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Dune flora can emerge from seed islands (Concon, Chile)

Farías Giusti-Bilz et al. | Dec 07, 2020

Dune flora can emerge from seed islands (Concon, Chile)

In the field of ecology, little is known about how plant communities originate. Through the process of characterizing dunes, mounds of sand formed by the wind, and their plant communities we can get to know the physiognomy and floristic composition of the territory. Based on the hypothesis that dune flora can emerge from seed islands: holes in the sand 6 cm deep containing a mixture of seeds, broken branches of shrubbery, and rabbit feces, during spring, the authors determined the composition of 20 seed islands in the sand dunes of Concon, Chile and measured how many seeds germinated in each one.

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The Effects of Barley Straw (Hordeum vulgare) Extract and Barley Straw Pellets on Algal Growth and Water Quality

McHargue et al. | Oct 06, 2020

The Effects of Barley Straw (Hordeum vulgare) Extract and Barley Straw Pellets on Algal Growth and Water Quality

Algal overgrowth often threatens to clog irrigation pipes and drinking water lines when left unchecked, as well as releasing possible toxins that threaten plant and human health. It is thus important to find natural, non-harmful agents that can decrease algal growth without threatening the health of plants and humans. In this paper, the authors test the efficacy of barely extract in either liquid or pellet form in decreasing algal growth. While their results were inconclusive, the experimental set-up allows them to investigate a wider range of agents as anti-algal treatments that could potentially be adopted on a wider scale.

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Effects of vascular normalizing agents on immune marker expression in T cells, dendritic cells, and melanoma cells

Yaskolko et al. | Nov 03, 2021

Effects of vascular normalizing agents on immune marker expression in T cells, dendritic cells, and melanoma cells

Tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS) are lymph node-like structures that form at sites of inflammation, and their presence in cancer patients is predictive of a better clinical outcome. One significant obstacle to TLS formation is reduced immune cell infiltration into the tumor microenvironment (TME). Recent studies have shown that vasculature normalizing (VN) agents may override this defect to improve tissue perfusion and increased immune cell entry into the TME. However, their effects on immune cell and tumor cell phenotype remain understudied. Here the authors investigate whether treating tumor cells with VN would reduce their immunosuppressive phenotype and promote production of chemokine that recruit immune cells and foster TLS formation.

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Effects of Ocean Acidification on Marine Calcium Carbonate

Prahalad et al. | Jul 31, 2020

Effects of Ocean Acidification on Marine Calcium Carbonate

Industrialization has transformed human life and improved it for many. Nonetheless, a side effect has been an increase in chemical waste, which when not disposed of properly, has detrimental effects on surrounding habitats. An increase in ocean acidification could potentially affect many forms of life, disrupting the ecological balance in unforeseeable ways. In this article the authors explore the effect of acidification on corals and shells, and observe that an increase in ocean acidity has a significant effect on corals, but not shells. This illustrates how acidification could negatively affect marine life, and calls our attention to managing the factors that contribute to increasing the pH of the Earth's water bodies.

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Wound healing properties of mesenchymal conditioned media: Analysis of PDGF, VEGF and IL-8 concentrations

Prasad et al. | Dec 15, 2021

Wound healing properties of mesenchymal conditioned media: Analysis of PDGF, VEGF and IL-8 concentrations

Regenerative medicine has become a mainstay in recent times, and employing stem cells to treat several degenerative, inflammatory conditions has resulted in very promising outcomes. These forms of cell-based therapies are novel approaches to existing treatment modalities. In this study, the authors compared the concentrations of the cytokines PDGF, IL-8, and VEGF between conditioned and spent media of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to evaluate their potential therapeutic properties for wound healing in inflammatory conditions. They hypothesized that conditioned media contains higher concentrations of wound healing cytokines compared to spent media. The authors found that while IL-8 and VEGF were present in highest concentrations in conditioned media, PDGF was present in maximal amounts in spent media.

