Archive for the ‘Hot articles’ Category

21st century bumps in the night

Posted on behalf of Sarah Brown, web writer for RSC Advances

To state the obvious, Louis Braille was a bit of a legend. Taking an existing idea, developing and simplifying it, he enabled those with visual impairments another level of independence. What adds to his profile as genius is that he wasn’t even appreciated in his own time.

The Braille system was based on a system known as ‘night writing’ invented by the fabulously titled Captain Charles Barbiere la Sierre for soldiers to communicate in the dark without having to turn on a light or talk. This comprised 12 dots in six rows, formed by indents into the back of a surface to create patterns of raised dots that could be scanned by touch. Louis Braille stripped this back to the system that we now recognise, of up to six dots in three rows. Apparently Barbiere took the hump at this and Braille’s peers at the school for the blind where he taught were reluctant to take it up until after his death. I detect a hint of jealousy.3D printing for better Braille - RSC Advances

As Wongjin Jo and co-workers, authors of a paper recently published in RSC Advances, point out, characters in Braille generally come in only one font size, with no distinctions for titles or paragraph text. Furthermore, the characters can become more difficult to detect if repeatedly depressed. The recent surge in the capabilities of 3D printing can help overcome these limitations and more by adding the ‘dots’ to surfaces, rather than indenting them. Using a thermoplastic polymer, layers of dots can be added to generate characters of varying sizes and thicknesses on various surfaces, with the potential to offer visually impaired people the ability to add braille characters as they require and for the circumstances they personally encounter.

To protect the characters and improve their durability, the authors used a thermal reflow process to improve the surface smoothness and adhesion to the platform it was built on.

The flexibility of 3D printers and their expected drop in costs as they become more ubiquitous furthers the work of Louis Braille and opens the world up a little wider for those with visual impairments.

Interested in finding out more? Read the full article using the link below:

3D printed tactile pattern formation on paper with thermal reflow method, Wonjin Jo, Hyun Kim, Jeong Sim Lee, Jeon Ju Lee and Myoung-Woon Moon, RSC Advances, 2014, 4, 31764


Sarah Brown Sarah Brown is a guest web-writer for RSC Advances. Sarah hung up her lab coat after finishing her PhD and post-doctorate in nanotechnology for diagnostics and therapeutics and now works in academic publishing. When not trying to explain science through ridiculous analogies, you can often find her crocheting, baking or climbing, but not all at once.

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Tracking complex reactions in space and time

Scientists in Taiwan have put together a system that uses a computer screen and digital camera to obtain spatial, temporal and spectral information on reaction samples, with a set-up cost of just £400.

Pawel Urban who led the research at National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan, points out that ‘chemical processes occur in space and time, but few analytical methods provide both spatial and temporal information’. Most chemical reaction mixtures are also not homogeneous, but traditional spectral techniques for monitoring them assume homogeneity. Pawel believes it is important to look into the intrinsic non-uniformities which can affect the progress of chemical reactions


Read the full article in Chemistry World»

Read the original journal article in RSC Advances – it’s free to access until 10th September:
Spectral imaging of chemical reactions using a computer display and a digital camera
Kai-Ta Hsieh and Pawel L. Urban  
RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 31094-31100, DOI: 10.1039/C4RA04207G

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A real red alert for explosives

Scientists in Spain have developed a new material that changes colour around air- or waterborne TNT. The chemical, which could be used to make intelligent clothing, alerts users to the presence of the explosive. It may prove lifesaving in former war zones, and invaluable in anti-terrorism investigations.


Read the full article in Chemistry World»

Read the original journal article in RSC Advances - it’s free to access until 1st August:
Involuntary graphene intake with food and medicine
Manav Saxena and Sabyasachi Sarkar  
RSC Adv., 2014, Accepted Manuscript, DOI: 10.1039/C4RA04022H, Paper

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Cystic fibrosis treatment clears the way

Stabilising a mucus attacking enzyme with cross-links could allow it to be delivered orally to fight infections in cystic fibrosis patients.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the commonest opportunistic pathogens in cystic fibrosis. The bacterium produces alginate, a polysaccharide which causes significant mucus build-up in the lungs and intestine. In addition to affecting patients’ quality of life, this also significantly obstructs the delivery of antibiotics, requiring increased dosages which can lead to antibiotic resistance and an increased chance of side-effects.

