What's the buzz..

What's the buzz..

Fish enzyme can indicate toxins

A particular enzyme in fish can be used as biomarker to indicate the presence of toxic and non-toxic substances, a new study has revealed.

The level of the enzyme carbonyl reductase (CBR) is elevated in the livers of fish that have been exposed to cleaned wastewater.

Scientists at the University of Gothenburg can show that CBR has properties that may make it suitable to be used as a biomarker, an early warning signal of environmental toxins.

The aim of the project is to achieve better environmental monitoring.

“While chemists measure the levels of environmental toxins, we biologists monitor their effects,” says Eva Albertsson, research student in the Department of Zoology at the University of Gothenburg.

“We can use biomarkers to discover these effects before the levels of toxins have become fatal. The increased CBR level in fish is probably caused by chemicals in the water.”

“This means that CBR may be a useful biomarker,” she added.  Thus, the elevated levels of CBR we have seen in fish may not be harmful: they may act as protection.

Viagra may be used to combat skin cancer

Researchers have found that sildenafil, which is better known under its trade name, Viagra, may be used to treat malignant melanoma.

For their research, they used genetically modified (transgenic) mice that spontaneously develop a type of skin cancer, which is very similar to human melanoma.

The melanoma mice were then given sildenafil. This substance had already been reported to improve tumour immunity in experimental animal models several times before.

Of the mice that had been given the substance with their drinking water, more than twice as many were still alive after about seven weeks compared to their untreated fellows.

In the animals that had been treated, both the number of tumour-specific T cells and the level of activating molecules had returned to normal.

This means that sildenafil successfully neutralizes the chronic inflammation in the melanoma environment and combats the immunosuppressive activity of MDSC.

Speed breakers that convert vehicle’s energy to electricity!

Scientists have now come up with avant-garde speed bumps, which can harvest electricity from cars when they are required to slow down or come to a stop. New Energy Technologies has devised ‘MotionPower’ strips, which besides slowing down speed demons, also converts kinetic energy from the vehicles into electricity.
The company recently demonstrated the ‘MotionPower’ strip at the Roanoke Civic Center in Virginia where stopped vehicles lit up a series of lights.

According to New Energy Technologies, 580 cars drove over a ‘MotionPower’ strip in a 6-hour span and generated electricity, sufficient enough to power an average US home for a day, Discovery News reported.