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Optical anisotropy of crystallized vanillin thin film: the science behind the art

Wang et al. | Jul 09, 2024

Optical anisotropy of crystallized vanillin thin film: the science behind the art
Image credit: The authors

Microscopic beauty is hiding in common kitchen ingredients - even vanillin flavoring can be turned into mesmerizing artwork by crystallizing the vanillin and examining it under a polarizing microscope. Wang and Pang explore this hidden beauty by determining the optimal conditions to grow crystalline vanillin films and by creating computer simulations of chemical interactions between vanillin molecules.

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Impact of Soil Productivity on the Growth of Two Meyer Lemon Trees

Shen et al. | Dec 14, 2020

Impact of Soil Productivity on the Growth of Two Meyer Lemon Trees

Here, the authors aimed to apply home soil testing to identify the cause of the growth differences between two lemon trees. They hypothesized that differences in physical and chemical soil characteristics were influencing differences in soil productivity and plant growth. Overall, the study demonstrated the effectiveness of home soil testing to characterize soils and help homeowners solve common gardening problems.

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Exploring Unconventional Growing Methods to Promote Healthy Growth in Common Household Plants: Tagetes patula L. and Lepidium sativum

Nguyen et al. | Feb 25, 2021

Exploring Unconventional Growing Methods to Promote Healthy Growth in Common Household Plants: <i>Tagetes patula</i> L. and <i>Lepidium sativum</i>

This study focused on finding more sustainable growing methods that reduce chemical fertilizer or water usage and can be used at the household level for garden plants. Metrics for healthy plant growth were height at first bloom, growing time, and survival rate. The Deep Water Culture (DWC) treatment for garden cress plants significantly increased the height at first bloom compared to the control group. For rates of surviving plants, the treatments had little effect on garden cress, but the Eggshell Grounds, Wick System, and DWC system groups outperformed the control group for marigolds.

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Breaking the Ice: A Scientific Take on the Ice Melting Abilities of Household Salts

Sehgal et al. | Dec 04, 2017

Breaking the Ice: A Scientific Take on the Ice Melting Abilities of Household Salts

The use of salt to melt ice is a common and important practice to keep roadways safe during winter months. However, various subtypes of salt differ in their chemical and physical properties, as well as their environmental impact. In this study, the authors measure the effectiveness of different salts at disrupting ice structures and identify calcium chloride as the most effective.

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Synthesis of a novel CCR1 antagonist for treatment of glioblastoma

Jan et al. | May 05, 2021

Synthesis of a novel CCR1 antagonist for treatment of glioblastoma

Glioblastoma is a brain cancer caused by the presence of a fast-growing, malignant tumor in the brain. As of now, this cancer is universally lethal due to lack of efficacious treatment options. C-C chemokine receptor 1 (CCR1) is a G-protein coupled receptor that controls chemotaxis, the movement of cells in response to chemical stimuli. This research aims to synthesize potential CCR1 antagonists by coupling carboxylic acids with a triazole core. We synthesized these compounds using a simple carboxylic acid coupling and confirmed the identity of the final compounds using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.

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Characterizing Quorum Sensing-Induced Bioluminescence in Variable Volumes With Vibrio fischeri Using Computer Processing Methods

Abdel-Azim et al. | Jun 22, 2020

Characterizing Quorum Sensing-Induced Bioluminescence in Variable Volumes With <em>Vibrio fischeri</em> Using Computer Processing Methods

Understanding how bacteria respond to other bacteria could facilitate their ability to initiate and maintain their infectiousness. The phenomenon by which bacteria signal to each other via chemical signals is called quorum sensing, which could be targeted to deter bacterial infection in some cases if better understood. In this article, the authors study how a bacterium called V. fischeri uses quorum sensing to change bioluminescence, an easy readout that facilitates studying quorum sensing in this strain.

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Androgen Diffusion Patterns in Soil: Potential Watershed Impacts

Corson et al. | Jan 24, 2019

Androgen Diffusion Patterns in Soil: Potential Watershed Impacts

Androgens are natural or synthetic steroid hormones that control secondary male sex characteristics. Androgens are excreted in cattle urine and feces, and can run off or seep into nearby waters, negatively impacting aquatic life and potentially polluting human water sources. Here, the authors investigated the effectiveness of soil as a natural barrier against androgen flow into vulnerable waterways. Their results, obtained by testing diffusion patterns of luminol, an androgen chemical analog, indicated that soil is a poor barrier to androgen diffusion.

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Modular mimics of neuroactive alkaloids - design, synthesis, and cholinesterase inhibitory activity of rivastigmine analogs

Yu et al. | Sep 12, 2022

Modular mimics of neuroactive alkaloids - design, synthesis, and cholinesterase inhibitory activity of rivastigmine analogs

Naturally occurring neuroactive alkaloids are often studied for their potential to treat Neurological diseases. This team of students study Rivastigmine, a potent cholinesterase inhibitor that is a synthetic analog of physostigmine, which comes from the Calabar bean plant Physostigma venenosum. By comparing the effects of optimized synthetic analogs to the naturally occurring alkaloid, they determine the most favorable analog for inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), the enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) to terminate neuronal transmission and signaling between synapses.

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