Laundry capsules that contain single doses of detergent and take up less space than conventional detergents are set to make a comeback. That’s the topic of an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.
C&EN Assistant Managing Editor Michael McCoy explains that the technology behind films used to package the single doses of detergent have come a long way in the five decades since their debut. Previous versions of the encapsulating films interacted poorly with the detergent and had short shelf-lives. And another type of single-dose formulation — essentially a tablet of compressed laundry powders — didn’t dissolve fully, leaving partially consumed chunks among the clean clothes.
In recent years, single-dose liquids packaged in polyvinyl alcohol film have caught on in the U.K. and France. The German company Henkel now has plans to market a similar “mono-dose” in the U.S. in the coming weeks, and Procter & Gamble plan to launch “Tide Pods” within a month. The same dose is used regardless of the amount of laundry that needs to be washed. Although the main technical challenges have been solved, experts say that “the jury is still out” on whether consumers are ready for these products.
Michael Woods | Newswise Science News
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Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
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