Nature (category filter × )

Cleaning Our Water with Groundbreaking 'Bioinspired' Chemistry
  • Terrence J. Collins, director of the Institute for Green Science at Carnegie Mellon University, pioneers new field of sustainable ultradilute oxidation catalysis.
  • For 40 years, him and his team have been trying to find a natural way to break down the harmful synthetic chemicals that pollute waterways and harm the environment.
  • They finally managed to recreate the power and efficiency of natural oxidation, using artificial catalysts called tetra-amido macrocyclic ligands (TAMLs).
  • Testing shows that tiny amounts of TAMLs can eliminate some common pollutants from water in under 5 minutes.
  • It’s cheaper from other water treatment methods, and to ensure safety it relies on the same biological processes that occur in our bodies.

Rare wildcat kittens born at Highlands field centre
  • Thanks to the Scottish Wildcat Action project, two females of a “functionally extinct” breed have been born.
  • They’re a few weeks old, and already exploring their enclosure at the Aigas Field Centre in Scotland.
  • In the future these wildcats might be released into the wild, but certain threats to the species still need to be overcome.
  • The Scottish wildcat population has diminished due to breeding with domestic cats, loss of habitat, and disease.

Study finds association between air pollution, coronary atherosclerosis in Chinese population
  • Long-term exposure to air pollution, nitrogen dioxide, and vehicle traffic associated with buildup of plaque in artery walls, which can lead to stroke or heart attack.
  • Sample of 8,867 Chinese adults aged from 25 to 92 shows that risk of artery plaque increases by 24.5% for every 20 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per 1m2 of air.
  • This is the first study of this type in China, following similar studies in the US and Europe.
  • It provides much-needed data and evidence to set the correct air pollution standards on a global scale.
  • Over 40% of all deaths in China are caused by cardiovascular disease, and the potential contribution of air pollution to this problem is very large.

Climate change is already affecting global food production — and not equally
  • Applying careful statistical and data science modeling to multiple datasets, researchers found significant variation in the world’s top 10 crops.
  • Barley, cassava, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane and wheat supply 83% of all calories produced from crops.
  • Changes in yields are caused by climate change, and they resulted in an average ~1% reduction of consumable food calories from these crops.
  • The impact is negative in Europe, Southern Africa, and Australia, but it’s actually positive in Latin America, and mixed in Asia and Central America.
  • Half of all food-insecure countries are experiencing decreases in crop production, similarly to several industrialized Western European countries.

Could Planting Tons of Trees Solve Climate Change?
  • New analysis, based on Google Earth data, indicates that there is 0.9 billion hectares of land available around the world to plant new forests.
  • So far, humans have put 300 gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.
  • Researchers estimate that planting 0.9 billion hectares of forests would absorb two thirds of it.
  • This could be evidence to justify investments in restoring and planting forests.
  • According to the estimate, Earth could support 4.4 billion hectares of forest - excluding existing forests and land in use leaves 0.9 billion for new trees.