Health Argentina  ARGENTINA 14/12/2015

Probiotics from scratch

Researchers from CONICET and INTA study the production of native bacteria cultures from spray drying, a widely installed technology in the country

Human beings have groups of microorganisms in different parts of the body. Some of them live in the bowel, which houses a population of bacteria called gut microbiota. Humans acquire it after birth and later on its composition undergoes modifications after labour, during the baby’s diet and it is also modified by maternal microbiota. One of the microorganisms that form it are the bifidobacteria, a vital genus of bacteria that help digestion, which are beneficial for treatments for diarrhea and constipation, and they also modulate immune responses, among other benefits. Besides, they can be cultivated and used to produce functional food with probiotics.

Jorge Reinheimer, investigador superior del CONICET y director del INLAIN y Gabriel Vinderola, investigador independiente. Foto: gentileza investigador.
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Health Brazil  BRASIL 11/12/2015

Researchers use nanotechnology to develop paper-based sensor that measures vitamin C

Method uses silver nanoparticles on chromatography paper to quantify ascorbic acid in samples

Researchers at Brazil’s National Nanotechnology Laboratory (LNNano) and National Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS) and at the Chemistry Institutes of the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and the Catholic University of Campinas (PUCC) have developed a quick and simple method to measure the amount of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in different samples, such as fruit extracts and industrialized drinks.

Sensor nanotecnológico de papel para medir la vitamina C. FOTO: AG�NCIA FAPESP
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Technology Spain  SALAMANCA 09/12/2015

Privacy via IT Security: Innovating Mobile App Competition is launched

The top three proposals will participate in a special Award Ceremony at CeBit Scale11 on 14 March 2016 in Hannover

A brand-new competition that gives young European innovators the chance to create or develop a contemporary app that will enhance privacy on mobile devices is underway. With a wide range of prizes awarded to the best proposals, including an amount of 20 000 EUR for the overall winner and the chance to deploy the winning app onto the market, this competition provides a great opportunity for talented individuals with inspiring ideas to get involved in online security.

Los dos jóvenes emprendedores muestran su trabajo en el ordenador.
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Social Sciences Chile  ATACAMA 09/12/2015

ALMA detects most tenuous molecular gas ever observed

Absorption systems allow researchers to investigate very tenuous gas clouds

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) discovered the most tenuous molecular gas ever observed. They detected the absorption of radio waves by gas clouds in front of bright celestial objects. This radio shadow revealed the composition and the conditions of diffuse gas in the Milky Way galaxy.

Ilustración de sistemas de absorción. Créditos: R. Ando (Universidad de Tokio), ESO/José Francisco Salgado
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Nutrition Panama  PANAMÁ 03/12/2015

Colorful caterpillar chemists may signal new useful plant compounds

“Brightly colored plant-eating insects help us to identify plants containing compounds active against important human diseases,” said Todd Capson

Scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) compared the diets of two caterpillar species, expecting the one that exclusively consumed plants containing toxic chemicals would more easily incorporate toxins into its body than the one with a broad diet. They found the opposite. The new finding, published in the Journal of Chemical Ecology, flies in the face of a long-held theory that specialist insects are better adapted to use toxic plant chemicals than non-specialists.

Oruga. FOTO: STRI.
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Nutrition Brazil  BRASIL 02/12/2015

Paleontologists describe giant amphibian that lived 260 million years ago

Brazilian group publishes detailed new analysis and description of 'Australerpeton cosgriffi', a giant relative of modern amphibians that lived 260 million years ago

A new analysis by a group of paleontologists offers a more detailed portrait of one of Brazil’s most interesting fossil species, Australerpeton cosgriffi, a giant relative of modern amphibians that lived during the Permian period 260 million years ago. Despite its link to today’s frogs and salamanders, A. cosgriffi was 2.5 m long and resembles a crocodile, with a long tapering snout and scaly body.

