MADISON, WI, May 4, 2009--Contrary to the prevailing view, cereal crops derive the majority of their nitrogen from the soil, not fertilizer. Soils differ considerably in microbial activities that determine nitrogen-supplying power, and these differences must be taken into account if nitrogen fertilizers are to be used efficiently. The Illinois Soil Nitrogen Test (ISNT) was developed for this purpose, and involves estimation of gaseous ammonia liberated by heating the soil with strong alkali in a Mason jar.

Now, new Danish research may have come up with an explanation as to where and how North Sea oil clings to underground rocks. This explanation could turn out to be the first step on the way to developing improved oil production techniques with the intent of increasing oil production from Danish oil fields.

A hydrogen-rich compound discovered by Stanford researchers is packed with promise of helping overcome one of the biggest hurdles to using hydrogen for fuel--namely, how do you stuff enough hydrogen into a volume that is small enough to be portable and practical for powering a car?

Here's some sweet news for honey lovers: Researchers in France are reporting development of a simple test for distinguishing 100 percent natural honeys from adulterated or impure versions that they say are increasingly being foisted off on consumers. Their study appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

For more than a decade, scientists have been frustrated in their attempts to create continuously emitting light sources from individual molecules because of an optical quirk called "blinking," but now scientists at the University of Rochester have uncovered the basic physics behind the phenomenon, and along with researchers at the Eastman Kodak Company, created a nanocrystal that constantly emits light.

PrimerDesign Ltd, a UK firm founded by University of Southampton scientists, has won the race to produce the first DNA test kit for the Mexican swine flu.

The first shipment of rapid-results tests has been sent today directly to Mexico as well as many other territories to help authorities monitor the increasing number of suspected cases.

Project coordinator Dr Rob Powell said: "This past Sunday at midnight was a very special moment for us. We were able to show conclusively that the test works."

Cloud computing is a hot topic in the technology world these days. Even if you're not a tech-phile, chances are if you've watched a lot of television or skimmed a business magazine, you've heard someone talking about cloud computing as the way of the future. While it's difficult to predict the future, a cloud computing infrastructure project developed at Argonne National Lab, called Nimbus, is demonstrating that cloud computing's potential is being realized now.

The U.S. military can now calibrate high-power laser systems, such as those intended to defuse unexploded mines, more quickly and easily thanks to a novel nanotube-coated power measurement device developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

LAS VEGAS, NV (May 8, 2009) — A new device designed to close a common heart defect known as a patent foramen ovale (PFO) is safe and effective at 90-days follow up, according to a new study released today at the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) 32nd Annual Scientific Sessions in Las Vegas.

A clever materials science technique that uses a silicon crystal as a sort of nanoscale vise to squeeze another crystal into a more useful shape may launch a new class of electronic devices that remember their last state even after power is turned off. Computers that could switch on instantly without the time-consuming process of “booting” an operating system is just one of the possibilities, according to a new paper by a team of researchers spanning four universities, two federal laboratories and three corporate labs.*