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Bioactive Plastics With Programmable Degradation And Microplastic Elimination

Although the plastic waste crisis has reached a breaking point, current recycling approaches are unable to remediate microplastic pollution. Biodegradable and renewable plastics have shown promise but impact neither microplastic elimination nor complete plastic recycling due to diffusion-limited enzymatic surface erosion and random chain scission. Here it is shown that nanoscopic dispersion of trace enzyme (e.g. lipase) in plastics (e.g. polycaprolactone [PCL]) leads to fully functional plastics with eco-friendly microplastic elimination and programmable degradation. Nanoscopic enzyme encapsulation leads to:continuous degradation to achieve 95% microplastic eliminationa single chain-based degradation mechanism with repolymerizable small molecule by-products via selective chain end scission rather than random chain scissionspatially- and temporally-programmable degradation of melt-processed host matrix due to the dependence of single chain degradation on local lamellae thickness regardless of bulk percent crystallinity formulation of conductive ink for 3-D printing with full recovery of the precious metal filler With recent developments in synthetic biology and genome information, nanoscopically embedding catalytically active enzymes in plastics may lead to an immediate, environmentally friendly and technologically viable solution toward microplastic elimination and material recycling.

Low-Cost Paper-Based Microfluidic Diagnostic Device

Prof. Mulchandani and his colleagues from the University of California, Riverside have developed a new paper-based microfluidic platform for the simple and low-cost fabrication of single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT)-based chemiresistive nanobiosensor arrays for multianalyte sensing from a single small volume sample that may be used as point-of-care diagnostic for a variety of purposes, including healthcare, food safety, environment, etc. This device is created by utilizing a wax printer to construct well-defined hydrophobic barriers for equal splitting and delivery of fluid and an inkjet printer to fabricate chemiresistors using a water-based SWNT ink on a paper substrate. Currently, the quantitative and selective detection of both human serum albumin (HSA) and human immunoglobulin G (hIgG) simultaneously in urine has been demonstrated by UCR. This paper-based chemiresistive biosensor is easy to fabricate, and designed for cost-effective, rapid, sensitive and selective detection of  analyte(s) of interest. This technology provides a platform for automated, disposable paper-based point-of-care diagnostics with multiplexed detection capability and microfluidic controls. Fig 1: A 3D microfluidic multiplexed paper-based biosensor array device.

Methods for Producing Cultured Meat that has Heterogeneous Composition

UCLA researchers in the Departments of Integrative Biology and Physiology and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology have developed a novel method for the production of marbled, cultured meat with desirable texture and flavor.

Improved Plant Regeneration Method Using GRFs, GIFs or Chimeric GRF-GIF Proteins

Researchers at the University of California, Davis and the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology of Rosario in Argentina have collaborated to develop methods for improving plant regeneration efficiency using transformations via a GRF, a GIF, or a GRF-GIF chimera. 

Milk Fat Globules As A Universal Delivery System

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed methods that utilize molecules encapsulated in milk fat globules and plant oleosomes to deliver bioactive compounds for a variety of applications.

Haploid-Induction in CRISPR Susceptible Plants

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a method to produce haploid progeny plants from transgenic and wild-type plants that only carry chromosomes from the wild-type gamete.

Early Diagnosis and Treatment for Citrus Greening Disease

University of California, Riverside researcher, Prof. Hailing Jin, has shown that several citrus small RNAs are induced upon infection by Candidatius Liberibacter asiaticus (Las).  These miRNAs and siRNAs would enable the early diagnosis of HLB in citrus trees and nursery stocks.  In addition to the identification of the miRNA biomarker, Prof. Jin also discovered that treating Las infected trees with phosphorus oxyanion improved fruit production.  These studies of the improvement in yield in HLB infected citrus was demonstrated in a 3-year field trial in Florida.  Fig. 1 shows the relative expression levels of miRNA399 in HLB infected citrus. Infected trees express high levels of miRNA 399. Fig. 2 shows leaves from trees that did or did not receive phosphorus oxyanion treatment over a one year period. Leaves treated with phosphorus oxyanion are healthier than leaves from untreated trees.

