Robert Slinn’s chemical picks

  • Nanosilver: a new name – well known effects – Nanosilver is not a new discovery by nanotechnologists – it has been used in various products for over a hundred years, as is shown by a new Empa study. The antimicrobial effects of minute silver particles, which were then known as “colloidal silver”, were known from the earliest days of its use. Numerous nanomaterials are currently at the focus of public attention. In particular silver nanoparticles are being investigated in detail, both by scientists as well as by the regulatory authorities.
  • If junk DNA is useful, why is it not shared out more equally? – Junk DNA performs a wide range of important tasks. As a result, attention is shifting to asking why some organisms have so much of it and other organisms so little. A particular puzzle is posed by “introns”, stretches of DNA that interrupt the sequence of genes. Ashley Farlow, Eshwar Meduri and Christian Schlötterer of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna now propose a mechanism to account for the range of intron numbers observed between different species.
  • Forensic breakthrough could turn clothes into silent witnesses – Forensic experts at the University of Abertay Dundee and the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) are leading the way in the research of new ground-breaking forensic techniques within the field of fingerprints. The new research seeks to recover fingerprint ridge detail and impressions from fabrics – a technique that has up until now proved difficult. It is the first time in more than 30 years that fingerprints on fabrics have been a major focus for research and the team have already had a number of successes.
  • Southampton scientists begin patient trials of new leukaemia cancer vaccine – A new cancer treatment which strengthens a patient's immune system and enables them to fight the disease more effectively is being trialled on patients for the first time in the UK. The treatment will use a new DNA vaccine, developed by scientists from the University of Southampton, which will treat a selected group of volunteers who have either chronic or acute myeloid leukaemia – two forms of bone marrow and blood cancer.
  • Atomic disguise makes helium look like hydrogen – In a feat of modern-day alchemy, atom tinkerers have fooled hydrogen atoms into accepting a helium atom as one of their own. The camouflaged atom behaves chemically like hydrogen, but has four times the mass of normal hydrogen, allowing predictions for how atomic mass affects reaction rates to be put to the test.

Robert Slinn refluxes the chemistry news and extracts a goodly yield for Reactive Reports.

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