Team develops novel method to produce renewable acrylonitrile

A new study from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) establishes a novel catalytic method to produce renewable acrylonitrile using 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP), which can be biologically produced from sugars. This hybrid biological-catalytic process offers an alternative to the conventional petrochemical production method and achieves unprecedented acrylonitrile yields.

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Researcher collaborates with industry to create design tool for syntactic foams

With a foundation in aerospace and deep-sea applications, syntactic foams are emerging in the construction, infrastructure, wind energy, and sports equipment industries. Companies in the transportation sector are also employing these super-light, strong materials to build more efficient, less costly vehicles.

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Team develops cancer imaging aid from horse chestnuts

Research at The City College of New York shows that cancer imaging can be simplified by a photonic process utilizing molecules derived from horse chestnuts. The study with potential to better detect the presence of cancer is led by George John, professor in City College's Division of Science, in collaboration with Jan Grimm, a physician scientist at Sloan Kettering Institute who is also affiliated with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College.

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Research finds a sweet spot for engineering better cellulose-degrading enzymes

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have gained new insights into how glycosylation—the natural attachment of sugars to proteins—affects a key cellulase enzyme. This work could be used to improve enzyme performance to better break down biomass and convert waste plant matter to renewable fuels and products. Namely, the more effective the enzyme, the more efficient and economical the process will be.

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Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin

Cell biologists traditionally use fluorescent dyes to label and visualize cells and the molecules within them under a microscope. With different super-resolution microscopy methods, they can even light up single molecules and their complex interactions with one another. However, the microscopy hardware that allows them to do this is highly specialized and expensive and hence, relatively rare in laboratories around the world, and the operation of such microscopes is daunting, as it requires unique skills.

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