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Kiss and run: How cells sort and recycle their components

What can be reused and what can be disposed of? Cells also face this tricky task. Researchers from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have now discovered a cellular machine, called FERARI, that sorts out usable proteins for recycling. In Nature Cell Biology, they explain how FERARI works and why it is so special.

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Discovery of a new liquid-liquid interfacial deformation by partial miscibility

The international collaborative team of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT, Japan), IIT Ropar (India), Osaka Univ. (Japan) has discovered that "partially miscibility," in which two liquids do not mix completely with finite solubility, is capable of deforming the liquid-liquid interface. This interfacial deformation originates due to the spontaneous motion driven by phase separation between the soluble species, and is a phenomenon that cannot be seen with completely mixed (fully miscible) with infinite solubility or (almost) immiscible with no solubility.

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New look at odd holes involved in taste, Alzheimer's, asthma

Many cells are covered with mysterious large holes, pores that have been associated with the sense of taste as well as Alzheimer's disease, depression, and even asthma. Knowing the structure of these varied holes will help researchers better understand this range of associations and provide a blueprint for developing new therapies.

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Ecofriendly catalyst for converting methane into useful gases using light instead of heat

Methane is present in the natural gas that is abundant in the Earth's crust, and has found many uses in modern applications, mainly as a burning fuel. Alternatively, methane can be converted into a useful mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, called "synthesis gas," by reaction with carbon dioxide in what is referred to as dry reforming of methane (DRM). This DRM reaction is described as "uphill" because it requires the consumption of external energy; thermal reactors have to be at a high temperature of more than 800 degrees Celsius for efficient conversion. Reaching such high temperatures requires burning other fuels, resulting in massive greenhouse gas emissions, which are the leading cause of climate change. In addition, the use of high temperatures also causes the deactivation of commonly used catalysts due to aggregation and carbon precipitation (so-called coking).

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Buildings made of wood instead of cement and steel could be important global carbon sinks

A material revolution replacing cement and steel in urban construction with wood can have double benefits for climate stabilization, a new study shows. First, it can avoid greenhouse gas emissions from cement and steel production. Second, it can turn buildings into carbon sinks as they store the CO2 taken up from the air by trees that are harvested and used as engineered timber. However, while the required amount of timber harvest is available in theory, such an upscaling would clearly need careful, sustainable forest management and governance, the international team of authors stresses.

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