‘Super-enzyme’ Speeds Up Breakdown of Plastic, Researchers Say

nytimes.com – A new cocktail of enzymes that degrades plastic faster is a step to fully recycling soda bottles and other waste, British and American researchers said this week.

Source: Brandon C. Knott, et al. Characterization and engineering of a two-enzyme system for plastics depolymerization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2020.

Plant droplets serve as nutrient-rich food for insects

eurekalert.org – Small watery droplets on the edges of blueberry bush leaves are loaded with nutrients for many insects, including bees, wasps and flies, according to a Rutgers-led study, the first of its kind. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, suggests that these droplets are an important but underexplored feature in plants, with profound implications for insects in agricultural and natural ecosystems.

Source: Pablo Urbaneja-Bernat, Alejandro Tena, Joel González-Cabrera, Cesar Rodriguez-Saona. Plant guttation provides nutrient-rich food for insects. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2020.

Most COVID-19 Infections Spread By Air, Not Surfaces

medicaldaily.com – COVID-19 may not be spread as easily on surfaces as originally thought. The real culprit is the air we breathe.

Source: Eric A. Meyerowitz, Aaron Richterman, Rajesh T. Gandhi, Paul E. Sax. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2: A Review of Viral, Host, and Environmental Factors. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2020.

Scientists use DNA to expose the origins of Vikings

zmescience.com – Vikings weren’t a group of barrel-chested, blond-haired, bearded men. Instead, they comprised many ethnicities and groups of people with different ancestries.

Source: Ashot Margaryan, et al. Population genomics of the Viking world. Nature, 2020.

Immune Cell and Its Cytokine Control Exploratory Behavior in Mice

the-scientist.com – Gamma delta T cells in the meninges of the brain release a cell signaling molecule that does more than protect mice from microbial pathogens.

Source: Kalil Alves de Lima, et al. Meningeal γδ T cells regulate anxiety-like behavior via IL-17a signaling in neurons. Nature Immunology, 2020.

SpaceX Starlink Can Provide Super GPS With a Software Modification

nextbigfuture.com – There is an arxiv paper "Fused Low-Earth-Orbit GNSS", by Peter A. Iannucci and Todd E. Humphreys of the Radionavigation Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin, that details how low-ea

Source: Peter A. Iannucci, Todd E. Humphreys. Fused Low-Earth-Orbit GNSS. arXiv, 2020.

First-ever treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease may be on horizon, researchers say

upi.com – Researchers have identified a potential new drug to treat enterovirus 71, a common cause of hand, foot and mouth disease, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: Jesse Davila-Calderon, et al. IRES-targeting small molecule inhibits enterovirus 71 replication via allosteric stabilization of a ternary complex. Nature Communications, 2020.

Seismic sound waves crossing the deep ocean could be a new thermometer

arstechnica.com – Sumatran earthquakes can be used to track the warming of the Indian Ocean.

Source: Wenbo Wu, Zhongwen Zhan, Shirui Peng, Sidao Ni, Jörn Callies. Seismic ocean thermometry. Science, 2020.

In the arctic, extreme air pollution kills trees, limits growth by reducing sunlight

eurekalert.org – At the most heavily polluted site on Earth, dendroecology, dendrochemistry, and process-based forward modelling were used to explore the relationship of tree growth and mortality with industrial pollution.

Source: Alexander V. Kirdyanov, et al. Ecological and conceptual consequences of Arctic pollution. Ecology Letters, 2020.

Obstructive sleep apnea risk varies in patients with different types of epilepsy

eurekalert.org – People with generalized epilepsy who have seizures arising from both sides of the brain simultaneously, have a higher risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) compared to patients who have focal epilepsy where seizures emanate from one area of the brain, according to a Rutgers study.

Source: Matthew T. Scharf, Patricia Greenberg, Stephen Wong, Ram Mani. Obstructive sleep apnea risk in patients with focal versus generalized epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior, 2020.