Synthetic Algal Promoters as a Tool for Increasing Nuclear Gene Expression in Green Algae

Algae have enormous potential as bio-factories for the efficient production of a wide array of high-value products, and eventually as a source of renewable biofuels. However, tools for engineering the nuclear genomes of algae remain scarce and limited in functionality, in part due to lack of strong promoters.

Colorimetric Sensing Of Amines

An affordable and easily synthesized indicator that can be applied to monitor reaction progress in a system using only one inexpensive and non-toxic agent.

High Frequency Digital Frequency Domain Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging System For Applications On Tissues

The technology is a software/hardware combination designed to enhance sampling rate for frequency domain fluorescence lifetime imaging. Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) is a technique that uses signals emitted from fluorescent samples to construct images of those samples in near real time. An advantage to FLIM is its ability to image large fields of view, which makes it an attractive option for dynamical measurements of live biological tissues. The higher sampling rate available using this technology will allow for more information to be gleaned from biological samples, which may have a fluorescence band up to 1 GHz, advancing tissue imaging.

Portable waterborne pathogen detector

The inventors at the University of California, Irvine, have developed an automated, easy-to-use digital PCR system that can be used at the time of sample collection, making it highly effective in microbial pathogen analysis in resource-limited settings and extreme conditions.

Bacteria from Medicago Root Nodules as Potentialy Useful PPB (Plant Probiotic Bacteria) for Agriculture

UCLA researchers in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology have discovered new species of plant probiotic bacteria to enhance plant growth for agricultural purposes.

A Method For Screening Drugs, Nutritional Supplements And Probiotics For Their Ability To Enhance Or Disrupt The Gut Barrier

The gut is a complex environment; the gut mucosa maintains immune homeostasis under physiological circumstances by serving as a barrier that restricts access of trillions of microbes, diverse microbial products, food antigens and toxins to the largest immune system in the body. The gut barrier is comprised of a single layer of epithelial cells, bound by cell-cell junctions, and a layer of mucin that covers the epithelium. Loosening of the junctions induced either by exogenous or endogenous stressors, compromises the gut barrier and allows microbes and antigens to leak through and encounter the host immune system, thereby generating inflammation and systemic endotoxemia. An impaired gut barrier (e.g. a leaky gut) is a major contributor to the initiation and/or progression of various chronic diseases including, but not limited to, metabolic endotoxemia, type II diabetes, fatty liver disease, obesity, atherosclerosis and inflammatory bowel diseases. Despite the growing acceptance of the importance of the gut barrier in diseases, knowledge of the underlying mechanism(s) that reinforce the barrier when faced with stressors is incomplete, and viable and practical strategies for pharmacologic modulation of the gut barrier remain unrealized.

Quantum Dot Enabled Detection Of Escherichia Coli Using A Cell-Phone

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed a platform that can detect E. coli using a cell phone.

Rapid, Portable And Cost-Effective Yeast Cell Viability And Concentration Analysis Using Lensfree On-Chip Microscopy And Machine Learning

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed a new portable device to rapidly measure yeast cell viability and concentration using a lab-on-chip design.

Update To Degradable Trehalose Glycopolymers

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry have designed an improved version of trehalose-based glycopolymer as a degradable alternative to PEG for the purpose of stabilizing a protein during storage and transport.

Process For Recycling Surfactant In Nanoemulsion Production

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a novel method to separate and recycle surfactants used in the manufacturing of nanoemulsions.

Natural Color-Changing Food Additives

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have discovered a unique use for cyanobacteriochromes (CBCRs) and related proteins as color-changing food additives.

