Chemicals found in whale blubber, and initially suspected of being from industrial sources, have turned out to be naturally occurring, raising questions about the accumulation of both natural and industrial compounds in marine life.
A new study in the journal Science by researchers Emma Teuten, Li Xu, and Christopher Reddy at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is causing researchers to rethink the sources and fates of many chemical compounds in the environment.
It has been known for decades that industrially produced compounds such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs, used as flame retardants in furniture and clothing, accumulate in human and animal tissues. Structurally similar compounds, methoxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers or MeO-BDEs, have recently been found in fish and marine mammals and are a new class of bioaccumulated compounds. In some samples, the MeO-BDEs are among the most abundant compounds in the environment after DDE, a breakdown product of the pesticide DDT, and several polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, but their source has remained unknown.
Teuten, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry at WHOI, isolated two chemicals from 10 kilograms (about 22 pounds) of whale blubber from a Trues beaked whale found dead at False Cape, Virginia, in November 2003. The blubber was supplied to Teuten and colleagues by the Virginia Marine Science Museum, which removed the whale from the beach to look for clues to its death.
Shelley Dawicki | EurekAlert!
How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy