Best from science journals: Is the Red Sea an ocean?

Here are some of the most interesting research papers to have appeared in top science journals last week.

April 28, 2021 04:30 pm | Updated December 02, 2021 10:46 pm IST

Google Maps showing Red Sea

Google Maps showing Red Sea

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Seafloor study

Published in Nature Communications

The Red Sea is no longer a baby ocean. It is a young adult with a structure similar to the young southern Atlantic some 120 million years ago, notes a new study. By studying high-resolution seafloor maps and also investigating the chemical makeup of rock samples, the international team was able to arrive at this conclusion.

Tough cage-suit

Published in Nature Materials

It's time to lose your leather racing suits and buy an advanced version made of zeolite. Researchers at the University of Birmingham have developed a new material using zeolitic imidazolate frameworks which can be used to develop shock and impact resistant clothing for soldiers, athletes, and motorists.

Fungal friend

Published in PNAS

Parascedosporium putredinis Credit:

Parascedosporium putredinis Credit:

Meet Parascedosporium putredinis , a fungus that has given the world a new enzyme. Researchers noted that the enzyme can act as a catalyst to break down lignocellulose. "We believe this discovery is important as there is much interest in using lignocellulose as a renewable and sustainable resource for the production of liquid fuels and chemicals,” says lead author Neil Bruce in a release.

HIV's favourite targets

Published in Cell Reports

It is well known that HIV attacks and destroys our CD4+ T cells. "CD4+ T cells orchestrate the immune response against all kinds of pathogens, so you can't just eliminate them to prevent HIV infections," explains lead author Nadia Roan in a release. "But if you can find the more specific subsets of CD4+ T cells that are highly susceptible to HIV infection, you may be able to specifically target those cells without detrimental side effects." Using new technologies the team has now established a detailed atlas of the CD4+ T cells, which can help scientists determine whether some subsets are more susceptible to infection than others.

Plastic to fuel

Published in Current Biology

Researchers from the University of Delaware have developed a new direct method to convert single-use plastic waste to molecules that can be used for jet fuels. “The process can be tuned to convert different common plastic wastes, including low- and high-density polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, everyday polyethylene bottles and bags, and composite plastics to desirable fuels and light lubricants,” adds the paper.

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