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9th October 2019
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News

Antibiotics in the Thames

Maria Burke, 09/10/2019

The amount of antibiotics entering the River Thames would need to reduce by as much as 80% to avoid the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’, according to researchers at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH).

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Biodegradable flame retardants

Cath O’Driscoll, 09/10/2019

Organohalogen flame retardants have come under fire in recent years after concerns they could have harmful effects on health and the environment. But novel organophosphorus retardants derived from renewable plant sources may offer a less toxic and biodegradable alternative, according to researchers presenting the work at the ACS meeting in San Diego in August 2019.

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Cleaning water with pollen

Cath O’Driscoll, 09/10/2019

Contamination of global waterways by household chemicals and pharmaceuticals is attracting increasing scrutiny from environmental regulators. But researchers involved in an ongoing European ‘Sullied Sediments’ project claim to have discovered a novel way of cleaning up water – by exploiting Nature’s pollens and spores.

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Crackdown on vaping

Sarah Houlton , 09/10/2019

The US FDA is contemplating a blanket federal ban on flavoured e-cigarettes, in an attempt to halt the spiraling take-up of vaping by children and teenagers. Many of the fruity flavours appear specifically designed to appeal to younger palates, but the action also includes more traditional mint and menthol products. Flavoured e-cigs have already been banned in Michigan and New York, and other states are considering similar action.

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Drug trial bias

Maria Burke, 09/10/2019

Around half of all drug trials that supported approvals for new cancer drugs conducted between 2014 and 2016 were flawed, according to researchers.

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Fight against Ebola

Shem Oirere, 09/10/2019

Uganda is stepping up cross-border and airport screening of travelers for the killer Ebola virus disease (EVD), especially those from the Ebola-hit Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The country is also expanding vaccinations with Merck’s investigational recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus–Zaire Ebola virus (rVSV-ZEBOV) vaccine to ward off possible spread of any imported EVD.

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Greener fertilisers

Anthony King, 09/10/2019

A new process to transform waste into an amino acid called citrulline – found in fruits such as watermelons – could lead to more sustainable nitrogen-rich fertilisers, according to researchers in Australia.

Growing climate threat

Maria Burke, 09/10/2019

Climate change could force crop and livestock production to be abandoned in parts of southern Europe and the Mediterranean, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report. More extreme events like droughts, heatwaves and floods, will outweigh any benefits from climate change such

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War on malaria

Shem Oirere, 09/10/2019

The annual seasonal malaria chemoprevention campaign (SMC) spearheaded by the Malaria Consortium has begun with a target of reaching 5.5m children in Nigeria, Chad and Burkina Faso who are at risk of contracting or succumbing to the disease.

MassSpec Pen for cancer surgery

Cath O’Driscoll, 09/10/2019

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, US, have developed a hand-held MassSpec Pen that can feed back a predictive diagnosis to the surgeon in under 10 seconds, according to device developer Livia Eberlin, speaking at the ACS meeting in San Diego in August 2019.

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Night vision for mice and men

Cath O’Driscoll, 09/10/2019

X-ray vision is a capability often associated with comic book superheroes. But researchers have recently brought the idea closer to reality by creating superpower mice with the ability to see near-infrared light, they reported at the ACS meeting in San Diego in August.

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Paper recycling crisis

Maria Burke , 09/10/2019

China’s ban on waste imports has helped to throw Europe’s paper recycling sector into crisis, according to the trade group European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC). A chronic oversupply of recovered paper has sent prices plummeting over the past two years.

Phone hope for AD

Anthony King, 09/10/2019

Radiation from mobile phones could be used to protect brain tissue from the rogue protein clumps associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research.

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Protein batteries

Cath O’Driscoll, 09/10/2019

Researchers have taken the first steps towards creating safer, environmentally friendly protein batteries by making electrodes from synthetic polypeptides and other polymers. The polypeptides could one day be useful in flow batteries for storing electrical charge, they reported at the ACS meeting in San Diego in August 2019.

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Self-destruct polymers

Cath O'Driscoll, 09/10/2019

Self- destructing polymers sound like something from a James Bond film; but now scientists have created such materials in the lab. And used them to produce a disappearing glider for airborne delivery over distances of a hundred miles or more.

Smartphone to detect norovirus

Cath O’Driscoll, 09/10/2019

Adapting an ordinary smartphone to function as a fluorescence microscope could help to reduce outbreaks of infection by ‘cruise ship’ microbe norovirus, researchers reported at the ACS meeting in August 2019.

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Table for molecules

Anthony King, 09/10/2019

The Periodic Table of elements was proposed by Mendeleev 150 years ago this year. Now, a group in Japan has proposed a periodic table for molecules.

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