Time to bring you up to date on the latest science headlines I’ve put together for other sites this last couple of weeks, so here’s a quick round-up:
On the SpectroscopyNOW site, this issue, I covered natural chemicals that can help sunflowers soak up toxic cadmium from the soil (another example of the phytoremediation process I discussed in more detail on Sciencebase.com recently). I also describe a new approach to spectroscopy that could help chemists work out the absolute structure of natural products with medicinal potential.
In the same issue, under the X-ray banner, I explain how US researchers have for the first time homed in on the role of the trace element selenium in male infertility. Their work offers some new clues as to what leads to malformed sperm in some cases.
I also report on yet another “omics”, in which conservators take a leaf out of the biologists’ handbook to find a way to judge a book not by its cover, but by its odour.
Over, on the Intute physical sciences blog, formerly my monthly Spotlight column, I reported on proton spin, magnetic wind, and the latest catalysis research with implications for industry.
And, ever present, the ubiquitous and omnipresent Alchemist. First to fall under The Alchemist’s crystalline gaze is Korean work into coating yeast particles with a protective silica shell to stabilize the organism for new lines of research. Geochemistry billions of years old reveals a sulfidic past and answers questions about how the Earth got its oxygen-rich atmosphere. In biophysical chemistry, US scientists have found a way to extend the redox range of copper-containing proteins and in computational chemistry Dutch scientists explain precisely how hydrogen interacts with copper surfaces. Good news for those fearful of mercury dental fillings, as a new composite material emerges from polymer and nanochemistry research. Finally, a cash injection from US recovery funds could see the establishment of yet another “Facebook for scientists”, only this time it’s aimed squarely at American institutions.