ScienceDaily: Environment - October 20, 2023
Top environment research news
People who eat just two servings of red meat per week may have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to people who eat fewer servings, and the risk increases with greater consumption, according to a new study. Researchers also found that replacing red meat with healthy plant-based protein sources, such as nuts and legumes, or modest amounts of dairy foods, was associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Bats may have lived in caves and used soundwaves to navigate much earlier than first thought.
New findings point to 2 additional probiotics as potential treatments for high blood pressure.
High-capacity and reliable rechargeable batteries are a critical component of many devices and even modes of transport. They play a key role in the shift to a greener world. A wide variety of elements are used in their production, including cobalt, the production of which contributes to some environmental, economic, and social issues. A team now presents a viable alternative to cobalt which in some ways can outperform state-of-the-art battery chemistry. It also survives a large number of recharge cycles, and the underlying theory can be applied to other problems.
A research team has discovered that parasites manipulate their hosts using stolen genes that they likely acquired through a phenomenon called horizontal gene transfer.
Scientists have developed a genome-scale metabolic model or 'subway map' of key metabolic activities of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Using this map, they have successfully identified two compounds that selectively target routes only used by Lyme disease to infect a host.
Humanity must cut carbon emissions and use farmland more efficiently to protect our planet's remaining wilderness, new research shows.
New soft, implantable fibers can deliver light to major nerves through the body. They are an experimental tool for scientists to explore the causes and potential treatments for peripheral nerve disorders in animal models.
Global coastal adaptations are 'incremental in scale', short-sighted and inadequate to address the root causes of vulnerability to climate change, according to an international team of researchers.
Many people have experienced a muddy off-flavor in farmed fish. While the aquaculture industry has known about the problem for 20 years, it continues to impact the consumption of otherwise healthy and potentially sustainable fish. Now, researchers have been able to pinpoint exactly when the off-flavors emerge. And this can make it easier to deal with the compounds that turn people away from farmed fish.
The explosive rise in tick-borne diseases in many parts of the United States over the last five decades represents a major public health threat that demands innovative solutions, warns a group of scientists. They outline why the stakes are so high and describe some potential solutions. Possible solutions include a new class of vaccines for humans and even for the animals that carry the ticks.
New high-resolution images of the Long Valley Caldera indicate that the subsurface environment is cooling off, releasing gas and fluids that contribute to seismic activity.
Researchers have harnessed the power of baker's yeast to create a cost-effective and highly efficient approach for unraveling how plants synthesize medicinal compounds, and used the new method to identify key enzymes in a kratom tree.
Biodegradable plastics may not be the solution to plastic pollution many hoped for, with a new study showing they are still harmful to fish.
Researchers have shown how the principles of rogue waves -- huge 30-meter waves that arise unexpectedly in the ocean -- can be applied on a nano scale, with dozens of applications from medicine to manufacturing.
A new study reveals how reduced water flows and rising atmospheric temperatures are set to heat our rivers -- creating major challenges for aquatic life, ecosystems, and society.
Formed millions to billions of years ago, diamonds can shine light into the darkest and oldest parts of the Earth's mantle. The analysis of ancient, superdeep diamonds dug up from mines in Brazil and Western Africa, has exposed new processes of how continents evolved and moved during the early evolution of complex life on Earth. These diamonds that were formed between 650 and 450 million years ago on the base of the supercontinent Gondwana, were analysed by an international team of experts, and have shown how supercontinents such as Gondwana were formed, stabilised, and how they move around the planet.
Study creates a mosquito family tree to better understand disease transmission and host choice.
Research testing new technology to more effectively locate polar bear dens across the Arctic is showing promising results. Researchers hope that improving detection tools to locate dens -- which are nearly invisible and buried under snow -- will help efforts to protect mother polar bears and their cubs.
About 40,000 years ago, Neanderthals, who had lived for hundreds of thousands of years in the western part of the Eurasian continent, gave way to Homo sapiens, who had arrived from Africa. This replacement was not sudden, and the two species coexisted for a few millennia, resulting in the integration of Neanderthal DNA into the genome of Sapiens. Researchers have analyzed the distribution of the portion of DNA inherited from Neanderthals in the genomes of humans (Homo sapiens) over the last 40,000 years. These statistical analyses revealed subtle variations in time and geographical space.
A microscopic discovery will not only enable scientists to understand the microbial world around us but could also provide a new way to control CRISPR-Cas biotechnologies.
The crown-of-thorns starfish is nature's ultimate coral predator that has a circle of life perfectly adapted to warming waters.
