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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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Exploring natural ways to maintain keratin production in hair follicles

Roy et al. | Apr 29, 2024

Exploring natural ways to maintain keratin production in hair follicles
Image credit: Roy and Roy, 2024

We are looking into natural ways to help hair grow better and stronger by studying keratin synthesis in human hair follicles. The reason for conducting this research was to have the ability to control hair growth through future innovations. We wanted to answer the question: How can we find natural ways to enhance hair growth by understanding the connection with natural resources, particularly keratin dynamics? The main focus of this experiment is understanding the promotion of keratin synthesis within human hair follicles, which is important for hair development and health. While keratin is essential for the growth and strength of body tissues, including skin and hair, our research hints at its specific synthesis within hair follicles. In our research utilizing castor oil, coconut oil, a turmeric and baking soda mixture, and a sugar, honey, and lemon mixture, we hypothesize that oils, specifically coconut oil and castor oil, will enhance keratin synthesis, whereas mixtures, such as the turmeric and baking soda mixture and the sugar, honey, and lemon mixture, will result in a decrease keratin synthesis. The methods used show how different natural substances influence keratin formation within the hair follicles. The experiment involved applying natural resources to hair strands and follicles, measuring their length under the microscope daily, and assessing their health and characteristics over seven days. In summary, our research helps us understand how hair grows better. We found that using natural items like essential oils effectively alters keratin growth within the hair follicles and hair strands.

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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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Efficacy of electrolytic treatment on degrading microplastics in tap water

Schroder et al. | Apr 23, 2023

Efficacy of electrolytic treatment on degrading microplastics in tap water
Image credit: Imani

Here seeking to identify a method to remove harmful microplastics from water, the authors investigated the viability of using electrolysis to degrade microplastics in tap water. Compared to control samples, they found electrolysis treatment to significantly the number of net microplastics, suggesting that this treatment could potentially implemented into homes or drinking water treatment facilities.

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A Quantitative Analysis of the Proliferation of Microplastics in Williamston’s Waterways

Schafer et al. | Feb 17, 2019

A Quantitative Analysis of the Proliferation of Microplastics in Williamston’s Waterways

Plastic debris can disrupt marine ecosystems, spread contaminants, and take years to naturally degrade. In this study, Wu et al aim to establish an understanding of the scope of Williamston, Michigan’s microplastics problem, as well as to attempt to find the source of these plastics. Initially, the authors hypothesize that the Williamston Wastewater Treatment Plant was the primary contributor to Williamston’s microplastics pollution. Although they find a general trend of increasing concentrations of microplastics from upstream to downstream, they do not pinpoint the source of Williamston’s microplastics pollution in the present research.

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Do Attractants Bias the Results of Malaise Trap Research?

Martinez et al. | Jan 22, 2020

Do Attractants Bias the Results of Malaise Trap Research?

Malaise traps are commonly used to collect flying insects for a variety of research. In this study, researchers hypothesized the attractants used in these traps may create bias in insect studies that could lead to misinterpreted data. To test this hypothesis two different kinds of attractant were used in malaise traps, and insect diversity was assessed. Attractants were found to alter the dispersion of insects caught in traps. These findings can inform future malaise traps studies on insect diversity.

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The effect of Omega-3 on bovine blood cells as a potential remedy for Cerebral Cavernous Malformations

Pulluru et al. | Sep 22, 2023

The effect of Omega-3 on bovine blood cells as a potential remedy for Cerebral Cavernous Malformations
Image credit: Carolien van Oijen

Here, the authors investigated if dietary Omega-3 fatty acids could reduce the potential for cerebral cavernous malformations, which are brain lesions that occur due to a genetic mutation where high membrane permeability occurs between endothelial cell junctions. In a bovine-based study where some cows were fed an Omega-3 diet, the authors found the membranes of bovine blood cells increased in thickness with Omega-3 supplementation. As a result, they suggest that dietary Omega-3 could be considered as a possible preventative measure for cerebral cavernous malformations.

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