New Low-Cost Method Can Detect Sewage Pollution in Streams, Rivers

A team of scientists at the University of Sheffield, UK, has developed and tested a promising novel method that uses inexpensive samplers (cotton tampons) to identify where wastewater is polluting our streams and rivers.

Pasig River, Manila, Philippines. Image credit: Bar Fabella / CC BY 2.0
“More than a million homes have their wastewater incorrectly connected into the surface water network, which means their sewage is being discharged into a river, rather than going to a treatment plant. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to detect where this is happening, as the discharge is intermittent, can’t always be seen with the naked eye and existing tests are complex and expensive,” said Prof David Lerner of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, the senior auth… Read more

Imperfect Graphene Could Lead to Better Fuel Cells, Water Filters

A group of scientists headed by Dr Franz Geiger of Northwestern University has found that slightly imperfect graphene shuttles protons, and only protons, from one side of the graphene membrane to the other in mere seconds. The membrane’s speed and selectivity are much better than that of conventional membranes, offering researchers a new and simpler mechanism for design of fuel cells, water filtering and desalination membranes.

Proton transfer channel across a quad-defect in graphene. Image credit: Murali Raju / Penn State.
“Imagine an electric car that charges in the same time it takes to fill a car with gas,” said Dr Geiger, who is the senior author of the paper published in the journal Nature Communications .
“And better yet – imagine an electric car that uses hydrogen as fuel, not fossil fuels or et… Read more

Two Lineages of HIV-1 Viruses Originated in Gorillas, New Study Finds

Two of the four lineages of HIV — 1 viruses have originated in western lowland gorillas, a new study reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found.

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of HIV — 1, grown in cultured lymphocytes; virions are seen as small spheres on the surface of the cells. Image credit: C. Goldsmith.
HIV — 1, the virus that causes AIDS, has jumped species to infect humans on at least four separate occasions, generating four HIV — 1 lineages – groups M, N, O, and P.
Group M gave rise to the AIDS pandemic, infecting more than 40 million people worldwide by spreading across Africa and throughout the rest of the world.
Groups N and P, at the other extreme, have only been found in a few individuals from Cameroon.
However, group O, althou… Read more