In our quest for sustainability, we’ve forgotten phosphorus. This is what worries two specialists in the complementary fields of soil and water. Writing in an engaging style, transatlantic authors Jim Elser and Phil Haygarth remind us that this ‘Cinderella’ element, essential to life in so many ways – ‘phosphates hold our genes up’, they write – comes from finite resources, which are being squandered.
The ideas discussed are essentially a distillation of various publications by the authors and their co-workers over the past 12 years in which they have sought to elevate biology to par status with the physical sciences. Read the book review in C&I Magazine Issue 10 2021.
As the world continues to warm, experts call for a transformation of our food system, moving away from monocultures, diversifying crop systems and reducing reliance on chemical inputs. Anthony King reports
Effective technologies for capturing and storing carbon dioxide are already at our fingertips, but what will it take for them to make a difference? Vanessa Zainzinger reports
New manufacturing routes for concrete promise to lower CO2 emissions and raise its environmental credentials, while also improving end properties. Jon Evans reports
Global forecasts for the thin-walled plastic packaging market are rising significantly. By 2028, the packaging market will be worth an estimated $1.2tn, expanding at a CAGR of approximately 3%, according to a report by multinational consultancy Smithers. Food and beverage, and more widespread adoption of thin-walled packaging in developing economies, will drive this growth.
Researchers have used sound waves to temporarily open up the blood-brain barrier to enable more of a drug to reach its target inside the brain, they report – technology that could one day improve tumour treatments. While the technology has been around for some time, the new research supports its safety and effectiveness in patients.
Extracts from New Zealand blackcurrants (NZBC) dramatically reduce muscle soreness following vigorous physical activity, researchers have reported. Study participants who took the extract showed three times faster recovery of muscle function and almost half the muscle soreness, compared with placebo.
A multi-institution team has collaborated to identify – and impede – an important mechanism responsible for the relatively low efficiencies of organic solar cells (Nature, doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03840-5).
Global production of low-carbon hydrogen is minimal, its cost is not yet competitive, and its use in industry and transport remains limited, according to the IEA’s Global Hydrogen Review 2021. Governments need to move faster to enable low-carbon hydrogen to fulfil its potential, say the report authors.