TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 06 Dec 2018, 04:07

And I don't know if it's my imagination but a lot of Silver Birches are looking poorly, but then they always are a bit tatty!
Later.... THIS BBC report of the latest news on CO2 emissions which has emerged at the climate conference in Poland. If this is right the emissions have been under-estimated and we have less time than we thought. Not good news. (But no need to worry it might be a Chinese plot!)
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 06 Dec 2018, 16:28

`Scientists discover a new route to antibiotics using gene editing'
(Press release, 26/11/2018 Manchester University.)
Scientists have discovered a new chemical process – also known as a biosynthetic pathway – in bacteria which could lead to a new generation of antibiotics being produced and manufactured. Researchers at The University of Manchester’s School of Chemistry say their new pathway includes an enzyme, called a carboxylase, which adds CO2 to a precursor molecule producing a highly unusual antibiotic called malonomycin.

The team says the biosynthetic process used to produce this antibiotic could now possibly lead to the discovery and development of other drugs, helping in the fight against drug-resistant bugs and illnesses in the future. The work was carried out in collaboration with the University of Cambridge and is being published in Nature Catalysis.

International figures say antibiotic resistance could result in an estimated 10 million deaths every year by 2050, whilst the cost to the global economy could be £66 trillion in lost productivity. Across Europe alone, an estimated 25,000 people already die each year as a result of hospital infections caused by the antibiotic resistant bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli).

Jason Micklefield, Professor of Chemical Biology at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, who led the study, said: “The rapid rise of antibiotic-resistant pathogens is one of the foremost global health concerns of modern times. Now, using a combination of bioinformatics, gene editing and in vitro experiments, we have discovered a highly unusual biosynthetic pathway to the antibiotic malonomycin. This could pave the way for a new kind of antibiotic production process.”

The team originally became interested in malonomycin because it has a highly unusual chemical structure. It possesses potentially useful antimicrobial activity and has already attracted industrial attention. However, despite the interest in this antibiotic, very little was known about the biosynthesis of malonomycin, until now. The researchers found that CO2 was introduced into the malonomycin structure, by a carboxylase enzyme that has never been characterised in bacteria before. Malonomycin carboxylase is most similar to a carboxylase enzyme in human cells which uses vitamin K to add CO2 to proteins in our bodies, triggering essential physiological responses including blood coagulation.

The paper 'A vitamin K-dependent carboxylase orthologue is involved in antibiotic biosynthesis' is being published in `Nature Catalysis', DOI 10.1038/s41929-018-0178-2.

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 07 Dec 2018, 03:23

Well beyond my pay grade but wonderful and encouraging.......
Thanks Tiz!
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Sue » 07 Dec 2018, 08:20

Very interesting. I wonder what ever happened to phage research
If you keep searching you will find it

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 07 Dec 2018, 10:16

There's research at Leicester University...here's a press release from 2016: Phage

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 08 Dec 2018, 04:01

Didn't I hear that Russian research was directed towards phages? Perhaps they aren't as willing to share results.....
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 08 Dec 2018, 12:36

They've been using phages for a long time but Western pharma companies and those who provide academic research funding in the UK shied away from it. We should consider it a security issue - the Russians could covertly send people here to spread antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, wait for us to die then let their phage-protected troops take over our country. Yes, I know that sounds far-fetched but there's an element of truth in it. The probability might be low but the hazard is great.

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 09 Dec 2018, 03:11

Aren't humans an attractive species.... No wonder we are doomed to be short lived in Geological Time. The cockroaches and alligators must be pissing themselves!
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 09 Dec 2018, 11:14

Slightly off topic here but the mention of alligator prompts me to this story...
I've been reading about the Dutch colonising the East Indies in the 1600s. The Dutch equivalent of our East India Company decided to make its base in Java by a village on the estuary of a small river. They built a fort, a church and various other buildings. Then constructed some canals like those `at home' and built some fancy houses for the Dutch officials along the banks of the canals. Very pretty, like home and with avenues of trees. All very comforting and pleasant...until one morning the Dutch woke to find crocodiles strolling along outside their homes and poking their heads through the doorways - the crocs had discovered the canals! :smile: (The Dutch won - the place is now Jakarta.)

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 10 Dec 2018, 03:57

Tiz. That's a nice example of the Universal Law of Unintended Consequences. For instance, who would have thought in the 1940s that misuse of the new wonder drugs we now know as antibiotics could prove to be such a threat to the human race? I have a feeling we are going to see a lot more examples of it in action over the next few months.....
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 12 Dec 2018, 09:56

Stanley wrote:
10 Dec 2018, 03:57
For instance, who would have thought in the 1940s that misuse of the new wonder drugs we now know as antibiotics could prove to be such a threat to the human race?
And it's all the more surprising when you take into account that the discoverer of antibiotics, Alexander Fleming, told the medical world in the early 1950s that they would have to be very careful in their use or bacteria would become resistant and the benefit would be lost. But of course, nobody took any notice.
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I'll bet vulcanologists will want one of these to keep an eye on volcano and earthquake activity!
`Nasa's IceSat space laser makes height maps of Earth' LINK
`One of the most powerful Earth observation tools ever put in orbit is now gathering data about the planet. IceSat-2 was launched just under three months ago to measure the shape of the ice sheets to a precision of 2cm. But the Nasa spacecraft's laser instrument is also now returning a whole raft of other information. It is mapping the height of the land, of rivers, lakes, forests; and in a remarkable demonstration of capability - even the depth of the sea floor....'

