Scientists for the first time have found strong evidence that RNA and DNA could have arisen from the same set of precursor molecules even before life evolved on Earth about four billion years ago. The discovery, published April 1 in Nature Chemistry, suggests that the first living things on Earth may have used both RNA and

Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) in Japan have developed a new computational mass-spectrometry system for identifying metabolomes—entire sets of metabolites for different living organisms. When the new method was tested on select tissues from 12 plant species, it was able to note over 1000 metabolites. Among them were dozens that

In recent years, researchers have tried to capture the electrical current that bacteria generate through metabolism. So far, however, the transfer of current from the bacteria to a receiving electrode has been highly inefficient. Now, researchers from institutions including Lund University have achieved a slightly more efficient transfer of electrical current. One of society’s greatest

A new technique to spin starch fibers using Lego pieces could have future applications for lab-grown “clean” meat, according to a team of food scientists from Penn State and the University of Alabama. “There’s a lot of interest in natural fibers,” said Gregory Ziegler, professor and director of graduate studies, Department of Food Science at Penn

New research from Washington University in St. Louis explains the cellular processes that allow a sun-loving microbe to “eat” electricity—transferring electrons to fix carbon dioxide to fuel its growth. Led by Arpita Bose, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, and Michael Guzman, a Ph.D. candidate in her laboratory, a Washington University team showed

It’s a popular phrase used to describe people, things, and ideas that just don’t mix—”like oil and water.” Except it’s not entirely true. Oil and water can mix, and can be very difficult to completely separate when brought together. Think of environmental oil spills or wastewater treatment, and you quickly realize that separating out unwanted

In the blockbuster Terminator movie franchise, an evil robot morphs into different human forms and objects and oozes through narrow openings, thanks to its “liquid-metal” composition. Although current robots don’t have these capabilities, the technology is getting closer with the development of new liquid metals that can be manipulated in 3-D space with magnets. Reported in ACS Applied

Stanford researchers have devised a way to generate hydrogen fuel using solar power, electrodes and saltwater from San Francisco Bay. The findings, published March 18 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrate a new way of separating hydrogen and oxygen gas from seawater via electricity. Existing water-splitting methods rely on highly purified water, which is a

A team of scientists including researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have identified the causes of degradation in a cathode material for lithium-ion batteries, as well as possible remedies. Their findings, published on Mar. 7 in Advanced Functional Materials, could lead to the development of more

One of the greatest global challenges is the efficient use of renewable sources in order to meet the increasing demand for energy and feedstock chemicals in the future. In this context, biomass is a promising alternative to existing fossil sources such as coal or oil. Cellulose plays a decisive role here, because it accounts for

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