NUS engineers invent smartphone device that detects harmful algae in 15 minutes

A team of engineers from the National University of Singapore has developed a highly sensitive system that uses a smartphone to rapidly detect the presence of toxin-producing algae in water within 15 minutes. This technological breakthrough could play a big role in preventing the spread of harmful microorganisms in aquatic environments, which could threaten global public health and cause environmental problems.

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Red Algae Thrive Despite Ancestor’s Massive Loss of Genes

You’d think that losing 25 percent of your genes would be a big problem for survival. But not for red algae, including the seaweed used to wrap sushi. An ancestor of red algae lost about a quarter of its genes roughly one billion years ago, but the algae still became dominant in near-shore coastal areas around the world, according to Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Debashish Bhattacharya, who co-authored a study in the journal Nature Communications.

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Danforth Center to Lead DOE-Funded Research to Harness Untapped Reservoir of Plant Genes in Quest for Bioenergy Crops

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected Danforth Center Principal Investigator James Umen, Ph.D., to lead a multi-institutional collaboration that will predict functions for hundreds of uncharacterized plant genes that could be important to stress tolerance in a range of potential bioenergy crops.

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Scientists Discover Key Factors in How Some Algae Absorb Solar Energy

Scientists have discovered how diatoms – a type of algae that produces 20 percent of the Earth’s oxygen – absorb solar energy for photosynthesis. The Rutgers University-led discovery, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help lead to more efficient and affordable algae-based biofuels and combat climate change from fossil fuel burning.

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