Sun. Jan 29th, 2023

Utilizing magnets to wash PFAS contaminated water

The College of Queensland has developed a easy, quick, and efficient new approach to take away 95% of per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from contaminated water – in underneath a minute.

PFAS are artificial chemical compounds present in firefighting foams and shopper merchandise like meals packaging, cookware, and clothes. They’re very immune to chemical and organic degradation, therefore why they’re typically often known as “ceaselessly chemical compounds”. Because of this, PFAS foam can soak into the bottom after rainfall and contaminate groundwater.

There’s nonetheless loads that’s unknown in regards to the well being and environmental impacts of PFAS, so having efficient strategies to take away PFAS chemical compounds from contaminated waters is crucial.

“Current strategies require equipment like pumps, take a number of time and wish their very own energy supply,” explains Dr Cheng Zhang, a polymer chemist on the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, and senior writer of the examine printed within the journal Angewandte Chemie Worldwide Version (Utilized Chemistry).

Shut up of magnet attracting PFAS particles. Credit score: College of Queensland

“Our technique reveals it’s potential to take away extra of those chemical compounds in a approach that’s sooner, cheaper, cleaner, and quite simple.

“As a result of our course of doesn’t want electrical energy, it may be utilized in distant and off-grid communities.”  


Learn extra: Explainer: what are PFAS?


The brand new PFAS removing approach includes treating contaminated water with a brand new answer referred to as magnetic fluorinated polymer sorbent.

“This answer that we developed coats the PFAS particles after which we are able to use a magnet to draw, isolate and take away them,” explains Zhang.

“The answer itself may be reused as much as 10 instances.

“Our crew will now scale up the testing and we hope to have a commercially obtainable product prepared within the subsequent three years.”

May microalgae be the important thing to feeding the world’s rising inhabitants?

Would you eat algae for dinner? Microalgae and different microscopic plant-like organisms may present a extra sustainable and environment friendly meals supply different to our present agricultural programs, in response to an American examine.

“Many people have recognized the potential of algae for meals for years, and have been engaged on it as a meals supply, however now, with local weather change, deforestation, and a inhabitants of eight billion individuals, everybody realises that the world merely has to develop into extra environment friendly in protein manufacturing,” says co-author Dr Stephen Mayfield, a professor of biology on the College of California, San Diego, and director of the California Centre for Algae Biotechnology.

The researchers analysed present scientific literature and located algae can produce 167 instances extra helpful biomass than corn whereas utilizing the identical quantity of land.

Blue-green algae (Gloeocapsa cyanobacteria). Credit score: Ed Reschke/Getty Photos

“The most important benefit is the protein manufacturing per acre,” Mayfield notes.

“Algae merely dwarf the present gold normal of soybean by at the very least 10 instances, perhaps 20 instances, extra manufacturing per acre.”

Some algal species may even be grown in brackish or salty water, that means that freshwater may be reserved for different makes use of, and plenty of species are wealthy in nutritional vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients important to the human food regimen – like amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids.

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“The one option to keep away from a very bleak future is to begin transitioning now to a way more sustainable future, and algae as meals is a type of transitions that we have to make,” concludes Mayfield.

The examine has been printed within the journal Frontiers in Diet.

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” relating to the music individuals go to sleep to

All through historical past, lullabies have been used to assist youngsters sleep, and nowdue to the accessibility of recorded music, many individuals take heed to music to assist them nod off. This raises the query: does the music individuals select to go to sleep to share sure common traits?

Analysis on the traits of sleep music is fairly restricted, however a brand new examine within the journal PLOS ONE has recognized that sleep music is normally quieter and slower than different music, extra usually lacks lyrics and options acoustic devices.


Learn: Lyrics don’t matter in a great lullaby.


Researchers analysed 225,626 tracks from 985 playlists on Spotify which are related to sleep, utilizing Spotify’s API to check the audio options of the sleep tracks to audio options of music from a dataset representing music normally.

They discovered that the musical options of sleep music had been additionally fairly various and recognized six distinct subcategories. Curiously, music in three of those subcategories was louder, had the next diploma of vitality than common sleep music, and included common songs.

The authors speculate that, regardless of their larger vitality, common songs may doubtlessly help rest and sleep for some individuals via their familiarity. Nonetheless, extra analysis shall be wanted to discover this chance and establish the assorted causes completely different individuals select completely different music for sleeping.

Flower patterns make bumblebees extra environment friendly

Many flowers have vibrant patterns, often known as nectar guides in biology, which are assumed to point out pollinating bugs the shortest path to their nectar-producing buildings. This might improve the effectivity of the bugs of their seek for meals, whereas additionally enhancing pollen dispersal for the plant.

Now, a brand new examine has recognized, for the primary time, the person steps that do that with terrestrial bumblebees (Bombus terrestris), demonstrating that nectar guides lower down the time wanted for a bee to work together with a flower by as much as 30%.

The interplay of bumblebees with flowers turns into way more environment friendly when the flowers are patterned. Left a male particular person of the white-tailed bumblebee, proper a forager of the buff-tailed bumblebee. Credit score: Anna Stoeckl/Johannes Spaethe

The analysis, which has been printed within the journal Practical Ecology, was accomplished utilizing video monitoring of bumblebees’ visits to synthetic flowers that contained nectar and which had completely different sample varieties, or none in any respect.

However surprisingly, they discovered that flower patterns don’t truly shorten the time taken by bees to look out nectar after touchdown. As a substitute, they act like markings on a runway to assist bumblebees coordinate their method to the flower – shortening the method flight time and guaranteeing a beneficial touchdown place.

Flower patterns additionally shorten the time till take-off, with bugs staying considerably much less time on patterned flowers after accumulating nectar.

Video displaying a bumblebee in interplay with a man-made flower. Credit score:
Anna Stoeckl, Johannes Spaethe / College of Wuerzburg

“Bumblebees fairly often run to the sting of the petals for take-off,” explains co-author Dr Johannes Spaethe, an entomologist from the Division of Behavioural Physiology and Sociobiology (Zoology II) on the College of Würzburg, Germany.

“They might discover this take-off web site extra rapidly if they will orient themselves to a sample.”

The authors conclude that “these insights open up new questions on how misleading patterns or altered shows on decorative flowers affect foraging effectivity in insect pollinators.”

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