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Physics and chemistry (9)

Researchers analyse the effect of C02pressure on the aroma of sparkling wines

An UCO research team is studying the effect of carbon dioxide pressure on yeast metabolism during the second fermentation of sparkling wines

During alcoholic fermentation, yeasts turn sugar into ethanol and CO2gas. The gas forms the small bubbles which distinguish sparkling wines from “still” wines. High-quality sparkling wines are made using the traditional method, which requires a second alcoholic fermentation of a base wine – to which sugar and yeasts are added – in sealed bottles, followed by an interval of ageing in contact with yeast lees. This method was first described by the Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Pèrignon (1638-1715). When sugar is added to a wine and a second fermentation is carried out in an open container, the C02 produced is released into the atmosphere; however, when the second fermentation is carried out in a sealed container or bottle, the CO2overpressure released affects yeast metabolism. 

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How smelly is your rubbish?

A new method is being developed to assess the odorous impact of composting
According to some estimates, every year over 8,000 million tonnes of urban waste are generated worldwide, and there is every reason to believe that this figure will increase over the coming years due to population growth. One process that seeks to find a use for part of this huge amount of waste is composting, by which organic waste is converted into fertiliser.

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Improved perovskite stability for third-generation solar cells

Research at the University of Córdoba, published in Nature Energy, has led to the stabilisation of perovskite solar cells using guanidinium. 

Increasing concern regarding the exhaustion of traditional energy sources has triggered a race to find alternatives. The development of solar cells, which convert sunlight into electricity, is constantly advancing.

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A new technique uses wheat straw to replace plastic components in lithium batteries

An UCO research group has proved that lignin could be used as an environmentally-sustainable, low-cost component in lithium batteries 

Wheat straw could be turned into a component for lithium batteries, according to a study by a University of Córdoba research group coordinated by Alejandro Rodríguez Pascual, a lecturer at the Department of Inorganic Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. The team has succeeded in replacing toxic lithium-battery components by lignins, natural substances found in plant cell walls, including in wheat straw. 

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Scientists develop a new catalyst using glycerol produced during biodiesel manufacture

The process uses a microwave heating technique

Due to its environmental benefits, the production of biodiesel as an alternative to fossil fuels has expanded exponentially over the last few years. Glycerol is among the by-products of the manufacturing process; for every ton of biodiesel produced, the process generates 100 kg of glycerol. Unfortunately, however, glycerol has few direct uses, since it contains high levels of impurities.


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Research reveals the efficacy of a new antibiotic active against pneumonia

A research group at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Córdoba, has studied the effects of rhodomyrtone on pneumococcal strains. 

The emergence of antibiotic resistance in some of the most common pathogenic bacteria affecting humans has become a healthcare problem worldwide. Due to natural selection, the mere use of antibiotics against a pathogenic bacterial species eventually prompts them to develop resistance to those antibiotics.

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Development of an easy-to-use eco-friendly fluorescent enzyme detection platform

The platform, developed by a research group at the University of Córdoba Department of Analytical Chemistry, has been tested measuring laccase enzyme concentrations in various shampoo samples.

Enzymes are amongst the most widely-used biocatalysts, applicable – thanks to their broad range of properties – in a whole range of fields. There is thus a need for efficient enzyme detection methods.

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‘Vortex’ beams for the manipulation of nanoparticles

A lecturer at the University of Córdoba has developed a new method, published in Physical Review Letters, to simplify the process and reduce the cost of manipulating nanometric materials
One millionth of a millimetre: this is the scale at which nanotechnology manipulates matter. Given its many applications, nanotechnology has already had a major impact on recent technological progress; yet its real potential is yet to be discovered, and few scientists doubt that it will lead mankind to a new industrial revolution. A few days ago, University of Córdoba physics lecturer Pedro Rodríguez García published a paper in Physical Review Letters, reporting on the development of a new mechanism which simplifies and reduces the cost of manipulating nanoparticles.

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The force behind the accelerated expansion of the universe changes over time

A study published in Nature Astronomy, by an international team including a lecturer at UCO, reveals that the properties characteristic of the mysterious dark energy have varied over the course of history
Hailed by some as a driving force because it causes the accelerating expansion of the universe, dark energy makes up around three quarters of the cosmos, yet little is known about it. The researchers who discovered dark energy six years ago were awarded the Nobel prize, and since then the scientific community has ceaselessly sought to decipher its secrets, which may yield important clues regarding the origin and fate of the cosmos.

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