Here is the latest American Chemical Society (ACS) Office of Public Affairs Weekly PressPac with news from ACS’ 34 peer-reviewed journals and Chemical & Engineering News.
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Please cite the individual journal, or the American Chemical Society, as the source of this information.
A new analysis of the remains of a Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex) that roamed Earth 68 million years ago has confirmed traces of protein from blood and bone, tendons, or cartilage. The findings, scheduled for publication in the Sept. 4 issue of ACS’ monthly Journal of Proteome Research, is the latest addition to an ongoing controversy over which biochemical remnants can be detected in the dino.
In the study, Marshall Bern, Brett S. Phinney and David Goldberg point out that the first analysis in 2007 of a well-preserved, fossilized T. rex bone identified traces of seven distinct protein fragments, or peptides, from collagen. That material is one of the primary components of bone, tendons and other connective tissue. However, later studies disputed that finding, suggesting that it was a statistical fluke or the result of contamination from another laboratory sample.
The scientists describe reanalysis of the T. rex data and also report finding evidence of substances found in collagen. “In summary, we find nothing obviously wrong with the Tyrannosaurus rex [analysis from 2007],” the report states. “The identified peptides seem consistent with a sample containing old, quite possibly very ancient, bird-like bone, contaminated with only fairly explicable proteins. Hemoglobin and collagen are plausible proteins to find in fossil bone, because they are two of the most abundant proteins in bone and bone marrow.”
Journal of the American Chemical Society
Journal Article: “Toward an Artificial Golgi: Redesigning the Biological Activities of Heparin Sulfate on a Digital Microfluidic Chip”
Scientists in New York and North Carolina are reporting assembly of the first functioning prototype of an artificial Golgi organelle. That key structure inside cells helps process and package hormones, enzymes, and other substances that allow the body to function normally. The lab-on-a-chip device could lead to a faster and safer method for producing heparin, the widely used anticoagulant or blood thinner, the researchers note. Their study is scheduled for the Aug. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a weekly publication.
The Golgi organelle is named for Camillo Golgi, the Italian scientist and Nobel Prize winner who discovered the structure in 1898. It is composed of a network of sacs, stacked like a deck of playing cards, located inside cells. In the new study, Robert Linhardt and colleagues point out that Golgi bodies are one of the most poorly understood organelles (specialized structures inside cells) in the human body. Scientists already know, however, that the organelles play a key role in producing heparin, a substance that helps prevent clotting.
The researchers describe development of a prototype lab-on-a-chip device that closely mimics the natural Golgi apparatus. They showed in lab tests that the device could quickly and efficiently produce heparin. It did so in an assembly-line fashion using a combination of enzymes, sugars and other raw materials and demonstrated that the substance has a strong clot-fighting potential. In the future, an “artificial Golgi” could lead to a faster and safer method for producing heparin, the scientists suggest.
Call it a “shrimp cocktail” for your fuel tank. Scientists in China are reporting development of a catalyst made from shrimp shells that could transform production of biodiesel fuel into a faster, less expensive, and more environmentally friendly process. Their study is scheduled for the Aug. 20 issue of ACS’ Energy & Fuels, a bi-monthly journal.
Xinsheng Zheng and colleagues note that an energy-hungry world, concerned about global warming, increasingly puts its future fuel hopes on renewable fuels like biodiesel. Today’s biodiesel production processes, however, require catalysts to speed up the chemical reactions that transform soybean, canola, and other plant oils into diesel fuel. Traditional catalysts cannot be reused and must be neutralized with large amounts of water — another increasingly scarce resource — leaving behind large amounts of polluted wastewater.
The researchers describe development of a new catalyst produced from shrimp shells. In laboratory tests, the shrimp shell catalysts converted canola oil to biodiesel (89 percent conversion in three hours) faster and more efficiently than some conventional catalysts. The new catalysts also can be reused and the process minimizes waste production and pollution, the scientists note.
A new generation of ceramic armor for soldiers and vehicles may substantially reduce casualties among the Armed Forces in the future, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS’ weekly newsmagazine.
C&EN senior editor Sophie Rovner notes in the article that humans used ceramic as far back as 24,000 B.C. to create decorative figurines. Today, ceramic is widely used as a component in soldiers’ “flak jackets” to protect them against bullets and shrapnel. Ceramic armor is also found on some U.S. combat vehicles to protect soldiers from hidden threats such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs). One of the main advantages of using ceramic in armored vehicles is weight: The material weighs 50 percent less than traditional steel armor and can help make vehicles quicker and more maneuverable.
But ceramic also has shortcomings. It is more difficult to mold into complex shapes than metal and is also more costly. Researchers are hard at work trying to understand its properties, improve its performance, and reduce its costs. With the help of new composites and computer modeling technology, scientists are transforming the ancient material to a modern wonder that can be constantly upgraded to match the next type of weapon, the article notes.
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PressPac information is intended for your personal use in news gathering and reporting and should not be distributed to others. Anyone using advance PressPac information for stocks or securities dealing may be guilty of insider trading under the federal Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 154,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.