Green production of chemicals for industry

Industry consumes large quantities of crude oil to produce basic substances for drugs, cosmetics, plastics, or food. However, these processes consume a lot of energy and produce waste. Biological processes with enzymes are far more sustainable. The protein molecules can catalyze various chemical reactions without auxiliary materials or solvents being required. But they are expensive and, hence, have been economically unattractive so far. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now developed a new biomaterial that considerably facilitates the use of enzymes. The results are presented in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

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Arctic permafrost might contain ‘sleeping giant’ of world’s carbon emissions

As temperatures rise in the Arctic, permafrost, or frozen ground, is thawing. As it does, greenhouse gases trapped within it are being released into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, leading to previously underestimated problems with ocean acidification and potential mercury poisoning.

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New method gives microscope a boost in resolution

Scientists at the University of Würzburg have been able to boost current super-resolution microscopy by a novel tweak. They coated the glass cover slip as part of the sample carrier with tailor-made biocompatible nanosheets that create a mirror effect. This method shows that localizing single emitters in front of a metal-dielectric coating leads to higher precision, brightness and contrast in Single Molecule Localization Microscopy (SMLM). The study was published in the Nature journal Light: Science and Applications.

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Image: ICESat-2 reveals profile of ice sheets

Less than three months into its mission, NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, is already exceeding scientists' expectations. The satellite is measuring the height of sea ice to within an inch, tracing the terrain of previously unmapped Antarctic valleys, surveying remote ice sheets, and peering through forest canopies and shallow coastal waters.

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Researchers discover unusual new type of phase transformation in a transition metal

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have discovered an unusual new type of phase transformation in the transition metal zirconium. The mechanism underlying this new type of phase transition is the first of its kind that has ever been observed, and only could be seen with the application of very high pressures. The research was recently published by Physical Review B as a Rapid Communication.

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How skin cells protect themselves against stress

The skin is our largest organ, and, among other things, it provides protection against mechanical impacts. To ensure this protection, skin cells have to be connected to one another especially closely. Exactly how this mechanical stability is provided at the molecular level was unclear for a long time. Researchers led by Prof. Carsten Grashoff from the Institute of Molecular Cell Biology at the University of Münster and the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry have collaborated with colleagues at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and Stanford University, and now demonstrate how mechanical stress on specialized adhesion points, so-called desmosomes, is processed. They designed a mini-measuring device that can determine forces along individual components of the desmosomes. In the study, published in Nature Communications, they show how mechanical forces propagate along these structures.

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