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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

OF PLASTICS & HUMAN PLACENTA: MEET THE "PLASTICENTA" (Pt 3/4 - THE WAY IN)

Keywords: plastics, plastic, microplastics, pollution, placenta, placentas, birth, women, pregnancy, medicine, biology, respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, lungs, intestine, bloodstream, immune system, lymphatic system, epithelium

Part 1 is here

Part 2 is here

(Read other plastic related stories here & here)

 


 

Listen to the podcast episode
on iTunes
on Anchor

 


 Ascolta l'episodio in italiano  

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Ooooh, hello dear English speaking-reading-hearing listener, welcome back to me, @sciencemug, the blog/podcast/twitter&instagram accounts/entity behind the unsuccessful e-shop stuffngo on zazzle.com which tells you science stories while assessing the financial risks of buying seventy-six hundreds tons of pineapples with the idea to resell them to the Italian pizza industry, aaand which talks to you thanks to the voice, kidnapped via a voodoo-wireless trick, from a veeery very very dumb human.

Aaand which does all of this in English-question-mark, a language that is to proper English what Cosmic Sin sf movie is to something even remotely different from a cosmic waste of money aaand a sin committed by the director, screenwriter, producers, cast and film distributors towards the audience, and the gods of storytelling. 

Today I’m gonna tell you the third part (the first two are here, and here) of a story about human placentas and plastics!

A group of Italian researchers (aka the Italian Brains, aka the ITBs) study human placentas in search of microplastics fragments (MPs), that is plastic particles smaller than half a centimeter. In doing so, the researchers for the first time ever find such pollutants in the placentas of women in good health and who have had normal pregnancies and deliveries.

The Italian research team is lead by Medical Doctor Antonio Ragusa, Head of the Department of Woman, Mother and Newborn of the San Giovanni Calibíta Fatebenefratelli Hospital, in Rome, and the group publishes its study (P) on the science journal Environment International

Now, people, so far I’ve told you: how the Italian Brains select the pregnant women for their study, how they design and execute a plastic free protocol to collect the placenta samples, what kind of technique they use to analyze them, aand finally what are the characteristics of the microplastics found in said placenta samples. 

In this episode, dear listener, I’m gonna tell you the Italian Brains’ idea of how the darn super-tiny pieces of plastics manage to travel from the outside world all the way deep down into the placenta, that is the organ in charge to basically feed and protect the developing fetus.

Well, dear listener, doctor Ragusa and colleagues think that the MPs most probably reach the placenta via

Sunday, March 21, 2021

OF FOOD PRODUCTION IN URBAN AREAS: MEET THE URBAN HORTICULTURE! (PT 1/2)

Keywords: food, food security, food production, urban areas, horticulture, urban horticulture, soil-based horticulture, controlled environment horticulture, urban agriculture, research, city, Sheffield, UK, United Kingdom, Great Britain

 


 Listen to the podcast episode
on iTunes
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Parole chiave: cibo, sicurezza alimentare, produzione alimentare, aree urbane, orticoltura, orticoltura urbana, orticoltura basata su suolo, orticoltura in ambientale controllato, agricoltura urbana, ricerca, città, Sheffield, Inghilterra, Regno Unito, Gran Bretagna

 
 

 
Ascolta l'episodio in italiano  

su iTunes 

su Anchor

Ooooh, hello dear English speaking-reading-hearing listener, welcome back to me, @sciencemug, the blog/podcast/twitter&instagram accounts/entity behind the unsuccessful e-shop stuffngo on zazzle.com which tells you science stories while studying a lot for a degree in “How to read Icelandic volcanoes names without making your tongue need to get into therapy and your brain start working hard on a de-evolution five-nanoseconds plan, aaand which talks to you thanks to the voice, kidnapped via a voodoo-wireless trick, from a veeery very very dumb human. Aaand which does all of this in English-question-mark, a language that is to proper English what a record-breaking snowstorm in NY this winter is to something disproving global warming. 

Today I’m gonna tell you a story about urban areas and food production!

