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14th January 2013
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Biofuels in brief


A study by US researchers at the University of California at San Diego has shown that saltwater algae are as capable as freshwater algae for biofuel production

Costs balloon as returns deflate

Neil Eisberg, 14/01/2013

The days of the major pharmaceutical blockbuster are well and truly over, and the pharma sector is now looking for other ways to rebuild its product portfolios at a time when the costs of developing a new drug are skyrocketing

Dream production using carbon dioxide

Neil Eisberg, 14/01/2013

Catalysis is the basis for 80% of all chemical products and 90% of all new processes and products, as well as being involved in 15–20% of global GDP

Early target for Alzheimer’s

Emma Dorey, 14/01/2013

Researchers in Belgium have discovered a new target molecule that could lead to a novel treatment for Alzheimer’s disease that suppresses some of the early stage symptoms of the disease

Femtolitre scale reaction chamber

Anthony King, 14/01/2013

Scientists from New Zealand, Austria and the UK claim to have created the world’s smallest reaction chamber, with a mixing volume of just femtolitres

Fracking news welcomed

Cath O'Driscoll, 14/01/2013

The scientific community has broadly welcomed the UK government’s decision to lift an embargo on hydraulic fracturing, announced in December 2012

Goldie locks no fairytale

Jon Evans, 14/01/2013

Do you want sparkling, golden hair? Well now it’s possible, thanks to French chemists who have managed to synthesise gold nanoparticles in hair follicles

Green light for single EU patent

Maria Burke, 14/01/2013

After over 30 years of talks, a historic vote in the EU Parliament has given the green light for a one patent and one patent court system for EU member states

Gulf dispersant under fire

Anthony King, 14/01/2013

The US government’s decision to authorise the use of a chemical dispersant during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in 2010 may have made the situation worse

MOFs with bigger pores promise new applications

Maria Burke, 14/01/2013

Researchers in Germany have developed a method to produce metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) – highly ordered molecular systems consisting of metal nodes and organic rods – with unusually large pores

More crop per drop

Cath O'Driscoll, 14/01/2013

Tomatoes grown with saltwater are surprisingly sweet, according to Ragab Ragab, head of water, soils and landscapes at the UK’s Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

More of the best chemists are choosing to teach

Charlie Taylor, 14/01/2013

Highly qualified graduates are increasingly turning to the UK teaching profession for a rewarding and challenging career

OLEDs go organic

Jon Evans, 14/01/2013

For the first time, Japanese scientists have developed an efficient organic light-emitting diode (OLED) that is truly organic, as it does not contain any heavy metal atoms

Print your own lab

Jon Evans, 14/01/2013

Mass production, in which identical products are manufactured cost-effectively on a large scale, has been a mainstay of the global economy since the industrial revolution

Solar news in brief


Researchers at Pennsylvania State University, US, and at the University of Southampton, UK, have developed flexible, foldable silicon-based optical fibres that can be used as photovoltaic solar cells

Stem cells from blood

Maria Burke, 14/01/2013

UK researchers have reported a practical way to make stem cells from human blood – a much less invasive method of producing them than from tissue samples

Super-elastic graphene corked

Kathryn Roberts, 14/01/2013

Scientists have made a new class of graphene elastomers by taking a cue from natural cork, a lightweight but mechanically strong, elastic material

Targets from tentacle toxins

Anthony King, 14/01/2013

Venom from the sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima may deliver candidates for future insecticides and painkillers

Truly sustainable technology

Paul Fowler, 14/01/2013

Can technological innovation always provide a solution to the limitations of the Earth’s carrying capacity? I believe it can play a part when sustainable technologies are developed

Un-Scrabbling the wheat genome

Maria Burke, 14/01/2013

Scientists have unlocked key components of the genetic code of wheat – information that should help in the development of higher yielding varieties that are better able to cope with stresses such as disease and drought