Current American Chemical Society News and Events

Current American Chemical Society News and Events, American Chemical Society News Articles.
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Giving oxygen to the question of air quality
Volatile alkanes can rapidly acquire oxygen atoms in a free radical chain reaction, a process significant for fuel combustion and air pollution. (2021-02-18)

An mRNA vaccine for cancer immunotherapy
Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines to prevent COVID-19 have made headlines around the world recently, but scientists have also been working on mRNA vaccines to treat or prevent other diseases, including some forms of cancer. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Nano Letters have developed a hydrogel that, when injected into mice with melanoma, slowly released RNA nanovaccines that shrank tumors and kept them from metastasizing. (2021-02-17)

Making swimming pools safer by reducing chlorine disinfection byproducts
Swimming in indoor or outdoor pools is a healthy form of exercise and recreation for many people. However, studies have linked compounds that arise from chlorine disinfection of the pools to respiratory problems, including asthma, in avid swimmers. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology have found that using a complementary form of disinfection, known as copper-silver ionization (CSI), can decrease disinfection byproducts and cell toxicity of chlorinated swimming pool water. (2021-02-17)

Edible holograms could someday decorate foods
Holograms are everywhere, from driver's licenses to credit cards to product packaging. And now, edible holograms could someday enhance foods. Researchers reporting in ACS Nano have developed a laser-based method to print nanostructured holograms on dried corn syrup films. The edible holograms could also be used to ensure food safety, label a product or indicate sugar content, the researchers say. (2021-02-17)

Termite gut microbes could aid biofuel production
Wheat straw, the dried stalks left over from grain production, is a potential source of biofuels and commodity chemicals. But before straw can be converted to useful products by biorefineries, the polymers that make it up must be broken down into their building blocks. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering have found that microbes from the guts of certain termite species can help break down lignin, a particularly tough polymer in straw. (2021-02-17)

The water surface is a fantastic place for chemical reactions
Using an advanced technique, scientists from the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research have demonstrated that a chemical reaction powered by light takes place ten thousand times faster at the air-water interface--what we usually call the water surface--than in the bulk of the water, even when the light has equivalent energy. This finding could help our understanding of the many important chemical and biological processes that take place at the water surface. (2021-02-15)

Producing more sustainable hydrogen with composite polymer dots
Hydrogen for energy use can be extracted in an environmentally friendly way from water and sunlight, using photocatalytic composite polymer nanoparticles developed by researchers at Uppsala University. In laboratory tests, these 'polymer dots' showed promising performance and stability alike. The study has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. (2021-02-12)

Biomarkers that could help determine who's at risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms
One of the many mysteries still surrounding COVID-19 is why some people experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, whereas others suffer life-threatening respiratory problems, vascular dysfunction and tissue damage. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Analytical Chemistry have used a combination of metabolomics and machine learning to identify possible biomarkers that could both help diagnose COVID-19 and assess the risk of developing severe illness. (2021-02-10)

'Handy pen' lights up when exposed to nerve gas or spoiled food vapors
Exposure to some odorless, colorless and tasteless gases, such as nerve agents, can be toxic or even lethal. And having the ability to detect other types of vapors could save people from eating spoiled or rotten food. Easy-to-use portable devices could, therefore, go a long way toward protecting the public. Now researchers reporting in ACS Materials Letters have created a pen-like sensor that changes color when exposed to harmful gases. (2021-02-10)

Creating more sustainable fragrances with biotech
In the face of a changing climate and crop diseases, manufacturers of products containing natural flavors and fragrances are pivoting to a new way to source ingredients. Companies have been partnering with biotechnology firms to manufacture scents and flavors using fermented microbes, which experts say are more sustainable. A new story in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, details how the industry is brewing up new fragrances. (2021-02-10)

A new type of university is emerging to meet the challenges of today
A new type of university is emerging, one that steps beyond the American research university model and is nimble and responsive, takes responsibility for what happens outside its walls and can scale up to meet the demands and challenges of modern society. Arizona State University President Michael Crow says they are part of the ''fifth wave'' of universities. (2021-02-09)

Addressing breastfeeding disparities for African American mothers
An abundance of data underscore the importance of breastfeeding and human milk for the optimal health of infants, children, mothers, and society. But while breastfeeding initiation rates have increased to more than 80% in the US, a disparity exists for African American mothers and infants. In this group, breastfeeding is initiated only about 69% of the time. (2021-02-08)

A single-molecule guide to understanding chemical reactions better
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) report measurement of electrical conductivity of single DNA molecules as a way of monitoring the formation of double-stranded DNA on a gold surface. In their latest paper, they investigate the time evolution of the reaction and report findings not observed previously, demonstrating the suitability of the single-molecule approach in elucidating reaction pathways and exploring novel chemical processes. (2021-02-04)

Some food contamination starts in the soil
Rice husk residue can prevent uptake of harmful elements in rice. (2021-02-03)

