what's the buzz

what's the buzz

Mosquitoes smell you better at night

Malaria-causing mosquitoes are able be smell humans better at night, a new study has found.

The major malaria vector in Africa, the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, smells major human host odourants better at night, scientists said.

Anopheles gambiae is the primary species that is responsible for the transmission of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, with approximately 300 million infections and 1 million deaths annually.

The study reported an integrative approach to examine the mosquito’s ability to smell across the 24-hour day and involved proteomic, sensory physiological, and behavioural techniques.

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health and colleagues examined the role for a major chemosensory family of mosquito proteins, odourant-binding proteins (OBPs), in the daily regulation of olfactory sensitivities in the malarial mosquito.

It is thought that OBPs in the insect antennae and mouth parts function to concentrate odourant molecules and assist in their transport to the actual olfactory receptors, thereby allowing for odourant detection.

Shower head to tell if you are taking too long in bath

Scientists have developed an illuminated ‘smart’ shower head that changes from green to red to tell users when it is time to get out, helping them save water.
Scientists from Tufts University have created the Uji illuminated shower head that gradually changes from green to red while in use, reminding users when they are taking too long.

Once the Uji has turned red, it makes users realise how much time is passing.
The current prototype is set to turn fully red after seven minutes, although the duration may be adjustable on a commercial version, according to a report on NPR, formerly National Public Radio.

According to its inventors, a six-month study indicated that the Uji reduces showering time by an average of 12 per cent, which should add up to a savings of approximately USD 85 a year in a home setting.

First method to authenticate world’s costliest coffee

Scientists have developed the first-ever method that can determine whether the world’s most expensive coffee - made from beans pooped out by a Southeast Asian animal - is authentic.

Kopi Luwak (Indonesian for “civet coffee”) is the world’s costliest coffee, often fetching $150 to $200 per pound.

Scientists have now developed a method to verify authenticity of this coffee which costs around $80 a cup and the beans of which come from the feces of palm civet.

Palm civets eat coffee berries, digest the soft fruit surrounding the bean and excrete the bean. Workers retrieve the coffee beans and clean, ferment and roast them.

The price makes Kopi Luwak a tempting target for fraud, with ordinary coffee sold as Kopi Luwak or real Kopi Luwak adulterated with cheap beans.