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Biomolecular Movie-Making with Atomic Force Microscopy

Biomolecular Movie-Making with Atomic Force Microscopy | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

Toshio Ando and co-workers at Kanazawa University have developed and used high-speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM) to achieve direct visualization of dynamic structural changes and processes of functioning biological molecules in physiological solution — creating microscopic movies of unprecedented sub-100-ms temporal resolution and submolecular spatial resolution.

 

To produce an image, HS-AFM acquires information on sample height at many points by tapping the sample with the sharp tip of a tiny cantilever and dragging the sharp tip of a tiny cantilever across the sample. Depending on the application, this might involve recording the distance of deflection, the amplitude and phase of oscillations, or the resonant frequency of the cantilever.

 

Ando and co-workers use very small cantilevers that provide 10 to 20 times the sensitivity of larger, conventional cantilevers. Copies of their home-made apparatus are now commercially available through the manufacturer Research Institute of Biomolecule Metrology Co., Ltd in Tsukuba, and record images at least ten times more quickly than their competitors.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Creating chicken-free chicken: Plant-based product supposed to taste like real chicken

Creating chicken-free chicken: Plant-based product supposed to taste like real chicken | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

A new production plant near Columbia is testing whether it will be able to market a product that looks and tastes like chicken but has no actual chicken in it. It is part of an expansion by vegan meat company Savage River Inc. for its Beyond Meat brand, using technology licensed from the University of Missouri.

 

The plant is producing a chicken substitute made of soy protein, pea protein and carrot fiber. The dry ingredients are mixed with water and heated. The process is designed to create a plant-based product that not only tastes like chicken but also shreds like meat and chews like chicken.

 

The plant in Columbia is a combined effort from entrepreneur Ethan Brown and two University of Missouri food scientists who have worked for about two decades to get the “texturized vegetable protein” just right. “Our very first attempts were total failures,” said Harold Huff, senior research specialist in biological engineering. “For it to appeal to us, when all is said and done, it has to chew right.”

 

Fu-Hung Hsieh, biological engineering and food science professor, said the scientists figured out how to form the fibers in the 1990s but couldn’t make the product consistent. A research grant allowed them to use more ingredients in larger batches, which stabilized the process. Soy is the base because of its availability and affordability and because some people are sensitive to wheat gluten, he said.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Algae can be a big cost-cutter in making drugs

Algae can be a big cost-cutter in making drugs | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

Expensive biotech drugs now made in high-tech manufacturing plants can be grown much more cheaply in genetically engineered algae, according to a paper published Monday in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

Manufacturing costs can be reduced by 90 percent for these drugs, translating into half off their sales price, said Stephen Mayfield, a UC San Diego professor and senior author of the paper. The savings would provide financial relief to patients, health insurers and the federal government -- and the technology could boost San Diego's growing algae biotech sector.

 

The technology could make obsolete the manufacturing plants that grow specialized mammal cells in carefully monitored and chemically controlled vats, plants that cost hundreds of millions to build.

In their place would stand greenhouses containing transparent plastic bags filled with algae, water and diluted fertilizer. In Mayfield’s vision, scientists will design drugs on a computer, get the appropriate DNA by mail order from a manufacturer, then slip the DNA into the algae of choice. Ramping up production would be simply a matter of adding more bags.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Alan Yoshioka's curator insight, December 28, 2012 5:28 PM

Algae photobioreactors can easily be planned into vertical farms to provide some additional high end cash flows to boost economics of the facilities ...

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"World's smallest wrench" is able to rotate individual cells

"World's smallest wrench" is able to rotate individual cells | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

A team from the University of Texas at Arlington, led by assistant professor Samarendra Mohanty, created the device.

 

The business end of the fiber-optic spanner consists of two optical fibers, which are situated end-to-end with a small gap between them. A beam of laser light is emitted from each of these fibers – when the two beams are lined up, the force of the streaming photons is sufficient to trap a microscopic object such as a cell between them. If the fibers are slightly offset, however, and their beams hit that cell on either side, they can actually spin it around in place.

 

By changing the orientation of the fibers, the cell can be turned on any axis. It’s similar to the technology used in “optical tweezers,” although those are used more just for pushing or holding microscopic objects, not for rotating them.

 

Along with its use for examining cells, the researchers believe that the fiber-optic spanner could also be used for applications such as untwisting DNA strands, guiding neurons within the spinal cord, or mixing fluids in lab-on-a-chip devices.


Via Ray and Terry's , Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
mdashf's insight:

the wrench .. hmm its called a wrenchie in Odia (obviously a borrowed word from English) there is a formula why ie is used for ee, ii, i, and y or yi etc

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