Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Chemistry

Journal Club: Engineered enzyme could streamline synthesis of nitrogen containing compounds

Researchers have re-engineered a bacterial enzyme to transform abundant alkanes into industrially important nitrogen-containing compounds that can be used to synthesize pharmaceuticals. In principle, the enzyme, now called P411CHA, could help streamline some methods for creating synthetic molecules, which often … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Shark blood compound offers up novel mechanism for stabilizing folded proteins

Sharks and other sea life often maintain high levels of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) in their blood, a compound vital to their surviving in the saline environment. TMAO helps maintain an osmotic balance between body tissues and sea water to prevent … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Layer-cake chemistry offers up a cheap way to perform chemical tests

Sana Jahanshahi-Anbuhi started her study with a trip to the supermarket to buy Listerine breath strips, the sort that melt on your tongue in seconds. But the chemical engineering postdoc at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada wasn’t worried about bad … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Copper offers novel clues to ancient Earth’s “Great Oxidation Event”

Roughly 2.4 billion years ago, oxygen gas began suffusing Earth’s atmosphere in what scientists call the Great Oxidation Event. Much remains uncertain about this critical moment in history, but now researchers find that copper in ancient sediments could help track … Continue reading

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Identifying antibiotic “elicitors” with a new high throughput approach

Most clinically used antibiotics actually originate from bacteria, derived from small molecules produced by gene clusters in the microbes. Recent investigations have revealed that most bacterial gene clusters are inactive or “silent,” raising hopes that finding ways to activate them … Continue reading

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Selective vapor response of butterfly wings might have useful applications

The mesmerizing wings of the tropical butterfly Morpho often shimmer blue, green and violet. The iridescence of these wings doesn’t result from pigments or dyes, but from structures that reflect and scatter light waves, making them interfere with each other … Continue reading

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Quantumness of water molecules might explain unexpected behaviors

Water is vital to life as we know it, but there is still a great deal unknown when it comes to correctly modeling its properties. Now researchers have discovered room-temperature water may be even more bizarre than once suspected — … Continue reading

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Amoeba that cultivate an ecosystem of edible and inedible bacteria

The smallest farmer discovered yet is the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, which cultivates edible bacteria that it harvests like crops. Now scientists reveal this amoeba also raises bacteria that pump out chemical weapons that protect the farmers, report findings detailed this … Continue reading

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Antifreeze found trapped inside ice crystals

A common antifreeze compound is methanol, the simplest kind of alcohol molecule. Now scientists find that even methanol can get trapped within ice-like cages, findings detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that could influence what researchers … Continue reading

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