Science Findings: A Cleaner Ocean & Mouth

Gas Breathing Bacteria

Deep in the Gulf of Mexico, around volcanoes, scientists have found mussels and sponges living with oil-loving bacteria. Part of the Cycloclasticus genus, the bacteria focus in on butane, ethane, and propane and live within sponges and mussels so that they can filter water rich in these short chain alkanes to the bacteria. The interesting part is that this specific species cannot degrade polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PHAs, like the rest of the genus. Symbiotic oil-based relationships are rare and scientists are still studying it to understand the dynamic further. The study was led by Maxim Rubin-Blum and Nicole Dubilier from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany.

Oil Drinking

Restoring Teeth

Salvatore Sauro (Professor of dental biomaterials and minimally invasive dentistry at CEU Cardenal Herrera University, in Spain) collaborated with colleagues from Brazil, Germany, Finland, Belgium and the UK to work on a method of dental repair. They have been working on a material to restore teeth in general. Everyone knows to brush their teeth but the actual reason we do it is bacteria. There is a constant war between keeping our teeth clean and bacteria spreading acid which destroys them. In the course of the study the researchers came up with 2 materials based on bioactive glass. Their focus was reducing the damage to teeth and regenerating them. One material contained micro-particles of Bioglass 45S5 (an old compound called Bioglass which can bind to teeth to repair it) and the other had, “…micro-particles of an experimental bioactive glass enriched with fluoride and high amount of phosphates.” The second compound turned out to be more efficient, especially in suppressing the proteins that degrade our teeth. The end is simply a proposal that this new material should be used to improve dental repair in the future.

Dental Repair

Breaking the Bandwidth

A traditional rule in physics has recently been broken. For a long time physicists thought that a wave’s storage length was inversely proportional to its bandwidth. You can store a short bandwidth for longer times or a longer one for short periods. This unfortunately limits the information you can store but has now been shown to be untrue. Initially led by Kosmas Tsakmakidis (University of Ottawa) and then taken up by Hatice Altug (EPFL’s Bionanophotonic Systems Laboratory), they created a hybrid resonant / wave-guiding system with a magneto-optic material. When a magnetic field was applied, waves were stored while accumulating energy. When it was taken away, the waves were released. Using asymmetric and non-reciprocal approaches, large bandwidths could be generated on waves stored for a long time. There are numerous possibilities for this discovery but the listed fields are telecommunications, optical detection systems and broadband energy.

Long Bandwidths, Large Storage


A new mineral, Nataliyamalikite, has been discovered in eastern Russia and is being described by Professor Joël Brugger in his paper.

New Mineral


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