A root canal ranks high on most people’s list of dreaded dental procedures. Although the lengthy and sometimes painful surgery relieves the agony of an infection, a root canal results in a dead tooth with no living soft tissue, or dental pulp, inside. Today, scientists report development of a peptide hydrogel designed to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels and dental pulp within a tooth after the procedure.
Soldiers on the battlefield or at remote bases often have to wait weeks for vital replacement parts. Now scientists report they have found a way to fabricate many of these parts within hours under combat conditions using water bottles, cardboard and other recyclable materials found on base as starting materials for 3D printing. They say this ‘game-changing’ advance could improve operational readiness, reduce dependence on outside supply chains and enhance safety.
Once in the territory of science fiction, “nanobots” are closer than ever to becoming a reality, with possible applications in medicine, manufacturing, robotics and fluidics. Today, scientists report progress in developing the tiny machines: They have made nanobot pumps that destroy nerve agents, while simultaneously administering an antidote.
In January, raging storms caused medical emergencies along the U.S. East Coast, prompting the Red Cross to issue an urgent call for blood donations. The nation’s blood supply was especially in need of O-type blood that can be universally administered in an emergency. Now, scientists say they have identified enzymes — from the human gut — that can turn type A and B blood into O, as much as 30 times more efficiently than previously studied enzymes.
Maple trees are best known for their maple syrup and lovely fall foliage. But it turns out that the beauty of those leaves could be skin-deep — and that’s a good thing. Today, scientists report that an extract from the leaves may prevent wrinkles.
Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society (ACS), is today unveiling its annual “Talented 12” list. This award program, now in its fourth year, and for the first time sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific, recognizes young global stars in the chemical sciences that are working to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems. These up-and-coming innovators in chemistry will be debuted at an event today at ACS’ 256th National Meeting & Exposition. They are also featured in this week’s issue of C&EN.
Many people rely on contact lenses to improve their vision. But these sight-correcting devices don’t last forever — some are intended for a single day’s use — and they are eventually disposed of in various ways. Now, scientists are reporting that throwing these lenses down the drain at the end of their use could be contributing to microplastic pollution in waterways.
— In remote areas of the world or in regions with limited resources, everyday items like electrical outlets and batteries are luxuries. Health care workers in these areas often lack electricity to power diagnostic devices, and commercial batteries may be unavailable or too expensive. New power sources are needed that are low-cost and portable. Today, researchers report a new type of battery — made of paper and fueled by bacteria — that could overcome these challenges.
The life-threatening bacteria called MRSA can cripple a hospital since it spreads quickly and is resistant to treatment. But scientists report that they are now making advances in a new technique that avoids antibiotics. Instead, they are using light to activate oxygen, which then wipes out antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The method also could be used to treat other microbial infections, and possibly even cancer.
It’s likely not the first thing you think of when you see elephant dung, but this material turns out to be an excellent source of cellulose for paper manufacturing in countries where trees are scarce, scientists report. And in regions with plenty of farm animals such as cows, upcycling manure into paper products could be a cheap and environmentally sound method to get rid of this pervasive agricultural waste.
Tiny floating robots could be useful in all kinds of ways, for example, to probe the human gut for disease or to search the environment for pollutants. In a step toward such devices, researchers describe a new marriage of materials, combining ultrathin 2-D electronics with miniature particles to create microscopic machines.
From moon landings to mobile phones, many of the farfetched visions of science fiction have transformed into reality. In the latest example of this trend, scientists report that they have developed a powerful printer that could streamline the creation of self-assembling structures that can change shape after being exposed to heat and other stimuli.
Drug overdoses are taking a huge toll on public health, with potent synthetic drugs posing a particular threat. Medical professionals are scrambling to meet the growing demand for emergency room treatment, but they’re hampered by the lack of a quick and easy test to screen patients for these “designer” drugs.
Setting off smoke bombs is more than good fun on the Fourth of July. The military uses smoke grenades in dangerous situations to provide cover for people and tanks on the move. But the smoke arms race is on. Increasingly, sensors can now go beyond the visible range into the infrared (IR) region of the spectrum.
The Colonial Pipeline, which carries fuel from Texas to New York, ruptured last fall, dumping a quarter-million gallons of gas in rural Alabama. By the time the leak was detected during routine inspection, vapors from released gasoline were so strong they prevented pipeline repair for days. Now, scientists are developing technology that would alert pipeline managers about leaks as soon as failure begins, avoiding the environmental disasters and fuel distribution disruptions resulting from pipeli…
Silver nanoparticles are being used in clothing for their anti-odor abilities but some of this silver comes off when the clothes are laundered. The wastewater from this process could end up in the environment, possibly harming aquatic life, so researchers have attempted to recover the silver. Now, one group reports in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering that detergent chemistry plays a significant role in how much of this silver can be removed from laundry wastewater.
Strong odors are an indicator that food has gone bad, but there could soon be a new way to sniff foul smells earlier on. As reported in ACS Nano, researchers have developed a bioelectronic “nose” that can specifically detect a key decay compound at low levels, enabling people to potentially take action before the stink spreads. It can detect rotting food, as well as be used to help find victims of natural disasters or crimes.
Wildfires, cigarette smoking and vehicles all emit a potentially harmful compound called isocyanic acid. The substance has been linked to several health conditions, including heart disease and cataracts. Scientists investigating sources of the compound have now identified off-road diesel vehicles in oil sands production in Alberta, Canada, as a major contributor to regional levels of the pollutant. Their report appears in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Most people agree that chocolate tastes great, but is there a way to make it taste even better? Perhaps, according to scientists who looked at different conditions that can put a strain on cocoa trees. Reporting in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they say that although the agricultural method used to grow cocoa trees doesn’t matter that much, the specific weather conditions do.
With antibiotic resistance on the rise, bacterial contamination of food is becoming more problematic. Now in a study appearing in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, scientists report that they have developed an antibacterial “sugar-glass” coating in which viruses that destroy bacteria are embedded and are kept stable for up to three months.