Vegetables in a supermarket stand
Veggies and the urban horticulture style (by @sciencemug)
[The
pic by Scott Warman is a free one (source: Unsplash); adapted by @sciencemug]

In assessing the potential of urban horticulture (UH) as a concrete source of food for urban areas inhabitants, a bunch of researchers of the University of Sheffield, England, UK, lead by Dr. Jill L. Edmondson, build a case study by which they show that there is way enough land available within the city of Sheffield to feed its people with all the fruit and vegetable they need. Dr. Edmonson and colleagues - aka the E-Science-Pack – then publish

Sunday, February 21, 2021

OF PLASTICS & HUMAN PLACENTA: MEET THE "PLASTICENTA" (Pt2/4 - GUESS THE PLASTICS)

Keywords: plastics, plastic, microplastics, pollution, placenta, placentas, birth, women, pregnancy, polypropylene, PP, thermoplastic, thermosets, medicine, biology

Part 1 is here

(Read other plastic related stories here & here)

  


 

Listen to the podcast episode
on iTunes
on Anchor

 

 Ascolta l'episodio in italiano  

su iTunes 

su Anchor

Ooooh, hello dear English speaking-reading-hearing reader, welcome back to me, @sciencemug, the blog/podcast/twitter&instagram accounts/entity behind the unsuccessful e-shop stuffngo on zazzle.com which tells you science stories while reading the palm but yet not being able to decipher the tree, aaand which talks to you thanks to the voice, kidnapped via a voodoo-wireless trick, from a veeery very very dumb human.

Aaand which does all of this in English-question-mark, a language that is to proper English what a banana bacon muffin is to something that doesn’t scream: “human civilization is doomed!”. 

Today I’m gonna tell you the second part (the first one is here) of a story about human placentas and plastics!

Plastics symbols on plastics background
Plastics symbols on plastics background (by @sciencemug)
[The p
lastics symbols pic by Clker-Free-Vector-Images is a free to use image (source: pixabay.com); the plastics pic by Marc Newberry is a free pic (source: Unsplash); all pics adapted by @sciencemug]

A group of Italian researchers (aka the Italian Brains, aka the ITBs) studies human placentas in search of microplastics fragments (MPs), that is plastic particles smaller than half a centimeter. In doing so, the researchers find such pollutants in the placentas of women in good health and who have had normal pregnancies and deliveries. The ITBs’ study is therefore “the first [one] revealing the presence of [...] microplastics and, in general, of man-made particles in human placenta(P).

The Italian research team is lead by Medical Doctor Antonio Ragusa, Head of the Department of Woman, Mother and Newborn of the San Giovanni Calibíta Fatebenefratelli Hospital, in Rome, and it publishes its study (P) in the science journal Environment International.

Sooo, dear reader, in part 1 I told you about the microplastics classification story, and also about how the Italian Brains select the women involved in their study, how they design and follow a plastic free protocol to collect the placenta samples, and what kind of technique (the Raman microspectroscopy) they use to analyze such samples.

Now, all in all, the ITBs collect six placentas. Let’s remember that, from each placenta, the ITBs take and then analyze, precisely via Raman microspectroscopy, three pieces between about 20 and 30 gr of weight (the mean weight is 23.3gr). Of these three pieces, one comes from the maternal side of the placenta, one from the fetal side, and the third one from the chorioamniotic membranes, namely the two membranes that form the embryo sac, which is the structure that surrounds and protects the fetus.

Sooo, dear reader, let’s see then what the ITBs find out.

In 4 of the 6 collected placentas the researchers find a total of 12 small fragments of non-human something.

Fetus and the plastinvasion (by @sciencemug)
Fetus & the palstinvasion (by @sciencemug)
[Pregnant woman pic, by freestocks, is a free pic (source: Unsplash); plastics symbols pic by Clker-Free-Vector-Images
is a free to use image (source: pixabay.com); all pics adapted by @sciencemug]

How small, you ask?

