Cactus-inspired membrane boosts fuel cell performance

Here's something that you might not know about the humble cactus: it has tiny cracks in its skin, which open up at night when conditions tend to be more humid. This allows it to take up moisture. During the day, those cracks close up, keeping the moisture inside. Now, scientists have applied that same principle to a membrane which could make fuel cells a more viable option for powering vehicles.Read More


How infecting carp with herpes can help save dying river systems

When carp were first introduced into Australia in the mid-19th century, acclimatizing settlers hoped the freshwater fish would bring a taste of home to their food and recreational activity down under. Today, these pests are running riot across the country's waterways, seriously compromising the health of its rivers and native species. The Australian government is now moving to cut populations through the controlled release of carp-specific herpes virus, which it says is capable of killing individual fish off within 24 hours. Read More


Semiconductive fabric soaks up oil spills while fighting bacteria and pollutants

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have been catastrophic in many ways, but if there's any silver lining to the disaster it's the efforts to find better ways to better extract oil from water that emerged in the aftermath. The latest candidate to emerge in this area is a multipurpose fabric covered in tiny semi-conducting rods, affording it a unique set of properties that could see it used to deal with everything from water decontamination to wiping down your kitchen counter.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Barley-based beer goes gluten-free for the first time

While beer menus has become more accomodating for those with an intolerance to gluten, the options still involve some departure from the traditional recipe to avoid grains as the source of the starch. But Australian scientists have developed a type of gluten-free barley that has been used to produce the world's first barley-based gluten-free beer. The brew lands on the shelves of German supermarkets today.Read More


New molecule has stem cells primed for harvesting within the hour

Securing a match for a bone marrow transplant to treat a cancer patient can be difficult enough, but it is not all smooth sailing from that point either. Preparing a donor's stem cells for harvesting involves a lot of time and injections of growth factor to boost stem cell populations ahead of the procedure. But Australian scientists have now unearthed a more direct route, discovering a new molecule that entices an adequate number of stem cells out into the blood stream to make for a much easier, swifter collection.Read More


Bats' 24/7 immunity holds clues to tackling infectious disease

If bats were as susceptible to viruses like Ebola as humans are, then blindness would be the least of their worries. But despite serving as a natural host for more than 100 different viruses, these nocturnal mammals don't display any resulting signs of disease. Australian scientists are claiming to have now figured out why, in a revelation that potentially brings us a step closer to safeguarding the human population from Ebola and other deadly diseases.Read More


Unknown galaxies discovered lurking behind the Milky Way

In recent radio telescope studies, many hundreds of previously undiscovered galaxies have been found to exist in an area in which an enormous magnetic abnormality known as the "Great Attractor" is located. The new research may help shed light on why our galaxy, along with hundreds of thousands of others, is being inextricably pulled in that direction.Read More


Primordial goo coating to aid in medical procedures

Prebiotic compounds that promote the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, can be traced back billions of years to their origins in the primordial goo – a rich soup of compounds from which all organic life on Earth is theorized to have begun. Now, scientists at Australia's CSIRO have discovered just how good a rich broth of these early molecules may be at improving the acceptance of implanted medical devices in the human body.Read More

Good Thinking

Glowing fingerprints to highlight criminals

Fingerprinting powders are still the go-to tool for investigators, both real and fictional. However, instead of oils, some fingerprints only leave a residue of amino acids and other compounds that fingerprinting powder doesn't adhere to very well. A new technique developed at Australia's CSIRO not only reveals fingerprints in cases where dusting won't, but makes them glow under UV light.Read More


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