by Simon Hadlington

Along with the usual mix of teabags, banana skins and egg shells, compost bins of the future could contain biodegradable electronic circuits, according to researchers in the US. The electronic components could also be made biocompatible, so they could be implanted into the body for a short period of time before being broken down and absorbed without the need for a second operation to remove the implant. Such devices could include electronically activated drug-release systems or temporary biosensors, for example.

by Simon Hadlington

Researchers in the Czech Republic have shown that an unusual class of boron-containing compound can inhibit HIV protease, a key enzyme involved in replicating the virus that causes Aids. The finding is potentially signficant because the compounds - metallacarboranes - attack the enzyme in a different way to most existing drugs and could help overcome problems of resistance.

New formula expected to increase the efficiency and decrease the cost

Fuel cells are often touted as one method to help decrease society’s addiction to fossil fuels. But there is still a lot of work to be done before fuel cells will be ready for mass market to be used in transportation, home heating and portable power for emergencies.

U of C chemists Jeff Hurd and George Shimizu have taken the science behind a specific type of fuel cell towards a higher level of design. They have discovered a new material that allows a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell, known as a PEM fuel cell, to work at a higher temperature. This discovery is extremely important in terms of increasing the efficiency and decreasing the cost of PEM fuel cells.

A spoonful of herbicide helps the sugar break down in a most delightful way.

Researchers at Brigham Young University have developed a fuel cell – basically a battery with a gas tank – that harvests electricity from glucose and other sugars known as carbohydrates.

The human body’s preferred energy source could someday power our gadgets, cars or homes.

by Phillip Broadwith

Super-efficient catalysts for conversion of waste carbon dioxide from power stations into useful cyclic carbonate molecules could help reduce emissions and the petrochemical industry's dependence on fossil fuels, say UK chemists.

A solid-supported catalyst that works at 60°C and atmospheric pressure could be integrated into power stations to remove CO2 from the flue gases and react it with epoxides to make cyclic carbonates, which are used as electrolytes in lithium ion batteries as well as environmentally friendly solvents and degreasers. 

by Sarah Houlton

This year's chemistry Nobel prize has been awarded to scientists working on the chemistry of life - the translation of DNA information into proteins by the ribosome.

The winners - Venkatraman Ramakrishnan of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, UK, Thomas Steitz of Yale University, US, and Ada Yonath from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel - used x-ray crystallography to determine the structure of the ribosome.

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This news service is provided by Good Samaritan Institute, located in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

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