According to researchers, there is a need for changing the way of accounting greenhouse gases from agriculture. The current inventory of nitrous oxide from plant residues relies solely on the amount of nitrogen in the residues, while crucial factors such as the degradability of plant residues are not included. According to the researchers, this leads to misleading inventories, which also misrepresents possible mitigation measures.
The symbiotic communities of invertebrates in dead coral gravel on the shallow, warm-temperate coast of the Kii Peninsula in western Japan. New bivalve species and sideswimmer have been found to live communally with the greenish Bonellia spoonworm. Live-in symbionts share the burrows of other organisms in sand and mud on the seabed. However, studies on burrow niches in rigid substrates, such as rocks on the seabed, have been scarce.
Children fall broadly into four eating categories, according to new research, and parents feed their children differently depending on those categories.
A research study tackled the critical issue of how city-scale building energy consumption in urban environments will evolve under the influence of climate change.
They set out to study the Congo Basin's carbon cycle and in the process have become aware of one of the world's darkest blackwater rivers: the Ruki. In the first study on this major jungle river, an international research team explains how this blackness comes about and what it says about the river system's carbon balance.
Octopuses are fascinating animals -- and serve as important model organisms in neuroscience, cognition research and developmental biology. To gain a deeper understanding of their biology and evolutionary history, validated data on the composition of their genome is needed, which has been lacking until now. Scientists have now been able to close this gap and, in a new study, determined impressive figures: 2.8 billion base pairs -- organized in 30 chromosomes. What sounds so simple is the result of complex, computer-assisted genome analyses and comparisons with the genomes of other cephalopod species.
A new study finds that greenspace -- the vegetation in a neighborhood's yards, parks and public spaces -- has a positive impact on a key genetic marker associated with exposure to stress. However, the study also finds that the positive impact of greenspace isn't enough to compensate for other environmental challenges, such as air pollution.
While useful for killing pathogens including SARS-CoV-2, 222-nanometer UV lights may produce harmful compounds in indoor spaces, and should be used with ventilation, researchers have found.
Colder is not always better for energy-hungry data centers, especially when it comes to their power bills. A new analysis says that keeping the centers at 41°C, or around 105°F, could save up to 56% in cooling costs worldwide. The study proposes new temperature guidelines that may help develop and manage more efficient data centers and IT servers in the future.
Power grids -- the web of electrical networks that sprawl across countries and continents -- are under stress. Extreme weather events and volatile energy demands often push the system to the brink. Although these high-impact events can be very damaging, often overlooked is the impact of minor disruptions that trigger a domino effect throughout the system, according to a study analyzing European power blackouts. The findings showed that recovering power within 13 hours can reduce up to 52% of the power loss stemming from cascading events.
A research group has developed a new method for studying how cancer cells function in softer and stiffer tissue environments. This insight challenges the existing paradigm, opening up new possibilities for research in cancer biology and tissue engineering.
Research identifies links between gut bacteria, inflammation and brain changes associated with Alzheimer's disease. The findings suggest that Alzheimer's symptoms can be transferred via the gut microbiota.
Using a small bird's nest-making process as a model, researchers have developed a nontoxic process for making cellulose gels.
Whaling in the 20th century destroyed 99% of the Eastern North Pacific fin whale breeding population. Because there is enough genetic diversity, current conservation measures should help the population rebound without becoming inbred. The future of fin whales in the Gulf of California depends on the recovery of the Eastern North Pacific population.
One of the biggest challenges for earthquake early warning systems (EEW) is the lack of seismic stations located offshore of heavily populated coastlines, where some of the world's most seismically active regions are located. In a new study, researchers show how unused telecommunications fiber optic cable can be transformed for offshore EEW.
Because the bumblebee that an orchid relies on for pollination does not exist on a remote island, the plant gets pollinated by an island wasp. Researchers found that this came at the cost of being hybridized with another orchid species adapted to being pollinated by the wasp. The finding showcases how plants in ecological relationships adapt to changing circumstances.
Using lake sediment cores, scientists determined how these subalpine ecosystems recovered after 4,800 years of fire.
Researchers are now presenting a new and efficient way to recycle metals from spent electric car batteries. The method allows recovery of 100 per cent of the aluminum and 98 per cent of the lithium in electric car batteries. At the same time, the loss of valuable raw materials such as nickel, cobalt and manganese is minimized. No expensive or harmful chemicals are required in the process because the researchers use oxalic acid -- an organic acid that can be found in the plant kingdom.
Scientists examining the evolutionary roots of language say they've discovered chimp vocal development is not far off from humans.
Researchers say mapping the genetic code of the brushtail possum will benefit those working to both conserve and control the animal.
