Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Did life begin in a bubble?

17.05.2002


Scientists in PEGG (Petroleum and Geochemistry Group) at the University of Plymouth have recently won two research grants totalling £114,000. The grants, awarded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), are for research into the environmental effects of chemical discharges from oil rigs and – in a separate project – investigations into the chemical origins of life on earth.



Unfortunately, chemicals often get a bad press - but many are, of course, essential to life. Dr Simon Belt has been awarded £47,000 to study new, natural chemicals produced by microscopic algae, which may give a clue to the development of cellular life on Earth.

... mehr zu:
»HBIs »NERC »PEGG


Over the past few years, scientists from Strasbourg University, France, have argued that in order for life on Earth to have developed from the `soup` of chemicals that many think are important, there must have been some way of encasing this chemical broth. "A sort of natural spontaneously-forming bubble - a bit like a long-lasting soap bubble in your washing up" explained Dr Belt. Japanese workers carefully made some of these chemicals in the laboratory and found that those that formed the best bubbles were phosphates of so-called HBIs (short for highly branched isoprenoids: chemicals with a distinctive repeating unit of five carbon atoms).

PEGG scientists, Dr Simon Belt and Professor Steve Rowland, also found HBIs in microscopic plants or algae. However, the algal HBIs were not phosphates and would not form bubbles. The challenge before the Plymouth group now is to find the phosphates in algae as well. "By finding them we may have evidence for a new group of natural membrane-forming chemicals in these simple plants", said Dr Belt. The NERC award will fund PEGG research assistant, Guillaume Massé, to try to isolate and identify the chemicals in a Plymouth laboratory. Encouragingly for the Plymouth chemists, the Japanese workers have offered to donate some of their chemicals for comparison.

Professor Steve Rowland and his PEGG team also won £67,000 to study the environmental effects of chemicals discharged from oil platforms into the North Sea. He commented: "People tend to think that oil is the most likely pollutant from an oil rig. But during the drilling process, oil and seawater mixed together emerge from the wells. This means that a lot of other chemicals then have to be added to separate the oil and water, and to stop the water from corroding the pipe work."

After the oil has been separated off from the water, this so-called produced water is legally dumped back into the sea. Any chemicals remaining in the water also enter the environment. The amounts are huge: 244 million tonnes of produced water in the UK sector of the North Sea alone during the year 2000, according to Department of Trade and Industry figures. Norwegian scientists recently reported concerns over the effects of chemicals discharged from oil rigs on the reproduction of fish such as cod.

Previously, PEGG staff have received NERC funding to work with a Southampton company to develop a computer model of the fate of some of the discharged pollutants. Now Plymouth chemistry graduate, Paul McCormack, will be able to test the computer calculations against what is actually happening in samples taken from the sea water and bed around oil rigs.

This research is especially topical since new Pollution Prevention and Control regulations have recently come into force.

Tammy Baines | alphagalileo

Weitere Berichte zu: HBIs NERC PEGG

Weitere Nachrichten aus der Kategorie Förderungen Preise:

nachricht 31,5 Millionen Euro für Forschungsinstitute der Innovationsallianz Baden-Württemberg (InnBW)
20.04.2018 | Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Wohnungsbau Baden-Württemberg

nachricht Der Herr der Magnetfelder: EU verleiht HZDR-Forscher begehrte Forschungsförderung in Millionenhöhe
12.04.2018 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Förderungen Preise >>>

Die aktuellsten Pressemeldungen zum Suchbegriff Innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Software mit Grips

Ein computergestütztes Netzwerk zeigt, wie die Ionenkanäle in der Membran von Nervenzellen so verschiedenartige Fähigkeiten wie Kurzzeitgedächtnis und Hirnwellen steuern können

Nervenzellen, die auch dann aktiv sind, wenn der auslösende Reiz verstummt ist, sind die Grundlage für ein Kurzzeitgedächtnis. Durch rhythmisch aktive...

Im Focus: Der komplette Zellatlas und Stammbaum eines unsterblichen Plattwurms

Von einer einzigen Stammzelle zur Vielzahl hochdifferenzierter Körperzellen: Den vollständigen Stammbaum eines ausgewachsenen Organismus haben Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler aus Berlin und München in „Science“ publiziert. Entscheidend war der kombinierte Einsatz von RNA- und computerbasierten Technologien.

Wie werden aus einheitlichen Stammzellen komplexe Körperzellen mit sehr unterschiedlichen Funktionen? Die Differenzierung von Stammzellen in verschiedenste...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Verbesserte Stabilität von Kunststoff-Leuchtdioden

Polymer-Leuchtdioden (PLEDs) sind attraktiv für den Einsatz in großflächigen Displays und Lichtpanelen, aber ihre begrenzte Stabilität verhindert die Kommerzialisierung. Wissenschaftler aus dem Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung (MPIP) in Mainz haben jetzt die Ursachen der Instabilität aufgedeckt.

Bildschirme und Smartphones, die gerollt und hochgeklappt werden können, sind Anwendungen, die in Zukunft durch die Entwicklung von polymerbasierten...

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industrie & Wirtschaft
Veranstaltungen

Internationale Konferenz zur Digitalisierung

19.04.2018 | Veranstaltungen

124. Internistenkongress in Mannheim: Internisten rücken Altersmedizin in den Fokus

19.04.2018 | Veranstaltungen

DFG unterstützt Kongresse und Tagungen - Juni 2018

17.04.2018 | Veranstaltungen

VideoLinks
Wissenschaft & Forschung
Weitere VideoLinks im Überblick >>>
 
Aktuelle Beiträge

Grösster Elektrolaster der Welt nimmt Arbeit auf

20.04.2018 | Interdisziplinäre Forschung

Bilder magnetischer Strukturen auf der Nano-Skala

20.04.2018 | Physik Astronomie

Kieler Forschende entschlüsseln neuen Baustein in der Entwicklung des globalen Klimas

20.04.2018 | Geowissenschaften

Weitere B2B-VideoLinks
IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics