Here are some of the most interesting research papers to have appeared in top science journals last week.
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The Red Sea is no longer a baby ocean. It is a young adult with a structure similar to the young southern Atlantic some 120 million years ago, notes a new study. By studying high-resolution seafloor maps and also investigating the chemical makeup of rock samples, the international team was able to arrive at this conclusion.
It’s time to lose your leather racing suits and buy an advanced version made of zeolite. Researchers at the University of Birmingham have developed a new material using zeolitic imidazolate frameworks which can be used to develop shock and impact resistant clothing for soldiers, athletes, and motorists.
Parascedosporium putredinis Credit: https://mycoportal.org/
Meet Parascedosporium putredinis, a fungus that has given the world a new enzyme. Researchers noted that the enzyme can act as a catalyst to break down lignocellulose. “We believe this discovery is important as there is much interest in using lignocellulose as a renewable and sustainable resource for the production of liquid fuels and chemicals,” says lead author Neil Bruce in a release.
HIV’s favourite targets
It is well known that HIV attacks and destroys our CD4+ T cells. “CD4+ T cells orchestrate the immune response against all kinds of pathogens, so you can’t just eliminate them to prevent HIV infections,” explains lead author Nadia Roan in a release. “But if you can find the more specific subsets of CD4+ T cells that are highly susceptible to HIV infection, you may be able to specifically target those cells without detrimental side effects.” Using new technologies the team has now established a detailed atlas of the CD4+ T cells, which can help scientists determine whether some subsets are more susceptible to infection than others.
Plastic to fuel
Researchers from the University of Delaware have developed a new direct method to convert single-use plastic waste to molecules that can be used for jet fuels. “The process can be tuned to convert different common plastic wastes, including low- and high-density polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, everyday polyethylene bottles and bags, and composite plastics to desirable fuels and light lubricants,” adds the paper.