The DNA double helix is composed of two DNA molecules whose sequences are complementary to each other. The stability of the duplex can be fine-tuned in the lab by controlling the amount and location of imperfect complementary sequences. Fluorescent markers bound to one of the matching DNA strands make the duplex visible, and fluorescence intensity increases with increasing duplex stability. Now, researchers have succeeded in creating fluorescent duplexes that can generate any of 16 million colors -- a work that surpasses the previous 256 colors limitation. This very large palette can be used to 'paint' with DNA and to accurately reproduce any digital image on a miniature 2D surface with 24-bit color depth.
A team has studied the mountainous star coral, Orbicella faveolata, to determine whether coral populations that have survived higher temperatures can pass their heat tolerance on to their offspring. To the scientists' surprise, the results showed the opposite: The offspring from a population that is less heat-tolerant performed better when exposed to high temperatures than their counterparts from a heat-tolerant population. The findings counter the commonly held notion among scientists that if coral parents can handle the heat, so should their offspring.
Now is the time to identify the conditions that cause plants to die. Doing so will allow us to better protect plants by choosing conservation targets more strategically, botanists argue.
A new study has revealed a significant association between eating disorders and physical multimorbidity, shedding new light on the health risks faced by people with these conditions. The research explores the complex relationship between eating disorders, physical health, and other issues that can influence it.
Using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), researchers captured unprecedented images of key immune system receptors interacting with messenger proteins, elucidating how the receptors change shape upon activation and transmit signals within the cell. The findings suggest new pathways for developing therapeutic molecules for diseases such as COVID-19, rheumatoid arthritis, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
Scientists measured microplastic concentrations in the highly productive Barents Sea and suggest that ocean circulation, ice melt, tourism, inadequate waste management, shipping and fishing are all likely contributors.
Infections with cytomegalovirus (CMV) are extremely common and often pose no major threat to the vast majority of people. They can however be deadly for people whose immune system is weakened, e.g., after bone marrow transplantation. Current treatments against CMV infections are very limited and can have severe side effects. Researchers now propose a new way to protect against CMV. Instead of targeting the virus, their approach boosts the weak immune system and lets it fight the virus on its own.
Researchers took a closer look at what would happen to agriculture if there was an extra cost, or so-called social cost, added to fossil fuels, which are essential for making fertilizer used in farming. They found that while CO2 emissions would decline by as much as 50%, the cost of fertilizer would rise leading to a significant benefit on water quality by lessening fertilizer runoff contributing to the Gulf of Mexico's dead zone.
A new study shows that blue light kills both dried cells and biofilms of Listeria monocytogenes.
The world may have crossed a 'tipping point' that will inevitably make solar power our main source of energy, new research suggests.
As Halloween approaches, so too does the anticipation of a trick-or-treating stash filled with fun-sized chocolate candy bars. But to satisfy our collective craving for this indulgence, millions of cocoa pods are harvested annually. While the beans and pulp go to make chocolate, their husks are thrown away. Now, researchers show that cocoa pod husks could be a useful starting material for flame retardants.
A rapid, high-heat electrothermal soil remediation process flushes out both organic pollutants and heavy metals in seconds without damaging soil fertility.
Researchers say they have found 'definitive' archaeological evidence that seaweeds and other local freshwater plants were eaten in the mesolithic, through the Neolithic transition to farming and into the Early Middle Ages, suggesting that these resources, now rarely eaten in Europe, only became marginal much more recently.
Climate change and the rapid increase in frequency of extreme weather events around the globe reinforces the reality that these events are interconnected. Researchers now describe a climate network analysis method to explore the intensity, distribution, and evolution of this interlinked climate behavior, or teleconnections. The analysis combines the directions and distribution patterns of teleconnections to evaluate their intensity and to identify sensitive regions using global daily surface air temperature data. The method relies on advanced data processing and mathematical algorithms to find meaningful insights.
Animal sounds are a very good indicator of biodiversity in tropical reforestation areas. Researchers demonstrate this by using sound recordings and AI models.
The legendary Alexander Fleming, who famously discovered penicillin, once said 'never to neglect an extraordinary appearance or happening.' And the path of science often leads to just that. New research is turning the page in our understanding of harmful bacteria and how they turn on certain genes, causing disease in our bodies.
Rising lake water temperatures threaten the survival of marimo, unique algal balls found only in cold lakes. Researchers clarified that the warmer it gets, the more the inward decomposition outpaces the outward growth of these life forms, making them increasingly fragile.
Nanozymes are synthetic materials that mimic the properties of natural enzymes for applications in biomedicine and chemical engineering. They are generally considered too toxic and expensive for use in agriculture and food science. Now, researchers have developed a nanozyme that is organic, non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and cost effective.