Can We Make Nanoparticles More Sustainable?

DonOwens

Most of us are familiar with the concept of “side effects.” This is when something that is designed to be helpful ends up having some harm that goes along with it. For patients with cancer, anti-cancer drugs can be life-savers – literally. The benefits of using these drugs are apparent to anyone whose cancer has …

Nanoparticles can stick to bacteria, but does more nanoparticle sticking mean more toxicity?

Have bacteria ever made you sick? If you answer no I’m not going to believe you. When most of us think about bacteria, we’re reminded of how miserable we were the last time we had strep throat or another bacterial illness. Of course there are many other things that can make people sick, but in …

Using Gold Nanobullets for Genetic Engineering

glowing fungus

Have you seen the movie Avatar? I remember being captivated by the colorful world of Pandora, where the Na’vi lived. Some of the most picturesque scenes take place in the forest, whose floor is decorated with bioluminescent plants and fungi, much like that shown in Figure 1. They all emit their colorful glow as Jake …

Why do Scientists Care about Bacterial Replication?

Did you know that under the right conditions, bacteria can divide every 20 minutes?1 (That’s how bacteria reproduce – one cell splits into two.) That means that 10 bacterial cells can produce 2,621,440 bacteria after only 6 hours! No wonder you can get sick so quickly after eating food contaminated with bacteria. Figure 1 below …

How Can You Tell if Bacteria are Alive or Dead?

Think about the last time you cooked meat, wiped down a countertop with Lysol, or used hand sanitizer. You already know that these actions will help to kill bacteria that might make you sick, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could easily tell whether your efforts had been effective—that is, how many of the …

The Chemical Story Behind Non-Petroleum-Based Plastics

Every year, millions of tons of plastic are discarded into landfills, where they will take hundreds of years to break down.  New biodegradable plastics offer a potential solution to this problem. Let’s back up and talk about “traditional” plastics first. In addition to being landfilled, some plastic is disposed of improperly, leading to plastic pollution …