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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

An apple a day could keep obesity away

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:11 PM PDT

Nondigestible compounds in apples -- specifically, Granny Smith apples -- may help prevent disorders associated with obesity, scientists have concluded. "We know that, in general, apples are a good source of these nondigestible compounds but there are differences in varieties," said the study's lead researcher. "Results from this study will help consumers to discriminate between apple varieties that can aid in the fight against obesity."

Childhood asthma linked to lack of ventilation for gas stoves

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:05 PM PDT

Parents with children at home should use ventilation when cooking with a gas stove, researchers are recommending, after a new study showed an association between gas kitchen stove ventilation and asthma, asthma symptoms and chronic bronchitis.

Software for automated sorting of genomes of individual microbial species through metagenomes

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:04 PM PDT

Microbes -- the single-celled organisms that dominate every ecosystem on Earth -- have an amazing ability to feed on plant biomass and convert it into other chemical products. Tapping into this talent has the potential to revolutionize energy, medicine, environmental remediation and many other fields. The success of this effort hinges in part on metagenomics, the emerging technology that enables researchers to read all the individual genomes of a sample microbial community at once. However, given that even a teaspoon of soil can contain billions of microbes, there is a great need to be able to cull the genomes of individual microbial species from a metagenomic sequence. Enter MaxBin. MaxBin is an automated software program for binning the genomes of individual microbial species from metagenomic sequences.

Sweat-eating bacteria may improve skin health

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:00 PM PDT

Bacteria that metabolize ammonia, a major component of sweat, may improve skin health and some day could be used for the treatment of skin disorders, such as acne or chronic wounds. Human volunteers using the bacteria reported better skin condition and appearance compared with a placebo control group.

Plants prepackage beneficial microbes in their seeds

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:00 PM PDT

Plants have a symbiotic relationship with certain bacteria. These 'commensal' bacteria help the plants extract nutrients and defend against invaders -- an important step in preventing pathogens from contaminating fruits and vegetables. Now, scientists have discovered that plants may package their commensal bacteria inside of seeds; thus ensuring that sprouting plants are colonized from the beginning.

Nitrogen fingerprint in biomolecules could be from early sun

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 12:45 PM PDT

The pattern of nitrogen in biomolecules like proteins, which differ greatly from that seen in other parts of the solar system, could have been generated by the interactions of light from the early sun with nitrogen gas in the nebula, long before Earth formed.

Causes of California drought linked to climate change

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 10:35 AM PDT

The extreme atmospheric conditions associated with California's crippling drought are far more likely to occur under today's global warming conditions than in the climate that existed before humans emitted large amounts of greenhouse gases, scientists say.

DNA signature found in Ice Storm babies: Prenatal maternal stress exposure to natural disasters predicts epigenetic profile of offspring

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 07:53 AM PDT

The number of days an expectant mother was deprived of electricity during Quebec's Ice Storm in 1998 predicts the epigenetic profile of her child, a new study finds.

Climate detectives reveal handprint of human caused climate change in Australia

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 07:53 AM PDT

Australia's hottest year on record in 2013 along with the accompanying droughts, heat waves and record-breaking seasons of that year was virtually impossible without the influence of human-caused global warming, scientists say.

Ancient human genome from southern Africa throws light on our origins

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 07:53 AM PDT

The skeleton of a man who lived 2,330 years ago in the southernmost tip of Africa tells us about ourselves as humans, and throws some light on our earliest common genetic ancestry. The man's genome was sequenced and shown to be one of the 'earliest diverged' -- oldest in genetic terms -- found to-date in a region where modern humans are believed to have originated roughly 200,000 years ago.

Dolphins are attracted to magnets: Add dolphins to the list of magnetosensitive animals, French researchers say

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 07:52 AM PDT

Add dolphins to the list of magnetosensitive animals, French researchers say. Dolphins are indeed sensitive to magnetic stimuli, as they behave differently when swimming near magnetized objects.

Smart, eco-friendly new battery made of seeds and pine resin

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:40 AM PDT

Present-day lithium batteries are efficient but involve a range of resource and environmental problems. Using materials from alfalfa (lucerne seed) and pine resin and a clever recycling strategy, researchers have now come up with a highly interesting alternative.

Predicting landslides with light

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:38 AM PDT

A team of researchers in Italy are expanding the reach of optical fiber sensors 'to the hills' by embedding them in shallow trenches within slopes to detect and monitor both large landslides and slow slope movements.

Tooth buried in bone shows prehistoric predators tangled across land, sea

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:06 AM PDT

Before dinosaurs, it was thought the top aquatic and terrestrial predators didn't often interact. But researchers have discovered that the smaller of the two apex predators was potentially targeting the larger animal.

Greenland Ice Sheet more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:05 AM PDT

A new study finds that the Greenland Ice Sheet, which covers 1.7 million square kilometers and contains enough ice to raise sea levels worldwide by seven meters, is less stable and more sensitive to climate change than previously thought.

Climate change appears a mixed bag for common frog

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:05 AM PDT

After warmer winters, wood frogs breed earlier and produce fewer eggs, a researcher has found. The same study also found that frogs produce more eggs during winters with more rain and snow.

On the trail of the truffle flavor

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:04 AM PDT

Truffles, along with caviar, are among the most expensive foods in the world. Because they grow underground, people use trained dogs or pigs to find them. But the distinctive smell of truffles is not only of interest to gourmets. A group of scientists have discovered that the smell of white truffles is largely produced by soil bacteria which are trapped inside truffle fruiting bodies.

Investigating 'underground' habitat of Listeria bacteria

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:03 AM PDT

The literature describes Listeria as ubiquitous bacteria with widespread occurrence. Yet they only become a problem for humans and animals when they contaminate food processing facilities, multiply, and enter the food chain in high concentrations. An infection with Listeria monocytogenes can even be fatal for humans or animals with weakened immune systems.

Smelly discovery challenges effectiveness of antimicrobial textiles

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 12:04 PM PDT

Anti-odor clothing may not be living up to its promise, and a researcher is saying it could all be a matter of how the product was tested.

Turmeric compound boosts regeneration of brain stem cells

Posted: 25 Sep 2014 05:58 PM PDT

A bioactive compound found in turmeric promotes stem cell proliferation and differentiation in the brain, reveals new research. The findings suggest aromatic turmerone could be a future drug candidate for treating neurological disorders, such as stroke and Alzheimer's disease.

Leading health experts urge European governments to 'mobilize all possible resources' to fight Ebola epidemic

Posted: 25 Sep 2014 05:57 PM PDT

Leading health experts urge EU Member States to "mobilize all possible resources" to assist West Africans in controlling the Ebola epidemic. They call for European countries to take specific measures, including allowing health professionals to volunteer for temporary leave to assist with the crisis, and incentivising private companies to reverse travel restrictions to affected regions.

Tropical disease prevalence in Latin America presents opportunity for U.S.

Posted: 25 Sep 2014 03:27 PM PDT

Recently published prevalence estimates of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in five Latin American countries -- Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela -- could suggest a new direction for United States foreign policy in the region, according to a tropical-disease expert.

Genetic 'instruction set' for antibodies knocks down hepatitis C in mice

Posted: 25 Sep 2014 12:08 PM PDT

A triple-punch of antibodies both prevented hepatitis C infection and wiped out the disease after it had established itself in laboratory mice, a study has found. Instead of delivering the antibodies directly, the researchers administered a genetic 'instruction set' that, once in a cell, developed into antibodies that target the portions of the virus that do not mutate.

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