Selasa, 04 Januari 2011

ScienceDaily Environment Headlines

for Tuesday, January 4, 2011

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Eating low-fat, thanks to lupin proteins (January 4, 2011) -- Food should be delicious, healthy and sustainably produced. Researchers are working on new methods to use as many parts of plants as possible for nutrition. In the future, vegetable ingredients could replace animal raw materials. Lupin seeds, for instance, can be used to produce low-fat, exquisite sausage products. ... > full story

The movement of tree sap analyzed (January 4, 2011) -- Scientists have used 3D modeling to analyze the mechanisms used to by trees to transport water in their interior. The objective: to discover the keys to the movement of sap in order to apply these advances to new hydraulic systems or to suction pumps. ... > full story

Not so bird-brained: 3D X-rays piece together the evolution of flight from fossils (January 3, 2011) -- Three-dimensional X-ray scanning equipment is being used to help chart the evolution of flight in birds, by digitally reconstructing the size of bird brains using ancient fossils and modern bird skulls. ... > full story

Firefly protein lights pathway to improved detection of blood clots (January 3, 2011) -- The enzyme that makes fireflies glow is lighting up the scientific path toward a long-sought new medical imaging agent to better monitor treatment with heparin, the blood thinner that millions of people take to prevent or treat blood clots, scientists are reporting. ... > full story

Hair color of unknown offenders is no longer a secret (January 3, 2011) -- The hair color of an unknown perpetrator who has committed a crime will soon no longer be a secret for forensic investigators. Scientists have discovered that DNA can be used to predict people's probable hair color. ... > full story

Even molds can suffer jet lag: Simple organisms shed light on inner clock (January 3, 2011) -- Humans are not the only species ruled by a circadian rhythm. Even simple organisms like molds are governed by an inner clock. ... > full story

How cells export and embed proteins in the membrane (January 3, 2011) -- Scientists have determined the structure of a ribosome-protein complex involved in carrying nascent proteins out of the cell. Their work could increase understanding of illnesses such as cystic fibrosis and some forms of Parkinson's disease. ... > full story

How does your green roof garden grow? (January 3, 2011) -- Growing plants on rooftops is an old concept that has evolved from simple sod roofing to lightweight "extensive green roofs". Researchers have evaluated the influence of substrate type and depth on establishment of five common green roof plants. A standout performer was saxifrage pink, which had an attractive appearance and persistent flowering habit, making it an excellent choice as a green roof plant. ... > full story

Humans helped vultures colonize the Canary Islands (January 3, 2011) -- The Egyptian vulture population of the Canary Islands was established following the arrival of the first human settlers who brought livestock to the islands. A genetic comparison of Iberian and Canarian birds found that the Egyptian vulture population in the Canary Islands was likely established around 2500 years ago -- around the same time as humans began to colonize the islands. ... > full story

Bizarre bioluminescent snail: Secrets of strange mollusk and its use of light as a possible defense mechanism revealed (January 2, 2011) -- Two scientists have provided the first details about the mysterious flashes of dazzling bioluminescent light produced by a little-known sea snail. ... > full story

Calculating tidal energy turbines' effects on sediments and fish (January 2, 2011) -- Engineers are developing computer models to study how changes in water pressure and current speed around tidal turbines affect sediment buildup and fish health. ... > full story

Enzyme cocktail could eliminate a step in biofuel process (January 2, 2011) -- Conversion of biomass to fuel requires several steps: chemical pretreatment to break up the biomass, detoxification to remove the toxic chemicals required in pretreatment, and microbial fermentation to convert the soluble sugars to fuels. Researchers have discovered an enzyme mixture that works in the presence of the toxic infused liquid biomass (hydrolysate), meaning that the detoxification step is unnecessary. ... > full story

