E. coli engineered to become methanol addict to make industry feedstocks

Escherichia coli has been engineered to thrive on methanol not sugars. This change is the latest step toward carbon-neutral bioproduction and the synthetic strain can produce four precursor compounds used in industry. Using E. coli to synthesise compounds such as insulin is not new and bioproduction, where the cells convert carbon into other materials, is […]

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Light-driven enzyme engineered and repurposed to catalyse unnatural reaction

A natural photoenzyme found in algae has been artificially evolved to perform an unnatural and entirely new function for the first time. The work, which converted fatty acid decarboxylase (FAP) into new-to-nature radical photocyclases that catalyse the formation of carbon rings, demonstrates how photoenzymes can be evolved and repurposed for biocatalytic applications. FAP enzymes, which […]

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Explainer: nitazenes and xylazine – a cause for concern

Historically, most of the heroin in the UK came from Afghanistan. However, in 2022, the Taliban banned poppy cultivation and after December 2023 it became illegal to export heroin from Afghanistan. At the same time, an increasing quantity of synthetic drugs such as nitazenes and xylazine have been detected in the illicit drug market both […]

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Canada pledges dramatic pay rise for PhDs, postdocs – but many will not benefit

The Canadian government has pledged a significant investment in its graduate students and postdoctoral scholars after more than two decades of stagnation. Its 2024 budget proposal, announced on 16 April, provides C$825 million (£481 million) over the next five years to support next-generation researchers by increasing both the number and value of stipends. However, the […]

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Single atom layer of gold produced for the first time

A sheet of gold just a single atom thick has been created for the first time using a method employed in Japanese forging art. The researchers, based at Linköping University in Sweden, hope that the properties of the material, which they have dubbed goldene, will open up new applications including carbon dioxide conversion and water […]

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New $132 million chemistry building opens at University of Maryland

The University of Maryland in College Park, US has inaugurated a new state-of-the-art chemistry building that will be a hub for quantum chemistry, molecular nanoscience and sustainability research. The $132 million (£106 million), 9756m2 facility will house research on antibody-based therapeutics and HIV vaccine development, new materials and technologies for energy conversion and storage or […]

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Oil and gas industry emissions are not on track to hit climate goals

Several big firms have rolled back their targets, saying governments need to set pace with policyAlmost a decade on from the Paris agreement, made by governments around the world to restrain global warming, the world’s largest oil and gas companies have still not aligned to its goal. Despite a plethora of ‘net zero’ targets, companies […]

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