Earth

Boosting the urinary tract's ability to fight infections

Boosting the urinary tract's ability to fight infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common, and wide-spread antibiotic resistance has led to urgent calls for new ways to combat these infections. A study published on April 30th in PLOS Pathogens reports that an experimental drug that stabilizes the human immune defense protein HIF-1α can protect human bladder cells and mice against a major UTI pathogen, and it might provide a therapeutic alternative or complement to antibiotic treatment.

Gravity data show that Antarctic ice sheet is melting increasingly faster

Gravity data show that Antarctic ice sheet is melting increasingly faster

During the past decade, Antarctica's massive ice sheet lost twice the amount of ice in its western portion compared with what it accumulated in the east, according to Princeton University researchers who came to one overall conclusion -- the southern continent's ice cap is melting ever faster.

Pancreatic cancer risk linked to weak sunlight

Pancreatic cancer risk linked to weak sunlight

Researchers are reporting that pancreatic cancer rates are highest in countries with the least amount of sunlight. Low sunlight levels were due to a combination of heavy cloud cover and high latitude.

'Dead zones' found in Atlantic open waters

'Dead zones' found in Atlantic open waters

Researchers have discovered areas with extremely low levels of oxygen in the tropical North Atlantic, several hundred kilometers off the coast of West Africa. The levels measured in these 'dead zones', inhabitable for most marine animals, are the lowest ever recorded in Atlantic open waters. The dead zones are created in eddies, large swirling masses of water that slowly move westward. Encountering an island, they could potentially lead to mass fish kills.

200-year lag between climate events in Greenland and Antarctica

200-year lag between climate events in Greenland and Antarctica

A new study using evidence from a highly detailed ice core from West Antarctica shows a consistent link between abrupt temperature changes on Greenland and Antarctica during the last ice age, giving scientists a clearer picture of the link between climate in the northern and southern hemispheres.

De-icing agents reduce oxygen in groundwater

De-icing agents reduce oxygen in groundwater

Spring has arrived in Europe with mild temperatures and sunshine. Where just a few weeks ago the ground was frozen and partly covered in snow and ice, it is now thawing. This doesn't only have an impact on the flora and fauna. Thawing results in soil and the groundwater at airports being impacted by chemicals, which are contained in melt water.

The reason: Airports have to use de-icing agents during the winter, which end up on unpaved areas and infiltrate into the soils during snowmelt.

How does a honeybee queen avoid inbreeding?

How does a honeybee queen avoid inbreeding?

Recombination, or crossing-over, occurs when sperm and egg cells are formed and segments of each chromosome pair are interchanged. This process plays an crucial role in the maintanance of genetic variation. Matthew Webster and Andreas Wallberg at the Biomedical Centre, Uppsala University, have studied recombination in honeybees. The extreme recombination rates found in this species seem to be crucial for their survival.

Organic farming can change agriculture ecosystem from carbon source to carbon sink

Organic farming can change agriculture ecosystem from carbon source to carbon sink

Approximately 35% of global greenhouse gases (GHGs) come from agriculture. Some argue that humans can reverse global warming by sequestering several hundred billion tons of excess CO2 through regenerative, organic farming, ranching and land use. Increasing the soil's organic content will not only fix carbon and reduce emissions, it could also improve the soil's ability to retain water and nutrients and resist pests and droughts.

Groundwater in Antarctica's Dry Valleys

Using a novel, helicopter-borne sensor to penetrate below the surface of large swathes of terrain, a team of researchers has gathered compelling evidence that beneath the Antarctica ice-free McMurdo Dry Valleys lies a salty aquifer that may support previously unknown microbial ecosystems and retain evidence of ancient climate change.

Transforming all donated blood into a universal type

Every day, thousands of people need donated blood. But only blood without A- or B-type antigens, such as type O, can be given to all of those in need, and it's usually in short supply. Now scientists are making strides toward fixing the situation. In ACS' Journal of the American Chemical Society, they report an efficient way to transform A and B blood into a neutral type that can be given to any patient.