Now, gluten-free beer made from teff grains

Scientists have developed gluten-free beer made from teff, a small cereal native to Ethiopia,providing an alternate beverage option to people who are allergic to the protein complex. Researchers from University of Perugia in Italy examined, for the first time, the potential of a variety of teff called Witkop as a raw material for malting and brewing.

They examined the Witkop teff malting process, in which grains are steeped, germinated and dried, to determine the optimum conditions. The team found that Witkop teff took longer to malt than barley, and that the teff had different enzymes to break down sugars than barley. Witkop teff grains have potential as a raw material for beer production but would likely require custom malting equipment on an industrial scale, researchers said.

Gluten based sensitivities impact millions of people each year, leading to a dramatic rise in gluten-free food products on grocery store shelves. According to the US Celiac Disease Foundation, one percent of the global population has celiac disease, which results in the immune system attacking the small intestine when gluten is consumed and currently, no medicinal treatments are available. The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

New ‘real sun-tan’ drug may help prevent cancer

Scientists have developed a new drug that mimics sunlight to make a person’s skin tan without being exposed to harmful ultraviolet radiation, reducing the risk of skin cancer. In tests on human skin samples and mice, the drug tricked the skin into producing the brown form of the pigment melanin, that gives human skin, hair and eyes their colour.

According to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US, the finding could prevent skin cancer and even slow the ageing process. Ultraviolet (UV) light makes the skin tan by causing damage. This kicks off a chain of chemical reactions in the skin that ultimately leads to dark melanin – the body’s natural sunblock – being made.

cancer, cancer and suncreen, sun tan, sunscreens, ultra violet radiations, Indian express, Indian express newsThe new drug is rubbed into the skin to skip the damage and kick-start the process of making melanin. “It has a potent darkening effect. Under the microscope it’s the real melanin, it really is activating the production of pigment in a UV-independent fashion,” David Fisher, one of the researchers, told BBC News.

It is a markedly different approach to fake tan, which “paints” the skin without the protection from melanin, sun beds, which expose the skin to UV light or pills that claim to boost melanin production but still need UV light.

The scientists want to combine their drug with sun-cream to give maximum protection from solar radiation. “Our real goal is a novel strategy for protecting skin from UV radiation and cancer. Dark pigment is associated with a lower risk of all forms of skin cancer – that would be really huge,” said Fisher.

2D Magnets Discovery Opens Up a World of Potential Applications

Scientists have for the first time discovered two-dimensional magnets that are formed by a single layer of atoms and may pave the way for more compact and efficient devices.

Magnetic materials form the basis of technologies that play increasingly pivotal roles in our lives today, including sensing and hard-disk data storage.

For smaller and faster devices, researchers are seeking new magnetic materials that are more compact, more efficient and can be controlled using precise, reliable methods.

A team led by the University of Washington (UW) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US has for the first time discovered magnetism in the 2D world of monolayers, or materials that are formed by a single atomic layer.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, show that magnetic properties can exist even in the 2D realm – opening a world of potential applications.

“What we have discovered here is an isolated 2D material with intrinsic magnetism, and the magnetism in the system is highly robust,” said Xiaodong Xu, a professor at UW.

“We envision that new information technologies may emerge based on these new 2D magnets,” said Xu.

2D Magnets Discovery Opens Up a World of Potential ApplicationsResearchers have previously shown that CrI3 – in its multilayered, 3D, bulk crystal form – is ferromagnetic, that is, it has some magnetic properties.

However, no 3D magnetic substance had previously retained its magnetic properties when thinned down to a single atomic sheet. In fact, monolayer materials can demonstrate unique properties not seen in their multilayered, 3D forms.

“You simply cannot accurately predict what the electric, magnetic, physical or chemical properties of a 2D monolayer crystal will be based on the behavior of its 3D bulk counterpart,” said Bevin Huang, doctoral student at UW.

Atoms within monolayer materials are considered two-dimensional because the electrons can only travel within the atomic sheet, like pieces on a chessboard.

To discover the properties of CrI3 in its 2D form, the team simply used Scotch tape to shave a monolayer of CrI3 off the larger, 3D crystal form.

“Using Scotch tape to exfoliate a monolayer from its 3D bulk crystal is surprisingly effective,” said Genevieve Clark, doctoral student at UW.

The researchers detected magnetic properties in CrI3 using a special type of microscopy.

In CrI3 flakes that are two layers thick, the magnetic properties disappeared, and returned in three-layer CrI3. The scientists will need to conduct further studies to understand why CrI3 displayed these remarkable layer-dependent magnetic phases.

“2D monolayers alone offer exciting opportunities to study the drastic and precise electrical control of magnetic properties, which has been a challenge to realise using their 3D bulk crystals,” said Xu.

“But an even greater opportunity can arise when you stack monolayers with different physical properties together. There, you can get even more exotic phenomena not seen in the monolayer alone or in the 3D bulk crystal,” Xu added.

Elon Musk’s Vision of Self-Sustaining City on Mars Explained

SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk’s vision for future manned trips to other planets, and specifically the requisites to create a self-sustaining city on Mars, has been presented in a study.

Published in the journal New Space, in the study Musk explores the planetary options for expanding to a space-bearing civilisation and describes the advantages Mars offers.

“By talking about the SpaceX Mars architecture, I want to make Mars seem possible – make it seem as though it is something that we can do in our lifetime. There really is a way that anyone could go if they wanted to,” Musk said.

According to Musk, humanity will face an eventual extinction event.

“The alternative is to become a space-bearing civilisation and a multi-planetary species,” he stated.

Why only Mars? It is resource-rich and has 24.5 hours and is far better-suited ultimately to scale up to be a self-sustaining civilisation.

Elon Musk's Vision of Self-Sustaining City on Mars ExplainedHowever, one major challenge faced by engineers and scientists to create a self-sustaining city is the need to improve the cost per tonne of transporting materials to the red planet by five million percent, Musk said.

Further, the paper also provides a comprehensive review of a system architecture required for a rocket and spaceship capable of transporting people and supplies to Mars, comparing possible vehicle designs and performance features.

“If things go super-well, it might be in the 10-year timeframe, but I do not want to say that is when it will occur. There is a huge amount of risk and going to cost a lot,” Musk said.

“There is a good chance we will not succeed, but we are going to do our best and try to make as much progress as possible,” he noted.