Neandertals’ extinction not caused by deficient diets, tooth analysis shows (January 1, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered evidence to debunk the theory that Neandertals' disappearance was caused in part by a deficient diet -- one that lacked variety and was overly reliant on meat. After discovering starch granules from plant food trapped in the dental calculus on 40-thousand-year-old Neandertal teeth, the scientists believe that Neandertals ate a wide variety of plants and included cooked grains as part of a more sophisticated, diverse diet similar to early modern humans. ... > full story

Budding research links climate change and earlier flowering plants (January 1, 2011) -- New research shows that global warming may be impacting the blooming cycle of plants. ... > full story

Cloud atlas: Scientist maps the meaning of mid-level clouds (January 1, 2011) -- Clouds play a major role in the climate-change equation, but they are the least-understood variable in the sky, observes a geoscientist, who says mid-level clouds are especially understudied. ... > full story

What triggers mass extinctions? Study shows how invasive species stop new life (December 31, 2010) -- An influx of invasive species can stop the dominant natural process of new species formation and trigger mass extinction events, according to new research. The study of the collapse of Earth's marine life 378 to 375 million years ago suggests that the planet's current ecosystems, which are struggling with biodiversity loss, could meet a similar fate. ... > full story

Was Israel the birthplace of modern humans? (December 31, 2010) -- Archaeologists have discovered evidence that places Homo sapiens in Israel as early as 400,000 years ago -- the earliest evidence for the existence of modern humans anywhere in the world. ... > full story

New technology to speed cleanup of nuclear contaminated sites (December 31, 2010) -- Engineers have invented a new type of radiation detection and measurement device that will be particularly useful for cleanup of sites with radioactive contamination, making the process faster, more accurate and less expensive. ... > full story

Key role for a protein in cell division described (December 31, 2010) -- Just before a cell divides into two -- the basic act of reproducing life -- the cellular environment must be exquisitely prepared. The exact timing and localization of the vast array of molecules and processes involved in duplicating chromosomes and separating the offspring from the parent is one of the basic wonders of biology and is at the core of both healthy living and diseases such as cancer, which arise when the process goes awry. Now scientists have detailed the role of one protein, PRC1, that acts in the penultimate stage of cell division, helping to form the architectural structures, called central spindles, needed before the cell splits in two. ... > full story

System for detecting noise pollution in the sea and its impact on cetaceans (December 31, 2010) -- Researchers have developed the first system equipped with hydrophones able to record sounds on the seafloor in real time over the Internet. The system detects the presence of cetaceans and makes it possible to analyze how noise caused by human activity can affect the natural habitat of these animals and the natural balance of oceans. A new EU directive on the sea has ruled that all member states must comply with a set of indicators for measuring marine noise pollution before 2012. ... > full story

When their tools get dull, leaf-cutters switch jobs (December 31, 2010) -- When their razor-sharp mandibles wear out, leaf-cutter ants change jobs, remaining productive while letting their more efficient sisters take over cutting, say researchers. Their study provides a glimpse of nature's way of providing for its displaced workers. ... > full story

Study classifies and uses artificial proteins to analyze protein-protein interfaces (December 31, 2010) -- A new study suggests that there may be roughly a thousand structurally distinct protein-protein interfaces -- and that their structures depend largely on the simple physics of the proteins. ... > full story

Evolutionary arms race between smut fungi and maize plants (December 31, 2010) -- Fungi are a major cause of plant diseases and are responsible for large-scale harvest failure in crops like maize and other cereals all over the world. Scientists have now analyzed the genetic make-up of Sporisorium reilianum, an important maize parasite. ... > full story

Crops: Improving nitrogen use efficiency lessens environmental impact (December 31, 2010) -- Most agricultural crops require large quantities of nitrate-rich fertilizer to realize optimal yields. Increased interest in environmentally beneficial "low-input" approaches is challenging researchers to identify genotypes that have a characteristic called "high nutrient use efficiency", or NUE. Using vegetable types with high NUE could help growers lessen environmental impacts while maintaining high crop yields. A new study reported on improved NUE traits that resulted from grafting melon plants onto commercial rootstocks. ... > full story