Guillermo Castro at the National University of La Plata in Argentina, and his team, investigate the delivery of drugs with significant administrative problems’…

Interested? If so, read the full article at Chemistry World here.

Cross-linking alginate lyase in the presence of BSA stabilises the enzyme but leaves the active site intact
Please click on the below title to access the original article which is free to access until 7th April 2014 :

Development of novel alginate lyase cross-linked aggregates for the oral treatment of cystic fibrosis
G. A. Islan, Y. N. Martinez, A. Illanes and G. R. Castro
RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 11758-11765
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA47850E

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‘HOT’ articles!

Our referees have spoken once again and chosen the below ‘HOT’ articles. Please have a gander and let us know what you think in the comments section below:

Mn2+/graphene oxide nanocomposite efficiently catalyzes the epoxidation of alkenes with H2O2
Weiguo Zheng, Rong Tan, Lili Zhao, Yaju Chen, Chuanwu Xiong and Donghong Yin
RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 11732-11739
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA47183G

GA

Enzymatic oxidation as a potential new route to produce polysaccharide aerogels
Kirsi S. Mikkonen, Kirsti Parikka, Jussi-Petteri Suuronen, Abdul Ghafar, Ritva Serimaa and Maija Tenkanen
RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 11884-11892
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA47440B 

GA

Sensitive and regenerable organochalcogen probes for the colorimetric detection of thiols
Shah Jaimin Balkrishna, Ananda S. Hodage, Shailesh Kumar, Piyush Panini and   Sangit Kumar
RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 11535-11538
DOI: 10.1039/C4RA00381K

GA

And remember – these articles are free to access for 4 weeks!

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Turmeric – potential ingredient to anti-cancer therapies

Turmeric, a spice commonly used in curries, contains a natural polyphenol called curcumin, which has been revealed as a promising anti-cancer therapeutic.

Tautomeric forms of curcumin and nanoparticle drug delivery systems

The undesirable properties and side effects of current anti-cancer therapeutics have inspired scientists to search for a natural remedy which may be better tolerated.  Curcumin has been demonstrated to inhibit cancer cell survival and to induce apoptosis without promoting the development of side effects.

Studies comparing the incidences of cancer in India and the West revealed that there was a lower risk of cancer in India. It is proposed that a major contribution to these statistics could be the increased intake of plant derivatives, such as curcumin, into the diet. In Asia, turmeric has been used for its medicinal properties for more than two thousand years!

In the 1800s scientists were able to isolate the curcumin molecule, but the structure wasn’t elucidated until 1910 – it is the structure which is responsible for its unique physiochemical and biological properties:

  • Often used as a dye due to its vibrant colour.
  • Increases the thermal stability of collagen, used for dermal wound healing.
  • Stability is maintained at room temperature allowing it to be used for medicinal purposes.

Traditional medicine has used curcumin to treat several conditions including inflammation, respiratory infections and blood clotting, but there is a rapidly growing interest in its effects on cancer.

Curcumin has yet to be licenced as a drug, possibly due to its susceptibility to rapid degradation in a wide range of environments and its sensitivity to pH and light. Under certain conditions curcumin becomes unstable and degrades, yielding other compounds. As many drug delivery systems tend to stabilize curcumin it needs to be determined whether it is curcumin itself or its degradation products that provided the biological activities observed.

To find out more about the chemical properties, bioactivity and approaches to cancer cell delivery of curcumin, read the full review by clicking the link.

Curcumin, a promising anti-cancer therapeutic: a review of its chemical properties, bioactivity and approaches to cancer cell delivery
Melessa Salem, Sohrab Rohani and Elizabeth Gillies
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA46396F

Access is free* until the 28.03.14 for registered users

*Access is free for 4 weeks through a registered RSC account – click here to register

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‘HOT’ articles – take a look!

Our referees have selected the below ‘HOT’ articles for this month. Please have a read and let us know your thoughts below!

Utilization of the photophysical and photochemical properties of phosphorescent transition metal complexes in the development of photofunctional cellular sensors, imaging reagents, and cytotoxic agents
Kenneth Kam-Wing Lo, Steve Po-Yam Lia
RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 10560-10585
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA47611A

GA

Carbon-based quantum dots for fluorescence imaging of cells and tissues
Pengju G. Luo, Fan Yang, Sheng-Tao Yang, Sumit K. Sonkar, Liju Yang, Jessica J. Broglie, Yun Liu and Ya-Ping Sun
RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 10791-10807
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA47683A 

GA

Automated system for extraction and instantaneous analysis of millimeter-sized samples
Jie-Bi Hu, Ssu-Ying Chen, June-Tai Wu, Yu-Chie Chen and Pawel L. Urban
RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 10693-10701
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA48023B 

GA

These articles are free to access for 4 weeks!

