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This Week Online

October 17, 2011

New Brominated Chemicals Found In Gull Eggs

Although designed to be more environmentally friendly, new polybrominated flame retardants may accumulate in living tissues just as older ones do. Researchers have detected previously unidentified compounds consistent with these products in herring gull eggs collected around the Great Lakes. » Full Story Here

Spying On Single Cells

A test that detects the activity of a specific enzyme in individual human cells could predict how cancer patients will respond to chemotherapy drugs. The method, which uses microfluidics to single out cells for rapid testing, illuminates subtle cell-to-cell variations that existing tests miss but that could determine the course of disease. » Full Story Here

The Chemistry Of Sepia Photographs

In today's digital world, a single Photoshop click can give a photo a sepia look—the warm, brownish tint found in old photos. But around 1900, photographers such as Gertrude KÄsebier had to work their magic with darkroom chemistry. Art conservators previously thought mercury bichloride was KÄsebier's secret sepia ingredient, but new research suggests otherwise. » Full Story Here

Help CENtral Science Help Students

Join C&EN's blogging team in a fundraising campaign for public schools in need of chemistry resources. Through DonorsChoose.org, you can contribute money to any of several schools including one in California that needs lab coats, another in Arkansas that could use a balance, and one in North Carolina that seeks glassware. » Full Story Here

October 10, 2011

Bisphenol A Is Ubiquitous In Receipts

Researchers have detected the hormone-mimicking chemical bisphenol A in every receipt that they collected from seven U.S. cities. Other paper products, such as envelopes and newspapers, also frequently contain the compound, the study found. As a result, the authors conclude, people are routinely exposed to BPA through their skin, albeit at levels far lower than through diet. » Full Story Here

Skeletons Come To Light

To strengthen the skeleton, bone-gnawing cells called osteoclasts must first actually break it down. To catch osteoclasts in action, researchers have now developed fluorescent probes that stick to bone and light up only when osteoclasts are chomping on bone nearby. Spying on osteoclasts could help scientists develop new treatments for bone diseases like osteoporosis. » Full Story Here

Chemistry Carnival: Your Favorite Chemical Reactions

From the simple SN2 reaction to a polymerization that converts oranges into plastic, reactions of all types receive their due in the 22 entries for C&EN's Your Favorite Chemical Reactions blog carnival. » Full Story Here

People On Social Media Respond To A Nobel

Associate Editor Carmen Drahl tracks the run-up and reactions online to the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (also see page 7). Predictions? Consistently wrong. Some on Twitter hadn't heard of new laureate Dan Shechtman, but many celebrated his win, including a university chaplain. » Full Story Here

October 3, 2011

Designing Lithium-Ion Batteries To Last

A lithium-ion battery sporting a new cathode design stores twice as much energy as those found in today's portable electronics. And the cathode doesn't degrade after repeated recharging. The design may help battery manufacturers overcome problems that have kept a promising high-energy battery technology from reaching the market. » Full Story Here

Sunlight Is An Effective Disinfectant

Sunlight beating down on water in clear plastic or glass bottles can kill pathogens inside. But this simple method's effectiveness in improving health has been questioned. Now field tests in Kenya provide data to support it. » Full Story Here

Two Drugs Team Up To Slow Breast Cancer

Alone, Pfizer's Aromasin struggles to combat resistant forms of breast cancer. But with the help of Novartis' Afinitor, the drug can slow disease progression, according to new clinical data. Guest blogger SeeArrOh discusses the cooperating drugs' similarities to relatives from nature. » Full Story Here

Untangling Polymer Flow

In videos generated by a new computer model, molten low-density polyethylene flows out of a tube and through a narrow gap, spreading rapidly and colorfully. The simulations predict how such tangled polymers flow in tight spaces (see page 13). They should help industry develop new plastics and manufacture new products more efficiently and easily. » Full Story Here

September 26, 2011

Clothing Sheds Microplastics Into Sea

Most plastic pollution in the oceans takes the form of tiny, even microscopic, fragments. Researchers report that the majority of these plastic particles probably washed off synthetic fabrics.» Full Story Here

Seeing Inside Tears

Tears reveal more than just emotion: The salty drops may harbor signs of disease. Researchers have now developed a speedy microfluidics-based assay that detects specific proteins in tears, which could someday help doctors diagnose and treat eye diseases.» Full Story Here

Dow CEO Talks Manufacturing

To reinvigorate U.S. manufacturing and lure back lost jobs, the U.S. government should work with industry, just as it did in the race to put a man on the moon, says Dow CEO Andrew N. Liveris. C&EN Senior Editor Alex Tullo analyzes comments Liveris made recently on CNN, noting that the executive seems to have backed away from government incentives. » Full Story Here

