Year: 2018

Team at CAS QIBEBT engineers Nannochloropsis microalgae to produce “designer triacyl glycerides”

A team around Jian XU at CAS Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Environmental Technology (QIBEBT) has found that two type-2 diacylglycerol acyltransferases (DGAT2s) from Nannochloropsis ocanica prefer linoleic acid (LA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). By modulating tanscript abundance of these two enzymes, strains were obtained which include high levels of LA and EPA into triacylglycerides. CAS news release, December 28, 2018

Hi-Tech zones are the backbone of China’s innovation, but still lag behind Silicon Valley

According to a report of the CAS Institutes of Science and Development and a speech by science minister WANG Zhigang, 52.000 high-tech enterprises in China’s national high-tech zones – now 169 in total – contribute 11.5 % to the national GDP and export goods and services valued at 30.7 trillion Yuan. Companies in these zones spent 616 billion Yuan in R&D or 35 % of China’s total R&D expenditure. They host close to 3000 national research institutes including 341 “state-key laboratories”. However, all venture capital invested 2017 in China’s Hi-Tech zones amounted to just 39 % of venture capital flowing into Silicon Valley. The report stresses that over 37 % of Silicon Valley’s population is foreign-born, whereas only 1 % of staff in China’s Hi-Tech zones are foreigners. CAS news release, December 26/27, 2018

Shale gas production in Southern Sichuan reaches 4.2 billion cubic meters in 2018

The main production area is located in the southeastern part of the Sichuan Basin around the five cities of Zigong, Zhangzhou, Leshan, Neijiang and Yibin. China’s shale gas reserves are ranked # 1 in the world, but geological conditions render exploitation difficult. In the above area, production has now reached 11 mill cubic meters per day, accounting for about 4.2 % of China’s natural gas production. Japan JST China news release, December 27, 2018

CAS Shanxi Institute of Coal Chemistry reports progress on methanol-to-propylene synthesis

China at present commands a total production capacity of 1.46 million tons of methanol-to-propylene production equipment, but process performance is poor. In a national program implemented in 2011, considerable progress was achieved: a largely improved catalyst could be continuously used for more than 1000 hours, the overall methanol conversion rate was higher than 99%, selectivity for C3 was 45%, for C2  9%~13%, for C7 and heavy hydrocarbons less than 3%, and performance was stable after regeneration. CAS news release, December 25, 2018

Modified copper valence state allows for selective hydrogenation: CAS Dalian Institute of Chemical Phsics

A team around Jian SUN has used high-energy plasma to prepare a copper catalyst sputted on silica which reacts during hydrogenation as Cuo (zero-valence or noble metal state). The catalyst reduced dimethyloxalate with 87% selectivity to the primary hydrogenation product, methyl glycolate, not to the complete hydrogenation products ethylene glycol and ethanol. Density functional theory calculations revealed that Cuois the active site of the preliminary hydrogenation step, selectively converting DMO to MG via •H addition. CAS news release, December 22, 2018

CAS Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics proposes “quantum cutting solar concentrators”

Luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) are large-area sunlight collectors. Efficient LSCs can significantly reduce the cost of photovoltaic (PV) technologies. WU Kaifeng and colleagues at CAS DICP have used ytterbium doped perovskite nanocrystals and shown that absorption of one blue photon by the nanocrystal host led to the emission of two near-infrared photons from the ytterbium dopants. This is a signature of quantum cutting, i.e., cutting one photon into two while conserving the total energy. By incorporating such doped nanocrystals into a polymer matrix, they were able to fabricate the first quantum cutting LSC with the highest ever internal optical efficiency, two-fold higher than previous records. CAS news release, December 21, 2018

CAS QIBEBT: filamentous Tribonema microalgae are useful for biodiesel production

The group of LIU Tianzhong from CAS Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT) has investigated yellow-green microalga Tribonema sp., a filamentous oleaginous microalgae, for biodiesel production. It has advantages over other unicellular oily microalgae for cultivation adaptability and easy harvesting due to its filamentous character. Moreover, Tribonema sp. is also capable of using glucose as substrate for rapid heterotrophic growth, providing a way to speed up the production of microalgal lipid.The team constructed a global network model of the central carbon metabolism and lipid biosynthetic pathways and showed thatinsufficient supply of carbon precursors related fatty acid synthesis caused low levels of final lipid accumulation during heterotrophic cultivation. When they supplemented exogenous potassium palmitate, the total lipid content in T. minus grown in heterotrophic culture was dramatically enhanced. CAS news release, December 21, 2018

China’s AI-based mobile phones expected to hold 80 % market share in 2022

According to the “2018 Chinese artificial intelligence mobile phone industry research report”, AI smartphones held only 10 % market share in 2017 but will rise to 80 % in 2022, with sales of over 1.3 billion units. The most important functions are face authentication, smart brightness adjustment in photography, AI-based smart facial beauty, and AI image recognition.  Japan JST China news, December 20, 2018

Kenya signs MOU with China on R&D cooperation

Under the MOU, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Kenya and the Chinese Academy of Sciences will support a variety of science, technology, innovation and higher education cooperative activities between China and Africa in the areas of ecosystem and environment protection, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, agriculture, health, the development and demonstration of adaptable technologies via the Sino-Africa Joint Research Center (SAJOREC). SAJOREC has provided 122 scholarships to qualified African students to pursue post graduate courses in China and over the next three years will provide another 150 new scholarships to students from Africa. Future projects to be developed under the framework of SAJOREC will include the joint development of research and development centers for modern agriculture and traditional medicines, and a ground-based satellite data receiving station.  CAS news release, December 18, 2018

Cathelicidin-BF-30 clinically approved as new drug

BF-30 is a single chain polypeptide which contains 30 amino acid residues, with a molecular mass of 3637. First isolated by CAS Institute of Zoology in Kunming which has specialized in antimicrobial peptides derived from snakes and amphibians, the peptide has been approved for clinical treatment of vaginosis but is also studied as an antiviral agent. CAS news release, December 18, 2018

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