Chemistry and Pharmacy

Siena, Italy

Chemistry and Pharmacy

Siena, Italy

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News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark, the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the Biomedical Research Networking Center in Bioengineering, Biomaterials & Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN) in Spain have discovered a new technique to detect ecstasy that is extremely reliable and simple to use. According to the researchers, many of the testing methods used today often require advanced instruments that are expensive and/or only found in laboratories. Often, there is also a waiting time in connection with the test results. Furthermore, there is also the recurring issue that many methods trigger a false positive a little too often - i.e. showing that a person tested positive for ecstasy even though subsequent tests show otherwise. "It is our impression that a need exists for more reliable, user-friendly and cheaper tests. What makes our method stand out is that it can detect even small traces," said Jan O. Jeppesen, a chemistry professor at the University of Southern Denmark. His research colleagues, Ramón Martínez-Máñez and Félix Sancenón from the Polytechnic Univeristy of Valencia and the CIBER-BBN in Spain, also noted that their method had several advantages. "We have discovered that a certain molecular activity can detect even very small traces of the active compound in ecstasy, MDMA, with almost 100 percent certainty. This knowledge can be used to develop cheap testing kits that are easy to transport and not least use." The researchers’ new method can detect a solution equivalent to 1 gram of MDMA in 1000 liters of water. They have recently published their findings and method in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Chemical Communications. Jeppesen and his research team at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy at the University of Southern Denmark are working on understanding and building parts for molecular machines - near-unimaginably tiny machines propelled by the movement of molecules. It was during this work that they discovered the molecules’ ability to detect MDMA. It is a research area that is attracting a great deal of attention from all over the world, and the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to the chemists Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa for their work on building machines on a molecular level. The opportunities that lie in the field of molecular machines are huge, according to Jeppesen. "The moment you let a molecular machine replace an electric machine, for example, you end up with a much smaller piece of machinery to operate. As a way of illustrating this, consider the following: If we assume that 6 billion people on Earth each possesses 10 computers in one shape or another, those computers will take up an enormous amount of space. If we could instead use molecules to replace all this computer technology, the molecular technology would only take up half a gram of weight." You start with a ball composed of atoms, which is simple to make. The ball is porous and filled with holes, meaning it can be filled up with smaller molecules. In this method, the ball is filled with molecules that are designed to light up if they are released from the holes. If there is no MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, the active ingredient in ecstasy) within range, the molecules cannot leave the ball. This is because a kind of arm is installed on the exterior of the ball that can open the ball’s pores once it comes into contact with MDMA and keeps the molecules sealed in until that happens. When the ball ‘opens up,’ so to speak, the luminescent molecules stream out and can be detected by a sensor. The ball only opens up once it comes into contact with MDMA, and it can detect even minuscule concentrations of MDMA.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark, the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the Biomedical Research Networking Center in Bioengineering, Biomaterials & Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN) in Spain have discovered a new technique to detect ecstasy that is extremely reliable and simple to use. According to the researchers, many of the testing methods used today often require advanced instruments that are expensive and/or only found in laboratories. Often, there is also a waiting time in connection with the test results. Furthermore, there is also the recurring issue that many methods trigger a false positive a little too often - i.e. showing that a person tested positive for ecstasy even though subsequent tests show otherwise. "It is our impression that a need exists for more reliable, user-friendly and cheaper tests. What makes our method stand out is that it can detect even small traces," said Jan O. Jeppesen, a chemistry professor at the University of Southern Denmark. His research colleagues, Ramón Martínez-Máñez and Félix Sancenón from the Polytechnic Univeristy of Valencia and the CIBER-BBN in Spain, also noted that their method had several advantages. "We have discovered that a certain molecular activity can detect even very small traces of the active compound in ecstasy, MDMA, with almost 100 percent certainty. This knowledge can be used to develop cheap testing kits that are easy to transport and not least use." The researchers’ new method can detect a solution equivalent to 1 gram of MDMA in 1000 liters of water. They have recently published their findings and method in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Chemical Communications. Jeppesen and his research team at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy at the University of Southern Denmark are working on understanding and building parts for molecular machines - near-unimaginably tiny machines propelled by the movement of molecules. It was during this work that they discovered the molecules’ ability to detect MDMA. It is a research area that is attracting a great deal of attention from all over the world, and the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to the chemists Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa for their work on building machines on a molecular level. The opportunities that lie in the field of molecular machines are huge, according to Jeppesen. "The moment you let a molecular machine replace an electric machine, for example, you end up with a much smaller piece of machinery to operate. As a way of illustrating this, consider the following: If we assume that 6 billion people on Earth each possesses 10 computers in one shape or another, those computers will take up an enormous amount of space. If we could instead use molecules to replace all this computer technology, the molecular technology would only take up half a gram of weight." You start with a ball composed of atoms, which is simple to make. The ball is porous and filled with holes, meaning it can be filled up with smaller molecules. In this method, the ball is filled with molecules that are designed to light up if they are released from the holes. If there is no MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, the active ingredient in ecstasy) within range, the molecules cannot leave the ball. This is because a kind of arm is installed on the exterior of the ball that can open the ball’s pores once it comes into contact with MDMA and keeps the molecules sealed in until that happens. When the ball ‘opens up,’ so to speak, the luminescent molecules stream out and can be detected by a sensor. The ball only opens up once it comes into contact with MDMA, and it can detect even minuscule concentrations of MDMA.


The Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge is a collaboration between the Elsevier Foundation and Elsevier's chemistry journals. The five finalists for the 2017 edition pitched their projects during the second Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference in Berlin, after being selected from nearly 700 submissions by a jury of experts in the field. Proposals addressed challenges in the developing world, focusing on energy, water, waste reduction, agriculture, medicine and more. The 2017 challenge builds off the success of the first year, which drew nearly 500 submissions and awarded innovative projects in biodegradable textile dyeing technology and sustainable agriculture. Dr. Dênis Pires de Lima was awarded the first prize of € 50,000 for his project "From Cashews to castor oil, combating mosquito-borne diseases." Dr. Pires de Lima and his team are using natural waste from locally sourced cashew nuts and castor oil, to produce environmentally friendly insecticides against mosquitoes carrying Zika and Dengue fever - a sustainable alternative to conventional, substantially toxic insecticides. "The problem of diseases carried by mosquitoes is a result of an ecological imbalance in Brazil and many times the best solution will come from nature itself. My prize will provide visibility to a simple and scaleable project which help improve the quality of life for millions of people in Brazil fighting zika," said Dr. Pires de Lima from the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. The second prize worth € 25,000 has been awarded to Dr. Chioma Blaise Chikere. Her project "Eco-restoration of crude oil-polluted land in Nigeria" demonstrates how organic nutrients such as garden fertilizers and animal excreta can be used to degrade hydrocarbons, cleaning up the soils heavily contaminated by decades of oil spills. "This award will give me access to better research facilities and help empower local Nigerian women through eco-restauration and biodiversity recovery," said Dr. Chikere. "The winning projects do important work demonstrating how green chemistry solutions can be applied not only in one country and for one specific issue - but can tackle problems across  countries and continents," said Professor Dr. Klaus Kuemmerer from Leuphana University Lueneburg, chair of the challenge's scientific jury. Re-using waste from the cashew nut industry, as in Dr. Pires de Lima's project, is a brilliant example of broad applicability as waste management is an issue in the vast majority of fields. Likewise, Dr. Chikere's proposal shows how local ideas and expertise are needed to find effective solutions - a model that can be embraced by different countries. It's their applicability in different contexts, and their potential to benefit society in its entirety, that makes the two projects so important. They set an example for other developing as well as developed countries on how to approach local problems, and still propose global solutions." Dr. Kuemmerer is also the chair of the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference and Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier's journals Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry and Sustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy. "The competition shows us how science can serve society by helping to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals," said Hannfried von Hindenburg, Senior Vice President of Global Communications at Elsevier. "In working on some of the toughest challenges in their countries, the winners demonstrate that chemistry can be a force for good in the fight against natural or man-made plagues like the Zika virus and environmental oil contamination." For further information about the Green Chemistry Challenge, read more on Elsevier Connect, visit the Elsevier Foundation website, or join the conversation on social media: @ELSchemistry and #GREENCHEM2017. About The Elsevier Foundation The Elsevier Foundation provides grants to knowledge-centered institutions around the world, with a sustainability focus on innovations in health information, diversity in STM, research in developing countries and technology for development. Since 2006, the Foundation has awarded more than 100 grants worth millions of dollars to non-profit organizations working in these fields. Through gift-matching, the Foundation also supports the efforts of Elsevier employees to play a positive role in their local and global communities. The Elsevier Foundation is a corporate not-for-profit 501(c)(3), funded by Elsevier, a global provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. www.elsevierfoundation.org Elsevier is a global information analytics company that helps institutions and professionals progress science, advance healthcare and improve performance for the benefit of humanity. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, more than 35,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professionals and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com


The Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge is a collaboration between the Elsevier Foundation and Elsevier's chemistry journals. The five finalists for the 2017 edition pitched their projects during the second Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference in Berlin, after being selected from nearly 700 submissions by a jury of experts in the field. Proposals addressed challenges in the developing world, focusing on energy, water, waste reduction, agriculture, medicine and more. The 2017 challenge builds off the success of the first year, which drew nearly 500 submissions and awarded innovative projects in biodegradable textile dyeing technology and sustainable agriculture. Dr. Dênis Pires de Lima was awarded the first prize of € 50,000 for his project "From Cashews to castor oil, combating mosquito-borne diseases." Dr. Pires de Lima and his team are using natural waste from locally sourced cashew nuts and castor oil, to produce environmentally friendly insecticides against mosquitoes carrying Zika and Dengue fever - a sustainable alternative to conventional, substantially toxic insecticides. "The problem of diseases carried by mosquitoes is a result of an ecological imbalance in Brazil and many times the best solution will come from nature itself. My prize will provide visibility to a simple and scaleable project which help improve the quality of life for millions of people in Brazil fighting zika," said Dr. Pires de Lima from the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. The second prize worth € 25,000 has been awarded to Dr. Chioma Blaise Chikere. Her project "Eco-restoration of crude oil-polluted land in Nigeria" demonstrates how organic nutrients such as garden fertilizers and animal excreta can be used to degrade hydrocarbons, cleaning up the soils heavily contaminated by decades of oil spills. "This award will give me access to better research facilities and help empower local Nigerian women through eco-restauration and biodiversity recovery," said Dr. Chikere. "The winning projects do important work demonstrating how green chemistry solutions can be applied not only in one country and for one specific issue - but can tackle problems across  countries and continents," said Professor Dr. Klaus Kuemmerer from Leuphana University Lueneburg, chair of the challenge's scientific jury. Re-using waste from the cashew nut industry, as in Dr. Pires de Lima's project, is a brilliant example of broad applicability as waste management is an issue in the vast majority of fields. Likewise, Dr. Chikere's proposal shows how local ideas and expertise are needed to find effective solutions - a model that can be embraced by different countries. It's their applicability in different contexts, and their potential to benefit society in its entirety, that makes the two projects so important. They set an example for other developing as well as developed countries on how to approach local problems, and still propose global solutions." Dr. Kuemmerer is also the chair of the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference and Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier's journals Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry and Sustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy. "The competition shows us how science can serve society by helping to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals," said Hannfried von Hindenburg, Senior Vice President of Global Communications at Elsevier. "In working on some of the toughest challenges in their countries, the winners demonstrate that chemistry can be a force for good in the fight against natural or man-made plagues like the Zika virus and environmental oil contamination." For further information about the Green Chemistry Challenge, read more on Elsevier Connect, visit the Elsevier Foundation website, or join the conversation on social media: @ELSchemistry and #GREENCHEM2017. About The Elsevier Foundation The Elsevier Foundation provides grants to knowledge-centered institutions around the world, with a sustainability focus on innovations in health information, diversity in STM, research in developing countries and technology for development. Since 2006, the Foundation has awarded more than 100 grants worth millions of dollars to non-profit organizations working in these fields. Through gift-matching, the Foundation also supports the efforts of Elsevier employees to play a positive role in their local and global communities. The Elsevier Foundation is a corporate not-for-profit 501(c)(3), funded by Elsevier, a global provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. www.elsevierfoundation.org Elsevier is a global information analytics company that helps institutions and professionals progress science, advance healthcare and improve performance for the benefit of humanity. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, more than 35,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professionals and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com


