#2 — Vegan seafood, anyone?

In today's issue, learn how vegan food was 3d-printed, how antibiotic-resistant bacteria are spread through air pollution and the discovery of a new natural anti-fungal compound.

#2 — Vegan seafood, anyone?
3D-printed plant-based calamari rings made from a mixture of microalgae and mung bean proteins. Picture credit: Poornima Vijayan

Researchers at the National University of Singapore have developed a sustainable alternative to seafood by 3D-printing plant-based calamari rings made from a mixture of microalgae and mung bean proteins. This innovative approach aims to address the dwindling seafood supply due to unsustainable fishing practices. The resulting vegan calamari rings offer a similar taste and texture to real squid and could be a game-changer for seafood lovers concerned about sustainability. The study, presented at the American Chemical Society meeting, highlights the potential of plant-based alternatives to meet the rising demand for eco-friendly protein sources.

JWST captures the beautiful Ring Nebula, this time glowing green!

ring nebula
The new JWST/NIRcam composite image of the Ring Nebula. The images clearly show the main ring, surrounded by a faint halo and with many delicate structures. The interior of the ring is filled with hot gas. The star which ejected all this material is visible at the very centre. It is extremely hot, with a temperature in excess of 100,000 degrees. The nebula was ejected only about 4000 years ago. Picture credit - NASA, ESA, CSA, JWST Ring Nebula Team photo; image processing by Roger Wesson.

Read more at The University of Manchester.

A defined path for a particular shape

Did you know that the path an object takes when rolled down an inclined plane depends on its shape? Imagine a sphere made of clay rolling down an inclined plane. Let us assume it would roll down a straight path. Now, if we slightly modify the shape of this spherical clay, then the path is also altered. Researchers have developed an algorithm that can find the shape of an object that will take a defined path when rolled down. They claim that such an algorithm is useful in robotics applications.

Read more on Nature and Nature News and Views.

Wildfires Devastate Lahaina, Hawaii; Six Dead, National Guard Activated

In August 2023, wildfires, fueled by climate change, strong winds and dry conditions, wreaked havoc in Lahaina, Hawaii, leaving a scorched landscape in this historical tourist town. The fires resulted in the tragic loss of six lives, with some residents rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. Maui's firefighters struggled to contain the blazes due to the intensity of the winds. An emergency declaration was issued by Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke, activating the National Guard for assistance and urging travellers to stay away. This event highlights the increasing risk of wildfires in areas once considered safe, as more Americans are exposed to these dangerous situations.

Read more on The Conversation.

Study reveals the impact of drought on plant photosynthesis

A recent scientific study using data from geostationary satellites shows that during heatwaves, plants in dry regions shift their photosynthesis activity to the morning, reducing it during mid-day and afternoon to conserve water. This shift observed across the continental U.S., is crucial for understanding the effects of global warming and predicting the carbon cycle. The research also highlights potential consequences for individual plants, ecosystems, and temperatures, with implications for both natural environments and urban areas. The use of newer geostationary satellites provides valuable temporal data for continuous measurement and future global coverage.

Read the research paper in Science Advances.

Unravelling Earth's geochemical history using sea salt

Geochemists from Princeton University and Binghamton University have examined the chemistry of tiny water droplets preserved in sea salt crystals to unravel the geological history of the past 150 million years. By tracking lithium content in marine halite, they reconstructed tectonic movement on the seafloor, providing insights into atmospheric conditions over time. The research, presented in Science Advances, shows a significant drop in lithium concentration due to reduced tectonic plate activity, leading to less hydrothermal activity and a potential connection to cooling during the last ice age. This study underscores the intricate interplay between Earth's systems and the significance of plate tectonics in regulating the hydrosphere and atmosphere.

Read more on ScienceAlert.

Air pollution may be responsible for spreading antibiotic-resistant bacteria

A recent comprehensive study, conducted by researchers from China and the UK, suggests that air pollution, particularly PM2.5, may be spreading antibiotic resistance, adding to the global threat posed by antimicrobial resistance. The study analyzed patterns of airborne antibiotic resistance over nearly two decades across 116 countries, identifying a strong correlation between increasing PM2.5 concentrations in the air and rising antibiotic resistance. Regions with severe PM2.5 pollution, such as North Africa and West Asia, exhibited the highest levels of antibiotic resistance, indicating a significant relationship between air pollution and antibiotic resistance. This finding emphasizes the urgent need to address air quality to mitigate not only public health risks but also the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Read more on The Conversation.

New natural anti-fungal compound discovered

Persephacin is a new broad-range anti-fungal discovered by researchers. It showed potent antifungal effects against various pathogenic yeast and filamentous fungi, even outperforming standard treatments in experimental models. Additionally, researchers claim that it exhibits no toxicity or irritation at effective antifungal concentrations, making it a promising candidate for further research as a broad-spectrum antifungal agent with applications in human, animal, and plant health.

Read more in the Journal of Natural Products.

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