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Integrated Ocean Cleanup System for Sustainable and Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems

Anand et al. | Nov 14, 2020

Integrated Ocean Cleanup System for Sustainable and Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems

Oil spills are one of the most devastating events for marine life. Finding ways to clean up oil spills without the need for harsh chemicals could help decrease the negative impact of such spills. Here the authors demonstrate that using a combination of several biodegradable substances can effectively adsorb oil in seawater in a laboratory setting. They suggest further exploring the potential of such a combination as a possible alternative to commonly-used non-biodegradable substances in oil spill management.

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Testing Different Polymers and Boron Nitride Nanotube Properties in Fabrication of Ion-selective Membranes

Yi et al. | Sep 28, 2020

Testing Different Polymers and Boron Nitride Nanotube Properties in Fabrication of Ion-selective Membranes

One largely untapped source of clean energy is the use of osmotic gradients where freshwater and saltwater are mixed, for example at estuaries. To harness such energy, charge-selective membranes are needed to separate the anions and cations in saltwater, establishing an electric potential like a battery. The objective of this study was twofold: to investigate the creation of the polymer matrix and test the properties of boron nitride nanotubes, as both are essential in the creation of an ion-selective membrane. Out of three polymer samples tested in this study, the mixture known as Soltech 704 showed the best resistance to etching, as well as the highest UV cure rate.

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Development of Two New Efficient Means of Wastewater Treatment

Bao et al. | Feb 06, 2014

Development of Two New Efficient Means of Wastewater Treatment

The water we use must be treated and cleaned before we release it back into the environment. Here, the authors investigate two new techniques for purifying dissolved impurities from waste water. Their findings may give rise to more cheaper and more efficient water treatment and help keep the planet greener.

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Investigating the Role of the Novel ESCRT-III Recruitment Factor CCDC11 in HIV Budding: A Potential Target for Antiviral Therapy

Takemaru et al. | Feb 24, 2020

Investigating the Role of the Novel ESCRT-III Recruitment Factor CCDC11 in HIV Budding: A Potential Target for Antiviral Therapy

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In this work, Takemaru et al explored the role of Coiled-Coil Domain-Containing 11 (CCDC11) in HIV-1 budding. Their results suggest that CCDC11 is critical for efficient HIV-1 budding, potentially indicating CCDC11 a viable target for antiviral therapeutics without major side effects.

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The Cilium- and Centrosome-Associated Protein CCDC11 Is Required for Cytokinesis via Midbody Recruitment of the ESCRT- III Membrane Scission Complex Subunit CHMP2A

Ahmed et al. | Mar 14, 2018

The Cilium- and Centrosome-Associated Protein CCDC11 Is Required for Cytokinesis via Midbody Recruitment of the ESCRT- III Membrane Scission Complex Subunit CHMP2A

In order for cells to successfully multiply, a number of proteins are needed to correctly coordinate the replication and division process. In this study, students use fluorescence microscopy and molecular methods to study CCDC11, a protein critical in the formation of cilia. Interestingly, they uncover a new role for CCDC11, critical in the cell division across multiple human cell lines.

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The Effect of Poverty on Mosquito-borne Illness Across the United States

Kar et al. | Feb 25, 2021

The Effect of Poverty on Mosquito-borne Illness Across the United States

Mosquito-borne diseases are a major issue across the world, and the objective for this project was to determine the characteristics that make some communities more susceptible to these diseases than others. The authors identified and studied characteristics that make communities susceptible to mosquito-borne diseases, including water in square miles, average temperature, population, population density, and poverty rates per county. They found that the population of a county is the best indicator of the prevalence of mosquito-borne diseases.

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Heavy Metal Contamination of Hand-Pressed Well Water in HuNan, China

Long et al. | Oct 20, 2019

Heavy Metal Contamination of Hand-Pressed Well Water in HuNan, China

Unprocessed water from hand-pressed wells is still commonly used as a source of drinking water in Chenzhou, the “Nonferrous Metal Village” of China. Long et al. conducted a study to measure the heavy metal contamination levels and potential health effects in this area. Water samples were analyzed through Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICPOES) and the concentrations of 20 metal elements. Results showed that although none of the samples had dangerous levels of heavy metals, the concentrations of Al, Fe, and Mn in many locations substantially exceeded those suggested in the Chinese Drinking Water Standard and the maximum contaminant levels of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The authors have made an important discovery regarding the water safety in HuNan and their suggestions to install water treatment systems would greatly benefit the community.

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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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Antimicrobial properties of common household spices on microbes cultured from two kitchen locations

Carroll et al. | May 12, 2022

Antimicrobial properties of common household spices on microbes cultured from two kitchen locations

The number of bacterial infections in humans is rising, and a major contributor is foodborne illnesses, which affect a large portion of the population and result in many hospitalizations and deaths. Common household cleaners are an effective strategy to combat foodborne illness, but they are often costly and contain harmful chemicals. Thus, the authors sought to test the antimicrobial effectiveness of spices (clove, nutmeg, astragalus, cinnamon, turmeric, and garlic) on microbes cultured from refrigerator handles and cutting boards. Results from this study demonstrate long-lasting, antimicrobial effects of multiple spices that support their use as alternatives to common household cleaners.

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Artificial Intelligence-Based Smart Solution to Reduce Respiratory Problems Caused by Air Pollution

Bhardwaj et al. | Dec 14, 2021

Artificial Intelligence-Based Smart Solution to Reduce Respiratory Problems Caused by Air Pollution

In this report, Bhardwaj and Sharma tested whether placing specific plants indoors can reduce levels of indoor air pollution that can lead to lung-related illnesses. Using machine learning, they show that plants improved overall indoor air quality and reduced levels of particulate matter. They suggest that plant-based interventions coupled with sensors may be a useful long-term solution to reducing and maintaining indoor air pollution.

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