Australerpeton cosgriffi. Imagen: Rodolfo Nogueira/ Divulgación
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Nutrition Colombia  BOGOTÁ D.C. 01/12/2015

Bats help recover Colombian forests

An artificial shelter which attracts bats and helps direct seed rains as well as favoring reproduction is an alternative for improving and multiplying different deforested areas in Colombia

For four years and through a scientific tool based on the ecological role of frugivorous bats, researchers have been working on seed dispersion through guano, thus accelerating the ecological succession of ecosystems. According to Biological Sciences doctoral candidate and member of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Neotropical Mammal Evolution and Ecology Research Group Diego Casallas–Pabón, Colombia is second only to Indonesia in the amount of bat species in the world, with 200 species of bats.

Colombia es el segundo país del planeta más rico en murciélagos, con alrededor de 200 especies, después de Indonesia. FOTO: UN
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Nutrition Argentina  ARGENTINA 27/11/2015

Arsenic in water: an invisible foe

Two CONICET research teams study the remediation of an essential natural resource: water.

The Andes mountain range was formed 50 millions of years ago, as a result of the plate tectonic movements. This fact led to consequences that remain nowadays: during the process, great quantities of volcanic ash with high levels of (As) and fluoride. Currently, these materials are part of the loess or sediments of groundwater aquifer. The arsenic is the main natural pollutant of the groundwater, which is the only source for human consumption in a large area of our country. This problem, which produces a marked effect on the social health and economic sectors of the affected regions, involves more than eight millions of people.

Investigadores argentinos desarrollan sistemas para la remoción de arsénico en el agua subterránea. FOTO: CONICET
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Nutrition Brazil  BRASIL 26/11/2015

Elephants in Cerrado could play role once performed by mastodons

Reintroduction of large mammals into ecosystems could be an effective conservation strategy

Which of Earth’s continents has the most large animals? Africa, of course, but it has not always been so. Once upon a time, all continents were inhabited by large mammals weighing more than a ton, which biologists classify as megafauna. These mammals played a key role in the environment, spreading seeds from the flora of every ecosystem of which they were a part, as well as eating the vegetation and recycling nutrients through their droppings.

Elefante. foto: Bernard Dupond


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Social Sciences Chile  ATACAMA 25/11/2015

Cool, dim dwarf star is magnetic powerhouse

The team used ALMA to study the well-known red dwarf star TVLM 513-46546, which is located about 35 light-years from Earth in the constellation Boötes

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have discovered that a dim, cool dwarf star is generating a surprisingly powerful magnetic field, one that rivals the most intense magnetic regions of our own Sun.

Representación artística de la estrella TVLM 513-46546.  Créditos: NRAO/AUI/NSF; Dana Berry / SkyWorks
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Nutrition Colombia  BOGOTÁ D.C. 20/11/2015

Fiber optic laser which improves industrial applications patented

With this light source they can etch or cut thick or robust surfaces. It is also useful in metal forming projects and in molds to perform texturized designs

This technological development had the support of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Deputy Rector's Office of Research and the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce who granted the patent. The device was carried out by UNal M.Sc. in Physics and Physics Engineer Jesús David Causado, along with UNal-Medellín School of Physics Professor and Founder and Director of the Photonics and Optoelectronics Research Group Pedro Ignacio Torres Trujillo.

La luz láser que dio lugar a esta patente ya no usa espejos sino fibra óptica. FOTO: UN
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Health Brazil  BRASIL 18/11/2015

Target gene identified for therapies to combat muscular dystrophy

Study published in Cell by researchers from Brazil and the United States suggests inducing overexpression of the Jagged1 gene can prevent the development of degenerative disease

Researchers at the University of São Paulo’s Bioscience Institute (IB-USP) in Brazil have shown that a gene called Jagged1, or JAG1 for short, could be a target for the development of new approaches to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration.

Al inducir la sobreexpresión del gen Jagged1 se puede evitar el desarrollo de esta enfermedad degenerativa (imagen: Cell).
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Technology Spain  MADRID 17/11/2015

New Advanced Computing Systems

Scientists at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) are studying how to improve the development of advanced computing systems to create faster software

Scientists at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) are studying how to improve the development of advanced computing systems to create faster software under the auspices of RePhrase, a new research project from the European Union Horizon 2020 program. These new techniques will make it possible to improve applications such as industrial manufacturing processes and railway traffic monitoring, as well as the diagnosis of mental illnesses.

