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How Did the Phosphate Get into RNA? Urea as one of the essential components in Darwin's "warm little pond"
The phosphate ion is almost insoluble and is one of the most inactive of Earth's most abundant phosphate minerals. So how could phosphate have originally been incorporated into ribonucleotides, the building blocks of RNA, which are considered to be among the earliest constituents of life? American and Spanish scientists have now identified reasonable conditions to mobilize phosphate from insoluble apatite minerals for prebiotic organophosphate synthesis, including ribonucleotides. The pivotal role of urea in this process is also described in their article in the journal Angewandte Chemie.
Cold-Fired Ceramics: Paradigm shift in ceramics production: cold sintering instead of high-temperature firing
Both hobbyists' pottery and engineered high-performance ceramics are only useable after they are fired for hours at high temperatures, usually above 1000 °C. The sintering process that takes place causes the individual particles to “bake” together, making the material more compact and giving it the required properties, like mechanical strength. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, American researchers have now demonstrated that sintering can also take place at significantly lower temperatures. This cold sintering process is based on the addition of small amounts of water to aid the key transport processes that densify the material.
Whether building bone, shells, or corals, living creatures are true masters of crystallization. In the laboratory, this amazing precision cannot be duplicated yet. The processes and many of the precise structures of bio minerals remain largely unexplored. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, an international team has now introduced a three-dimensional X-ray diffraction technique for determining crystallographic texture—the preferred orientation of the little crystals in a solid—with previously unattainable spatial resolution.
Rusty Steel Triggers Oxygen Evolution: Corroded stainless steel plate makes up an efficient water splitting electrode
Electrocatalytic water splitting is one of the most promising next generation technologies for environmentally friendly and inexpensive energy conversion and storage. However, one of its biggest obstacles is the sluggishness of the oxidation reaction, which is key to the whole process. State-of-the-art technology relies on metal oxide electrocatalysts, but both cost and performance still need to be improved. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Chinese scientists have now introduced oxidized, that is, rusty, stainless-steel plates as excellent electrocatalysts for oxygen evolution. That technology could represent a surprisingly simple approach toward solving a long-standing problem.
Trinitrotoluene or TNT has been considered as the standard measure for explosives for 100 years, although new high-energy-density materials or HEDMs outperform this substance in terms of explosion power, safety, but also environmental compatibility. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Russian scientists present the synthesis of a highly interesting HEDM, which exhibits excellent energetic properties as well as a beautiful, butterfly-like structure.
DNA polymerases are the “Xerox machines” that replicate our DNA. They must work with great precision to keep errors from creeping into our genes. In spite of this precision, they still accept building blocks that have been coupled to large proteins, as a group of German scientists reports in the journal Angewandte Chemie. Based on this fact, the team has developed detection systems for genotyping DNA and RNA that can be evaluated by the naked eye. This method may allow for new diagnostic tools for use in the field.
Counting Red Blood Cells: Electrochemical determination of the concentration and peroxidase activity of erythrocytes
Blood counts are routinely carried out before operations, in cases of infection, or when testing for a variety of diseases, such as anemia and leukemia. A key value in this test is the number of red blood cells (erythrocytes). Scientists at the University of Oxford (UK) have now introduced a simple nano-electrochemical process for the rapid, precise determination of the erythrocyte count. As described in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the test also determines the activity of individual erythrocytes toward hydrogen peroxide.
Facile Dosimetry for Chemical Hazards: Disposable, low-cost chemidosimetric indicator with smartphone connection
The detection of exposure to chemical hazards can save lives. American scientists have developed a smart and simple chemidosimeter based on a chemiresistive sensor combined with a near-field communication tag, which can be read-out by a smartphone. This chemically actuated resonant device (CARD) is made of simple components, is disposable, ready-to-use, needs no batteries, and can be worn as a badge by people who are likely exposed to chemical hazards. It is described in the journal Angewandte Chemie.
A simple but effective sensor for monitoring the respiration rate of individuals has been created. Taking advantage of the hygroscopic character of ordinary paper, scientists at Harvard University have developed an electrical sensor to detect the periodic changes of humidity by breathing in and out. As they report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the respiration data can be transmitted to and collected by nearby smartphones or tablet computers for further processing, storage, or transmittance to practical therapists. A simple face mask carrying the sensor system and worn in hospital wards may thus save lives.
We are all familiar with that strange feeling in the mouth after a sip of red wine or tea, or a bite of unripe fruit. It has been described as dry, leathery, or even furry. This astringent effect is caused by tannins or polyphenolic compounds that bind to mucins, lubricating proteins in the mucus membranes of the mouth. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, a Chinese and Korean research team has now shown the relationship between astringency and disrupted lubrication of the oral cavity.
Solar energy is on the rise. Many technical advances have made solar cells quite efficient and affordable in recent years. A big disadvantage remains in the fact that solar cells produce no power when it’s raining. This may change, however: In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Chinese researchers have now introduced a new approach for making an all-weather solar cell that is triggered by both sunlight and raindrops.
Bulletin of the Korean Chemical Society expands international reach through partnership with Wiley-VCH
Wiley-VCH, part of the scientific and technical publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE: JWa and JWb) and the Korean Chemical Society have signed an agreement to closely cooperate and jointly publish the Bulletin of the Korean Chemical Society.
Leading nanotechnology journal marks milestone with special session to discuss advanced healthcare materials breakthroughs at Korea’s leading event
Wiley congratulates the winners of all the 2013 Nobel Prizes and is pleased to learn that ten laureates have published work in Wiley titles.
Wiley is pleased to learn that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2013
Wiley congratulates Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel on winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2013
Wiley is pleased to learn that the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2013 to James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman, and Thomas C. Südhof.
Nanjing University of Technology and Shanghai Jiao Tong University Host Ceremonies
Live beings are not the only things that can move around – it turns out that small crystals can also rotate or even jump. Scientists from United Arab Emirates and Russia have now systematically examined crystals that move when irradiated by light. In the journal Angewandte Chemie they present the first quantitative kinematic analysis of this phenomenon, which they have termed the photosalient effect.
A small plastic strip can do “weight training” to effortlessly lifts many times its own weight, driven by cyclic changes in the humidity of the surrounding air. This strong “artificial arm” is based on the interaction between microgels and a layer of polycations that shrinks as it dries, according to a report presented by Canadian researchers in the journal Angewandte Chemie.