Cultural Conservation Conference Coverage

Scientists have converged on Lisbon for the triennial conference of the International Council of Museums' Committee for Conservation. C&EN Senior Editor Sarah Everts reports that researchers are looking to replace formaldehyde in preserving animal specimens; others are exploring how fluorescent lights looked in artwork of the 1960s when they were new; and some scientists are hunting for ways to listen to degraded magnetic tape cassettes. Follow her meeting updates on the Artful Science blog. » Full Story Here

September 19, 2011

Giant Petri Dishes Promote Movie

hen Warner Bros. wanted to promote "Contagion," the new thriller about a global pandemic, they enlisted some microbial help. They daubed the film's title onto two giant petri dishes using bacteria and fungi instead of paint. Over time, the organisms grew to display the title surrounded by biohazard symbols. Check out a video about the petri dish posters on C&EN's Newscripts blog. » Full Story Here

Nanomedicines Stick To Cellulose

Nanomedicines are becoming increasingly popular. Some researchers worry, however, that these drugs encapsulated in nanoparticles may pass through the body into sewage and into the environment, where they may pose a threat to wildlife. Now a study finds that polymeric nanomedicines adsorb onto cellulose, a surface commonly found in the environment. » Full Story Here

Device Tests Toxic Waters

Detecting toxic water contaminants could become easier thanks to a bioluminescent sensor being developed by scientists in Israel. The device uses bacteria to spot and quantify different types of contaminants—heavy metals, oxidants, or mutagens—in flowing water. » Full Story Here

Oil Is Oil, Even In The Arctic

As oil firms eye the rich petroleum reserves beneath the Arctic Ocean, scientists worry about the impact of spills on the delicate ecosystem. Scientists have postulated that polar marine species are more sensitive to toxic petroleum compounds than temperate species are. However, a new study finds that polar species respond to oil in much the same way that their temperate cousins do. » Full Story Here

September 12, 2011

No Progress On Nitrosamines In U.S. Cigarettes

For more than 30 years, scientists have known how to reduce cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines in cigarettes. But according to a new study, today's cigarettes have levels of these chemicals similar to cigarettes made three decades ago. » Full Story Here

Of PCs, TVs, And Climate Change

Bucking conventional wisdom, a modeling study has found that consumer electronics such as computers, TVs, and stereos outrank appliances in the home's production of greenhouse gas emissions. Their growing contribution stems from their energy-intensive manufacturing process and their short lifetimes. » Full Story Here

Handwriting Analysis Meets Chemistry

What do your hand-drawn chemical structures say about you? The Newscripts blog is collecting and comparing readers' renditions of three organic molecules. Come contribute your own chemical John Hancock. » Full Story Here

Carnival Of Chemistry

CENtral Science has launched a blog carnival, a series of posts dedicated to a single theme: favorite chemical reactions. Add to the festivities by submitting your own blog posts. » Full Story Here

September 5, 2011

Owl Eggs Reveal Complex Pollutant Patterns

An animal's load of persistent organic pollutants depends on more than the amount of the chemicals in the environment, according to a long-term study of tawny owls. The study connects variations in pollutant levels in the owls' eggs with changes in weather conditions and the birds' food supply. » Full Story Here

Cheap, Simple Test Spots Protein-Protein Interactions

To discover peptide-based drug candidates, researchers often monitor how a disease-related protein interacts with libraries of small peptides. A graphene oxide-based assay could provide chemists with an inexpensive means to detect these protein-protein interactions. » Full Story Here

New Device Monitors Oxygen Level During Surgery

In the operating room, surgeons make crucial decisions based on the levels of blood flow and oxygen in a patient's tissues. They restore blood flow to oxygen-starved tissue and clamp arteries to tissue they plan to excise. Now researchers have developed a noninvasive imaging system that can present real-time data on oxygenation levels at almost video frame rates. » Full Story Here

Special Delivery For A Synthesis Victory

The total synthesis of N-methylwelwitindolinone C isothiocyanate stumped chemists for almost 20 years (see page 16). After Neil Garg of UCLA reported the first total synthesis of the compound last month, John Wood of Colorado State University sent Garg's team a hand-made congratulatory gift: beer glasses with the retrosynthetic scheme etched onto the side. Check out the glasses on C&EN's Newscripts blog. » Full Story Here

August 29, 2011

ACS National Meeting News

C&EN reporters have converged on Denver for the national meeting. Follow up-to-the-minute news coverage of the meeting, along with "C&EN Picks" videos that spotlight noteworthy sessions. » Full Story Here