Chemistry solutions that tap native plants, such as cashew nuts, to tackle mosquito borne diseases through environmentally friendly insecticides and a focus on eco-remediation of land devastated by crude oil spills in Nigeria, won the Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge. The 2017 first prize winner is Dr. Dênis Pires de Lima from the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, in Brazil, and the second prize winner is Dr. Chioma Blaise Chikere from the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria. The Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge is a collaboration between the Elsevier Foundation and Elsevier's chemistry journals. The five finalists for the 2017 edition pitched their projects during the second Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference in Berlin, after being selected from nearly 700 submissions by a jury of experts in the field. Proposals addressed challenges in the developing world, focusing on energy, water, waste reduction, agriculture, medicine and more. The 2017 challenge builds off the success of the first year, which drew nearly 500 submissions and awarded innovative projects in biodegradable textile dyeing technology and sustainable agriculture. Dr. Dênis Pires de Lima was awarded the first prize of € 50,000 for his project "From Cashews to castor oil, combating mosquito-borne diseases." Dr. Pires de Lima and his team are using natural waste from locally sourced cashew nuts and castor oil, to produce environmentally friendly insecticides against mosquitoes carrying Zika and Dengue fever -- a sustainable alternative to conventional, substantially toxic insecticides. "The problem of diseases carried by mosquitoes is a result of an ecological imbalance in Brazil and many times the best solution will come from nature itself. My prize will provide visibility to a simple and scaleable project which help improve the quality of life for millions of people in Brazil fighting zika," said Dr. Pires de Lima from the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. The second prize worth € 25,000 has been awarded to Dr. Chioma Blaise Chikere. Her project "Eco-restoration of crude oil-polluted land in Nigeria" demonstrates how organic nutrients such as garden fertilizers and animal excreta can be used to degrade hydrocarbons, cleaning up the soils heavily contaminated by decades of oil spills. "This award will give me access to better research facilities and help empower local Nigerian women through eco-restauration and biodiversity recovery," said Dr. Chikere. "The winning projects do important work demonstrating how green chemistry solutions can be applied not only in one country and for one specific issue -- but can tackle problems across countries and continents," said Professor Dr. Klaus Kuemmerer from Leuphana University Lueneburg, chair of the challenge's scientific jury. Re-using waste from the cashew nut industry, as in Dr. Pires de Lima's project, is a brilliant example of broad applicability as waste management is an issue in the vast majority of fields. Likewise, Dr. Chikere's proposal shows how local ideas and expertise are needed to find effective solutions -- a model that can be embraced by different countries. It's their applicability in different contexts, and their potential to benefit society in its entirety, that makes the two projects so important. They set an example for other developing as well as developed countries on how to approach local problems, and still propose global solutions." Dr. Kuemmerer is also the chair of the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference and Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier's journals Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry and Sustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy. "The competition shows us how science can serve society by helping to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals," said Hannfried von Hindenburg, Senior Vice President of Global Communications at Elsevier. "In working on some of the toughest challenges in their countries, the winners demonstrate that chemistry can be a force for good in the fight against natural or man-made plagues like the Zika virus and environmental oil contamination." For further information about the Green Chemistry Challenge, read more on Elsevier Connect, visit the Elsevier Foundation website, or join the conversation on social media: @ELSchemistry and #GREENCHEM2017. The Elsevier Foundation provides grants to knowledge-centered institutions around the world, with a sustainability focus on innovations in health information, diversity in STM, research in developing countries and technology for development. Since 2006, the Foundation has awarded more than 100 grants worth millions of dollars to non-profit organizations working in these fields. Through gift-matching, the Foundation also supports the efforts of Elsevier employees to play a positive role in their local and global communities. The Elsevier Foundation is a corporate not-for-profit 501(c)(3), funded by Elsevier, a global provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. http://www. Elsevier is a global information analytics company that helps institutions and professionals progress science, advance healthcare and improve performance for the benefit of humanity. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, more than 35,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professionals and business customers across industries. http://www.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

