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Going green: Microalgae as a feedstuff for grower steers
Engineers across the country have developed biofuels, food additives and skincare products using the adaptive power of microalgae. Livestock scientists see its potential as a sustainable, high-energy feedstuff as well as a protein supplement. (2015-07-21)

Shallow fracking raises questions for water, new Stanford research shows
Stanford scientist's investigations show that drinking water sources may be threatened by thousands of shallow oil and gas wells mined with the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing. A new study suggests safeguards. (2015-07-21)

Lessons learned from the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon oil spills
Five years ago this week, engineers stopped the Deepwater Horizon oil spill -- the largest one in US history, easily displacing the Exxon Valdez spill from the top spot. Now, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, takes a look at the lessons scientists are learning from these accidents to improve clean-up efforts and, perhaps, prevent spills altogether. (2015-07-15)

This is your brain on fried eggs
High-fat feeding can cause impairments in the functioning of the mesolimbic dopamine system, says Stephanie Fulton of the University of Montreal and the CHUM Research Centre. This system is a critical brain pathway controlling motivation. Fulton's findings, published today in Neuropsychopharmacology, may have great health implications. (2015-07-14)

Fracking report a 'road map' to safer energy production
A new report to California lawmakers on hydraulic fracturing provides an important road map for scientists as they strive to produce energy while protecting human health and the environment, according to a scientist with appointments at University of the Pacific and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who helped author the study. (2015-07-13)

Tropical peatland carbon losses from oil palm plantations may be underestimated
Draining tropical peatlands for oil palm plantations may result in nearly twice as much carbon loss as official estimates, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment and the Union of Concerned Scientists in the journal Environmental Research Letters. (2015-07-09)

New study shows that oil from surface-spill slicks can sink to sea floor
A first of its kind study that modeled oil slick weathering over time in a laboratory setting provides evidence that evaporation combined with sinking of the heavy components of surface-spill slicks can explain the presence of oil on the sea floor. This critical proof-of-concept addresses the ongoing controversy regarding the large amounts of oil found at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico and will impact future oil slick modeling and clean-up strategies. The study is published in Environmental Engineering Science. (2015-07-08)

Why the skin wrinkles more on certain parts of the face
Differences in the number of oil-secreting glands in the skin may help explain why wrinkles are shallower in the forehead than in the outer eye area. (2015-07-06)

Producing fuel from Canada oil sands emits more carbon than from US crude
The production of petroleum from Canada's oil sands is on the rise with much of it destined for US refineries. As the US takes stock of its greenhouse gas emissions, scientists report in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology that the current oil sands production of fuels from 'well-to-wheels' releases about 20 percent more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than making gasoline and diesel from conventional crudes. (2015-07-01)

Water used for hydraulic fracturing varies widely across United States
The amount of water required to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells varies widely across the country, according to the first national-scale analysis and map of hydraulic fracturing water usage detailed in a new study accepted for publication in Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. (2015-06-30)

PolyU develops a new method for rapid authentication of edible oils and screening of gutter oils
The Food Safety and Technology Research Centre under the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University has developed a new method for rapid authentication of edible oils and screening of gutter oils. (2015-06-29)

A deep, dark mystery
UC Santa Barbara geologist Jim Boles has found evidence of helium leakage from the Earth's mantle. (2015-06-29)

CCNY researchers develop eco-friendly oil spill solution
City College of New York researchers led by chemist George John have developed an eco-friendly biodegradable green 'herding' agent that can be used to clean up light crude oil spills on water. (2015-06-26)

Argonne analysis shows increased carbon intensity from Canadian oil sands
The US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory this week released a study that shows gasoline and diesel refined from Canadian oil sands has a higher carbon impact than fuels derived from conventional domestic crude sources. (2015-06-25)

Study finds a good appetizer could make your main course less enjoyable
Jacob Lahne, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management, published a study about how a good appetizer can make people enjoy the main course less, and a mediocre appetizer can make them enjoy the main course more. The study, 'The Great is the Enemy of the Good: Hedonic Contrast in a Coursed Meal,' was published in Food Quality and Preference. (2015-06-25)

