Cleaning PFAS contaminated water, sleep music and more

Using a magnet to clean PFAS-contaminated water

The University of Queensland has developed a simple, fast and effective new technology that removes 95% of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from contaminated water in less than 1 minute.

PFAS are synthetic chemicals found in fire-fighting foam and consumer goods such as food packaging, cookware, and clothing. They are so resistant to chemical and biological degradation that they are sometimes known as ‘forever chemicals’.As a result, PFAS foams can soak into the ground after rainfall and contaminate ground water there is.

Since there are still many unknowns about the health and environmental effects of PFAS, an effective technology to remove PFAS chemicals from contaminated water is essential.

“Existing methods require machines such as pumps, which take a lot of time and require their own power supply,” said a polymer chemist at the Australian Institute of Biotechnology and Nanotechnology, who conducted a study published in the journal explains Cheng Zhang, Ph.D., senior author of Applied Chemistry International Edition (applied chemistry).

“Our method shows that we can remove more of these chemicals in a faster, cheaper, cleaner and much easier way.

“Our process does not require electricity, so it can be used in remote and off-grid communities.”

read more: Explainer: What is PFAS?

A new PFAS removal technology treats contaminated water with a new solution called a magnetic fluorinated polymer sorbent.

“The solution we developed coats the PFAS particles and uses a magnet to attract them, separate them, and remove them,” Zhang explains.

“The solution itself can be reused up to 10 times.

“Our team is now scaling up testing and hopes to have a commercial product within the next three years.”

Could microalgae be the key to feeding the world’s growing population?

Do you eat seaweed for dinner? Microalgae and other microscopic plant-like organisms may provide a more sustainable and efficient alternative to current agricultural systems, according to a US study.

“Many of us have known of the food potential of algae for many years and have studied it as a food source, but climate change, deforestation, and with our population of eight billion, Co-author Stephen Mayfield, Ph.D., professor of biology at the University of California, San Diego and director of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, said:

Researchers analyzed the current scientific literature and found that algae can produce 167 times more useful biomass than corn while using the same amount of land.

Blue-green algae (Gloeocapsa cyanobacteria). Credit: Ed Reschke/Getty Images

“The biggest advantage is the amount of protein produced per acre,” says Mayfield.

“Algae is at least 10 times, and possibly 20 times, larger than the current soybean gold standard in production per acre.”

Some algae species can grow in brackish or salty water. This means that fresh water can be reserved for other uses. Many seeds are rich in essential vitamins, minerals and macronutrients in the human diet, including amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids. .

“The only way to avoid a truly dire future is to start the transition to a more sustainable future now. Algae as food is one of the transitions we need to make,” Mayfield said. concludes.

This study was published in the journal The forefront of nutrition science.

When it comes to music that puts people to sleep, there is no such thing as “one size fits all”.

Throughout history, lullabies have been used to help children sleep. With recorded music now so readily available, many people listen to music to help them nod. This raises the question: Is the music that people choose to fall asleep to share certain universal characteristics?

Research on the properties of sleep music is fairly limited, but a new study in the journal pro swan Sleep music is usually quieter and slower than other music, has no lyrics, and often features acoustic instruments.

Read: A good lullaby has no lyrics.

The researchers analyzed 225,626 tracks from Spotify’s 985 playlists related to sleep, and used Spotify’s API to extract audio features from sleep tracks and music from a dataset representing music in general. compared to

They found that the musical features of sleep music are also highly diverse, identifying six different subcategories. Interestingly, three of these subcategories were louder, more energetic, and contained more popular songs than average sleep music.

The authors speculate that popular songs, despite their high energy, may help some people relax and sleep through familiarity. Further research is needed to identify the different reasons why people choose different music for sleep.

Increase efficiency of bumblebees with floral patterns

Many flowers have colorful markings, called nectar guides in biology, which are thought to indicate the shortest route for pollinating insects to nectar-producing structures. This may improve the efficiency with which insects seek food, while also improving the dispersal of plant pollen.

Now, a new study identifies for the first time the individual steps that do this in terrestrial bumblebees (ground bomb), the Nectar Guide has been shown to reduce the time required for bees to interact with flowers by up to 30%.

Bumblebee on a yellow and pink flower
The interaction between bumblebees and flowers is more efficient when the flowers are patterned. The left is a male white-tailed bumblebee, and the right is a forager of the white-tailed bumblebee. Credit: Anna Stoeckl/Johannes Spaethe

Research published in journals functional ecologyusing video tracking of bumblebee visits, using artificial flowers containing nectar and of various pattern types, or none at all.

Surprisingly, however, it turns out that flower markings do not actually reduce the time bees search for nectar after landing. Instead, they act like runway markings, helping bumblebees coordinate their approach to flowers. This shortens the approach flight time and ensures a favorable landing position.

The peduncle also reduces the time to take off, and insects spend much less time on the peduncle after collecting nectar.

“Bumblebees often run to the edge of a petal to take off,” explains co-author Dr. Johannes Spaethe, an entomologist at the Department of Behavioral Physiology and Sociobiology (Zoology II) at the University of Würzburg, Germany.

“If they can orient themselves to the pattern, they may be able to find this takeoff site more quickly.”

“These insights raise new questions about how deceptive patterns or altered display of ornamental flowers affect the foraging efficiency of insect pollinators,” the authors write. concludes.

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