While building molecular machines, researchers stumbled upon a new method to detect ecstasy. The discovery can lead to more reliable drug tests. Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark, the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the Biomedical Research Networking Center in Bioengineering, Biomaterials & Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN) in Spain have discovered a new technique to detect ecstasy that is extremely reliable and simple to use. According to the researchers, many of the testing methods used today often require advanced instruments that are expensive and/or only found in laboratories. Often, there is also a waiting time in connection with the test results. Furthermore, there is also the recurring issue that many methods trigger a false positive a little too often - i.e. showing that a person tested positive for ecstasy even though subsequent tests show otherwise. - It is our impression that a need exists for more reliable, user-friendly and cheaper tests. What makes our method stand out is that it can detect even small traces, said Jan O. Jeppesen, a chemistry professor at the University of Southern Denmark. His research colleagues, Ramón Martínez-Máñez and Félix Sancenón from the Polytechnic Univeristy of Valencia and the CIBER-BBN in Spain, also noted that their method had several advantages. - We have discovered that a certain molecular activity can detect even very small traces of the active compound in ecstasy, MDMA, with almost 100 percent certainty. This knowledge can be used to develop cheap testing kits that are easy to transport and not least use. The researchers' new method can detect a solution equivalent to 1 gram of MDMA in 1000 litres of water. They have recently published their findings and method in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Chemical Communications. Jeppesen and his research team at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy at the University of Southern Denmark are working on understanding and building parts for molecular machines - near-unimaginably tiny machines propelled by the movement of molecules. It was during this work that they discovered the molecules' ability to detect MDMA. It is a research area that is attracting a great deal of attention from all over the world, and the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to the chemists Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa for their work on building machines on a molecular level. The opportunities that lie in the field of molecular machines are huge, according to Jeppesen. - The moment you let a molecular machine replace an electric machine, for example, you end up with a much smaller piece of machinery to operate. As a way of illustrating this, consider the following: If we assume that 6 billion people on Earth each possesses 10 computers in one shape or another, those computers will take up an enormous amount of space. If we could instead use molecules to replace all this computer technology, the molecular technology would only take up half a gram of weight. You start with a ball composed of atoms, which is simple to make. The ball is porous and filled with holes, meaning it can be filled up with smaller molecules. In this method, the ball is filled with molecules that are designed to light up if they are released from the holes. If there is no MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, the active ingredient in ecstasy) within range, the molecules cannot leave the ball. This is because a kind of arm is installed on the exterior of the ball that can open the ball's pores once it comes into contact with MDMA and keeps the molecules sealed in until that happens. When the ball 'opens up', so to speak, the luminescent molecules stream out and can be detected by a sensor. The ball only opens up once it comes into contact with MDMA, and it can detect even minuscule concentrations of MDMA.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: phys.org

Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark, the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the Biomedical Research Networking Center in Bioengineering, Biomaterials & Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN) in Spain have discovered a new technique to detect ecstasy that is extremely reliable and simple to use. According to the researchers, many of the testing methods used today often require advanced instruments that are expensive and/or only found in laboratories. Often, there is also a waiting time in connection with the test results. Furthermore, there is also the recurring issue that many methods trigger a false positive a little too often - i.e. showing that a person tested positive for ecstasy even though subsequent tests show otherwise. - It is our impression that a need exists for more reliable, user-friendly and cheaper tests. What makes our method stand out is that it can detect even small traces, said Jan O. Jeppesen, a chemistry professor at the University of Southern Denmark. His research colleagues, Ramón Martínez-Máñez and Félix Sancenón from the Polytechnic Univeristy of Valencia and the CIBER-BBN in Spain, also noted that their method had several advantages. - We have discovered that a certain molecular activity can detect even very small traces of the active compound in ecstasy, MDMA, with almost 100 percent certainty. This knowledge can be used to develop cheap testing kits that are easy to transport and not least use. The researchers' new method can detect a solution equivalent to 1 gram of MDMA in 1000 litres of water. They have recently published their findings and method in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Chemical Communications. Jeppesen and his research team at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy at the University of Southern Denmark are working on understanding and building parts for molecular machines - near-unimaginably tiny machines propelled by the movement of molecules. It was during this work that they discovered the molecules' ability to detect MDMA. It is a research area that is attracting a great deal of attention from all over the world, and the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to the chemists Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa for their work on building machines on a molecular level. The opportunities that lie in the field of molecular machines are huge, according to Jeppesen. - The moment you let a molecular machine replace an electric machine, for example, you end up with a much smaller piece of machinery to operate. As a way of illustrating this, consider the following: If we assume that 6 billion people on Earth each possesses 10 computers in one shape or another, those computers will take up an enormous amount of space. If we could instead use molecules to replace all this computer technology, the molecular technology would only take up half a gram of weight. You start with a ball composed of atoms, which is simple to make. The ball is porous and filled with holes, meaning it can be filled up with smaller molecules. In this method, the ball is filled with molecules that are designed to light up if they are released from the holes. If there is no MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, the active ingredient in ecstasy) within range, the molecules cannot leave the ball. This is because a kind of arm is installed on the exterior of the ball that can open the ball's pores once it comes into contact with MDMA and keeps the molecules sealed in until that happens. When the ball 'opens up', so to speak, the luminescent molecules stream out and can be detected by a sensor. The ball only opens up once it comes into contact with MDMA, and it can detect even minuscule concentrations of MDMA. Explore further: Video: Molecular machines: The 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, explained More information: Beatriz Lozano-Torres et al, Pseudorotaxane capped mesoporous silica nanoparticles for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) detection in water, Chem. Commun. (2017). DOI: 10.1039/C7CC00186J


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

For the first time a "tipping point" molecular link between the blood sugar glucose and Alzheimer's disease has been established by scientists, who have shown that excess glucose damages a vital enzyme involved with inflammation response to the early stages of Alzheimer's. Abnormally high blood sugar levels, or hyperglycaemia, is well-known as a characteristic of diabetes and obesity, but its link to Alzheimer's disease is less familiar. Diabetes patients have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease compared to healthy individuals. In Alzheimer's disease abnormal proteins aggregate to form plaques and tangles in the brain which progressively damage the brain and lead to severe cognitive decline. Scientists already knew that glucose and its break-down products can damage proteins in cells via a reaction called glycation but the specific molecular link between glucose and Alzheimer's was not understood. But now scientists from the University of Bath Departments of Biology and Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacy and Pharmacology, working with colleagues at the Wolfson Centre for Age Related Diseases, King's College London, have unraveled that link. By studying brain samples from people with and without Alzheimer's using a sensitive technique to detect glycation, the team discovered that in the early stages of Alzheimer's glycation damages an enzyme called MIF (macrophage migration inhibitory factor) which plays a role in immune response and insulin regulation. MIF is involved in the response of brain cells called glia to the build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain during Alzheimer's disease, and the researchers believe that inhibition and reduction of MIF activity caused by glycation could be the 'tipping point' in disease progression. It appears that as Alzheimer's progresses, glycation of these enzymes increases. The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports. Professor Jean van den Elsen, from the University of Bath Department of Biology and Biochemistry, said: "We've shown that this enzyme is already modified by glucose in the brains of individuals at the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. We are now investigating if we can detect similar changes in blood. "Normally MIF would be part of the immune response to the build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain, and we think that because sugar damage reduces some MIF functions and completely inhibits others that this could be a tipping point that allows Alzheimer's to develop. Dr. Rob Williams, also from the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, added: "Knowing this will be vital to developing a chronology of how Alzheimer's progresses and we hope will help us identify those at risk of Alzheimer's and lead to new treatments or ways to prevent the disease. Dr. Omar Kassaar, from the University of Bath, added: "Excess sugar is well known to be bad for us when it comes to diabetes and obesity, but this potential link with Alzheimer's disease is yet another reason that we should be controlling our sugar intake in our diets." Globally there are around 50 million people with Alzheimer's disease, and this figure is predicted to rise to more than 125 million by 2050. The global social cost of the disease runs into the hundreds of billions of dollars as alongside medical care patients require social care because of the cognitive effects of the disease. The study was funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust. Human brain tissue for this study was provided through Brains for Dementia Research, a joint initiative between Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research UK in association with the Medical Research Council.