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by plaques » 12 Dec 2018, 12:56

Tizer wrote:
12 Dec 2018, 09:56
I'll bet vulcanologists will want one of these to keep an eye on volcano and earthquake activity!
I would imagine that all eyes would be on the volcano activity in Yellowstone Park. The ground has already lifted about 5ft along with quite a number of earthquake activity events. Yellowstone

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 12 Dec 2018, 16:27

Thanks for the Yellowstone web link, Plaques. The National Park service have done a good job of explaining the volcanic activity without scaring people too much! Not all eyes will be on Yellowstone Park, many are on the Bay of Naples where there is a real possibility of enormous loss of life and it might be not far in the future. Estimates vary but the authorities assume having to evacuate 600,000 people from the zone that would be affected by pyroclastic flows. Another version assumes 1 million people who live within 4 miles of the volcano will need to be evacuated. But that assumes there would be enough time to evacuate. There is an even bigger hazard although the risk of it happening is lower. The visible cone we know as Vesuvius lies in the caldera of the much bigger Somma volcano which last erupted 17,000 years ago. If this were to erupt again it would destroy the whole Bay of Naples area and could kill or harm many millions of people. So the Bay of Naples certainly has a lot of vulcanoligists watching it!

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 13 Dec 2018, 03:27

I seem to remember a Horizon programme explaining calderas and drawing attention to Yellowstone many years ago.....

Thinking about ABs.... they infused me with an antibiotic during the operation as a precaution against infection. What happens when they are all overwhelmed by mutation of the enemy?
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by PanBiker » 13 Dec 2018, 09:38

Stanley wrote:
13 Dec 2018, 03:27
What happens when they are all overwhelmed by mutation of the enemy?
A lot of folk will die and in the process they will curse the day they demanded AB's for the common cold.

I have said this before, bacteria will inherit the planet. I'm thankful that penicillin still works for me.
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 13 Dec 2018, 10:40

Well, actually, we inherited the planet from the bacteria. Or perhaps we should say borrowed it from them. And the Archaea are still out there, waiting for their time to come round again: LINK

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 14 Dec 2018, 02:51

I was listening to a science programme on R4 last night and they are looking at extremist life. They said that the highest temperature habitat they have found to date is 122C but they suspect some are higher, it's just that they haven't found them yet. They are searching by deep boreholes in the earth's crust and found life over 1 kilometre down.....
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 15 Dec 2018, 11:38

I've mentioned the concerns over Johnson & Johnson's talc products and asbestos a couple of times in the Medical Matters thread. Now it has been raised again with a report from Reuters in today's BBC News...
`Johnson & Johnson shares drop after asbestos report' LINK
The long and detailed Reuters report is here:
`Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder' Reuters
The essence of it is that J&J were not releasing all their information but it's still confused by the fact that many studies have found no risk of cancer from J&J cosmetic talc. So much of the talc is produced and used that there's no way you can test every pack of talc to see if it contains asbestos. So it's possible that some packs could contain a dangerous level while others were completely free of asbestos. How do you deal with a situation like that? If you want to be absolutely sure then the only answer is to ban talc for cosmetic use.

There's also the problem of defining `asbestos'. I've got a lovely bright green specimen of the mineral tremolite in my collection and I have no qualms about handling it. Yet tremolite is one of the minerals defined as `asbestiform' and is often referred to as `asbestos'. About 8 minerals are classed as asbestos by H&S organisations but they are only dangerous when in the fibrous crystal form. My sample is in what is known as the `massive' crystalline habit with no fibres and is therefore safe.

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 16 Dec 2018, 04:09

Like everything else you have to use your head. Asbestos became a dirty word, remember Acre Mill and the BBC programme? The book 'Magic Mineral to Killer Dust' laid bare the full scale of the problem and its long term effects. However, in some forms, left undisturbed, asbestos is as safe as slag wool or fibre glass mats. I have argued this with the authorities and got their agreement that this is correct in a few cases. I know where there is asbestos soaked with oil and baked hard under sheet steel cladding and it is safer than crossing the road.
This variation in risk occurred to me when I was listening to the report on the talcum powder. With today's standards of analysis I suppose it's possible to find traces of 'dangerous substances' in almost anything, think levels of radio-activity or atmospheric pollutants. The question to be decided is at what point the contamination becomes dangerous or even amenable to mitigation.
The bottom line is that it is lawyer's heaven and I suspect that many of the compensation cases reported stem from this source. We live in a polluted world and may have to live with it!
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 16 Dec 2018, 11:25

Stanley wrote:
16 Dec 2018, 04:09
With today's standards of analysis I suppose it's possible to find traces of 'dangerous substances' in almost anything, think levels of radio-activity or atmospheric pollutants. The question to be decided is at what point the contamination becomes dangerous or even amenable to mitigation.
You and I understand that but most people can't get their head around how low a concentration of many chemicals can be measured now. It's like trying to understand geological time and astronomical distances.

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 17 Dec 2018, 03:32

I suppose you're right Tiz but I still lay the major part of the blame at the ambulance chasing lawyers door. Stoke up fears and spend money on litigation hoping to win a few million dollars in compensation.
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