UMass Amherst Researchers Find Triclosan and Other Chemicals Accumulate in Toothbrushes

A team of environmental chemists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst led by Baoshan Xing, who has long studied how polymers take up chemicals they contact, report in the current issue of Environmental Science & Technology that triclosan, an antibacterial agent in some over-the-counter toothpastes, accumulates in toothbrush bristles and is easily released in the mouth if the user switches toothpaste types.

Marine Species Threatened by Deep-Sea Mining

Less than half of our planet’s surface is covered by land. The rest is water, and this environment is home to an enormous range of animal species, most of which remain undiscovered and thus have not yet been named.

Climate Change Could Decrease Sun's Ability to Disinfect Lakes, Coastal Waters

One of the largely unanticipated impacts of a changing climate may be a decline in sunlight's ability to disinfect lakes, rivers, and coastal waters, possibly leading to an increase in waterborne pathogens and the diseases they can cause in humans and wildlife.

MIT students fortify concrete by adding recycled plastic

Discarded plastic bottles could one day be used to build stronger, more flexible concrete structures, from sidewalks and street barriers, to buildings and bridges, according to a new study.

Aging alone could strain individual, system

As more and more adults face old age alone, society needs to rethink its approach to health and elder care before this demographic shift puts further strain on an already taxed system, according to one Western researcher.For most of human history, adults have generally been part of dense family networks who cared for them as they aged. But increasingly, adults are facing their ‘golden years’ without a spouse or children. This new living condition portends millions facing an absent support system in old age when care is generally assumed by one’s immediate family.

The fungus among us

“The current methods of restoring these sites are not as cost efficient or energy efficient as they could be, and can cause more environmental disruption,” said Susan Kaminskyj, a professor in the Department of Biology. “Our biotech innovation should help to solve this type of problem faster and with less additional disturbance.”Kaminskyj led a research team that included three biology students and a post-doctoral fellow in the U of S College of Arts and Science. Results from their work, funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Zebra chip pathogen found in Western Canada for the first time

For the first time, evidence of the zebra chip pathogen has been found in potato fields in southern Alberta, but the University of Lethbridge’s Dr. Dan Johnson cautions against panic.“So far, the zebra chip pathogen has appeared in only small numbers of potato psyllids,” says Johnson, a biogeography professor and coordinator of the Canadian Potato Psyllid and Zebra Chip Monitoring Network. “The number of potato psyllids in all Alberta sites is very low and many sample cards have found no evidence of the potato psyllid insect. Zebra chip does not normally become a problem unless the potato psyllids are found in much higher numbers than are currently being found in Canada.”

When stars collide

Wrap your mind around this: Neutron stars, the collapsed cores of once-large stars, are thought to be so dense that a teaspoon of one would weigh more than Mount Everest.These are the kind of amazing astrophysical features that help fuel the research interests of Professor John Bally of the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, who studies the formation of stars and planets (including luminous, transient objects in space).

New Peruvian Bird Species Discovered By Its Song

A new species of bird from the heart of Peru remained undetected for years until researchers identified it by its unique song.

Rising Sea Levels Creating First Native American Climate Refugees

Rising sea levels and human activities are fast creating a "worst case scenario" for Native Americans of the Mississippi Delta who stand to lose not just their homes, but their irreplaceable heritage, to climate change.