News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

For the first time a "tipping point" molecular link between the blood sugar glucose and Alzheimer's disease has been established by scientists, who have shown that excess glucose damages a vital enzyme involved with inflammation response to the early stages of Alzheimer's. Abnormally high blood sugar levels, or hyperglycaemia, is well-known as a characteristic of diabetes and obesity, but its link to Alzheimer's disease is less familiar. Diabetes patients have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease compared to healthy individuals. In Alzheimer's disease abnormal proteins aggregate to form plaques and tangles in the brain which progressively damage the brain and lead to severe cognitive decline. Scientists already knew that glucose and its break-down products can damage proteins in cells via a reaction called glycation but the specific molecular link between glucose and Alzheimer's was not understood. But now scientists from the University of Bath Departments of Biology and Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacy and Pharmacology, working with colleagues at the Wolfson Centre for Age Related Diseases, King's College London, have unraveled that link. By studying brain samples from people with and without Alzheimer's using a sensitive technique to detect glycation, the team discovered that in the early stages of Alzheimer's glycation damages an enzyme called MIF (macrophage migration inhibitory factor) which plays a role in immune response and insulin regulation. MIF is involved in the response of brain cells called glia to the build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain during Alzheimer's disease, and the researchers believe that inhibition and reduction of MIF activity caused by glycation could be the 'tipping point' in disease progression. It appears that as Alzheimer's progresses, glycation of these enzymes increases. The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports. Professor Jean van den Elsen, from the University of Bath Department of Biology and Biochemistry, said: "We've shown that this enzyme is already modified by glucose in the brains of individuals at the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. We are now investigating if we can detect similar changes in blood. "Normally MIF would be part of the immune response to the build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain, and we think that because sugar damage reduces some MIF functions and completely inhibits others that this could be a tipping point that allows Alzheimer's to develop. Dr Rob Williams, also from the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, added: "Knowing this will be vital to developing a chronology of how Alzheimer's progresses and we hope will help us identify those at risk of Alzheimer's and lead to new treatments or ways to prevent the disease. Dr Omar Kassaar, from the University of Bath, added: "Excess sugar is well known to be bad for us when it comes to diabetes and obesity, but this potential link with Alzheimer's disease is yet another reason that we should be controlling our sugar intake in our diets." Globally there are around 50 million people with Alzheimer's disease, and this figure is predicted to rise to more than 125 million by 2050. The global social cost of the disease runs into the hundreds of billions of dollars as alongside medical care patients require social care because of the cognitive effects of the disease. The study was funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust. Human brain tissue for this study was provided through Brains for Dementia Research, a joint initiative between Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research UK in association with the Medical Research Council. For further information, please contact Chris Melvin in the University of Bath Press Office on +44 (0)1225 386 319 or c.m.melvin@bath.ac.uk Copies of the paper available on request. The University of Bath celebrates its 50th anniversary this year as one of the UK's leading universities both in terms of research and our reputation for excellence in teaching, learning and graduate prospects. In the REF 2014 research assessment 87 per cent of our research was defined as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent'. From making aircraft more fuel efficient, to identifying infectious diseases more quickly, or cutting carbon emissions through innovative building solutions, research from Bath is making a difference around the world. Find out more: http://www. Well established as a nurturing environment for enterprising minds, Bath is ranked highly in all national league tables. We were chosen as the UK's top university in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2015. The Dunhill Medical Trust is a charity which supports innovation in the care of older people and research into the causes and treatments of disease, disability and frailty related to ageing. It welcomes high quality grant applications, particularly those within the following areas: care of older people, including rehabilitation and palliative care; and research into the causes and treatments of disease, disability and frailty related to ageing. The Dunhill Medical Trust is a grant-making charitable company limited by guarantee (company no. 7472301; charity no. 1140372). It is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and a recognised charity partner of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).


