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From Sea to Lab

Total synthesis of marine antitumor agents trabectedin and lurbinectedin

20-Feb-2019

With its vast numbers of different lifeforms, the sea is a largely unexplored source of natural products that could be starting points for new pharmaceuticals, such as the antitumor drugs trabectedin and lurbinectedin. Because only tiny amounts can be obtained from sea organisms, synthetic ...

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Finding Chemicals inside a Cell

Chemical and topographical single-cell imaging at nanoscale resolution by near-field desorption mass spectrometry

08-Feb-2019

How are chemicals distributed in a cell? Chinese scientists have developed a combined mass spectrometry and biological imaging device that enables direct, label-free detection, and high-resolution mapping of chemicals inside a biological cell. As demonstrated in their publication in the journal ...

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Optimized Binding Cavity

Directed evolution of a designer enzyme with an unnatural catalytic amino acid

05-Feb-2019

The impressively high conversion rates of natural enzymes partly result from increasing the catalytic activity of a selected few amino acid side chains through precise positioning within the protein binding cavity. Scientists have now demonstrated that such fine-tuning is also possible for ...

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Uncommon mineral discovered in Rembrandt painting

Maestro's Techniques

01-Feb-2019

Rembrandt van Rijn’s paintings are renowned for their masterful representations of light and shadow and a characteristic plasticity generated by a technique called impasto. Now, scientists have analyzed impasto layers in some of Rembrandt’s paintings, and the study, which is published in the ...

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Semiconductors Combine Forces in Photocatalysis

Active photocatalyst: 2D/2D heterojunction of black phosphorus and bismuth tungstate

29-Jan-2019

A significant advance in the photocatalytic activity of conventional materials is demonstrated by a two-dimensional heterostructure comprising nanolayers of two semiconductors: black phosphorus and bismuth tungstate. As researchers have reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, this catalyst ...

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Ammonia by Phosphorus Catalysis

Ammonia synthesis through electroreduction of nitrogen on black phosphorus nanosheets

17-Jan-2019

More than 100 years after the introduction of the Haber–Bosch process, scientists continue to search for alternative ammonia production routes that are less energy demanding. Chinese scientists have now discovered that black phosphorus is an excellent catalyst for the electroreduction of nitrogen ...

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Microtube with Built-In Pump

Rapid controlled transport of water droplets by sunlight-powered pump

19-Dec-2018

Driven by natural or artificial sunlight, a novel “microtube pump” transports water droplets over long distances. As reported by Chinese researchers in the Journal Angewandte Chemie, the pump consists of a tube whose properties can be changed asymmetrically through irradiation. This results in ...

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Gold Recycling

Selective dissolution of elemental gold from multi-metal sources in organic solutions

17-Dec-2018

“Urban mining”, the recycling of precious metals from electronic gadgets, becomes ever more important, although processes that are both efficient and environmentally benign are still scarce. An international team of scientists has now looked deeper into gold dissolution, in particular, how ...

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Proteins for Making Tough Rubber

Biomimetic strategy leads to strong, recyclable rubber

12-Dec-2018

Inspired by nature, Chinese scientists have produced a synthetic analogue to vulcanized natural rubber. Their material is just as tough and durable as the original. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, they reveal the secret to their success: short protein chains attached to the side-chains of the ...

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The Secret Contamination of Polar Bears

Hundreds of unrecognized halogenated contaminants discovered in polar bear serum

05-Dec-2018

Using a new approach to measure chemical contaminants in polar bears, scientists from Canada and the United States found a large variety of new chlorinated and fluorinated substances, including many new polychlorinated biphenyl metabolites. Worryingly, these previously unrecognized contaminants ...

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