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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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The Long-Term Effect of CBD Crystals and CBD Oil on Depressive-Associated Rat Behaviors

Yang et al. | Dec 18, 2020

The Long-Term Effect of CBD Crystals and CBD Oil on Depressive-Associated Rat Behaviors

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical extracted from cannabis and shown by some studies to alleviate the symptoms of many mental disorders, especially major depressive disorder. The authors hypothesized that chronic treatments with purified CBD through oral administration would relieve depression-associated behaviors in normal healthy rats under adverse conditions. A statistical analysis of the experimental data suggested that long-term consumption of CBD could elicit depression associated symptoms in normal rats without depression. The results imply that people should consume CBD-containing products with extreme caution and highlight the need to carefully monitor the use of CBD in health care products.

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Racemic serine is less soluble than pure enantiomers due to stronger intermolecular hydrogen bonds

Ranka et al. | Nov 18, 2021

Racemic serine is less soluble than pure enantiomers due to stronger intermolecular hydrogen bonds

Seeking to develop a better understanding of the chemical and physical properties of amino acids that compose proteins, here the authors investigated the unusual relative insolubility of racemic mixtures of D- and L-serine compared to the solubility of pure D- or L-serine. The authors used a combination of microscopy and temperature measurements alongside previous X-ray diffraction studies to conclude that racemic DL-serine crystals consist of comparatively stronger hydrogen bond interactions compared to crystals of pure enantiomers. These stronger interactions were found to result in the unique release of heat during the crystallization of racemic mixtures.

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Capturing Harmful Air Pollutants Using an Electrospun Mesh Embedded with Zinc-based Nanocrystals

Doppalapudi et al. | May 12, 2020

Capturing Harmful Air Pollutants Using an Electrospun Mesh Embedded with Zinc-based Nanocrystals

Zeolithic imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8) is a specific metal-organic framework that has favorable qualities for use in an air filter and is known to be capable of adsorbing particulate matter. Therefore, the objective of this experiment was to determine the effectiveness of ZIF-8 in adsorbing polar, gaseous air pollutants, specifically nitrogen dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. In order to determine effectiveness, the percent change in concentration for various gases after the application of ZIF-8 crystals was measured via Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The work highlights crystals as a potentially promising alternative or addition to current filter materials to reduce atmospheric pollution.

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OLED Screens Better Exhibit the Color Black than LCD Screens

Donahue et al. | Nov 04, 2020

 OLED Screens Better Exhibit the Color Black than LCD Screens

There are two types of competing TV screens on the market, organic light emitting diode (OLED) and liquid crystal display (LCD). The better capability to exhibit black results in higher contrast images. Here, authors compared the ability of the two types of screens to show black in an environment eliminating external light.

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Investigating facilitated biofilm formation in Escherichia coli exposed to sublethal levels of ampicillin

Yang et al. | Jan 20, 2023

Investigating facilitated biofilm formation in <em>Escherichia coli</em> exposed to sublethal levels of ampicillin

Here, the authors recognized the tendency of bacteria to form biofilms, where this behavior offers protection against threats such as antibiotics. To investigate this, they observed the effects of sublethal exposure of the antibiotic ampicillin on E. coli biofilm formation with an optical density crystal violet assay. They found that exposure to ampicillin resulted in the favored formation of biofilms over time, as free-floating bacteria were eradicated.

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Using DNA Barcodes to Evaluate Ecosystem Health in the SWRCMS Reserve

Horton et al. | Sep 27, 2018

Using DNA Barcodes to Evaluate Ecosystem Health in the SWRCMS Reserve

Although the United States maintains millions of square kilometers of nature reserves to protect the biodiversity of the specimens living there, little is known about how confining these species within designated protected lands influences the genetic variation required for a healthy population. In this study, the authors sequenced genetic barcodes of insects from a recently established nature reserve, the Southwestern Riverside County Multi-Species Reserve (SWRCMSR), and a non-protected area, the Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) Menifee campus, to compare the genetic variation between the two populations. Their results demonstrated that the midge fly population from the SWRCMSR had fewer unique DNA barcode sequence changes than the MSJC population, indicating that the comparatively younger nature reserve's population had likely not yet established its own unique genetic drift changes.

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Homology modeling of clinically-relevant rilpivirine-resistant HIV-RT variants identifies novel rilpivirine analogs with retained binding affinity against NNRTI-resistant HIV mutations

Luk et al. | Jan 24, 2022

Homology modeling of clinically-relevant rilpivirine-resistant HIV-RT variants identifies novel rilpivirine analogs with retained binding affinity against NNRTI-resistant HIV mutations

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which affects tens of millions of individuals worldwide, can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). While there is currently no cure for HIV, the development of small molecule antiretroviral agents has greatly improved the prognosis of infected individuals, especially in developed countries. Here, the authors employ homology modeling and molecular docking towards the identification of novel rilpivirine analogs that retain high binding affinity to clinically relevant rilpivirine-resistant mutations of the HIV reverse transcriptase enzyme.

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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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