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Pollinator decline – an ecological calamity in the making?

Posted on 6. August, 2018.

Pollination is an ecosystem function that is fundamental to plant reproduction, agricultural production and the perpetuation of terrestrial biodiversity. An estimated 87.5% (approximately 308,000 species) of the world’s flowering plants are pollinated by insects and other animals, and more than three quarters of the major types of global food crops derive at least some benefit from animal pollination. 


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Sustainable nanotechnology - Free Current Commentary

Posted on 18. May, 2015.

The US National Nanotechnology Initiative defines nanotechnology as, “the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension in the range 1–100 nanometres (nm),” where the tendency is for quantum mechanical effects to become increasingly important toward the smaller end of the range.


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Fossil fuel use is limited by climate, if not by resources, and “Peak Soil”.

Posted on 1. May, 2015.

Originally the Earth was barren rock, but was transformed into a vibrant living planet by soil. So where did the soil come from and why is it so important? What is it that gives soil its amazing life-generating force?


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Humans and uniqueness

Posted on 24. April, 2015.

A defining force in the shaping of human identity is a person’s need to feel special and different from others. Psychologists term this motivation Need for Uniqueness (NfU). 


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Advances in antihydrogen physics

Posted on 30. March, 2015.

Antimatter has long held a grip on the fascination of both scientists and the general public, though usually for very different reasons. Dirac’s famous 1931 prediction of the existence of both the positron and the antiproton (though he did confess to know nothing of the nature of the proton) holds a special place in physics. 


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“Vibrational bonding”: a new type of chemical bond is discovered

Posted on 12. March, 2015.

Chemical bonding is the attractive force between atoms that causes them to form into aggregates such as molecules or solids. At its foundation, a chemical bond is always a result of the summed attractive and repulsive electrostatic interactions between a number of positively charged nuclei and a number of negatively charged electrons, but a hierarchy of different bond types of varying strength can be identified.


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Free from the Science Reviews archives - Superconductivity

Posted on 9. March, 2015.

Superconductivity is one of the most explicit and dramatic forms of electronic order. We are baffled by its consequences, for example the complete breakdown of electrical resistance, the expulsion of small magnetic fields, the Josephson effect and magnetic levitation. But at a more conceptual level, the processes underlying these phenomena are equally captivating: why does a superconductor superconduct?


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The transition from iron starvation to iron sufficiency as an important step in the progression of infection

Posted on 4. March, 2015.

Iron is an essential micronutrient for microbial life. At the start of an infection the host environment will normally restrict available iron, and innate immune responses will aim to further reduce iron, thus inhibiting growth of potential pathogens.


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Endophytes – the chemical synthesizers inside plants - A Free Review

Posted on 24. February, 2015.

Endophytes are microbial entities that live within living tissues of plants.
In most cases their relationship with the host plant is symbiotic and probably mutualistic. Many are capable of synthesizing bio-active compounds that can be used by the plant for defense against pathogenic fungi and bacteria. Some of these compounds have proven useful for novel drug discovery.


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