Load-reducing backpack powers electronics by harvesting energy from walking
Hikers, soldiers and school children all know the burden of a heavy backpack. But now, researchers have developed a prototype that not only makes loads feel about 20% lighter, but also harvests energy from human movements to power small electronics. The new backpack, reported in ACS Nano, could be especially useful for athletes, explorers and disaster rescuers who work in remote areas without electricity, the researchers say. (2021-02-03)

Urban agriculture in Chicago does not allow consumers to rely solely on local food
Environmentally conscious consumers try to 'buy local' when food shopping. Now, a study of food raised around Chicago has shown that buying local can't provide all necessary nutrients for area residents, though it could fulfill their needs if some nutrients were supplied as supplements. The researchers report in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology that urban agriculture made little difference in reducing overall land area, and thus distance, required to supply all nutritional needs. (2021-02-03)

Standard water treatment technique removes and inactivates an enveloped virus
Enveloped viruses have been detected in raw sewage and sludge, but scientists still don't fully understand the fate and infectivity of these viruses during water purification at treatment plants. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology have discovered that a standard water treatment technique, called iron (III) coagulation, and its electrically driven counterpart, iron (0) electrocoagulation, can efficiently remove and inactivate a model enveloped virus. (2021-02-03)

Nanotech plastic packaging could leach silver into some types of foods and beverages
Antimicrobial packaging is being developed to extend the shelf life and safety of foods and beverages. However, there is concern about the transfer of potentially harmful materials, such as silver nanoparticles, from these types of containers to consumables. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces illustrate that silver embedded in an antimicrobial plastic can leave the material and form nanoparticles in foods and beverages, particularly in sweet and sugary ones. (2021-02-03)

What the Biden-Harris administration means for chemistry
The inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris marks a new era for science policy in the U.S. and beyond. The new administration has inherited a global pandemic and worsening climate change, among other science-related issues. A cover story in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, delves into what this means for chemists and chemistry as a whole. (2021-02-03)

Skoltech imaging resources used in international experiment with new photocatalysts
Skoltech researchers helped their colleagues from Japan, Germany, the United States, and China study the crystal structure and optical properties of a new class of two-dimensional compounds, which can be used as effective visible-light-responsive photocatalysts for energy and chemical conversion. They used the Advanced Imaging Core Facility equipment for imaging and structural analysis. (2021-02-01)

Ultra-absorptive nanofiber swabs could improve SARS-CoV-2 test sensitivity
Rapid, sensitive diagnosis of COVID-19 is essential for early treatment, contact tracing and reducing viral spread. However, some people infected with SARS-CoV-2 receive false-negative test results, which might put their and others' health at risk. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Nano Letters have developed ultra-absorptive nanofiber swabs that could reduce the number of false-negative tests by improving sample collection and test sensitivity. (2021-01-27)

Detecting trace amounts of multiple classes of antibiotics in foods
Widespread use of antibiotics in human healthcare and livestock husbandry has led to trace amounts of the drugs ending up in food products. Long-term consumption could cause health problems, but it's been difficult to analyze more than a few antibiotics at a time because they have different chemical properties. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have developed a method to simultaneously measure 77 antibiotics in a variety of foods. (2021-01-27)

Juicing technique could influence healthfulness of fresh-squeezed juice
With the New Year, many people are making resolutions to eat healthier, by eating more vegetables, for example. But those who don't like the taste or texture of some vegetables might prefer to drink them in a home-squeezed juice. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Food Science & Technology have found that the choice of household juicing technique can influence the phytochemical content and antioxidant activity of common vegetable juices. (2021-01-27)

A mild way to upcycle plastics used in bottles into fuel and other high-value products
Plastic is ubiquitous in people's lives. Yet, when plastic-containing items have fulfilled their missions, only a small amount is recycled into new products, which are often of lower quality compared to the original material. And, transforming this waste into high-value chemicals requires substantial energy. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' JACS Au have combined a ruthenium-carbon catalyst and mild, lower-energy reaction conditions to convert plastics used in bottles and other packaging into fuels and chemical feedstock. (2021-01-27)

Crystal close up
Two novel techniques, atomic-resolution real-time video and conical carbon nanotube confinement, allow researchers to view never-before-seen details about crystal formation. The observations confirm theoretical predictions about how salt crystals form and could inform general theories about the way in which crystal formation produces different ordered structures from an otherwise disordered chemical mixture. (2021-01-21)

Teamwork in a molecule
Chemists at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena have demonstrated the value of 'teamwork' by successfully harnessing the interaction between two gallium atoms in a novel compound to split the particularly strong bond between fluorine and carbon. The gallium compound is also cheaper and more environmentally friendly than conventional alternatives. (2021-01-21)