Xylosyl-Xylitol Oligomers And Their Microbial And Enzymatic Productions

Lignocellulosic biomass derived from plant cell walls is the most abundant raw material for biofuels and renewable chemicals production.  Hemicellulose comprises about 30% of the total weight of lignocellulosic biomass. In contrast to cellulose, hemicellulose components are readily depolymerized into short oligomers and released into the liquid phase during pretreatment.  It is of great interest to convert the released hemicellulose components into fuels or other value-add chemicals for building an economical biomass conversion process. There are ten times more microorganisms than human cells in a healthy adult.  The symbiosis between the microbiome and human organs is increasingly recognized as a major player in health and well-being.  Xylooligosaccharides and xylitol, both derived from hemicellulose, can benefit gut flora and oral flora, respectively. Xylooligosaccharides (XOS, also called xylodextrins) are naturally occurring oligosaccharides, found in bamboo shoots, fruits, vegetables, milk and honey.  Industrial scale production of XOS can be carried out with much less expensive lignocellulosic materials by hydrothermal treatment or enzymatic hydrolysis.  A broad range of applications of XOS have been demonstrated, including as functional food, prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal infections, animal feed for fish and poultry, agricultural yield enhancer and ripening agent, and as active agents against osteoporosis, pruritus cutaneous, otitis, and skin and hair disorders.  In the current market, the most important applications of XOS correspond to ingredients for functional foods as a prebiotic, or formulated as synbiotics. XOS has been shown to promote beneficial bacteria Bifidobacterium adolescentis growth in vitro and in vivo.  It has been estimated that the prebiotics market will reach $4.8 billion by 2018. Xylitol is another hemicellulose-derived compound beneficial to human health.  For many bacteria and yeasts, the uptake of non-utilizable xylitol interferes with hexose utilization, which helps the human body to rebuild a healthy microbiome.  Xylitol has been used to prevent middle ear infections and tooth decay.  In addition, xylitol possesses 33% fewer calories but similar sweetness compared to sucrose and has been widely used as a substitute sweetener.  While chemical hydrogenation of xylose remains the major industrial method of xylitol production, microbial fermentation has become more popular in the newly built plants due to lower conversion cost. There exists a need for improved methods of producing xylooligosaccharides and related compounds, such as xylooligosaccharides with xylitol components.    UC researchers discovered a new set of fungal metabolic intermediates, named xylosyl-xylitol oligomers and developed the enzymatic and microbial fermentation method to produce such compounds. The detection and purification methods have also been developed.

A Micro/Nanobubble Oxygenated Solutions for Wound Healing and Tissue Preservation

Soft-tissue injuries and organ transplantation are common in modern combat scenarios. Organs and tissues harvested for transplantation need to be preserved during transport, which can be very difficult. Micro and nanobubbles (MNBs) offer a new technology that could supply oxygenation to such tissues prior to transplantation, thus affording better recovery and survival of patients. Described here is a novel device capable of producing MNB solutions that can be used to preserve viability and function of such organs/tissue. Additionally, these solutions may be used with negative pressure wound therapy to heal soft-tissue wounds.

Novel Synthesis of 2,5- Dimethylfuran from 5- (Chloromethyl)furfural

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed an efficient synthesis of 2,5- dimethylfuran (DMF) from 5- (chloromethyl)furfural (CMF).

Development Of Biodegradable Bait Station For Liquid Ant Bait

Background: Current bait station designs and other pest control tools are not very ideal nor advanced – they leak, become excessively hydrated or dehydrated, and need frequent maintenance. The global pest control services market is expected to grow annually at 5.3% and the industry is always looking for unique ways to conquer them.  Brief Description: UCR Researchers have developed a novel, protected bait station that has controlled liquid bait release. The compact design contains a sugary, insecticide liquid bait that diffuses through an absorbent polymer or gel matrix. Only ants have access to the station and once an ant consumes the bait, the station biodegrades thus eliminating bait station cleanup.

Non-Transgenic Haploid Plant Induction Lines

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have identified non-transgenic mutant plants capable of generating haploid offspring.

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