ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Do gut bacteria rule our minds? In an ecosystem within us, microbes evolved to sway food choices

Jay OwenResource Efficiency

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


Do gut bacteria rule our minds? In an ecosystem within us, microbes evolved to sway food choices

Posted: 15 Aug 2014 04:22 PM PDT

It sounds like science fiction, but it seems that bacteria within us — which outnumber our own cells about 100-fold — may very well be affecting both our cravings and moods to get us to eat what they want, and often are driving us toward obesity.

The beetle’s white album: Beetle shells could inspire brighter, whiter coatings and materials

Posted: 15 Aug 2014 07:22 AM PDT

The physical properties of the ultra-white scales on certain species of beetle could be used to make whiter paper, plastics and paints, while using far less material than is used in current manufacturing methods.

Politicians need to address transport taboos, not just new technology, to meet carbon targets, say researchers

Posted: 14 Aug 2014 06:25 PM PDT

Transport accounts for 30% of CO2 emissions in the EU, with emissions rising 36% between 1990 and 2007. New research has found a need to dissect the widely-held view that new technologies, such as biofuel and improved aircraft design, will result in carbon reduction targets being met.

Make your mobile device live up to its true potential: As a data collection tool

Posted: 14 Aug 2014 04:24 PM PDT

Easy Leaf Area is a new, free program that calculates leaf surface area from digital images. Leaf measurements are often critical in plant physiological and ecological studies, but traditional methods have been time consuming and sometimes destructive to plant samples. Easy Leaf Area allows users to accurately measure leaf area from digital images in seconds.

Human contribution to glacier mass loss increasing

Posted: 14 Aug 2014 04:18 PM PDT

By combining climate and glacier models, scientists have found unambiguous evidence for anthropogenic glacier mass loss in recent decades. The researchers report that about one quarter of the global glacier mass loss during the period of 1851 to 2010 is attributable to anthropogenic causes. The fraction of human contribution increased steadily and accelerated to almost two thirds between 1991 and 2010.

Reduced testosterone tied to endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure

Posted: 14 Aug 2014 04:15 PM PDT

Men, women and children exposed to high levels of phthalates — endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in plastics and some personal care products -– tended to have reduced levels of testosterone in their blood compared to those with lower chemical exposure, according to a new study.


Harnessing the power of bacteria’s sophisticated immune system

Posted: 14 Aug 2014 04:13 PM PDT

Bacteria’s ability to destroy viruses has long puzzled scientists, but researchers say they now have a clear picture of the bacterial immune system and say its unique shape is likely why bacteria can so quickly recognize and destroy their assailants. The findings provide clues about the spread of antibiotic resistance, which occurs when bacteria adapt to the point where antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections.


New analysis links tree height to climate

Posted: 14 Aug 2014 04:13 PM PDT

What limits the height of trees? Is it the fraction of their photosynthetic energy they devote to productive new leaves? Or is it their ability to hoist water hundreds of feet into the air, supplying the green, solar-powered sugar factories in those leaves? A new paper attempts to resolve a debate as to which factors actually set maximum tree height, and how their relative importance varies in different parts of the world.


‘Fingerprinting’ used to determine source of water sediment

Posted: 14 Aug 2014 09:39 AM PDT

Forensic geoscience is being used to determine the source of sediment in watercourses. Delivery of sediment to watercourses can have environmental and economic impacts. Elevated suspended sediment in rivers, as a result of enterprises such as agriculture and forestry, can result in decreased light penetration in rivers, affecting aquatic flora and fauna. Excessive sediment in a river bed can smother aquatic habitats for species such as the Freshwater Pearl Mussel and Atlantic salmon.

Could urbanization, biodiversity be compatible?

Posted: 14 Aug 2014 09:38 AM PDT

More than 900 species of wild bees are found in France, but many of them – such as bumblebees – are in decline. Researchers have carried out the first exhaustive study in europe to evaluate the impact of urbanization on the wild bee community.

Inside the cell, an ocean of buffeting waves, contrary to conventional understanding

Posted: 14 Aug 2014 09:38 AM PDT

Conventional wisdom holds that the cytoplasm of mammalian cells is a viscous fluid, with organelles and proteins suspended within it, jiggling against one another and drifting at random. However, a new biophysical study challenges this model and reveals that those drifting objects are subject to a very different type of environment. The cytoplasm is actually an elastic gel, it turns out, so it puts up some resistance to simple diffusion, researchers report.