Slinn Pickings – chemical news updates

Guest blogger and chemist Robert Slinn contributes his favorite news snippets from the world of chemistry

  • UvA chemists develop fully biodegradable and recyclable synthetic resin – Modern synthetic resins are made from fossil sources, are not biodegradable and can only be burned under strict precautions due to the release of toxic substances. Prof. Gadi Rothenberg and Dr. Albert Alberts of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) have discovered a range of new thermoset resins made from renewable raw materials which are fully biodegradable, non-toxic and non-hazardous.
  • Dangerous Foods That Dogs Should Never Eat – Can a little reward from the table really hurt your dog? Well, that depends on what it is and what's in it. A chip with guacamole can cause your dog some real problems. In fact, there's a lot of people food your dog should never eat. And, it's not just because of weight. Some foods are downright dangerous for dogs – and some of these common foods may surprise you.
  • New laboratory aims to revolutionise surgery with real-time metabolic profiling – Metabolic profiling of tissue samples could transform the way surgeons make decisions in the operating theatre, say researchers at a new laboratory being launched today. Scientists at Imperial College London, in partnership with clinicians at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, have installed a high resolution solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer in St Mary’s Hospital. Researchers will use the machine to analyse intact tissue samples from patients taking part in studies, to investigate whether it can ultimately give surgeons detailed diagnostic information while their patients are under the knife.
  • Mechanisms of juvenile hormone action in insects could help fine tune pesticides – As butterflies, fruit flies and mosquitoes transform their body structures as they molt from larva to pupa and then adults, a group of juvenile hormones called isoprenoids, inhibit development of adult characteristics until the insects reach a proper stage. Juvenile hormones also play a prominent role in regulating reproductive maturation in adult insects and synthetic juvenile hormone mimics have been widely used as pesticides for mosquito controls. Virginia Tech researchers have discovered an important step in the activation of juvenile hormone target genes.
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