ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Clever chemistry improves new class of antibiotics

 

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


 

Clever chemistry improves new class of antibiotics

Posted: 17 Jan 2014 09:49 AM PST

A new class of molecules called acyldepsipeptides — ADEPs — may provide a new way to attack bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics. Researchers have discovered a way to increase the potency of ADEPs by up to 1,200 times.

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A new toad from the ‘warm valleys’ of Peruvian Andes

Posted: 17 Jan 2014 07:40 AM PST

A new species of toad was discovered hiding in the leaf litter of montane rain forest known as Peruvian Yungas (“warm valley” in translation). Like many other toads (family Bufonidae) inhabiting the forest floor, the new species Rhinella yunga has a cryptic body coloration resembling decaying leaves in the area, securing perfect camouflage but making morphological identification of species hard for scientists.

Sludge as new sentinel for human health risks

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 01:22 PM PST

In a new study, a strong overlap is observed between chemicals found in biological samples taken from the human population and those detected in municipal biosolids. These findings suggest that analysis of sludge may provide a useful surrogate for the assessment of human exposure and bioaccumulation of potentially hazardous substances.

Streamflow alteration impacts fish diversity in local rivers

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 12:08 PM PST

A US Geological Survey study quantifies change in fish diversity in response to streamflow alteration in the Tennessee River basin. The study highlights the importance of the timing, magnitude, and variability of low streamflows and the frequency and magnitude of high streamflows as key characteristics critical to assessing how fish communities change in response to streamflow alteration.

Breakthrough in understanding secret life of prion molecules

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 11:46 AM PST

New research has uncovered a quality control mechanism in brain cells that may help keep deadly neurological diseases in check for months or years.

Renewable chemical ready for biofuels scale-up

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 11:46 AM PST

Using a plant-derived chemical, researchers have developed a process for creating a concentrated stream of sugars that’s ripe with possibility for biofuels.

Unraveling misfolded molecules using ‘reprogrammed’ yeast protein could lead to new brain disease therapies

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 10:04 AM PST

At the heart of brain diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease is protein misfolding. At present, there is no known way to reverse protein misfolding. But researchers have found a possible way to unravel misfolded proteins by “reprogramming” a common yeast protein.

Loss of biodiversity limits toxin degradation

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 08:33 AM PST

You might not think of microbes when you consider biodiversity, but it turns out that even a moderate loss of less than 5 percent of soil microbes may compromise some key ecosystem functions and could lead to lower degradation of toxins in the environment.

EU could cut emissions by 40 percent at moderate cost

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 08:33 AM PST

The costs of achieving a more ambitious EU climate target are estimated to be moderate. Upscaling greenhouse-gas emissions reduction from the current 20 percent by 2020 to 40 percent by 2030 would be likely to cost less than an additional 0.7 percent of economic activity.

‘Standing on a comet’: Rosetta mission will contribute to space weather research

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 08:27 AM PST

A comet-bound spacecraft that’s been in sleep mode for more than two years is scheduled to wake up on the morning of Jan. 20 -— beginning the home stretch of its decade-long journey to a mile-wide ball of rock, dust and ice.

Waterfowl poisoning halved by lead shot prohibition in Spain

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 06:11 AM PST

The pollution of waterfowl meat and their poisoning by lead shot has dropped by 50% since this type of munitions was prohibited in Spanish wetlands in 2001. This is one of the data in a report that also states that the hunters’ compliance with this mandate has been very high.