Scientists have solved a long-standing mystery about methanogens, unique microorganisms that transform electricity and carbon dioxide into methane. They demonstrate for the first time how methanogens obtain electrons from solid surfaces. The discovery could help scientists design electrodes for microbial 'factories' that produce methane gas and other compounds sustainably.
A central part of photosynthesis takes place in a specialized structure within chloroplasts, the thylakoid membrane system. Despite its apparent important function, until now it was not clear how this specialized internal membrane system is actually formed. Researchers have now identified how this membrane is generated.
Scientists have discovered a way to regrow bone tissue using the protein signals produced by stem cells. This technology could help treat victims who have experienced major trauma to a limb, like soldiers wounded in combat or casualties of a natural disaster. The new method improves on older therapies by providing a sustainable source for fresh tissue and reducing the risk of tumor formation that can arise with stem cell transplants.
A new study has found that serotonin and TGF-beta hormone levels in specific neurons of C. elegans communicate information about food abundance in roundworms. These signals from the nervous system influence the animal's lifespan, thus mediating the effects of food on ageing.
Corn, wheat and rapeseed can be used to produce biofuels, such as bioethanol and biodiesel. According to recent findings by environmental scientists, the location of the agricultural lands used to grow these biofuel crops has a major impact on the greenhouse gas emission they ultimately produce.
Geochemists report that photosynthesis leaves behind a unique calling card in the form of a chemical signature that is spelled out with stable oxygen isotopes. The findings suggest that similar isotopic signatures could exist for many biological processes, including some that are difficult to observe with current tools.