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Engineering enzymes to help solve the planet’s plastic problem

To illustrate the utility of their platform, they have engineered an enzyme that can successfully degrade poly(ethylene) terephthalate (PET), the plastic commonly used in plastic bottles. In recent years, the enzymatic recycling of plastics has emerged as an attractive and environmentally friendly strategy to help alleviate the problems associated with plastic waste. Although there are …

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One more clue to the Moon’s origin

Meteorites from the Moon to Antarctica During her doctoral research at ETH Zurich, Patrizia Will analysed six samples of lunar meteorites from an Antarctic collection, obtained from NASA. The meteorites consist of basalt rock that formed when magma welled up from the interior of the Moon and cooled quickly. They remained covered by additional basalt …

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Even modest climate change may lead to sweeping changes in northernmost forests

That’s the main finding from a unique five-year experiment, led by a University of Michigan ecologist, that used infrared lamps and soil heating cables to study the projected impacts of near-term climate change on thousands of seedlings from nine tree species found in far northern forests, which are known as boreal forests. North America’s boreal …

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Air pollution, including during wildfires, shows ill effects in children

Blood samples show that children have elevated markers of inflammation, such as interleukin 6, if they were exposed to higher air pollution. Further, higher air pollution was linked to lower cardiac autonomic regulation in children, which impacts how fast the heart beats and how hard it pumps, according to the study. In the study, published …

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A simple, cheap material for carbon capture, perhaps from tailpipes

The process for synthesizing the melamine material, published this week in the journal Science Advances, could potentially be scaled down to capture emissions from vehicle exhaust or other movable sources of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning makes up about 75% of all greenhouse gases produced in the U.S. The new material is …

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Researchers reveal how an insect-eating plant uses rain energy to power its traps

In the steaming jungles of Borneo, plants have evolved innumerable tricks to help them survive and outcompete their neighbours. The Slender Pitcher Plant, Nepenthes gracilis, is amongst the most ingenious: its elaborate cup-shaped leaves are equipped with a canopy-like hanging lid that turns into a deadly springboard for ants when it is hit by a …

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