Commodity market volatility more perception than reality
When grain and other commodity prices experienced explosive episodes between 2004 and 2013, the finger pointed toward index traders as the cause. University of Illinois researchers identified and date-stamped both upward and downward price bubbles for grain during that time period. They found that not only were index traders not to blame but that the bubbles didn't last nearly as long as many thought they did. (2015-06-23)

CU-Boulder, USGS: US mid-continent seismicity linked to high-rate injection wells
A dramatic increase in the rate of earthquakes in the central and eastern US since 2009 is associated with fluid injection wells used in oil and gas development, says a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder and the US Geological Survey. (2015-06-18)

Wastewater injection rate strongest trigger for induced quakes
A new study aiming to provide a better understanding of how injection wells in the US influence earthquake activity cites wastewater injection rate as a critical factor. (2015-06-18)

Oklahoma earthquakes linked to oil and gas drilling
A new Stanford study finds that the recent spike in triggered earthquakes in Oklahoma is primarily due to the injection of wastewater produced during oil production. (2015-06-18)

Open sesame: Making sesame seeds a growth area in global food production
The humble sesame seed has traditionally been unprofitable and difficult to harvest because it produces a low yield. A high percentage of sesame seeds grown are not suitable for human consumption. Now a Hebrew University of Jerusalem researcher has been awarded for producing a new elite sesame cultivar with enhanced yield and seed quality suitable for modern agricultural practice. This contributes to more sustainable agriculture and helps prevent the development of herbicide-resistant weeds. (2015-06-17)

Mold unlocks new route to biofuels
Scientists at the University of Manchester have made an important discovery that forms the basis for the development of new applications in biofuels and the sustainable manufacturing of chemicals. (2015-06-17)

Palm oil price change could save tigers, other species
Consumers will pay higher prices for palm oil made by companies that help to protect endangered species, finds a new US-UK study. Shoppers' willingness to pay more for 'conservation grade' palm oil could create profitable incentives for producers to preserve habitats for such endangered species as tigers, elephants, rhinos and orangutans, the study finds. (2015-06-15)

A new method of converting algal oil to transportation fuels
A new method of converting squalene, which is produced by microalgae, to gasoline or jet fuel, has been developed. This study is part of a research project titled 'Next-generation energies for Tohoku recovery. Task 2: R&D on using algae biofuels.' The project attempts to make use of oil-producing algae in wastewater treatment. The result will help to expand the utilization of oil that is produced from wastewater. (2015-06-15)

Higher prices for sustainable palm oil could save endangered species
Higher supermarket prices for eco-friendly palm oil could help save endangered species. Palm oil is used by the food industry as a cheap substitute for butter. But the conversion of tropical forests to oil palm plantations has had a devastating impact on plant and animal species including tigers, elephants, rhinos and orangutans. New research reveals that a willingness among consumers to pay more for sustainably-grown palm oil would incentivize producers to engage with conservation projects. (2015-06-15)

'Myths' persist about the increase in human-caused seismic activity
A Seismological Research Letters focus section to be published online June 10 addresses some common misconceptions about induced seismicity -- the biggest of which is that it is primarily related to oil and gas recovery by hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking.' (2015-06-09)

Greenhouse gas-caused warming felt in just months
The heat generated by burning a fossil fuel is surpassed within a few months by the warming caused by the release of its carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, a new study says. The release of CO2 into the atmosphere contributes to the trapping of heat that would otherwise be emitted into outer space. (2015-06-02)

Deepwater Horizon oil spill contributed to high number of Gulf dolphin deaths
As part of an unusual mortality event investigation, a team of scientists has discovered that dead bottlenose dolphins stranded in the northern Gulf of Mexico since the start of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have lung and adrenal lesions consistent with petroleum product exposure according to a paper published today in the peer-reviewed online journal PLOS ONE. (2015-05-20)

