Author

Aloysius Alaiza

Aloysius Alaiza has 518 articles published.

Artificial Photosynthesis Can Produce More Food in the Dark Than With Sunshine

in Enviroment 0 views

Photosynthesis has evolved in plants for millions of years to turn water, carbon dioxide, and the energy from sunlight into plant biomass and the foods we eat.

This process, however, is very inefficient, with only about 1% of the energy found in sunlight ending up in the plant.

Scientists at UC Riverside and the University of Delaware have found a way to bypass the need for biological photosynthesis altogether and create food independent of sunlight by using artificial photosynthesis.

Plants growing in an electrolyzed medium containing acetate that replaces natural photosynthesis

The research uses a two-step electrocatalytic process to convert carbon dioxide, electricity, and water into acetate, the form of the main component of vinegar. Food-producing organisms then consume acetate in the dark to grow.

Combined with solar panels to generate the electricity to power the electrocatalysis, this hybrid organic-inorganic system could increase the conversion efficiency of sunlight into food, up to 18 times more efficient for some foods.

“With our approach we sought to identify a new way of producing food that could break through the limits normally imposed by biological photosynthesis,” said corresponding author Robert Jinkerson, a UC Riverside assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering.

In order to integrate all the components of the system together, the output of the electrolyzer was optimized to support the growth of food-producing organisms. Electrolyzers are devices that use electricity to convert raw materials like carbon dioxide into useful molecules and products. The amount of acetate produced was increased while the amount of salt used was decreased, resulting in the highest levels of acetate ever produced in an electrolyzer to date.

“Using a state-of-the-art two-step tandem CO2 electrolysis setup developed in our laboratory, we were able to achieve a high selectivity towards acetate that cannot be accessed through conventional CO2 electrolysis routes,” said corresponding author Feng Jiao at University of Delaware.

Experiments showed that a wide range of food-producing organisms can be grown in the dark directly on the acetate-rich electrolyzer output, including green algae, yeast, and fungal mycelium that produce mushrooms. Producing algae with this technology is approximately fourfold more energy efficient than growing it photosynthetically. Yeast production is about 18-fold more energy efficient than how it is typically cultivated using sugar extracted from corn.

“We were able to grow food-producing organisms without any contributions from biological photosynthesis. Typically, these organisms are cultivated on sugars derived from plants or inputs derived from petroleum—which is a product of biological photosynthesis that took place millions of years ago. This technology is a more efficient method of turning solar energy into food, as compared to food production that relies on biological photosynthesis,” said Elizabeth Hann, a doctoral candidate in the Jinkerson Lab and co-lead author of the study.

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Watertown YMCA closes 109-year-old downtown pool

in Place 0 views

WATERTOWN — For 109 years, generations of area residents have learned how to swim in the lap pool at the downtown YMCA.

But that long history with the community has come to an end.

The Watertown Family YMCA Board of Directors has announced that the pool that served so many will be closed permanently after a structural evaluation determined it was no longer safe.

The pool recently was drained and won’t be refilled, YMCA CEO Denise K. Young said.

Results of the most recent assessment recommended the closure and decommissioning of the pool to ensure the safety of members and guests, she said.

With the age of the lap pool, the YMCA has “done due diligence and conducted structural assessments twice in the past five years,” she said.

Despite the lap pool’s closure, the YMCA will offer lap pool swim opportunities at varying times in the recreational pool at the downtown center.

The Watertown High School pool also will be open to lap pool swimmers from 6:15 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. during the week, by appointment only through GroupEx PRO at the YMCA beginning on July 5.

The downtown facility’s lap pool has been a community asset for more than a century.

Five generations of Jefferson County residents learned to swim at the YMCA.

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He Planted a Giant Sequoia in the UK to Offset His Carbon Footprint for Life – And 700 More to Make a Forest

in Enviroment/People 31 views

Rather than sending money off to some questionable and unconfirmable carbon-capture forest, Henry Emson figured he would plant his own trees so he could look into the face of society and say “my carbon footprint is accounted for.”

As it turns out, Emson realized that it was better to go big, and so planted a giant sequoia sapling for each member of his family. Now, he can plant a giant sequoia for you and yours as well, with his business of growing small sequoia groves across Great Britain seeing 700 saplings already in the ground.

