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“Blood is quite a peculiar kind of juice“—that is what Mephisto knew, according to Goethe’s “Faust“. But if blood really is very special, then erythropoietin (EPO) must be a very special molecule, as it triggers the production of our red blood cells. After ten years of intense research, American scientists have now succeeded in making a fully synthetic version of this special molecule. This achievement represents a landmark advance in the chemical synthesis of complex biological molecules from basic building blocks.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly to Professors Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka for studies of G-protein–coupled receptors; both are published Wiley authors.
The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2012 jointly to Sir John B. Gurdon and Professor Shinya Yamanaka for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent; both are published Wiley authors.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., is pleased to learn that the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2012 to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland.
Targeted Attack on Tumors: Selective tumor treatment: β-galactosidase releases active agent from prodrugs
One of the largest challenges of chemotherapy lies in the fact that cancer cells must be killed while healthy tissue must be protected. French researchers have now introduced a new approach in the journal Angewandte Chemie: The enzyme β-galactosidase releases the active drug from an inactive precursor, known as a prodrug, which can only be taken up by tumor cells.
Carbon dioxide could be a useful alternative source of carbon for the chemical industry. It is inexpensive, is supplied in abundance by nature, and would help to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. In addition, it would significantly improve the carbon footprint of fuels and chemical products. The largest barrier to this process is the high stability of the carbon dioxide molecule. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Spanish researchers have now introduced a new process that traps carbon dioxide in the form of silyl formates, which are silicon-containing formic acid esters.
Electronic noses are used to sniff out exhaust fumes and assist with quality control of foods. Less well known is the fact that equivalent devices, electronic tongues, are capable of recognizing dissolved substances. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, French researchers have now presented a new and particularly simple approach to making an electronic tongue that can differentiate between proteins.
The most common form of strokes are caused by a sudden reduction in blood flow to the brain (ischemia) that leads to an inadequate supply of oxygen and nutrients. These so-called ischemic strokes are one of the leading causes of death and disability in industrialized nations. If they are not immediately remedied by medical intervention, areas of the brain may die off. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Korean researchers have now proposed a new approach for supplemental treatment: Ceria nanoparticles could trap the reactive oxygen compounds that result from ischemia and cause cells to die.
Luminescent Ink from Eggs. Fluorescent carbon dots can be made by plasma pyrolysis and used as printer ink
Luminescent carbon nanoparticles based on carbon exhibit advantageous optical properties. They are also biocompatible, and therefore better suited for imaging procedures in the biosciences than metal-based semiconductor quantum dots. A variety of processes have thus been developed to make these miniature objects known as carbon dots or C-dots. Chinese researchers have now introduced a new method in the journal Angewandte Chemie, by which C-dots can be produced particularly quickly and inexpensively. In addition, they have demonstrated the use of these luminescent dots as printer ink.
In living systems, complex nano- and microscale structures perform a host of physical and biological functions. While two-dimensional patterns can be recreated fairly well with techniques like microlithography, three-dimensional structures represent a big challenge. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, American researchers have now reported a new method for the lithography-free etching of complex surface motifs with the use of biodegradable polymers and enzymes. Starting with structured microchannels, they have built an assembly for the isolation and concentration of cells from whole blood.
Glowing Flowers for Ultra-Trace Analysis of TNT: Selective optical TNT detection down to the sub-zeptomole level
Highly sensitive and highly selective tests are important for the early detection of disease, the detection of environmental toxins, or for the detection of explosives at airports. Increased selectivity for the target analytes helps to avoid false-positive results. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Indian scientists have now introduced a specific detection method for the explosive TNT that can be used to detect even a single molecule.
Gold Nanoparticles Follow “Genetic Code”: Different sequences of DNA influence morphology of growing gold nanocrystals
Gold is not just the material of choice for pretty jewelry; it is also used in technology, for example in nanoscopic particles for applications such as catalysis, biomedicine, and sensors. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, a team of American and Chinese researchers has now demonstrated that the morphology of gold nanoparticles can be controlled when they are synthesized in the presence of DNA. Depending on the DNA sequence used, the shape and surface roughness can be varied.
Dual Role for CO2: Continuous hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to pure formic acid in supercritical CO2
To reduce fossil fuel consumption while simultaneously improving the carbon footprint of fuels and chemical products, the use of carbon dioxide as a carbon source could be an attractive option. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, German researchers have now introduced a method by which carbon dioxide can be catalytically hydrogenated to make formic acid. In this process, carbon dioxide is not only a starting material; it also acts—in a supercritical state—as the solvent for separation of the product. This integrated approach makes it possible to directly obtain free formic acid as the product in a single step for the first time.
Glowing Fingerprints: Researchers make latent fingerprints visible with help from electrochemiluminescence
Fingerprints are not just important in forensics and the identification of people; they can also be used for security clearance, access control, and the authentication of documents. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Chinese researchers have now introduced a new fast method to make fingerprints visible at high resolution.
Gram staining of bacteria is a routine diagnostic method of long standing that can be used for initial diagnoses and to simplify the choice of antibiotics. It is a simple way to classify bacteria into two classes—Gram-positive and Gram-negative—under a microscope. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, American researchers have now introduced an improvement to this method: magnetic Gram staining. This allows for the class-specific, automated, magnetic detection and separation of bacteria.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., today announced a continued increase in the proportion of its journal titles indexed in the Thomson ISI® 2011 Journal Citation Reports (JCR). A total of 1,156 Wiley titles (approximately 76%) were indexed, representing an increase of 5% from the 2010 JCR, and including 43 titles which have been indexed for the first time.
Secret of “Fetid Fluorite” Aired: Elemental fluorine F2 detected for the first time in a natural mineral
Why does “fetid fluorite”, a mineral that is found in the Upper Palatinate in Bavaria, Germany, have such an unpleasant sharp smell when it is crushed? Scientists in Munich have now found the solution to this puzzle, not only bringing an end to a controversial discussion that has been going on for about 200 years, but also altering a hard and fast textbook rule. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, the researchers have demonstrated that the stench is caused by elemental fluorine. This unambiguously proves that despite prior assumptions, elemental fluorine does occur in nature.
Our electronic devices are getting smaller and smaller while doing more and more. Using conventional materials, we will soon reach the practical limit. The electronics of tomorrow require alternatives, such as nanowires made of DNA that can serve as conductive paths and nanotransistors for miniature circuits. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, German scientists have now described a new method for the production of stable, conducting DNA nanowires.
Healing Bullets Fly Through Tissue: Ultrasound vaporization of microdroplets as propulsion for therapeutic micromachines
Microscopically small submarines that can swim through our blood to clear out clogged arteries or destroy malignant tumors. This concept may sound utopian, but it isn’t. Various micro- and nanomachines have in fact already been developed. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, American researchers have now introduced a new type of machine that finally has enough propulsive power to penetrate tissue and overcome cellular barriers.