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How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

Everitt et al. | Feb 15, 2021

How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

As the world struggled to grapple with the emerging COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many countries instated policies to help minimize the spread of the virus among residents. This inadvertently led to a decrease in travel, and in some cases, industrial output, two major sources of pollutants in today's world. Here, the authors investigate whether California's shelter-in-place policy was associated with a measurable decrease in water and air pollution in that state between June and July of 2020, compared to the preceeding five years. Their findings suggest that, by some metrics, air quality improved within certain areas while water quality was relatively unchanged. Overall, these findings suggest that changing human behavior can, indeed, help reduce the level of air pollutants that compromise air quality.

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The Effects of Antioxidants on the Climbing Abilities of Drosophila melanogaster Exposed to Dental Resin

Prashanth et al. | Jan 17, 2019

The Effects of Antioxidants on the Climbing Abilities of <em>Drosophila melanogaster</em> Exposed to Dental Resin

Dental resins can be a source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which in unruly amounts can be toxic to cellular and overall health. In this report, the authors test whether the consumption of antioxidant rich foods like avocado and asparagus can protect against the effect of dental resin-derived ROS. However, rather than testing humans, they use fruit flies and their climbing abilities as an experimental readout.

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Utilizing a Wastewater-Based Medium for Engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the Biological Production of Fatty Alcohols and Carboxylic Acids to Replace Petrochemicals

Ramesh et al. | Oct 02, 2019

Utilizing a Wastewater-Based Medium for Engineered <em>Saccharomyces cerevisiae</em> for the Biological Production of Fatty Alcohols and Carboxylic Acids to Replace Petrochemicals

Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast is used to produce bioethanol, an alternative to fossil fuels. In this study, authors take advantage of this well studied yeast by genetically engineering them to increase fatty acid biosynthesis and culturing in a cost-effective wastewater based medium; potentially providing a sustainable alternative to petrochemicals.

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The Non-Thermal Effect of UV-B Irradiation on Onion Growth

Nashnoush et al. | Jun 09, 2020

The Non-Thermal Effect of UV-B Irradiation on Onion Growth

UV-B radiation due to the depletion of ozone threatens plant life, potentially damaging ecosystems and dismantling food webs. Here, the impact of UV-B radiation on the physiology and morphology of Allum cepa, the common onion, was assessed. Mitosis vitality decreased, suggesting UV-B damage can influence the plant’s physiology.

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The association between hunting and the feeding and vigilance times of American bison in North Dakota and Montana

McCandless et al. | Mar 30, 2022

The association between hunting and the feeding and vigilance times of American bison in North Dakota and Montana

This study hypothesized that feeding times of bison in the hunted populations would be significantly shorter than that of bison in the nonhunted population and vigilance times would be significantly longer than that of bison in the nonhunted population. Notably, the results found significant differences in feeding and vigilance times of bison in the hunted and non-hunted populations. However, these differences did not support the original hypothesis; bison in hunted populations spent more time feeding and less time vigilant than bison in the non-hunted population. Future studies investigating the association between hunting and bison behaviors could use populations of bison that are hunted more frequently, which may provide different results.

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Characterization of a UPEC DegS Mutant in vitro and in vivo

Bradley et al. | Mar 16, 2015

Characterization of a UPEC <em>DegS</em> Mutant <em>in vitro</em> and <em>in vivo</em>

DegS is an integral inner membrane protein in E. coli that helps break down misfolded proteins. When it is mutated, there is a large increase in the production of outer membrane vesicles (OMVs), which are thought to play a role in pathogenesis. This study used mutant strains of uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) to characterize the role of DegS and OMVs on UPEC virulence.

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The Effect of the Stomatal Index on the Net Rate of Photosynthesis in the Leaves of Spinacia oleracea, Vinca minor, Rhododendron spp, Epipremnum aureum, and Hedera spp

Segev et al. | Nov 15, 2015

The Effect of the Stomatal Index on the Net Rate of Photosynthesis in the Leaves of <i>Spinacia oleracea</i>, <i>Vinca minor</i>, <i>Rhododendron spp</i>, <i>Epipremnum aureum</i>, and <i>Hedera spp</i>

The density of stomata, or stomatal index, in plant leaves is correlated with the plant's rate of photosynthesis, and affected by the plant's climate. In this paper, authors measure the stomatal index of five plant species to derive their rates of photosynthesis. These results could help track changes in plants' photosynthetic rates with changing climate.

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Measuring Exoplanetary Radii Using Transit Photometry

Tang et al. | May 07, 2019

Measuring Exoplanetary Radii Using Transit Photometry

Studying exoplanets, or planets that orbit a star other than the Sun, is critical to a greater understanding the formation of planets and how Earth's solar system differs from others. In this study the authors analyze the transit light curves of three hot Jupiter exoplanets to ultimately determine if and how these planets have changed since their discovery.

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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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