gas emissions with
a more effective carbon
Trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from
power plants and various industries could play a
significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the future. But current materials that can
collect CO2 — from smokestacks, for example —
have low capacities or require very high temperatures to work. Researchers are making progress
toward a more efficient alternative, described in
the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials, that could
help make carbon capture less energy-intensive.
T. Alan Hatton and colleagues note that although industry and
governments are increasingly turning to renewable energy sources
such as wind and solar, the world will continue to rely on fossil fuels
for the foreseeable future — but at a cost. According to the
International Energy Agency, burning fossil fuels emits more
than 30 gigatons per year of CO2, a primary greenhouse gas.
Some solid systems that aim to capture these emissions,
such as zeolites, are sensitive to water in the gas streams.
Others, such as clays and metal oxides, have to be
heated up to more than 900 °F, which requires a great
deal of energy. Hatton’s team wanted to find a way to
cut this latter strategy’s energy requirements.
The researchers studied a new class of materials,
based on magnesium oxide (MgO), that can capture larger
quantities of carbon at much lower temperatures than
many other substances being investigated. They discov-
ered that coating MgO particles with alkali metal nitrates
boosted the amount of CO2 the material could take up
by more than 10-fold. The MgO captures a significantly
higher amount of CO2 ( 2–10 times) than other systems
for a given volume. This translates into smaller equipment
needs and lower plant costs. Additionally, the particles
themselves are readily prepared with low-cost materials.
Read more about the research: “Alkali Metal Nitrate-
Promoted High-Capacity MgO Adsorbents for Regener-
able CO2 Capture at Moderate Temperatures,” Chemistry
of Materials, 2015, 27 ( 6), pp 1943–1949.
Curie and her
of the prize.
CO2 (in ppm)
in the atmosphere at the Mauna Loa
Observatory in April 2015. Recordings
of CO2 at the observatory first began
in 1958, when CO2 atmospheric
levels were at 315.71 ppm.
Number of years National Chemistry
beginning as National
Chemistry Day in 1987,
the celebration was
expanded to a full-
week event in 1993.
3Year that the first enzyme was discovered and isolated by
researchers in France. Diastase,
now known as amylase, is part
of a family of enzymes that
catalyze the breakdown of
carbohydrates into sugars.
How green tea could help improve MRIs
Green tea’s popularity has grown quickly in recent
years. Fans of this tea can drink it, enjoy its flavor
in their ice cream, and slather it on their skin
with infused lotions. Now, the tea could
also have a new, unexpected role—
to improve the image quality of MRIs.
Researchers report in the journal
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
that they successfully used com-
pounds from green tea to help
image cancer tumors in mice.
Sanjay Mathur and colleagues note
that recent research has revealed the
potential usefulness of nanoparticles —
iron oxide in particular — to make biomedical
imaging better. But the nanoparticles have their own
disadvantages. They tend to cluster together easily and
need help getting to their destinations in the body. To address
these issues, researchers have recently tried attaching natural nutri-
ents to the nanoparticles. Mathur’s team wanted to see if compounds from green tea, which
research suggests has anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties, could fulfill this role.
Using a simple one-step process, the researchers coated iron oxide nanoparticles with catechins found in green tea and administered them to mice with cancer. MRIs demonstrated that
the novel imaging agents gathered in tumor cells and showed a strong contrast from surrounding non-tumor cells. The researchers conclude that the catechin-coated nanoparticles are promising candidates for use in MRIs and related applications.
Read more about the research: “Enhanced In Vitro and In Vivo Cellular Imaging with Green
Tea Coated Water-Soluble Iron Oxide Nanocrystals,” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2015,
7 ( 12), pp 6530-6540.