Scientists Discover How to ‘Uncook’ Egg Whites

In research that could dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments and food production, a team of chemists from Australia and the United States, led by Prof Gregory Weiss of the University of California, Irvine, has developed a way of ‘unboiling’ hen egg whites.

Scientists have found a way to unboil eggs. Image credit: Eugene Kim / CC BY 2.0.
“Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg,” said Prof Weiss, who is the senior author of a paper published online in the journal ChemBioChem .
“In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold.”
“We start with egg whites boiled for 20 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius and return a key protein in the egg to working order.”
Prof Weiss and his collaborators have struggled to produce or recycle valuable molecular proteins… Read more

Scientists Create Rice Grain-Sized Maser

A team of scientists led by Dr Jason Petta of Princeton University has built a rice grain-sized microwave laser, or maser, powered by single electrons tunneling through quantum dots – bits of semiconductor material that act like single atoms.

This micromaser is a major step toward building quantum-computing systems out of semiconductor materials; a battery forces electrons to tunnel one by one through two double quantum dots located at each end of a cavity, moving from a higher energy level to a lower energy level and in the process giving off microwaves that build into a coherent beam of light. Image credit: Jason Petta.
“It is basically as small as you can go with these single-electron devices,” Dr Petta said.
The device, described in the journal Science , uses about one-billionth the electric curren… Read more

Teixobactin: Powerful New Antibiotic Kills Drug-Resistant Bacteria

A group of researchers led by Prof Kim Lewis of Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, has discovered a new antibiotic that eliminates Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Bacillus anthracis and other dangerous pathogens without encountering any detectable resistance.

Structure of teixobactin. Image credit: Losee L. Ling et al.
“Teixobactin’s discovery presents a promising new opportunity to treat chronic infections caused by MSRA that is highly resistant to antibiotics, as well as tuberculosis, which involves a combination of therapies with negative side effects,” Prof Lewis said.
“Most antibiotics were produced by screening soil microorganisms, but this limi… Read more