Acid rain has caused devastating decreases in ecosystems across the globe. To mimic the effect of acid rain on the environment, the authors analyzed the growth of gram-negative (Escherichia coli) and gram-positive (Staphylococcus epidermidis) bacteria in agar solutions with different pH levels. Results show that in a given acidic environment there was a significant decrease in bacterial growth with an increase in vinegar concentration in the agar, suggesting that bacterial growth is impacted by the pH of the environment. Therefore, increased levels of acid rain could potentially harm the ecosystem by altering bacterial growth.
This study is focused on the distribution of microplastics in Long Island, NY. Microplastics are plastic particles that measure less than 5 mm in length and pose an environmental risk due to their size, composition, and ubiquitous location in the marine environment. Focusing on the South Shore of Long Island, the authors investigated the locations and concentrations of microplastics at four locations along the shore line. While they did not find significant differences in the number of microplastics per location, there were microplastics at all four locations. This finding is important to drive future research and environmental policy as well.
Treatments inhibiting Notch signaling pathways have been explored by researchers as a new approach for the treatment of glioblastoma tumors, which is a fast-growing and aggressive brain tumor. Recently, retinoic acid (RA) therapy, which inhibits Notch signaling, has shown a promising effect on inhibiting glioblastoma progression. RA, which is a metabolite of vitamin A, is very important in embryonic cellular development, which includes the regulation of multiple developmental processes, such as brain neurogenesis. However, high doses of RA treatment caused many side effects such as headaches, nausea, redness around the injection site, or allergic reactions. Therefore, we hypothesized that a combination treatment of RA and siRNA targeting NOTCH1 (siNOTCH1), the essential gene that activates Notch signaling, would effectively inhibit brain cancer cell proliferation. The aim of the study was to determine whether inhibiting NOTCH1 would inhibit the growth of brain cancer cells by cell viability assay. We found that the combination treatment of siNOTCH1 and RA in low concentration effectively decreased the NOTCH1 expression level compared to the individual treatments. However, the combination treatment condition significantly decreased the number of live brain cancer cells only at a low concentration of RA. We anticipate that this novel combination treatment can provide a solution to the side effects of chemotherapy.
Ethinyl estradiol and progestin norgestrel are commonly present in contraceptive tablets and it is unknown how they affect the environment. In this study, the authors investigate the role that ethinyl estradiol and progestin norgestrel have on the growth of flowering plants. The percentage germination, embryonic and adventitious tissue proliferation, root length, and shoot length were measured in V. radiata and T. aestivum treated with each compound and results demonstrate that ethinyl estradiol and progestin norgestrel can induce growth in both plants at certain concentrations. These findings have important implications as societal use of chemicals increases and more make their way into the environment.
Since cough syrup and mouthwash are commonly used items and often end up flushed down the drain or toilet, they can eventually find their way into into freshwater waterways which can be harmful to many marine organisms, such as planarians (aquatic flatworms). To investigate the effects of these substances on planarians, the authors considered different concentrations of Listerine mouthwash and Robitussin syrup along with their active ingredients. By using a behavioral assay, they identified that the active ingredients of cough syrup detrimentally affect planarian behavior. They suggest that these findings could be used to guide disposal methods to lessen detrimental effects on aquatic life.
Surface tension and viscosity are both measures of how "sticky" a liquid is, but are they related? The authors here investigate the surface tension and viscosity of mixtures of water with different concentrations of agar agar, flour, or detergent. Surprisingly, they find that the least viscous mixtures had the strongest surface tensions, indicating that the two properties are not linked.
In this study, the authors investigate just how effectively paper towels can absorb different types of liquid and whether changing the properties of the towel (such as folding it) affects absorbance. Using variables of either different liquid types or the folded state of the paper towels, they used thorough approaches to make some important and very useful conclusions about optimal ways to use paper towels. This has important implications as we as a society continue to use more and more paper towels.
Here, recognizing a declining supply of rock phosphate, as well as its role in crop fertilization, the authors investigated a fungus that forms a symbiotic relationship with many crops. They found that symbiosis between the fungus and common bean plant increased the affinity of the plant towards absorbing nutrients as evidenced by lower root-to-shoot ratios in beans planted in soil with various concentrations of phosphorous and salinity.
Microplastics can have detrimental effects on various wildlife, as well as pollute aquatic and atmospheric environments. This study focused on air samples collected from five locations to investigate microplastic concentrations in atmospheric fallout from indoor and outdoor settings, through a process utilizing a hand-held vacuum pump and a rotameter. The authors found that the difference between the average number of microplastic fragments and fibers collected from all locations was not large enough to be statistically significant. The results collected in this study will contribute to knowledge of the prevalence of airborne microplastics.
Sesame (Sesamum indicum) and moringa (Moringa oleifera) have natural antioxidants that could prevent cancer growth. Previously, this group found that sesame and moringa individually suppress eye tumor grown in the Drosophila melanogaster model. In the present study, combinations of sesame and moringa at different concentrations were included in the D. melanogaster diet. The impact on eye tumor development was assessed at different stages of growth.