Imagen de cerebro generada a partir de resonancia magnética. Imagen: UC3M.
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Nutrition Colombia  BOGOTÁ D.C. 13/11/2015

The Orinoco crocodile returns to its natural habitat thanks to UNal

Four extinction critically endangered Crocodylus intermedius crocodiles were set free at the Sierra de La Macarena by a group of Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) experts

“Federico”, “Cristina”, “John” and “Miriam” were the names given to these crocs which with a little apprehension now call the Guayabero and Lozada River banks home. After two years of being at the UNal Roberto Franco Tropical Biological Station conservation program in Villavicencio, they grew to almost two meters long (6.5 ft.) and 150 kilos.

Cocodrilo de la especia Crocodylus intermedius. FOTO: UN
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Nutrition Chile  ATACAMA 12/11/2015

ALMA links with other observatories to create earth-size telescope

The addition of ALMA to millimeter VLBI will boost the imaging sensitivity and capabilities of the existing VLBI arrays by an order of magnitude

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) continues to expand its power and capabilities by linking with other millimeter-wavelength telescopes in Europe and North American in a series of very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) observations.

ALMA combinó su poder con los radiotelescopios IRAM y VLBA en observaciones VLBI separadas. Crédito: A. Angelich (NRAO/AUI/NSF)
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Nutrition Brazil  BRASIL 11/11/2015

Research paves the way for a new treatment against schizophrenia

Malfunctioning of oligodendrocytes, specialized brain cells that provide important support for neuronal activity, may have a key role in the development of schizophrenia

A number of studies conducted at the University of Campinas’s Biology Institute (IB-UNICAMP) in São Paulo State, Brazil, have indicated that oligodendrocyte dysfunction may have a key role in the development of schizophrenia. Oligodendrocytes are specialized brain cells that provide important support for neuronal activity.

Imagen de microscopía confocal de un oligodendrocito/ Daniel Martins-de-Souza y Annette Vogl.
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Health Colombia  VALLE DEL CAUCA 09/11/2015

Ornamental fish to be genetically studied due to overexploitation

By performing molecular identification of Otocinclus spp., a species that thrives in the Orinoquía and Amazonian regions of Colombia, a Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) researcher hopes to formulate preservation strategies

Marketing this and other species of ornamental fish could be an extinction threat which has not been determined yet in Colombia. For example Otocinclus species diversity has turned into an obstacle to establish the dimension of fish netting in Colombia.

Las principales especies ornamentales de exportación son los cardenales, otocinclo, corydora meta, arawanas, raya motoro y guacamaya, cuchas y el escalar altum.
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Social Sciences Chile  ATACAMA 06/11/2015

Astronomers discover growth spurts in a young protostar

A paper describing these results is published in the journal 'Nature'

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have discovered an adolescent protostar that is undergoing a rapid-fire succession of growth spurts. Evidence for this fitful youth is seen in a pair of intermittent jets streaming away from the star’s poles. A paper describing these results is published in the journal Nature.

Astrónomos obtuvieron con ALMA la imagen del crecimiento intermitente de una joven protoestrella conocida como CARMA-7. Crédito: B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF); A. Plunkett et al.; ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ)
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Health Brazil  BRASIL 05/11/2015

Melatonin reduces metastasis in animals with breast cancer

The results of the studies, which were supported by FAPESP, have recently been described in a paper published in the 'Journal of Pineal Research'

When researchers at the São José do Rio Preto School of Medicine (FAMERP) in São Paulo State, Brazil, treated in vitro cultured metastatic breast cancer cells with melatonin, they observed a 55% reduction in cell migration and invasion. Experiments with mice showed that the treatment was also capable of slowing the progression of the disease in vivo.

Célula de cáncer de mama fotografiada con un microscopio electrónico de barrido.
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Nutrition Argentina  ARGENTINA 04/11/2015

Bacteriophages, the invisible enemies of the dairy industry

A research team at the CONICET develops technological strategies to minimize its effects

The word bacteria tends to be put on the same level as infections or diseases, but not all bacteria are bad. Within the beneficial ones to the human being, it is possible to find the lactic acid bacterium (LAB). These are a group of benign microorganisms that produce lactic acid from sugar fermentation. For this reason, they have been used for more than four thousands years in the production of fermented milk products, like yogurt and cheese, among others.

Células de Lactobacillus paracasei infectadas por un hongo. FOTO: CONICET
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