Pasteurizing Raw Eggs Kills Salmonella, Doesn’t Harm Eggs
Classic Caesar salad, old-fashioned eggnog, some homemade ice cream — and many other popular foods — may contain raw eggs. Now, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-led research has produced a faster way to pasteurize raw, in-shell eggs without ruining their taste, texture, color or other important qualities.
The pasteurization procedure targets Salmonella. That’s because an estimated one out of every 20,000 chicken eggs produced in the U.S. has a high risk of being contaminated with Salmonella, notably S. enteritidis. That pathogen has been associated with eating raw or undercooked eggs, and can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever and — in some instances — death.
Titanium alloy golf clubs can cause dangerous wildfires, UC Irvine scientists say. When a club coated with the lightweight metal is swung and strikes a rock, it creates sparks that can heat to more than 3,000 F for long enough to ignite dry foliage, according to findings published recently in the peer-reviewed journal Fire and Materials.
Orange County, Calif., fire investigators asked UC Irvine to determine whether such clubs could have caused blazes at Shady Canyon Golf Course in Irvine and Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo a few years ago.
Federal forecasters predict a warming of the central Pacific Ocean this year that will change weather worldwide. And that’s good news for a weather-weary U.S.
The warming, called an El Nino, is expected to lead to fewer Atlantic hurricanes and more rain next winter for drought-stricken California and southern states, and even a milder winter for the nation’s frigid northern tier next year, meteorologists say.
Nanoscale Pillars May Aid Conversion of Heat to Electricity
Univ. of Colorado Boulder scientists have found a creative way to radically improve thermoelectric materials, a finding that could one day lead to the development of improved solar panels, more energy-efficient cooling equipment and even the creation of new devices that could turn the vast amounts of heat wasted at power plants into more electricity.
The technique — building an array of tiny pillars on top of a sheet of thermoelectric material — represents an entirely new way of attacking a century-old problem, says Mahmoud Hussein, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering sciences who pioneered the discovery.
An international group of astrophysicists has found evidence strongly supporting a solution to a long-standing puzzle about the birth of some of the most massive stars in the universe. Young massive stars, which have more than 10 times the mass of the Sun, shine brightly in the ultraviolet, heating the gas around them, and it has long been a mystery why the hot gas doesn’t explode outwards. Now, observations made by a team of researchers using the Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), a radio astronomy observatory in New Mexico, have confirmed predications that as the gas cloud collapses, it forms dense filamentary structures that absorb the star’s ultraviolet radiation when it passes through them. As a result, the surrounding heated nebula flickers like a candle.
Researchers are proposing a new technology that might control the flow of heat the way electronic devices control electrical current, an advance that could have applications in a diverse range of fields from electronics to textiles.
The concept uses tiny triangular structures to control “phonons,” quantum-mechanical phenomena that describe how vibrations travel through a material’s crystal structure.
A new approach to harvesting solar energy, developed by MIT researchers, could improve efficiency by using sunlight to heat a high-temperature material whose infrared radiation would then be collected by a conventional photovoltaic cell. This technique could also make it easier to store the energy for later use, the researchers say.
In this case, adding the extra step improves performance, because it makes it possible to take advantage of wavelengths of light that ordinarily go to waste. The process is described in a paper published this week in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, written by graduate student Andrej Lenert, associate professor of mechanical engineering Evelyn Wang, physics professor Marin Soljačić, principal research scientist Ivan Celanović and three others.
Using the interaction between light and charge fluctuations in metal nanostuctures called plasmons, a Univ. of Arkansas physicist and his collaborators have demonstrated the ability to measure temperature changes in very small 3D regions of space.
Plasmons can be thought of as waves of electrons in a metal surface, says Joseph Herzog, visiting assistant professor of physics, who co-authored a paper detailing the findings that was published in Nano Letters.
As scientists forecast the impacts of climate change, one missing piece of the puzzle is what will happen to the carbon in the soil and the microbes that control the fate of this carbon as the planet warms.
Scientists studying grasslands in Oklahoma have discovered that an increase of 2 C in the air temperature above the soil creates significant changes to the microbial ecosystem underground. Compared to a control group with no warming, plants in the warmer plots grew faster and higher, which put more carbon into the soil as the plants senesce. The microbial ecosystem responded by altering its DNA to enhance the ability to handle the excess carbon.
High-temp Sensors to Increase Power Plant Efficiency
The National Energy Technology Laboratory sensors team is working on sensor technologies to enable embedded gas sensing at high temperatures. The team’s goal is to develop novel materials with large optical responses and high-temperature stability for integration with optical sensor platforms. High-temperature harsh environment conditions are relevant for a diverse range of advanced fossil energy applications, including solid oxide fuel cells, gas turbines and advanced combustion systems. Real-time monitoring of critical process parameters could significantly impact existing power plants by increasing efficiency and reducing emissions. It would also encourage the successful adoption of next-generation fossil fuel-based power generation technologies. For high-temperature environments, optical sensor technologies offer benefits over alternative chemi-resistive gas sensors, which are limited by a need for electrical wiring to the embedded location and unstable electrical contacts and connections.
Batteries that power electric cars have problems. They take a long time to charge. The charge doesn’t hold long enough to drive long distances. They don’t allow drivers to quickly accelerate. They are big and bulky.
Researchers at UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have redesigned the component materials of the battery in an environmentally friendly way to solve some of these problems. By creating nanoparticles with a controlled shape, they believe smaller, more powerful and energy efficient batteries can be built. By modifying the size and shape of battery components, they aim to reduce charge times as well.
Imagine living on a bustling city block, but free from the noise of car horns and people on the street. The emerging field of phononics could one day make this a reality.
The phonon, like the photon or electron, is a physical particle that travels like waves, representing mechanical vibration. Phonons transmit everyday sound and heat. Recent progress in phononics has led to the development of new ideas and devices that are using phononic properties to control sound and heat, according to a new review in Nature.
Thermal radiation from the sun is largely lost on most silicon solar cells. But, up-converters transform the infrared radiation into usable light. Researchers have now, for the first time, successfully adapted this effect for use in generating power.
There is more to solar radiation than meets the eye: sun- burn develops from unseen UV radiation, while we sense infrared radiation as heat on our skin, though invisible to us. Solar cells also “see” only a portion of solar radiation: approximately 20 percent of the energy contained in the solar spectrum is unavailable to cells made of silicon – they are unable to utilize a part of the infrared radiation, the short-wavelength IR radiation, for generating power.
Life in Harsh Environments Reproduces in Interesting Manner
A rudimentary form of life that is found in some of the harshest environments on earth is able to sidestep normal replication processes and reproduce by a back door, researchers at The Univ. of Nottingham have found.
The study, published in the journal Nature, centers on Haloferax volcanii — part of a family of single-celled organisms called archaea that until recently were thought to be a type of bacteria. The findings, led by scientists from the university’s School of Life Sciences, could offer new insights into how defective cells can multiply out of control in diseases such as cancer.