One Tree One Life buys land where these giants can grow in safety, and for that each tree costs around $450. The benefit however is knowing that throughout the hundreds, potentially thousands of years the tree is alive, it will be pulling CO2 from the atmosphere and burying it in its root system. Furthermore, Britain will be populated with what is undoubtedly the great emperor of all trees.

Sequoiadendron giganteum grows in the United States natively only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, above 3,200 feet in elevation. This, however, doesn’t mean that is the only place they can thrive. As it turns out, Henry Emson wasn’t the first Brit to cultivate these giants.

The first seeds from California sequoias arrived in Great Britain in 1853, and since then some trees have flourished—at Kew Gardens, Charles Ackers Redwood Grove in Wales, Benmore Botanic Gardens in Scotland, and Biddulph Grange at Stoke-on-Trent. Some of these trees are already 150 years old, and are already bigger than anything else found on the island.

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Water main breaks again on Watertown Center Loop Road

in Local News 60 views

WATERTOWN — Residents and businesses have lost water again after a water main break on Watertown Center Loop Road, a day after town officials thought it was fixed.

Crews were out again Tuesday installing a new pipe.

Customers were without water along U.S. Route 11, State Route 232, County Routes 155 and 67, Spring Valley Drive and Summit Drive.

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Scientists Turn Brazilian Tree Bark Into Promising Treatment for Leukaemia

in Enviroment/Health 61 views

Compounds from a Brazilian tree bark can now be used to treat acute myeloid leukaemia after a new technique that delivers it straight into the cancer cell.

The disease has a survival rate of around 20% after five years, and there is a high occurrence of relapse.

Caused by an abnormal increase in the number a type of immature blood cells, it is an aggressive cancer and the most common form of acute leukaemia in adults.

Scientists identified a compound from the bark of the lapacho tree called β-lapachone which controls the increase in the number of cells involved with cancer, however it was toxic to other cells as well.

“It’s important to find new therapeutic strategies for acute myeloid leukemia,” Professor Gonçalo Bernardes, a reader in Chemical Biology and a Royal Society University Research Fellow and a Fellow of Trinity Hall College, Cambridge said. “There are a lot of natural compounds with medicinal value that can’t be used as therapies at the moment due to toxicity and negative effects in healthy cells.

“In our work, we used these natural compounds and modified them in a way that controls their negative effects and allows us to take advantage of their therapeutic value.”

The team modified the compound to shield the body from its negative effects until it is delivered to the heart of the cancer cell.

“The compound that we explored in this study, called β-lapachone, is a promising drug to treat leukaemia, but its reactive properties could have undesirable effects,” Prof Bernardes who is also group leader at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM) and co-leader of the study added.

“In this work, we combined two strategies to minimise the negative effects of the compound.

“On one side, we added a chemical group to this compound that protects from its reactive properties. It acts like a mask that covers the toxicity of the drug.

“This mask is released in a more acidic environment, that corresponds to the interior of cells.

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Developer Jake Johnson proposes St. Lawrence River resort

in Enviroment/Place 207 views

WATERTOWN — Local real developer Jake Johnson is proposing to operate a summer resort on a series of islands on the St. Lawrence River in the town of Alexandria, a few hundred feet from the Canadian border.

In 2019, Mr. Johnson purchased 3.9 acres on Sport Island for $1.25 million from an Atlanta company and now plans to create the summer resort on the island.

According to Jefferson County planner Andy R. Nevin, Mr. Johnson has been renovating single-family homes consisting of 10, five, three and two bedrooms, as well as a boathouse, on Sport Island, Little Lehigh and three other islands for the venture.

He’s also proposing a marina with about 30 boat slips, a tiki bar and an event venue.

The site would be just a few hundred feet from the Canadian border, Mr. Nevin said.

Under one concept, Mr. Johnson, doing business as Sport Island Holdings LLC, would provide food service for the people staying at the resort, Mr. Nevin said.

“It’s one of the ideas he has,” Mr. Nevin said.

Mr. Johnson could not be reached for comment.

