Cells deliver biological signals to their neighbours via membrane-bound sac-like structures called extracellular vesicles (EVs), containing a cocktail of DNA, RNA and proteins. Now, scientists in Australia have devised a new method for characterising EVs, which vary mostly from 30 to 300nm in diameter (Nanoscale Horiz., 2018, 3, 430). Their method has been compared to a biological Enigma machine since it could decipher crucial biological messages and help diagnose and even treat diseases.
The number of procedures involving living animals in Great Britain continues to fall, last year reaching the lowest number recorded since 2007, according to Home Office records.
Vitamin A deficiency is a huge problem in the developing world, killing or blinding over a million children a year. Golden Rice – which has been genetically modified to provide more pro-vitamin A than other rice varieties – was created by scientists to tackle this very issue nearly 20 years ago.
The UK 2019 Design Innovation in Plastic student award was presented to Daniella Kaligorsky, a product design student from the Technical University Dublin, on 5 July at the Painters’ Hall, London. The award was given for her Checkkit kit, which shows how to conduct a self-examination for breast cancer. In addition to a model simulating the breast and physical cancer symptoms, produced from materials including silicones and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), the kit contains an explanatory brochure covering 12 possible symptoms and a notebook to log results.
A recent push for more investment in US chemical recycling would allow recycled material to return to the value chain at the same level from which it started. However, multi-pronged investment is needed to improve comprehensive collection, sorting and recycle process technology.
Toxic chemicals left over from decades ago could be hindering the recovery of urban rivers in the UK, concludes a recent study by scientists from Cardiff University, the University of Exeter, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
When it comes into force in January 2020, Brazil’s new low carbon transport policy will mandate fuel distributors to gradually increase the amount of biofuels they sell. The policy, named RenovaBio, could result in national ethanol production doubling by 2030 from current levels of about 26bn litres, according the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy.
As part of its review of chemicals management, the 2019 Helsinki Chemicals Forum also tackled the circular economy as well as plastics pollution. Neil Eisberg reports
Deteriorating US-China trade relations make it all the more important to find more sustainable high-performance magnets to replace the traditional rare earth metals, reports Michael Gross
Ever wondered what cinnamic acid might sound like? Or caffeine, and water and a host of other common molecules? Now, scientists at Bradford University have got together with students from Ilkley Grammar School in Yorkshire to make music from molecules – by converting the vibrations of the constituent atoms into sound waves and using them to make musical tunes.