Month: March 2023

Amino acids and peptides may provide biodegradable glasses through a heating-quenching procedure Researchers led by YAN Xuehai from the CAS Institute of Process Engineering have fabricated a family of eco-friendly glasses of biological origin, using biologically-derived amino acids or peptides through heating-quenching, a classic industrial procedure. They chemically modified amino acids and peptides at their ends so they form a super-cooled liquid before decomposition. The glasses exhibited good glass-forming abilities and optical characteristics, and were amenable to three-dimensional-printed additive manufacturing and mold casting.

Calcium carbonate shells protect a probiotic during manufacture and GI passage A team from Shanghai Jiao Tong University has created a calcium carbonate coating using electrostatic interactions that mimic the mineral formation of biological tissues. The ultra-resistant coating which disappears during gastrointestinal passage was shown to protect the probiotics organism Bacteroides fragilis during production from oxygen, UV and ethanol, and during GI passage from gastric and bile acids. The procedure was successfully used to treat colitis in a mouse model. Graph from Science Advances citation

Global fires have strong impact on atmospheric CO2 Shi Yusheng’s research team of the CAS Aerospace Information Innovation Institute has quantified the impact of global fire carbon emissions on atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. The research results show that the annual average impact of global fire carbon emissions on atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration can reach 2.4 ppm, indicating that fire is one of the key factors in the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere has a significant impact on global warming and climate change. Africa is the region with the highest biomass burning emissions in the world, resulting in the highest carbon dioxide concentration in summer, an increase of 7.9 to 13.0 parts per million. The study provides a new approach and method for quantifying the impact of fire carbon emissions on changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, and provides a scientific basis for the control of biomass combustion.

Peroxisome engineering provides pathway from methanol to fatty alcohols Zhou Yongjin and team at the CAS Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics have coupled methanol utilization with fatty alcohol biosynthesis through metabolic pathway compartmentalization in methanolic yeast. Normally, the yield of fatty alcohols synthesized by modified Hansenula polymorpha using methanol as raw material is very low due to the toxicity of methanol and the complex regulatory process of methanol metabolism. The team targeted the fatty alcohol synthesis pathway to the peroxisome to couple methanol metabolism, increasing the yield of fatty alcohol synthesis by 3.9 times. Subsequently, the team further increased the yield of fatty alcohol synthesis by 2.5 times by strengthening the precursor supply, reducing power supply, methanol tolerance, and formaldehyde assimilation process. In the end, the team realized the synthesis of 3.6 grams of fatty alcohol by the engineered strain in a 1-liter fermenter.

China’s capacity for renewable energies enough to fuel all 27 EU member states According to Song Kailiang, Chairman of the China Energy Construction group, China’s total installed capacity of renewable energy generation in 2022 exceeded that of coal power generation, accounting for 47.3% of the total, and the full-year generation volume exceeded 2.7 trillion kWh, which is equivalent to the annual power consumption of 27 European Union countries in 2021.