Well, ten fragments are about 10μm in size, while

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

THE TRUE REASON WHY THE NEW BAT SPECIES IS ORANGE

A new bat species of the genus Myotis was recently discovered on the Nimba Mountains in Guinea, at an altitude of about 1400 meters (the two animals captured by the researchers were flying out of an abandoned mine adit).
The new species is called Myotis nimbaensis, after the place it lives in.
These bats form colonies that may be small (down to just single individuals), their diet is still unknown, and they're tiny enough to easily fit in a researcher's hand.
Their most striking feature, though, is their color.
They have, indeed, a "bright orange fur on the head and the ruff around the neck" (P), with an "orange-brown thumb and a brown foot"
(P) and, unlike other related bat species, a lack of pronounced black spots on their face.
Moreover, they are "strongly dichromatic with black wing membranes and orange along the digits and forearm"
(P).
Both wing dichromatism and reddish to yellowish fur, however, are not unusual in the subgenus (Chrysopteron) M. nimbaensis belongs to.
Myotis nimbaensis is the 11th species of the Myotis genus found in Africa (mainland) out of over 120 existing almost all around the world.
The researchers think that there are good chances there be more species to be discovered, and say that their finding "highlights the critical importance of the Nimba Mountains as a center of bat diversity and endemism in sub-Saharan Africa" (P).
The researchers expect, in fact, that, as M. nimbaensis is "an uncommon to rare endemic with a very small geographic range"
(P), it be already critically endangered.
 

Now, dear reader, enough with the details, it's time for the real important stuff. This dumb blog, in the following cartoon, will tell you the true reason why, these bats, are orange!

Myotis nimbaensis according to @sciencemug
Myotis nimbaensis bat according to @sciencemug
[Bat pic:
source is "
A new dichromatic species of Myotis (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from the Nimba Mountains, Guinea" (pag 10); adapted by @sciencemug]

 

The paper this cartoon is about (P)

P- Simmons, N.B., Flanders, J., Bakwo Fils, E.M., Parker, G., Suter, J.D., Bamba, S., Keita, M.K., Morales, A.E., and Frick, W.F. (2021). A new dichromatic species of Myotis (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from the Nimba Mountains, Guinea (American Museum novitates, no. 3963).

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

THE TRUE REASON WHY WASP-107b NEWLY DISCOVERED EXOPLANET IS SO FLUFFY

A bunch of astronomers, after a four years long survey, found an exoplanet, orbiting very close to its star, that has an "extraordinarily low density" (P). It has, indeed, a mass 1.8 times that of Neptune, but a Jupiter like radius. 

The fluffy planet, which discovery is described in a paper (P) published on The Astronomical Journal, is in the WASP-107 system, and it's called WASP-107b.

WASP-107b's super low density puzzles the astro-brains, 'cause the planet has a core mass smaller than 4.6 times the mass of Earth, that is "significantly lower than what is traditionally assumed to be necessary to trigger massive gas envelope accretion" (P) - meaning WASP-107b shouldn't exist, 'cause its small "seed" shouldn't have been able to attract enough gas and dust to eventually form, well, WASP-107b -.

The researchers have one possible explanation: the planet formed far from its star, in a region of space where the gas is cold enough so that the small core mass could attract it and grow a planet around itself very fast. Then, the fully formed WASP-107b migrated toward the inner part of the system, possibly influenced by the second more massive planet, with "a wide eccentric orbit" (P), detected by the astronomers in the same system.

But this dumb blog, pals, has a different idea on the reason why the fluffy planet is up there. Check out the following cartoon, and you'll find out what it is.

Space candy cotton WASP-107b exoplanet (by @sciencemug)
"Space candy cotton"-WASP-107b exoplanet (by @sciencemug)
[Exoplanet pic, by
NASA, ESA, and L. Hustak and J. Olmsted (STScI), is a Pubilc Domain pic (source: Wikimedia Commons); the alien's hand pic, is a Pubilc Domain pic (source: pixy.org); all images are adapted by @sciencemug]


Bibliography (P)

P - Piaulet, C., Benneke, B., Rubenzahl, R.A., Howard, A.W., Lee, E.J., Thorngren, D., Angus, R., Peterson, M., Schlieder, J.E., Werner, M., et al. (2021). WASP-107b’s Density Is Even Lower: A Case Study for the Physics of Planetary Gas Envelope Accretion and Orbital Migration. AJ 161, 70.