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ACS in the News - January 11, 2010

ACS in the News - January 11, 2010

'ACS in the News' publishes daily articles from newspapers, blogs and magazines about the American Chemical Society and its 38 peer-reviewed journals. Full-text links to the articles below can also be found in the attached document.

Yahoo! News (Sunnyvale, Calif.: 16.6 million monthly unique users)
“Novel Bandage Might Help Preserve Donor Organs”
January 8, 2010

A newly developed bandage that delivers a beneficial gas to skin and tissue could potentially serve as a therapeutic sock for diabetics and a wrap for body organs awaiting transplant, researchers say. It's not clear if the cloth is appropriate for people, but the study authors said that their experiments in rats were promising. The idea is to deliver nitric oxide gas, which can boost blood flow and regulate body functions, but they haven't yet found a way to control its delivery. The researchers experimented with a bandage made up of zeolites, porous materials that store gas, which were embedded in a polymer. In rats, the bandage increased blood flow. "The bandage could be used to wrap a donor organ, ensuring intimate contact and direct delivery of nitric oxide," the study authors wrote. The study was published online in advance of print publication in the journal Chemistry of Materials.

U.S. News & World Report (New York, N.Y.: monthly circulation 1.5 million)
“'Nanodragster' Races Toward the Future of Molecular Machines”
January 8, 2010

Scientists in Texas are reporting the development of a "nanodragster" that may speed the course toward development of a new generation of futuristic molecular machines. The vehicle — only 1/50,000th the width of a human hair — resembles a hot-rod in shape and can outperform previous nano-sized vehicles. Their report is in ACS' Organic Letters, a bi-weekly journal. James Tour, Kevin Kelly and colleagues note that the ability to control the motion of small molecules is essential for building much-anticipated molecular machines. Some of these machines may find use in manufacturing computer circuits and other electronic components in the future.

Yahoo! Health (Sunnyvale, Calif.: 3.1 million monthly unique users)
“Blood Pressure Drugs Might Fight Diabetic Retinopathy”
January 8, 2010

New research in mice suggests that some drugs used to treat high blood pressure might help prevent and treat a disorder that causes people with diabetes to lose their vision. The researchers tested candesartan (Atacand), a drug known as an angiotensin receptor blocker, on mice to see what would happen to 65 proteins in the retina that appear to be linked to diabetes. They found that the drug prevented more than 70 percent of the proteins from having abnormal changes. The findings, which come in the largest study of its kind, could spell hope for people who suffer from diabetic retinopathy or are at risk for it. The disorder damages blood vessels in the retina. Previous research had suggested that high-blood pressure drugs -- also including ACE inhibitors -- might help. The study findings were published in the Journal of Proteome Research.

Wired Magazine (San Francisco, Calif.: monthly circulation 531,491)
“Chinese Coal Formed During Earth’s Greatest Extinction Is Still Deadly”
January 7, 2010

A seam of coal formed 250 million years ago during the worst extinction event on record appears to be responsible for the anomalously high lung cancer death rates among women in the rural Chinese county of Xuan Wei in Yunnan Province. It’s long been known that the lung cancer mortality rates in the region were the worst in the world among female nonsmokers and some anomaly in the coal had been suspected. Lung cancer mortality in the region is up to 20 times the Chinese average. But it’s only in recent years that scientists have focused in on silica in the form of very fine quartz as the mineral that makes burning the stuff so deadly. Now, in a paper published in December in Environmental Science and Technology, Chinese, British and American researchers have proposed a link between the silica in the coal and the massive event that nearly wiped out life at the Permian-Triassic boundary. “What we’re saying is that the geologic and climatic events that nearly extinguished life 250 million years ago is still having an impact because its imprint is in the coals that the people are using,” said Bob Finkelman, a geologist at the University of Texas, Dallas.

Medical News Today (U.K.:  928,500 monthly unique users)
“Paper Strips Can Quickly Detect Toxin In Drinking Water”
January 11, 2010

A strip of paper infused with carbon nanotubes can quickly and inexpensively detect a toxin produced by algae in drinking water. Engineers at the University of Michigan led the development of the new biosensor. The paper strips perform 28 times faster than the complicated method most commonly used today to detect microcystin-LR, a chemical compound produced by cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae. Cyanobacteria is commonly found on nutrient-rich waters. Microcystin-LR (MC-LR), even in very small quantities, is suspected to cause liver damage and possibly liver cancer. The substance and others like it are among the leading causes of biological water pollution. It is believed to be a culprit of mass poisonings going back to early human history, said Nicholas Kotov, a professor in the departments of Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering who led the project. A paper about the technique is published online in Nano Letters. It will soon be available in the journal's print edition.

Nanowerk (Honolulu, Hawaii: 70,700 monthly unique users)
“Molecular capture with protein nanotechnology”
January 11, 2010

The layer-by-layer (LbL) deposition technique for the preparation of protein nanotubes has attracted considerable attention because of their potential nanotechnology applications in enzymatic nanocatalysts, bioseparation nanofilters, and targeting nanocarriers. A drawback is that in template synthesis the extraction process often results in physical deformation of the nanotubes. Researchers in Japan have now developed a new procedure using specific solvent and freeze-drying technique. "In many biomedical applications, protein nanotubes present several advantages over nanospheres," Teruyuki Komatsu tells Nanowerk… Reporting their work in the December 18, 2009 online edition of ACS Nano, Komatsu, a professor at the Research Institute for Science & Engineering at Waseda University, together with researcher Xue Qu, describes for the first time molecular capturing properties of protein nanotubes with a controllable affinity and size selectivity.

… From the Blogs

Greenscaped Buildings
“‘Green roofs’ prove even more effective in fighting global warming than first thought”
January 8, 2010

‘Green roofs’- urban rooftops covered with plants – are gaining in popularity to help buildings reduce their reliance on air conditioning, and now scientists in Michigan are reporting they could also help fight global warming by eliminating carbon dioxide in cities, more effectively than was first thought. Now researchers have attempted to quantify the benefits of covering urban rooftops with plants. The scientists found that replacing traditional roofing materials with ‘green’ in an urban area the size of Detroit with a population of about one-million, would be equivalent to eliminating a year’s worth of carbon dioxide emitted by 10,000 mid-sized SUVs and trucks. Their study is the first to examine the ability of green roofs to sequester carbon that may impact climate change and the findings are scheduled to appear in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

SciEng Library @ UBC
“2010 Colors of Chemistry Calendar Now Available”
January 8, 2010

Every year the Chemical Abstracts Service of the American Chemical Society publishes a wonderful calendar – the Colors of Chemistry. Starting in 2010 this calendar is now available either as a free download or as an online interactive calendar. Go to 2010 Colors of Chemistry Calendar and choose your option.