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Reclaiming spilt oil

The ability to recover oil from land-based spills should reduce the cost of decontamination

© Shutterstock

Scientists in Canada have shown they can recover oil from contaminated sand using surfactants whose emulsion stabilising ability is deactivated by carbon dioxide.

Land-based oil spills can be remedied by taking the sand (or soil away) for washing. The sand is heated and mixed with a surfactant solution, before the oil containing emulsion is removed to leave clean sand. However, the entire emulsion must be disposed of as hazardous waste.

Switchable surfactants could offer a less wasteful solution. Unlike normal surfactants, switchable surfactants can be switched off by an external trigger, allowing the oil and water phases to separate, by destabilising the emulsion.

The negative surface charges on sand particles mean that surfactants for cleaning oil contaminated sand need to be anionic. Cationic switchable surfactants were pioneered by Philip Jessop and his colleagues at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, in 2006, and now the team have created an anionic version.

To release oil captured by Jessop’s carboxylate and phenolate anionic surfactants carbon dioxide is bubbled through the emulsion, acidifying the aqueous phase. This switches the surfactant structure from anionic to neutral, disrupting the emulsion by removing its ability to stabilise the oil/water interface. The oil separates and can be decanted for reuse and sale. Decarbonising the solution will switch the surfactants back on.

Read the rest of the story by Emily Skinner in Chemistry World!

Read the original research paper in RSC Advances:

Switchable anionic surfactants for the remediation of oil-contaminated sand by soil washing
Elize Ceschia, Jitendra R. Harjani, Chen Liang, Zahra Ghoshouni, Tamer Andrea, R. Stephen Brown and Philip G. Jessop
RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 4638-4645
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA47158F, Paper

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HOT papers in RSC Advances

Here are the latest HOT papers published in RSC Advances:

Size-adjustable annular ring-functionalized mesoporous silica as effective and selective adsorbents for heavy metal ions
Fa-Kuen Shieh, Chia-Teng Hsiao, Hsien-Ming Kao, Yu-Chein Sue, Kuan-Wei Lin, Chang-Cheng Wu, Xi-Hong Chen, Lei Wan, Ming-Hua Hsu, Jih Ru Hwu, Chia-Kuang Tsung and Kevin C.-W. Wu  
RSC Adv., 2013, 3, 25686-25689
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA45016C

GA

A quantitative assessment of the production of ˙OH and additional oxidants in the dark Fenton reaction: Fenton degradation of aromatic amines
Claudio Minero, Mirco Lucchiari, Valter Maurino and Davide Vione  
RSC Adv., 2013, 3, 26443-26450
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA44585B

GA 

Synthesis of dibenzyl carbonate: towards a sustainable catalytic approach
Giulia Fiorani and Maurizio Selva  
RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 1929-1937
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA42904K

GA

All the papers listed above are free to access for the next 4 weeks!

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HOT papers in RSC Advances

Here are the latest HOT papers published in RSC Advances:

Synthesis of [18F]4-(4-fluorophenyl)-1,2,4-triazole-3,5-dione: an agent for specific radiolabelling of tyrosine
Flagothier Jessica, Warnier Corentin, Dammicco Sylvestre, Lemaire Christian and Luxen André
RSC Adv., 2013, 3, 24936-24940
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA44666B

GA

Novel environmentally friendly (Bi, Ca, Zn, La)VO4 inorganic yellow pigments
Wendusu, Taihei Honda, Toshiyuki Masui and Nobuhito Imanaka  
RSC Adv., 2013, 3, 24941-24945
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA43978J

GA

Iron-catalysed alkene hydrogenation and reductive cross-coupling using a bench-stable iron(II) pre-catalyst
Dominik J. Frank, Léa Guiet, Alexander Käslin, Elliot Murphy and Stephen P. Thomas  
RSC Adv., 2013, 3, 25698-25701
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA44519D

GA

All the papers listed above are free to access for the next 4 weeks!

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