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Banana-based Biofuels for Combating Climate Change: How the Composition of Enzyme Catalyzed Solutions Affects Biofuel Yield

Klein-Hessling Barrientos et al. | May 27, 2020

Banana-based Biofuels for Combating Climate Change: How the Composition of Enzyme Catalyzed Solutions Affects Biofuel Yield

The authors investigate whether amylase or yeast had a more prominent role in determining the bioethanol concentration and bioethanol yield of banana samples. They hypothesized that amylase would have the most significant impact on the bioethanol yield and concentration of the samples. They found that while yeast is an essential component for producing bioethanol, the proportion of amylase supplied through a joint amylase-yeast mixture has a more significant impact on the bioethanol yield. This study provides a greater understanding of the mechanisms and implications involved in enzyme-based biofuel production, specifically of those pertaining to amylase and yeast.

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Effect of Manuka Honey and Licorice Root Extract on the Growth of Porphyromonas gingivalis: An In Vitro Study

Chandran et al. | Apr 11, 2018

Effect of Manuka Honey and Licorice Root Extract on the Growth of Porphyromonas gingivalis: An In Vitro Study

Chronic bad breath, or halitosis, is a problem faced by nearly 50% of the general poluation, but existing treatments such as liquid mouthwash or sugar-free gum are imperfect and temporary solutions. In this study, the authors investigate potential alternative treatments using natural ingredients such as Manuka Honey and Licorice root extract. They found that Manuka honey is almost as effective as commercial mouthwashes in reducing the growth of P gingivalis (one of the main bacteria that causes bad breath), while Licorice root extract was largely ineffective. The authors' results suggest that Manuka honey is a promising candidate in the search for new and improved halitosis treatments.

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The Perks of Watching a Movie: How the Portrayal of Anxiety and Depression in Film Affects Teenagers’ Perception of Anxiety and Depressive Disorders

Wolcott et al. | Sep 11, 2021

The Perks of Watching a Movie: How the Portrayal of Anxiety and Depression in Film Affects Teenagers’ Perception of Anxiety and Depressive Disorders

In film, anxiety and depressive disorders are often depicted inaccurately. When viewers are exposed to these inaccurate portrayals, they collect misinformation about the disorders, as well as people who live with them, leading to stigma. This study used a mixed-method descriptive approach to analyze 16 teenagers’ attitudes towards people with anxiety and depression. Results found that while participants understood how these portrayals create stigma, they did not attribute this to misinformation. These results can be used to help both the film industry and the movie-going public better understand the effects of inaccurate storytelling and the extent to which it informs public perception

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Effects of Paan Extracts on Periodontal Ligament and Osteosarcoma Cells

Venkatachalam et al. | Sep 20, 2018

Effects of Paan Extracts on Periodontal Ligament and Osteosarcoma Cells

In South Asian countries, the major cause of oral cancer is reported to be chewing paan, which is comprised of betel leaf daubed with slaked lime paste and areca nut. To investigate how paan may contribute to the onset of cancer, the authors treated two immortalized cell lines with extracts of betel leaf, areca nut, and lime and evaluated how these treatments affected cell proliferation and cell death. Initial results indicate that while betel leaf alone may inhibit cell growth, areca nut promoted cancer cell survival and proliferation, even when co-treated with betel leaf. These data suggest that areca nut could exacerbate the progression of oral cancer in humans.

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The effect of the consumption of the probiotic B. infantis on ethanol withdrawal symptoms in planaria (Dugesia dorotocephala)

McCandless et al. | Mar 16, 2021

The effect of the consumption of the probiotic B. infantis on ethanol withdrawal symptoms in planaria (Dugesia dorotocephala)

Alcohol use disorder is a chronic, relapsing disease that affects millions of Americans every day. There are limited treatment options for alcohol dependence and alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including depression and anxiety. Previous studies have shown that probiotics can decrease depression in rodents during maternal separation and anxiety in humans. Therefore, we hypothesized that the ethanol-withdrawn planaria who consumed probiotics would have decreased withdrawal symptoms as measured by increased motility compared to the ethanol-withdrawn planaria that were not fed probiotics. The ethanol-withdrawn planaria had a statistically significant decrease in motility compared to the control group, while the planaria that consumed probiotics had no statistically significant change in motility compared to the control group.

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The external presence of running water influences the root growth of pea plants (Phaselous vulgaris)

Shu et al. | Nov 10, 2020

The external presence of running water influences the root growth of pea plants (Phaselous vulgaris)

Each year, invasive tree roots cause large amounts of damage to underground pipes. While this is usually due to leaks and cracks, tree roots can also invade pipes that are structurally sound. We are interested in investigating whether plant roots have an affinity towards flowing water, measured through mass, even when the running water is not in direct contact with soil. We tested this by creating a choice chamber with water running under one end and no stimulus on the other end. Overall, the masses of the roots growing towards flowing water were greater than the masses of the roots growing towards the end with no stimulus, showing that plant roots did have an affinity towards flowing water.

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Open Source RNN designed for text generation is capable of composing music similar to Baroque composers

Goel et al. | May 05, 2021

Open Source RNN designed for text generation is capable of composing music similar to Baroque composers

Recurrent neural networks (RNNs) are useful for text generation since they can generate outputs in the context of previous ones. Baroque music and language are similar, as every word or note exists in context with others, and they both follow strict rules. The authors hypothesized that if we represent music in a text format, an RNN designed to generate language could train on it and create music structurally similar to Bach’s. They found that the music generated by our RNN shared a similar structure with Bach’s music in the input dataset, while Bachbot’s outputs are significantly different from this experiment’s outputs and thus are less similar to Bach’s repertoire compared to our algorithm.

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Effects of an Informational Waste Management App on a User’s Waste Disposal Habits

Rao et al. | Apr 28, 2021

Effects of an Informational Waste Management App on a User’s Waste Disposal Habits

While 75% of waste in the United States is stated to be recyclable, only about 34% truly is. This project takes a stance to combat the pillars of mismanaged waste through a modern means of convenience: the TracedWaste app. The purpose of this study was to identify how individuals' waste disposal habits improved and knowledge increased (i.e. correctly disposing of waste, understanding negative incorrect waste disposal) due to their use of an informational waste management app as measured by a survey using a 1-5 Likert Scale. The results showed that the TracedWaste app helped conserve abundant resources such as energy and wood, decrease carbon emissions, and minimize financial toll all through reducing individual impact.

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Repurposing citrus peel waste and its positive effects on our health and communities

Kim et al. | Feb 08, 2021

Repurposing citrus peel waste and its positive effects on our health and communities

Every year, more than 30% of food products go to waste. This is approximately 1.3 billion tons of food, which is equivalent to 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars. While conventional solid waste treatments and fertilization of food waste are common, citrus fruit peels require secondary applications and advanced disposal management due to their low pH values and high antimicrobial characteristics. Since citrus fruits are well-known sources of vitamin C and antioxidants, we hypothesized that their peels also contain high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants. In our study, five common citrus peels including grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, and tangerine, were used to determine the amounts of vitamin C and total soluble antioxidants.

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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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