News Article | December 15, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A researcher in Germany is studying why fish sometimes smells 'fishy' and why customers often smell other aromas when they buy fish. Mohamed Mahmoud, doctoral candidate at the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy at FAU, identified various off-flavours of fish raised in aquaculture as part of his doctoral thesis. His goal is to discover how to reduce unpleasant musty notes in the taste of fish. Eating fish as part of a high-protein diet is healthy - which is why more and more people have put salmon and other types of fish on the menu. However, this trend also means that as the demand for wild-caught fish increases, natural resources are gradually depleted. The ecological balance is disturbed, threatening long-term food security around the world. 'This is why aquacultures where fish are raised are important,' explained Prof. Dr. Andrea Büttner from the Chair of Food Chemistry at FAU's Emil Fischer Centre. However, there is one clear disadvantage to farm-raised fish from the consumers' perspective: they often have undesirable flavours. 'Microorganisms can form in aquaculture ponds and other substances can successively break down in the water, creating highly potent aromas which in turn cause deficiencies in the fish,' explained Prof. Büttner. The musty, earthy smell, for example, is typically caused by two substances: geosmin, which has an earthy, musty, or mouldy smell, and the chemical compound 2-methylisoborneol (MIB), which has a rotten fish smell. It was previously assumed that these substances were primarily responsible for off-flavours in fish. It was unclear whether other culprits might be responsible for fishy smells. Manure smell most likely from livestock husbandry Doctoral candidate Mohamed Mahmoud's experiments are intended to find answers to this question. The young researcher recently conducted a successful experiment on rainbow trout aquaculture. In addition to geosmin and MIB, he identified ten other substances with a musty-earthy smell, including one that smells like manure. 'The manure smell most likely comes from livestock husbandry, such as pig farms, but other substances appear to be the result of odour-producing disintegration of pesticides. These substances run off over land into the water and get into the fish,' said Mahmoud. This made it clear that the conventional wisdom on this matter needs to be looked at more critically and that the sources of flavour problems are significantly more complex than previously assumed. Mahmoud's main goal is to discover ways to avoid off-flavours in farm-raised fish, as aquaculture is certain to play an even bigger role in future. The variety of aromas typical for fish The combinations of various aromas typical for fish are of great interest for Mahmoud. 'When you look at the components of fish aromas, it's interesting that you also find unexpected substances.' The young researcher has identified aromas in fish that smell like, for example, geraniums, citrus, eucalyptus, caramel, peach or black pepper. 'It isn't unusual; food aromas are generally very complex and it's difficult to identify the individual components of an overall aroma - unless you use our targeted analytics which allow you to individually identify aromatic substances,' explained Mahmoud. 'Our main goal is still to find, among all the possible substances, exactly those substances that are perceived negatively and that aren't typical for fish - especially in comparison with wild-caught fish. We are working to find more potential causes of off-flavours in aquaculture fish produced in Germany and to identify the links between water quality and aroma profiles.' Together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Freising, Mohamed Mahmoud is conducting sensory tests of fish, aquaculture pond water, and added and drained water. He uses gas chromatography-olfactometry, which allows for odour-producing substances to be detected and analysed.

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