New antifungal compound from ant farms
Attine ants are farmers, and they grow fungus as food. Pseudonocardia and Streptomyces bacteria are their farmhands, producing metabolites that protect the crop from pathogens. Surprisingly, these metabolites lack common structural features across bacteria from different geographic locations, even though the ants share a common ancestor. Now, researchers report in ACS Central Science they have identified the first shared antifungal compound among many of these bacteria across Brazil. The compound could someday have medical applications. (2021-01-20)

An anode-free zinc battery that could someday store renewable energy
Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, could help decrease the world's reliance on fossil fuels. But first, power companies need a safe, cost-effective way to store the energy for later use. Massive lithium-ion batteries can do the job, but they suffer from safety issues and limited lithium availability. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Nano Letters have made a prototype of an anode-free, zinc-based battery that uses low-cost, naturally abundant materials. (2021-01-20)

Lasers create miniature robots from bubbles (video)
Robots are widely used to build cars, paint airplanes and sew clothing in factories, but the assembly of microscopic components, such as those for biomedical applications, has not yet been automated. Lasers could be the solution. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces have used lasers to create miniature robots from bubbles that lift, drop and manipulate small pieces into interconnected structures. (2021-01-20)

COVID-19 model reveals key role for innate immunity in controlling viral load
Since SARS-CoV-2 was identified in December 2019, researchers have worked feverishly to study the novel coronavirus. Although much knowledge has been gained, scientists still have a lot to learn about how SARS-CoV-2 interacts with the human body, and how the immune system fights it. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science have developed a mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 infection that reveals a key role for the innate immune system in controlling viral load. (2021-01-20)

Curtin find could slash energy use and cost in making silicon
Curtin University researchers have uncovered a method of making silicon, found commonly in electronics such as phones, cameras and computers, at room temperature. (2021-01-20)

Decoding breast milk to make better baby formula (video)
What makes breast milk so good for babies? In this episode of Reactions, our host, Sam, chats with chemist Steven Townsend, Ph.D., who's trying to figure out which sugar molecules in breast milk make it so unique and difficult to mimic. (2021-01-19)

Male butterflies mark their mates with repulsive smell during sex to 'turn off' other suitors
Butterflies have evolved to produce a strongly scented chemical in their genitals that they leave behind after sex to deter other males from pursuing their women - scientists have found. Researchers discovered a chemical made in the sex glands of the males of one species of tropical butterfly is identical to a chemical produced by flowers to attract butterflies. The study published in PLOS Biology today (19 January 2021) identified a gene for the first time. (2021-01-19)

Spilling the beans on coffee's true identity
People worldwide want their coffee to be both satisfying and reasonably priced. To meet these standards, roasters typically use a blend of two types of beans, arabica and robusta. But, some use more of the cheaper robusta than they acknowledge, as the bean composition is difficult to determine after roasting. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have developed a new way to assess exactly what's in that cup of joe. (2021-01-13)

Superheroes, foods and apps bring a modern twist to the periodic table
Many students, especially non-science majors, dread chemistry. The first lesson in an introductory chemistry course typically deals with how to interpret the periodic table of elements, but its complexity can be overwhelming to students with little or no previous exposure. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Journal of Chemical Education introduce an innovative way to make learning about the elements much more approachable -- by using ''pseudo'' periodic tables filled with superheroes, foods and apps. (2021-01-13)

Compound from medicinal herb kills brain-eating amoebae in lab studies
Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a deadly disease caused by the ''brain-eating amoeba'' Naegleria fowleri, is becoming more common in some areas of the world, and it has no effective treatment. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Chemical Neuroscience have found that a compound isolated from the leaves of a traditional medicinal plant, Inula viscosa or ''false yellowhead,'' kills the amoebae by causing them to commit cell suicide in lab studies, which could lead to new treatments. (2021-01-13)

UCF researchers use advanced light to reveal how different biofuels behave
Vehicles have evolved to become more efficient and sophisticated, but their fuel hasn't necessarily evolved along with them. The Department of Energy is determined to identify cleaner burning and renewable alternatives to gasoline, and through the work of two UCF researchers, the DOE is one step closer to that goal. (2021-01-12)

USTC obtains Pd-Pt tesseracts for oxygen reduction reaction
A team led by Prof. ZENG Jie from Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale and Prof. BAO Jun from National Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory of University of Science and Technology of China of the Chinese Academy of Sciences made breakthrough in the controlled synthesis of Pd-Pt tesseracts for ORR and the mechanism investigation of their etching process. (2021-01-12)

Scientists make sustainable polymer from sugars in wood
Scientists from the University of Bath have made a sustainable polymer using the second most abundant sugar in nature, xylose. (2021-01-11)

Single-dose COVID-19 vaccine triggers antibody response in mice
Across the world, health care workers and high-risk groups are beginning to receive COVID-19 vaccines, offering hope for a return to normalcy amidst the pandemic. However, the vaccines authorized for emergency use in the U.S. require two doses to be effective, which can create problems with logistics and compliance. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Central Science have developed a nanoparticle vaccine that elicits a virus-neutralizing antibody response in mice after only a single dose. (2021-01-08)

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