Llama Antibodies Corralled

Along with a nasty reputation for being spitters, llamas have another unusual feature: They produce antibodies that lack a light chain. These simple antibodies could be useful in the clinic because they're easier to produce and more resistant to heat than conventional antibodies are. Now, for the first time, researchers have isolated high-affinity llama antibodies that recognize a small molecule. » Full Story Here

Decoding Alchemists' Lab Books

"The red dragon devoured the white eagle." It's not the way a chemist today would describe mixing nitric acid and ammonium chloride. But in the 15th through 17th centuries, alchemists used such metaphors to keep their methods secret. In a video on C&EN's YouTube channel, Larry Principe (see page 40) of Johns Hopkins University describes his efforts to decipher these codes and understand alchemists' experiments. » Full Story Here

Fishing Out Dilute Disease Biomarkers

Because specific microRNA sequences signal different stages of cancers, Alzheimer's, and other diseases, scientists think that finding the nucleic acids could help monitor and predict disease progression. A new technique may make that task easier by directly detecting the microRNAs in blood samples at sub-femtomolar concentrations. » Full Story Here

August 22, 2011

Mussels Strong-Arm Nutrients In Great Lakes

Since the early 1990s, two European mussel species have invaded the Great Lakes, covering the lake bottoms. Meanwhile, levels of the nutrient phosphorus have dropped. A new study suggests that the mussels triggered this change by sequestering the nutrient near the lakes' shores. » Full Story Here

ACS National Meeting Picks

Want the scoop on newsworthy sessions at the national meeting in Denver? Check out C&EN Picks, a series of videos that will run Sunday through Wednesday of the meeting to spotlight sessions selected by C&EN reporters. » Full Story Here

Tadpoles Help Hunt For Better Anesthetics

Although general anesthetics have been in use for more than 150 years, scientists still don't understand the molecular mechanisms behind them. To help discover new anesthetics with fewer side effects, researchers want to find the proteins that the drugs target (see page 13). In a video on C&EN's YouTube channel, University of Pennsylvania scientists show how tadpoles help their search. » Full Story Here

Some Gulf Spill Chemicals Remain Underwater

Scientists have found that a collection of toxic hydrocarbons from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill remain dissolved in the Gulf of Mexico. But they disagree on the data's meaning. While some tout the lack of release of these compounds into the atmosphere as good news for cleanup workers' health, others worry about the hazards of less-studied chemicals. » Full Story Here

August 15, 2011

Chip Singles Out Cell

Randomness is a part of life, even at the cellular level. For example, a spontaneous change in protein expression can cause a tumor to metastasize. But researchers have developed a microfluidic chip that traps thousands of individual cells at once to help researchers catch a glimpse of rare cellular events. » Full Story Here

Resolving Nanosilver's Cloudy Toxicity Picture

For toxicologists, silver nanoparticles present a conundrum: Does their toxicity in the environment stem from the nanoparticles themselves or from the silver ions that slough off the particles? Measuring these different forms of silver can be difficult. Now researchers have developed a method that can distinguish the two in consumer products like nasal sprays. » Full Story Here

Sweet Science Of Glucose

Glucose may seem like a humble sugar that fuels basic physiological functions, including muscle contraction. But guest blogger SeeArrOh points out a newly discovered role for the sugar that is more exotic: turning differentiated cells back into pluripotent stem cells. » Full Story Here

Better Than Invisible Ink

A shiny, glasslike material holds a secret message that can be read only after wiping it with liquid (see related story, page 7). In a video, a Harvard researcher demonstrates that the patterned materials change colors depending on the liquid they're wiped with. The new technology could identify specific chemicals in spills or verify fuel grades at the gas pump. » Full Story Here

August 1, 2011

Cell Phone Counts Cells

Adding one more function to a growing list of applications for cell phones, researchers have developed a medical device that turns a cell phone into a miniature flow cytometer. Doctors in remote villages could use the device to test for diseases including AIDS, cancer, and simple microbial infections. » Full Story Here

Could Water Costs Sink Algae?

Someday green algal slime could synthesize biodiesel used to power vehicles. But today's technology requires seven times more energy to pump and transport water around algae-growing plants than those facilities can produce, according to a recent study. » Full Story Here

Furniture Linked To PBDE Levels In People

California has some of the strictest standards for furniture flammability in the world. Furniture manufacturers have met these standards by applying flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Now a study of pregnant immigrants living in California suggests that living with PBDE-containing furniture may lead to high blood levels of the chemicals. » Full Story Here

ACS Board Reports From Baltimore

Scientific freedom and short-term help for unemployed members were among the topics discussed by committees at the ACS Board of Directors meeting in June. C&EN compiles official reports from the committees' presentations. » Full Story Here

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