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Showing posts from April, 2010

Did/Do you know...?

Today, I wanted to experiment with a more free-form way about little science factoids that may seem surprising. Today:

Did/Do you know…what cell membranes are made off?

If you go back to your high school or basic college biology class, you may recall a picture showing that cell membranes are made off phospholipids.

All major examples taught in class – from animal, plants and microbial cell membranes to organelle membranes such as mitochondrial or ER membranes. The arrangement of phospholipid layers made complete sense: the lipid hydrophobic tails would be hidden within the bilayer of phospholipids while the polar hydrophilic heads would be facing the aqueous environment. For some reason, my brain made the connection: ALL membranes consist of phospholipids, but are they?

Apparently, this is not so when it comes to membranes of photosynthetic membranes according to the article titled “What Can Plant Models Teach Us About Lipid Trafficking?” written by Christoph Benning in ASBME Today. …

R&D News: Eco-Friendly Way of Degrading BPA-Plastics

What was done?

I came across an interesting article yesterday titled “Biodegradation of Physicochemically Treated Polycarbonate by Fungi” published in Biomacromolecules. What this group essentially did was to isolate fungi from the environment by exposing them to conditions in which plastics were the only source of food. The group basically identified three fungi (Phanerochaete chrysosporium, Engyodontium album  and Pencillium spp.) , and characterized some of the parameters by asking basic questions about:
Efficacy changes when fungal isolates were exposed to certain pre-treatments (either heat or UV light).Growth of biomass (how much the fungi grew during this time)How much extracellular protein was secreted and a crude determination of the class proteins releasedLoss of mass of the piece of plasticChanges in physical, chemical and surface properties.
Why is this important?

I asked myself the same question until I realized what plastic they were working with: Bisphenol A Polycarbonat…