Water testing for E. coli gets smart treatment

ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY

A handheld system developed through an India-Canada research network promises to provide on-the-spot testing of drinking water sources in more remote locations, immediately confirming the absence or presence of harmful E. coli bacteria and transmitting the results electronically to all interested parties. This approach represents a significant improvement over standard...

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Nanoparticles deliver the goods against cancer, then go

HEALTH

The best way of applying medicines powerful enough to kill cancerous tumours is to ensure that they wind up in those tumours and nowhere else in the body. In a recent Nature Nanotechnology paper, researchers at the University of Toronto point the way to just this kind of targeted delivery, which takes advantage of the properties of gold nanoparticles.

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Shedding light on the secrets of plant photosynthesis

ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY

While untold numbers of plants have carried out photosynthesis for hundreds of millions of years, the nature of this subtle process continues to elude us. Scientists are, however, focusing increasingly sophisticated tools on this problem, raising hopes that this fundamental biological activity will eventually reveal its secrets.

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Glass toughens up with lessons from mother nature

MATERIALS SCIENCE

Mollusc shells consist largely of chalk, the same soft stuff that comes apart so easily on blackboards. Yet this material provides aquatic life with protection tougher than advanced engineering ceramics. The difference can be seen at the microscopic level, where the shell is revealed as an interlocking series of small tablets, intricately connected to provide remarkable resilience.

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Small publication means big exposure for collaborators

NANOTECHNOLOGY

Three researchers at Polytechnique Montréal have published a paper that was featured as the cover story for the Wiley publication Small, which has an impact factor that puts it among the world’s leading publications covering topics in nano-scale and micro-scale chemistry, physics, materials science, engineering, medicine and biology.

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Making the most of minerals

MINERAL PROCESSING

This past fall, the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) opened the Mineral Processing Pilot Plant to enhance the Canadian mining industry’s capabilities in Western Canada and beyond.

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New quantum laboratory opens at University of Waterloo

MATERIALS SCIENCE

The advent of electronic systems that can operate at the level of quantum interactions promises to usher in an era of unprecedented computer processing speed and information storage. Before this revolution can begin, however, scientists need to make the raw materials that will go into this new equipment. This past December, the University of Waterloo opened up a laboratory to do just that.

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