This image depicts a rendering of a cryo-electron tomogram of a Chlamydomonas pyrenoid, with tubule membranes (green and yellow) awash in a “sea” of Rubisco enzymes (blue). © ScienceDirect

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

Members of Prof. Lercher’s team at the Catalysis Research Center: Dr. Yue Liu, Teresa Schachtl and Daniel Melzer.  Image: Andreas Heddergott / TUM

Fuel from waste? It is possible. But hitherto, converting organic waste to fuel has not been economically viable. Excessively high temperatures and too much energy are required. Using a novel catalyst concept, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now managed to significantly reduce the temperature and energy requirements of a key step in the chemical process. The trick: The reaction takes place in very confined spaces inside zeolite crystals.

Ever more electricity is produced decentrally using wind, hydro and solar power plants. “It thus makes sense to decentralize chemical production, as well,” thinks Prof. Johannes Lercher, who heads the Chair of Technical Chemistry II at TU Munich. “Theoretically, any municipality could produce its own fuel or fertilizer.”

The majority of microtechnology experts thinks that no concessions should be made to climate protection in the interest of the automotive industry. IVAM

Being part of the automotive supplier industry, the microtechnology industry has a great interest in a strong automotive industry. Representatives of these suppliers, represented in the IVAM Executive Panel, however, believe that the interests of the German automotive industry should not be protected under all conditions: no concessions should be made to climate protection in the interest of the industry and the economy; fraud attempts such as exhaust gas manipulation should not be tolerated; and it is necessary to work more intensively on alternative drive technologies.

Histopathologic image of malignant melanoma (Case 01). Skin biopsy. H & E stain.

A new study by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) about residential radon exposure in Switzerland shows that the radioactive gas radon increases the risk for developing malignant skin cancer.

It is undisputed that radon is a risk factor for developing lung cancer. New research by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) in the context of the Swiss National Cohort study now shows that the naturally occurring radioactive gas radon within one’s home also increases the risk to develop malignant skin cancer (malignant melanoma).

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