China’s deep-sea manned submersible Fendouzhe completes dives in Oceania China’s deep-sea manned submersible Fendouzhe (Striver) returned to Sanya city, south China’s Hainan Province, on March 11, with fruitful results, according to the Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Fendouzhe completed 63 dives during its voyage aboard the country’s scientific research ship Tansuo-1 in the ship’s first international manned deep-diving scientific research mission in waters surrounding Oceania. It dived 31 times into the Kermadec Trench in the southwest Pacific Ocean, submerging more than 10,000 meters under the Pacific Ocean’s surface in the trench four times, and over 9,000 meters 10 times. In the Diamantina Trench in the southeastern Indian Ocean, the submersible completed 30 dives, with destinations covering almost all the tectonic elements at the axial localities of the trench. Fendouzhe has completed 189 dives, among which 25 reached a depth of over 10,000 meters. A total of 102 people from 23 domestic and international organizations have dived into the ocean with the submersible, with 29 people diving to a depth of over 10,000 meters with it. In addition to manned deep-sea diving operations, the expedition team also completed routine research tasks like the deployment and recovery of landers, during the scientific research mission of the scientific research ship Tansuo-1. The mission represented the first large-scale and systematic manned deep-diving survey carried out in the Kermadec Trench. Photo shows Grimpoteuthis bathynectes taken by China’s deep-sea manned submersible Fendouzhe (Striver) at 5,500 meters below the surface of the Indian Ocean in the Diamantina Trench on Feb. 8, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Frequent social activities beneficial for older people (Xinhua) 13:32, March 14, 2023 BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) — Chinese researchers have discovered that frequent engagement in social activities is strongly associated with prolonged overall lifespan in older people. The issue of population aging poses a growing concern around the world. It is estimated that China will become a deeply aging society in 2027 with over 15 percent of the population aged 65 years and above, and will progress into a severely aging society by 2040 with 20 percent of the population aged over 65 years old. Considerable attention has been given to the concept of “active” or “successful” aging, with an active social life emerging as an important component. But most of the evidence for the health benefits of socialising is derived from studies conducted on people in Western countries, with little published data on people in Asia. To plug this knowledge gap, the researchers wanted to explore whether the frequency of socialising might be linked to overall survival in a relatively large group of older people living in China. Researchers from the West China Hospital of Sichuan University drew on the data from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS), which is an ongoing nationally representative study of older people who live independently. The current study focused on five separate waves of data (waves 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011, and 2014), involving a total of 28,563 participants with a median age of 89 years, and these participants were followed up until wave 2018. The researchers divided the elderly into five groups based on how often they participated in social activities: almost every day, at least once a week, at least once a month, occasionally and never. After adjusting the confounding factors, such as sex, education, marital status, household income, and lifestyles, the results demonstrated that from the baseline to five years of follow-up, more frequent social activities were associated with a significantly longer lifespan. The greater the frequency, the greater the likelihood of living longer. The researchers also found that the time to death was delayed by 42 percent in those who socialised occasionally, by 48 percent in those who did at least monthly, by 110 percent in those who did so at least weekly, and by 87 percent in those who did so nearly every day, compared with those who said they never socialised. When analyzing the relationship between frequent socialising and the long-term survival (i.e. more than five years) of the elderly, the researchers discovered that only participating in social activities almost every day could significantly prolong one’s long-term lifespan. The time to death for this group of people was delayed by 204 percent. Through the study, the researchers reckon that active participation in social activities is associated with longer overall survival of Chinese older people, especially that almost daily participation in social activities is more beneficial to long-term survival. (Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)

Graphene-based wearable artificial throat and AI may help laryngectomy patients Researchers from Tsinghua University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine have devised a graphene-based intelligent, wearable artificial throat (AT), sensitive to human speech and vocalization-related motions. The AT’s perception of the mixed modalities of acoustic signals and mechanical motions enables it to acquire signals with a low fundamental frequency while remaining noise resistant. It can recognize everyday words vaguely spoken by a patient with laryngectomy with an accuracy of over 90 percent through an ensemble AI model. The content was synthesized into speech and played on the AT to rehabilitate the patient for vocalization. The research team concludes there is still ample room for optimization, such as sound quality, volume, and voice diversity.

CAS DICP achieves improved photocatalytic production of hydrogen peroxide Two teams from CAS Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics and the University of Queensland, Australia, have made progress on artificial photosynthesis of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) by simulating the stomatal structure of plant leaves , resulting in a solar-to-chemical (SCC) conversion rate of 1.23%. The collaborative team grew two-dimensional mesoporous resorcinol-formaldehyde (RF) resin on the surface of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) through a micelle-mediated interfacial self-assembly strategy, forming a sandwich structure of RF resin-rGO-RF resin. The mesoporous channels in the material are like the stomata of plant leaves and can effectively enhance the mass transfer capability of the material. Graph: Efficient photocatalytic production of hydrogen peroxide by simulating leaf structure, © Dalian Institute of Chemical Technology and others

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