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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Researchers find magnetite nanoparticles similar to those from traffic pollution in brain; possible link with Alzheimer’s

September 06, 2016

Researchers from the UK, Mexico and the US have found abundant magnetite nanoparticles in the brain tissue from 37 individuals aged three- to 92-years-old who lived in Mexico City and Manchester, UK. This strongly magnetic mineral has been implicated in the production of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) in the human brain, which are associated with neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (e.g., Hautot et al. 2003). Their paper is being published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Professor Barbara Maher, from Lancaster Environment Centre, and colleagues (from Oxford, Glasgow, Manchester and Mexico City) used spectroscopic analysis to identify the particles as magnetite. Unlike angular magnetite particles that are believed to form naturally within the brain (i.e., biogenic), most of the observed particles were spherical, with diameters up to 150 nm, some with fused surfaces, all characteristic of high-temperature formation—such as from vehicle (particularly diesel) engines or open fires.

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Caltech team uses computational topology optimization to design silicon anode structures for Li-ion batteries

July 10, 2016

Researchers at Caltech have used computational topology optimization methods to design optimal multifunctional silicon anode structures for lithium-ion batteries. A paper on their work is published in the Journal of Power Sources.

Sarah Mitchell and Michael Ortiz set out to address two problems related to silicon anodes: lithiation-induced mechanical degradation due to volumetric expansion and the low intrinsic electrical conductivity of silicon.

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Bio-isobutanol company Gevo signs licensing and joint development agreements with Porta in Argentina; corn feedstock

February 03, 2016

Gevo, Inc. has entered into a license agreement and a joint development agreement with Porta Hnos S.A. to construct multiple isobutanol plants in Argentina using corn as a feedstock.

The first plant is to be wholly owned by Porta and is anticipated to begin producing isobutanol in 2017. The plant is expected to have a production capacity of up to five million gallons of isobutanol per year. Based on projected isobutanol pricing, Gevo estimates that it could generate approximately $1 million in annual revenues once the plant is operational, through royalties, sales and marketing fees, and other revenue streams such as yeast sales.

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