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Assessing CDK5 as a Nanomotor for Chemotactic Drug Delivery

Jiang et al. | Sep 08, 2022

Assessing CDK5 as a Nanomotor for Chemotactic Drug Delivery

Enzyme chemotaxis is a thermodynamic phenomenon in which enzymes move along a substrate concentration gradient towards regions with higher substrate concentrations and can be used to steer nanovehicles towards targets along natural substrate concentrations. In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, a gradient of tau protein forms in the bloodstream. Tau protein is a substrate of the enzyme CDK5, which catalyzes the phosphorylation of tau protein and can travel using chemotaxis along tau protein gradients to increasing concentrations of tau and amyloid-beta proteins. The authors hypothesized that CDK5 would be able to overcome these barriers of Brownian motion and developed a quantitative model using Michaelis-Menten kinetics to define the necessary parameters to confirm and characterize CDK5’s chemotactic behavior to establish its utility in drug delivery and other applications.

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Comparative singlet oxygen photosensitizer efficiency of berberine, rose bengal, and methylene blue by time course nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) monitoring of a photochemical 4+2 cycloaddition endoperoxide formation

Su et al. | May 14, 2021

Comparative singlet oxygen photosensitizer efficiency of berberine, rose bengal, and methylene blue by time course nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) monitoring of a photochemical 4+2 cycloaddition endoperoxide formation

Berberine, a natural product alkaloid, has been shown to exert biological activity via in situ production of singlet oxygen when photo irradiated. Berberine utilizes singlet oxygen in its putative mechanism of action, wherein it forms an activated complex with DNA and photosensitizes triplet oxygen to singlet oxygen to specifically oxidize guanine residues, thereby halting cell replication and leading to cell death. This has potential application in photodynamic therapy, alongside other such compounds which also act as photosensitizers and produce singlet oxygen in situ. The quantification of singlet oxygen in various photosensitizers, including berberine, is essential for determining their photosensitizer efficiencies. We postulated that the singlet oxygen produced by photoirradiation of berberine would be superior in terms of singlet oxygen production to the aforementioned photosensitizers when irradiated with UV light, but inferior under visible light conditions, due to its strong absorbance of UV wavelengths.

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Survival of Escherichia coli K-12 in various types of drinking water

Hanna et al. | Sep 25, 2022

Survival of <i>Escherichia coli</i> K-12 in various types of drinking water

For public health, drinking water should be free of bacterial contamination. The objective of this research is to identify the fate of bacteria if drinking water becomes contaminated and inform consumers on which water type enables the least bacteria to survive. We hypothesized that bottled mineral water would provide the most sufficient conditions for E. coli to survive. We found that if water becomes contaminated, the conditions offered by the three water types at room temperature allow E. coli to survive up to three days. At 72 hours, the bottled spring water had the highest average colony forming units (CFUs), with tap and mineral water CFU values statistically lower than spring water but not significantly different from each other. The findings of this research highlight the need of implementing accessible quality drinking water for the underserved population and for the regulation of water sources.

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Can Green Tea Alleviate the Effects of Stress Related to Learning and Long-Term Memory in the Great Pond Snail (Lymnaea stagnalis)?

Elias et al. | Jan 30, 2021

Can Green Tea Alleviate the Effects of Stress Related to Learning and Long-Term Memory in the Great Pond Snail (<em>Lymnaea stagnalis</em>)?

Stress and anxiety have become more prevalent issues in recent years with teenagers especially at risk. Recent studies show that experiencing stress while learning can impair brain-cell communication thus negatively impacting learning. Green tea is believed to have the opposite effect, aiding in learning and memory retention. In this study, the authors used Lymnaea stagnalis , a pond snail, to explore the relationship between green tea and a stressor that impairs memory formation to determine the effects of both green tea and stress on the snails’ ability to learn, form, and retain memories. Using a conditioned taste aversion (CTA) assay, where snails are exposed to a sweet substance followed by a bitter taste with the number of biting responses being recorded, the authors found that stress was shown to be harmful to snail learning and memory for short-term, intermediate, and long-term memory.

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