Growing cereal grains as an energy source has been criticized for impinging on food production resources. In a plot twist, Shijie Liu, a professor of paper and bioprocess engineering at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, is looking at using wood, an energy crop, as the source of a food additive.
Biorefinery processes convert biomass into energy and chemicals. Ethanol is made by a late step in processing, when six sugars – including glucose, mannose and xylose — present in wood are fermented.
While exploring ways to separate the different sugars to make the fermentation more efficient, Lui realized that sugars themselves might be marketable end products. He took a closer look at the five-carbon sugar xylose, which is used to make the sweetener xylitol.
Deanne Rogers, Assistant Professor, Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook University
Up to half of all life on Earth consists of simple microorganisms hidden in rocks beneath the surface. Scientists have suggested that the same may be true for Mars. When meteorites strike the surface of Mars, they act like natural probes, bringing up rocks from far beneath the surface.
Recent research has shown that many of the rocks brought up from the Martian subsurface contain clays and minerals whose chemical make-up has been altered by water, an essential element to support life. Some deep craters on Mars also acted as basins where groundwater likely emerged to produce lakes. McLaughlin Crater contains clay and carbonate minerals formed in an ancient lake on Mars. The fluids that formed these minerals could carry clues to as to whether the subsurface contained life.
Images of graphene nanoparticles
Researchers at Stony Brook University have developed a safer, less-intrusive method to administer MRI scans. They have used a breakthrough substance, called graphene, to view higher-contrast images of scans and achieve those images less intrusively.
Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of pure carbon arranged in a manner similar to graphite. It has gained huge publicity in the past few months as researchers all over the world have realized its potential. This past week, for example, Lockheed Martin announced that it promises to develop a system to inexpensively filter saltwater into drinking water by using a sheet of graphene.
In addition to vital uses, like Stony Brook University’s MRI research and Lockheed Martin’s water filtration, graphene has been used by UC Berkeley to develop headphones and Samsung’s plausible future antennae, and many other “incredible” uses, as Gizmodo names in a recent article.
Kathryn Fanning, a biology major who holds the UAlbany women’s record in the mile and 1,000 meter run, is on the fast track to success. Her latest achievement is authorship of an article in a major international research journal.
Fanning prizes the opportunity she has had to work at The RNA Institute, which brings together top scientists, working with state-of-the-art facilities, to spur research and discovery into medical interventions and diagnostics aimed at treating a range of diseases.
The emerald ash borer is an insect that threatens all species of ash tree in Western New York
New York’s native ecosystem is under attack. Invasive species such as zebra mussels, round gobies, and water chestnuts threaten our waterways; garlic mustard and Japanese knotweed threaten our beautiful native flora; and even our beautiful ash trees are in danger from the emerald ash borer.
The Great Lakes Center at SUNY Buffalo State received a five-year $1.1 million grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to establish a Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) office in Western New York. The office will establish a surveillance network, perform training, arrange workshops, and develop a volunteer team for monitoring invasive species. It will also coordinate activities of existing environmental groups that are addressing invasive species and the ensuing damage.