New imaging advance illuminates immune response in breathing lung (December 30, 2010) -- In a recent study in mice, researchers developed a method to stabilize living lung tissue for imaging without disrupting the normal function of the organ. The method allowed the team to observe, for the first time, both the live interaction of living cells in the context of their environment and the unfolding of events in the immune response to lung injury. ... > full story

Link between ancient lizard fossil in Africa and today's Komodo dragon in Indonesia (December 30, 2010) -- Researchers have unearthed a mysterious link between bones of an ancient lizard found in Africa and the biggest, baddest modern-day lizard of them all, the Komodo dragon, half a world away in Indonesia. ... > full story

Bacteria provide example of one of nature's first immune systems, research shows (December 30, 2010) -- Scientists are uncovering the secrets of one of nature's most primitive immune systems through studying how bacteria incorporate foreign DNA from invading viruses into their own regulatory processes. ... > full story

Indoor plant intervention: New answers for health care design? (December 30, 2010) -- Could a plant "intervention" improve the well-being of patients in a difficult rehab process? Scientists have found that patients' overall physical and mental health improved during the program, but the presence of new plants did not increase the degree of improvement. However, pulmonary patients in the "plant intervention group" reported a larger increase in well-being during their rehabilitation program more often than lung patients from the "no-plant" control group. ... > full story

Gatekeeper for tomato pollination identified (December 30, 2010) -- Having identified a tomato pollen gene associated with blocking self-pollination in petunias and cross-species fertilization in tomatoes, researchers conclude that tomato plants use similar biochemical mechanisms to guard against inbreeding and cross-species hybridization. ... > full story

98.6 degrees Fahrenheit ideal temperature for keeping fungi away and food at bay (December 30, 2010) -- Two researchers have found that our 98.6 F (37 C) body temperature strikes a perfect balance: warm enough to ward off fungal infection but not so hot that we need to eat nonstop to maintain our metabolism. ... > full story

Mariana crow will go extinct in 75 years, study suggests (December 30, 2010) -- Researchers say the Mariana crow, a forest crow living on Rota Island in the western Pacific Ocean, will go extinct in 75 years. The extinction could happen almost twice as soon as previously believed. ... > full story

Back to the Dead Sea: Climate change study digs into half a million years of history (December 30, 2010) -- A new study is digging underneath the Dead Sea to reveal the historical health of the planet through the last 500,000 years -- and to learn more about what climate change may hold in store for our planet. ... > full story

Microfluidic device rapidly orients hundreds of embryos for high-throughput experiments (December 29, 2010) -- Researchers have developed a microfluidic device that automatically orients hundreds of fruit fly embryos to prepare them for research. The device could facilitate the study of such issues as how organisms develop their complex structures from single cells. ... > full story

Rodents were diverse and abundant in prehistoric Africa when our human ancestors evolved (December 29, 2010) -- Rodents have been one of the most common mammals in Africa for 50 million years. From deserts to rainforests, they flourished in prehistoric Africa, making them a plentiful food source. Now paleontologists are using rodent fossils to corroborate evidence from geology and plant and animal fossils about the ancient environments of our human ancestors and other mammals. ... > full story

Gene alteration in mice mimics heart-building effect of exercise (December 29, 2010) -- By tweaking a single gene, scientists have mimicked in sedentary mice the heart-strengthening effects of two weeks of endurance training, according to new research. The specific gene manipulation can't be done in humans, they say, but the findings may suggest a future strategy for repairing injured hearts through muscle regeneration. ... > full story

Protein helps parasite, toxoplasma gondii, survive in host cells (December 29, 2010) -- Researchers have learned why changes in a single gene, ROP18, contribute substantially to dangerous forms of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. The answer has likely moved science a step closer to new ways to beat Toxoplasma and many other parasites. ... > full story

Food in early life affects fertility, study suggests (December 29, 2010) -- The reproductive success of men and women is influenced by the food they receive at an early stage in life, according to new research. ... > full story

Comprehensive report on sudden oak death (December 29, 2010) -- Scientists have prepared a comprehensive report on the exotic invasive, quarantine sudden oak death pathogen. The report includes a history of sudden oak death, identification and distribution of the disease, epidemiology and modeling, management and control and economic and environmental impacts. ... > full story

Dust shatters like glass: Several times more dust particles in atmosphere than previously thought (December 29, 2010) -- Microscopic particles of dust, emitted into the atmosphere when dirt breaks apart, follow similar fragment patterns as broken glass and other brittle objects, according to new research. The research suggests there are several times more dust particles in the atmosphere than previously believed, since shattered dirt appears to produce an unexpectedly high number of large dust fragments. The finding has implications for understanding future climate change because dust plays a significant role in controlling the amount of solar energy in the atmosphere. ... > full story

Key interaction in hepatitis C virus identified (December 29, 2010) -- Scientists have identified a molecular interaction between a structural hepatitis C virus protein and a protein critical to viral replication. This new finding strongly suggests a novel method of inhibiting the production of the virus and a potential new therapeutic target for hepatitis C drug development. ... > full story

Environmental factors limit species diversity, lizard study finds (December 29, 2010) -- New research on lizards in the Caribbean demonstrates that species diversification is limited by the environment. The finding supports and extends the MacArthur-Wilson theory of island biogeography. ... > full story

Mechanism for signaling receptor recycling discovered (December 29, 2010) -- Researchers have discovered the mechanism by which signaling receptors recycle, a critical piece in understanding signaling receptor function. Scientists describe how a signaling receptor travels back to the cell membrane after it has been activated and internalized. ... > full story

Virus previously linked to chronic fatigue syndrome was a lab contaminant, not cause of disease, new study shows (December 29, 2010) -- A virus previously thought to be associated with chronic fatigue syndrome is not the cause of the disease, a detailed study has shown. The research shows that cell samples used in previous research were contaminated with the virus identified as XMRV and that XMRV is present in the mouse genome. ... > full story

New technology improves greenhouse, plant microclimates (December 29, 2010) -- New technology improves greenhouse climates by reducing solar heat radiation and temperatures during the hot summer season. The study was the first investigation into the effects of application of the liquid foam technology as a shading method. Results showed that the technology improved greenhouse and plant microclimates and decreased air temperature more than conventional shading curtains traditionally used by greenhouse growers. ... > full story

Finest chocolate may get better: Cacao tree genome sequenced (December 28, 2010) -- The production of high quality chocolate, and the farmers who grow it, will benefit from the recent sequencing and assembly of the chocolate tree genome. ... > full story

New clues uncover how 'starvation hormone' works (December 28, 2010) -- Researchers may solve a 17-year-old mystery about how the so-called "starvation hormone" affects multiple biological systems, including preventing insulin sensitivity and promoting cell survival. ... > full story

Mechanisms of juvenile hormone action in insects could help fine tune pesticides (December 28, 2010) -- Just as raging hormones are part of the process of a child's maturation through the teen years to adulthood, juvenile hormones, a group of insect isoprenoids, play an important role as butterflies, fruit flies and mosquitoes transform their body structures as they molt from larva to pupa and then adults. Researchers have discovered an important step in the activation of juvenile hormone target genes. ... > full story

Parents' social problems affect their children -- even in birds (December 28, 2010) -- The phrase "nature versus nurture" was coined in the mid-19th century by the English scientist Francis Galton and symbolizes the debate over the relative importance of inherited factors and the environment (or upbringing) in determining the behavior of offspring. The issue has been complicated by the discovery of "epigenetic" effects, by which especially mothers can alter the genetic material they pass on to their young. A further twist to the story is provided by the finding that female birds can affect their chicks by adding varying amounts of hormones to the eggs. And a recent study has revealed that the social environment of mother quails has a direct influence on the growth and the behaviour of their young. ... > full story

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