Researchers from Havard University have discovered the presence of a previously unidentified microbial community inside the porous stone of the Maya ruins in Mexico that may be capable of causing rapid deterioration of these sites. They present their findings at the 104th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
"The presence of a previously undescribed endolithic microbial community that is different than the surface community has important implications for the conservation of Maya ruins as well as other stone objects and structures," says Christopher McNamara, a researcher on the study.
McNamara and his colleagues collected stone samples from a Maya archaeological site and separated it into surface and interior portions, which were then broken down into tiny particles. They extracted DNA from the samples and identified and compared bacterial communities on the inside and outside surfaces of the stone. Photosynthetic microorganisms, mainly proteobacteria, were found to populate the surface whereas Actinobacteria was the dominate population on the interior where no photosynthetic organisms were detected. Additional tests on the interior bacterial communities suggest that they break down limestone as they grow.
Jim Sliwa | EurekAlert!
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The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.
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Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.
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Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently completed a 5-year research project looking at how to make fibre optic communications systems more energy efficient. Among their proposals are smart, error-correcting data chip circuits, which they refined to be 10 times less energy consumptive. The project has yielded several scientific articles, in publications including Nature Communications.
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After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery. Nature Catalysis published their most recent work -- a streamlined process for making a three-dimensional scaffold of keen interest to the pharmaceutical industry.
"Our tools open up whole new chemical space for potential drug targets," says Huw Davies, Emory professor of organic chemistry and senior author of the paper.
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