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A Taste of Sweetness in Bioplastics

Tsai et al. | Apr 05, 2019

A Taste of Sweetness in Bioplastics

Sweet potatoes are one of the most common starches in Taiwan, and sweet potato peels hold significant potential to make biodegradable plastics which can alleviate the environmental impact of conventional petroleum-based plastics. In this paper, Tsai et al created starch-based bioplastics derived from sweet potato peels and manipulated the amount of added glycerol to alter the plastic’s strength and flexibility properties. Their results indicated that higher concentrations of glycerol yield more malleable plastics, providing insights into how recycled agricultural waste material might be used to slow down the rate of pollution caused by widespread production of conventional plastics.

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String analysis of exon 10 of the CFTR gene and the use of Bioinformatics in determination of the most accurate DNA indicator for CF prediction

Carroll et al. | Jul 12, 2020

String analysis of exon 10 of the CFTR gene and the use of Bioinformatics in determination of the most accurate DNA indicator for CF prediction

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease caused by mutations in the CFTR gene. In this paper, the authors attempt to identify variations in stretches of up to 8 nucleotides in the protein-coding portions of the CFTR gene that are associated with disease development. This would allow screening of newborns or even fetuses in utero to determine the likelihood they develop cystic fibrosis.

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Reducing Crop Damage Caused by Folsomia candida by Providing an Alternate Food Source

Tamura et al. | May 28, 2018

Reducing Crop Damage Caused by Folsomia candida by Providing an Alternate Food Source

Tamura and Moché found that Folsomia candida, a common crop pest, prefers to consume yeast instead of lettuce seedlings. The authors confirmed that even with the availability of both lettuce seedlings and yeast in the same dish, Folsomia candida preferred to eat the yeast, thereby reducing the number of feeding injuries on the lettuce seedlings. The authors propose that using this preference for yeast may be a way to mitigate crop damage by this pest.

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The Effect of Different Concentrations of Iron on the Growth of Egeria (Elodea) Densa

Hu et al. | Jan 08, 2015

The Effect of Different Concentrations of Iron on the Growth of <em>Egeria (Elodea) Densa</em>

Minerals such as iron are essential for life, but too much of a good thing can be poisonous. Here the authors investigate the effect of iron concentrations on the growth of an aquatic plant and find that supplementing small amounts of iron can help, but adding too much can be bad for the plant. These results should help inform decisions on allowable iron concentrations in the environment, aquatic farming, and even home aquariums.

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Cathodal Galvanotaxis: The Effect of Voltage on the distribution of Tetrahymena pyriformis

Zheng et al. | Jun 10, 2019

Cathodal Galvanotaxis: The Effect of Voltage on the distribution of <em>Tetrahymena pyriformis</em>

The surface of the unicellular eukaryote, Tetrahymena pyriformis, is covered with thousands of hair-like cilia. These cilia are very similar to cilia of the human olfactory and respiratory tracts making them model organisms for studying cilia function and pathology. The authors of this study investigated the effect of voltage on T. pyriformis galvanotaxis, the movement towards an electrical stimulus. They observed galvanotaxis towards the cathode at voltages over 4V which plateau, indicating opening of voltage gated-ion channels to trigger movement.

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Effects of Paan Extracts on Periodontal Ligament and Osteosarcoma Cells

Venkatachalam et al. | Sep 20, 2018

Effects of Paan Extracts on Periodontal Ligament and Osteosarcoma Cells

In South Asian countries, the major cause of oral cancer is reported to be chewing paan, which is comprised of betel leaf daubed with slaked lime paste and areca nut. To investigate how paan may contribute to the onset of cancer, the authors treated two immortalized cell lines with extracts of betel leaf, areca nut, and lime and evaluated how these treatments affected cell proliferation and cell death. Initial results indicate that while betel leaf alone may inhibit cell growth, areca nut promoted cancer cell survival and proliferation, even when co-treated with betel leaf. These data suggest that areca nut could exacerbate the progression of oral cancer in humans.

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The Effects of Post-Consumer Waste Polystyrene on the Rate of Mealworm Consumption

Green et al. | Nov 29, 2018

The Effects of Post-Consumer Waste Polystyrene on the Rate of Mealworm Consumption

In a world where plastic waste accumulation is threatening both land and sea life, Green et al. investigate the ability of mealworms to breakdown polystyrene, a non-recyclable form of petrochemical-based polymer we use in our daily lives. They confirm that these organisms, can degrade various forms of polystyrene, even after it has been put to use in our daily lives. Although the efficiency of the degradation process still requires improvement, the good news is, the worms are tiny and themselves are biodegradable, so we can use plenty of them without worrying about space and how to get rid of them. This is very promising and certainly good news for the planet.

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Artificial Intelligence Networks Towards Learning Without Forgetting

Kreiman et al. | Oct 26, 2018

Artificial Intelligence Networks Towards Learning Without Forgetting

In their paper, Kreiman et al. examined what it takes for an artificial neural network to be able to perform well on a new task without forgetting its previous knowledge. By comparing methods that stop task forgetting, they found that longer training times and maintenance of the most important connections in a particular task while training on a new one helped the neural network maintain its performance on both tasks. The authors hope that this proof-of-principle research will someday contribute to artificial intelligence that better mimics natural human intelligence.

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Effects of Wi-Fi EMF on Drosophila melanogaster

Anand et al. | Jan 29, 2020

Effects of Wi-Fi EMF on <em>Drosophila melanogaster</em>

While increased access to Wi-Fi has been a great advancement, we have a limited understanding if there are any health effects on animals. In this study, Anand and Anand exposed fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) to different concentrations of Wi-Fi electromagnetic fields, and observed effects on their reproduction and survivability.

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