustainability in cocoa production. But scientists have found a safe, biodegradable potential alternative to the hazardous antifungal agents currently being used to combat one of the most damaging cacao diseases.

Blowflies Act as Meth Detectors

July 8, 2014 7:00 am | by ScienceNetwork WA | News | Comments

The humble blowfly could lead to better detection of methamphetamine (MA) in decomposing tissue. Research has explored the effect of MA on the development, growth rates and survival of the blowfly in relation to estimating post-mortem intervals.

Device Measures Chemical Weapons' Effects on Surfaces

July 8, 2014 7:00 am | by Virginia Tech | News | Comments

For the last five years, a research team has been doing something no group has done before— they have engineered, designed and built an instrument, the size of which fills an entire laboratory, to study how chemical warfare agents react on surfaces.

DNA Relaxes to Protect Itself from UV Light

July 8, 2014 7:00 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

The molecular building blocks that make up DNA absorb ultraviolet light so strongly that sunlight should deactivate them– yet it does not. Now scientists have made detailed observations of a “relaxation response” that protects these molecules, and the genetic information they encode, from UV damage.

'Ruler' is First Standardized Way to Measure Stars

July 8, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

Previously, there was no unified system of reference for calibrating the heavens. But now, when investigating the atmospheric structure and chemical make-up of stars, astronomers can use a new stellar scale as a “ruler” – making it much easier for them to classify and compare data on star discoveries.

Portable Lab Quickly Spots Cocaine in Urine

July 8, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

Testing for cocaine and other drugs usually involves two steps: a quick on-site prescreen, and then a more accurate confirmatory test at a distant laboratory. Now, researchers report development of a backpack-sized device that can perform highly accurate and sensitive tests anywhere within 15 minutes.

Research Verifies Rose Species as Medicine

June 19, 2014 7:00 am | by American Society for Horticultural Science | News | Comments

A new study identified specific phenolic compounds found in the petals of indigenous rose species and compared them with the phenolic profiles of modern rose cultivars to determine differences in the makeup of roses traditionally used for medicinal purposes and those varieties cherished for aesthetic qualities.


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