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Light Therapy is Harnessed to Target and Kill Cancer Cells in World First

in Health 193 views

An innovative light-activated therapy could help detect and treat an aggressive brain cancer type, a new study shows.The ‘photoimmunotherapy’ combines a special fluorescent dye with a cancer-targeting compound, which together boosts the body’s immune response.

In studies in mice, the combination was shown to improve the visibility of cancer cells during surgery and, when activated by near-infrared light, to trigger an anti-tumor effect.

The treatment, studied by an international team of researchers from the The Institute of Cancer Research and the Medical University of Silesia could ultimately help surgeons to remove brain cancers like glioblastoma more effectively, and boost the body’s response to cancer cells that remain after surgery.

Lighting-up brain cancer

Glioblastoma multiforme, also known as GBM, is one of the most common and aggressive types of brain cancer. New ways to improve surgery could help patients live for longer.

Surgeons often use a technique called Fluorescence Guided Surgery to treat diseases like glioblastoma and other brain cancers, which uses dyes to help identify the tumor mass to be removed during surgery.

But due to these tumors growing in sensitive areas of the brain like the motor cortex, which is involved in the planning and control of voluntary movements, glioblastoma surgery can leave behind residual tumor cells that can be very hard to treat—and which mean the disease can come back more aggressively later.

The new research builds on Fluorescence Guided Surgery using a novel technique called photoimmunotherapy (PIT).

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Watertown receives transportation funds to add to Black River Trail

in Enviroment/Place 219 views

Watertown receives funds to add to Black River Trail

WATERTOWN — The city of Watertown has received $1,663,764 from the state to construct sidewalks and multi-use trails on the western section of the Black River Trail.

The funding, which provides up to 80% of total project costs, is from the Federal Highway Administration and administered by the state Department of Transportation. Projects were selected through a competitive process that required awardees to demonstrate how proposed activities would contribute to increasing the use of non-vehicular transportation alternatives, reduce vehicle emissions and/or mitigate traffic congestion.

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‘First Ever’ Commute in The Jetson Flying Car – CEO Says it Can Make You a Pilot in 5 Minutes

in Technology/Transportation 213 views

A company owner has completed the ‘first ever’ commute in an $83,000 (£68,000) space-age flying car.

Tomasz Patan is co-founder of the Swedish firm Jetson, and he just piloted the Jetson ONE vehicle from his Italian home to a company building in Tuscany.

Jetson say the trip to the Santa Maria a Monte facility is a “momentous occasion for the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) sector.”

The aircraft is powered by eight electric motors, has a flight time of 20 minutes, and can reach a top speed of 63mph (102kph).

The futuristic vehicle is constructed from a race car-inspired lightweight aluminium space frame and a Carbon-Kevlar composite body.

Running on a high discharge lithium-ion battery, the vehicle can carry a pilot’s weight of 210 pounds (100kg).

“Our long-term goal is to democratize flight. We firmly believe the ‘eVTOL’ is the future for mass transportation. We are committed to making this a reality,” Tomasz Patan, co-founder and CTO, said.

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Watertown High School graduates ‘the kind of young people you want to be around’

in School 186 views

WATERTOWN — “Resilient,” “thoughtful” and “mature” are some of the words Watertown High School Principal Chad A. Fairchild used to describe this year’s graduating class.

The newest Watertown alumni walked across the stage Friday and received their high school diplomas.

“They’re the kind of young people you enjoy being around,” Mr. Fairchild said. “They make you very proud, they make us very proud, they make their community very proud.”

The Watertown City School District presented diplomas to 168 students. The evening began with a parade that culminated at the high school football field.

Toward the back of the turf, students got out of their vehicles and made their way onto the turf via a red carpet.

Graduate Emma L. Shoemaker said she was “pretty excited” and “mostly nervous,” about graduation.

“I’m not ready to ‘adult’ yet,” she said.

She is looking to become a photographer and will begin selling her photography online and apply to colleges.

Before graduating, Emma spent time in Atlanta for the SkillsUSA Photography challenge, after winning a New York competition. She returned Friday morning.

She became interested in photography after her father bought her first camera in ninth grade, which led to her taking visual communications through the Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

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