'Eternal flames' of ancient times could spark interest of modern geologists
Seeps from which gas and oil escape were formative to many ancient cultures and societies. They gave rise to legends surrounding the Delphi Oracle, Chimaera fires and 'eternal flames' that were central to ancient religious practices. Modern geologists and oil and gas explorers can learn much by delving into the geomythological stories, writes Guiseppe Etiope of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy. His research is published in the new Springer book 'Natural Gas Seepage.' (2015-05-18)

SMU conference to promote technology, economics of geothermal production in oil and gas fields
Southern Methodist University's renowned Geothermal Laboratory will host its seventh international energy conference and workshop on the SMU campus in Dallas, Texas, May 19-20. The conference is designed to promote transition of oil and gas fields to electricity-producing geothermal systems by harnessing waste heat and fluids from both active and abandoned fields. (2015-05-14)

Further assessment needed of dispersants used in response to oil spills
New commentary in Nature Reviews Microbiology by Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia and her colleagues argues for further in-depth assessments of the impacts of dispersants on microorganisms to guide their use in response to future oil spills. (2015-05-14)

Pure industrial chemicals by gasifying lignocellulosic biomass
VTT has demonstrated that lignocellulosic biomass can be successfully converted into pure BTX chemicals: benzene, toluene and xylene. (2015-05-13)

Bacteria the newest tool in detecting environmental damage
A team of researchers from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a method of using bacteria to help test for the presence of a wide array of pollutants. (2015-05-12)

Bacterial communities can act as precise biosensors of environmental damage
A multidisciplinary group of US-based researchers has shown that the mixture of species found within natural bacterial communities in the environment can accurately predict the presence of contaminants such as uranium, nitrate, and oil. The findings, published this week in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, show that the rapid sequencing of microbiomes in place at environmental sites can be used to monitor damage caused by human activity. (2015-05-12)

Mediterranean diet plus olive oil or nuts associated with improved cognitive function
Supplementing the plant-based Mediterranean diet with antioxidant-rich extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts was associated with improved cognitive function in a study of older adults in Spain but the authors warn more investigation is needed, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine. (2015-05-11)

Juvenile shale gas in Sweden
A new hydrogeochemical approach shows the juvenile age of shale gas. (2015-05-04)

Research seeks alternatives for reducing bacteria in fresh produce using nanoengineering
Nearly half of foodborne illnesses in the US have been attributed to contaminated fresh produce. Prevention and control of bacterial contamination on fresh produce is critical to ensure food safety. The current strategy remains industrial washing of the product in water containing chlorine. Due to sanitizer ineffectiveness there is an urgent need to identify alternative, natural antimicrobials. Wayne State University researchers have been exploring alternative antimicrobials along with nanoengineering techniques to address this need. (2015-04-29)

UM study: Oil and gas development transforms landscapes
Researchers at the University of Montana have conducted the first-ever broad-scale scientific assessment of how oil and gas development transforms landscapes across the US and Canada. (2015-04-28)

Partially logged rainforests could be emitting more carbon than previously thought
Global carbon emissions from forests could have been underestimated because calculations have not fully accounted for the dead wood from logging. (2015-04-28)

Build or burn? Competition for wood on the rise
Wood is becoming an increasingly popular raw material -- and not just in the construction sector. More and more private households and municipal authorities are also using wood for heating. All of which is driving competition for this desirable raw material. A team of researchers has been investigating the ecological, economic and social impacts that this 'run on wood' could have in Bavaria. (2015-04-28)

Chemistry of seabed's hot vents could explain emergence of life
Hot vents on the seabed could have spontaneously produced the organic molecules necessary for life, according to new research by UCL chemists. The study shows how the surfaces of mineral particles inside hydrothermal vents have similar chemical properties to enzymes, the biological molecules that govern chemical reactions in living organisms. This means that vents are able to create simple carbon-based molecules, such as methanol and formic acid, out of the dissolved CO2 in the water. (2015-04-27)

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