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Posted by Fernanda on March 28th, 2018  ⟩  0 comments

Today, the devastating effects of rising man-made carbon dioxide (CO2)emissions, more technically called anthropogenic CO2emissions, are becoming increasingly evident in our beautiful blue ocean waters in the form of ocean acidification. Fortunately, the mangrove, often called a “Super tree,” might be able to counteract ocean acidification and become the protector oceans, marine life, and humanity need.

Mangroves

For many years, the burning of fossil fuel for transportation and electricity, production of cement, destruction of forests, and other human activities have resulted in a release of alarmingly high levels of CO2 into the air. Normally, CO2 in the air is absorbed by the ocean, where it dissolves and forms an acid, helping maintain an equilibrium. And, as more CO2 is released, the amount of CO2 dissolving into the ocean and forming an acid increases too. This acid then changes the pH of seawater, resulting in higher acidity. This harmful and ongoing decrease of ocean water pH is called ocean acidification (Caldera and Wickett, 2013).

Of course, seawater in vast blue oceans plays many very important roles in the maintenance of life on Earth. When working in tandem with sediments and the atmosphere, seawater can function as a carbon reservoir, which helps maintain carbon in equilibrium. However, ocean acidification is disrupting this balance by decreasing the availability of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). A decline in CaCO3 can become detrimental to marine organisms that require this molecule to form shells and structures necessary for their survival (Ocean Chemistry, 2013). Corals, for example, use CaCO3 as building blocks that form colorful reefs, landscaping the ocean floor with underwater gardens. Sadly, scientists are observing that the present rise in ocean acidity is slowing down the calcification rate of corals leading to reduced growth rate. This inability to grow is affecting the preservation of corals’ healthy structures and the marine life forms they support (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2017).

Ocean acidification may also affect development of many marine organisms. The sea urchin, for example, spends part of its life cycle as larva and the larva cannot digest food properly in acidic conditions (Stumpp et al., 2013). This decrease in ocean pH also causes organ damage in Atlantic Herring larvae (Frommel et al., 2014).

In fact, we do not know the exact extent of damage that increased atmospheric CO2 and ocean acidification will have on ecosystems around the Earth in the near and far future. Scientists predict that “unabated CO2 emissions over the coming centuries may produce changes in ocean pH that are greater than any experienced in the past 300 million years, with the possible exception of those resulting from rare, catastrophic events in Earth’s history” (Caldeira and Wickett, 2003).

So, what may be nature’s solution to ocean acidification? Mangrove forests. Mangroves are peculiar trees and shrubs that can buffer the ongoing ocean acidification. These trees can be found in coastal areas and have special aerial roots anchored in carbon-rich soil and thrive in salty water. It is these roots that have evolved to effectively metabolize organic matter from the surrounding oxygen-poor soil to release alkalinity into surrounding water, buffering the decreasing pH caused by increased atmospheric CO2 in nearby water, and helping create an equilibrium in the open ocean. James Z. Sippo and his research team have studied how important the mangrove input of alkalinity is to ocean acidification. In their study of the effect of alkalinity output from mangrove tidal creek in Australia, Sippo et al. found that water near the mangroves has a higher pH (8.1) compared to seawater far from the coastal mangroves (pH 7.3). They also estimated that mangrove forests export up to 4.2 teramoles (1 teramole = 1000000000000 moles) per year of alkalinity worldwide. This mangrove-generated alkalinity could certainly counteract increasing acidity in ocean water, which has showed a decrease in pH of 0.1 units since the beginning of the industrial age, and currently absorbs about one third of all man-made CO2 emissions (Caldeira and Wickett, 2003). Thus, the alkalinity released by mangroves effectively contributes to a pH increase in nearby ocean water and solidifies the mangrove as an effective buffer for ocean.

For many years we have known mangroves, usually found in tropical and subtropical coasts, as invaluable ecosystems that help support many living organisms including small fish, snails, oysters, worms, insects, birds and crocodiles. Mangrove trees also help humankind in different ways. Mangroves are sources of food and wood and are major tourism attractions. They also protect coastlines from extreme weather (Wilson, 2017). Thus, it is imperative we ensure their survival.

Unfortunately, this magnificent life-form is being threatened. Human activity such as pollution, coastal development, and agriculture, etc., has hurt their survival and has caused a significant decline in mangrove forest areas (Thomas et al., 2017 and Wilson, 2017).

So, what can we do to protect these remarkable buffers? Many communities around the world have become organized to replant mangroves and educate others about their sustainable use. The General Conference of UNESCO declared July 26th as the International Day for the conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem, helping to start a global conversation on how to save the mangrove, a crucial protector of human life.

Each of us can contribute to the preservation of mangroves by becoming involved in mangrove conservation and restoration groups, learning about the qualities of these buffers, teaching others about their immense value, and simply, by being nicer to our home, planet Earth!

These are a few organizations and resources to get you started on saving the mangrove:

References:

Caldeira, K., and Wickett, M. E. (2003). Anthropogenic carbon and ocean pH. Nature 425, 365, doi:10.1038/425365a

Frommel, A. Y., Maneja, R., Lowe, D., Pascoe, C. K., Geffen, A. J., Folkvord, A., Piatkowski, and Clemmesen, C. (2014). Organ damage in Atlantic herring larvae as a result of ocean acidification. Ecological Applications, 24(5), 1131-1143, doi:10.1890/13-0297.1

Marine Education Society of Australasia. “Animals of the mangroves.” Mangroves of Australia. Retrieved March 23, 2018 from http://www.mesa.edu.au/mangroves/mangroves05.asp

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2017). How does climate change affect coral reefs? National Ocean Service website. Retrieved March 23, 208 from https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/coralreef-climate.html

Ocean Chemistry. (2013). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/climatescience/oceansicerocks/oceanchemistry.html

Thomas, N., Lucas, R., Bunting, P., Hardy, A., Rosenqvist, A., and Simard, M. (2017). Distribution and drivers of global mangrove forest change, 1996-2010. PLoS One, 12(6): e0179302, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179302.

Sippo, J. Z., Maher, D. T., Tait, D. R., Holloway, C., and Santos, I. R. (2016). Are mangroves drivers of buffers of coastal acidification? Insights from alkalinity and dissolved inorganic carbon export estimates across a latitudinal transect. Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 30, 753-766, doi:10.1002/2015GB005324.

Stumpp, M., Hu, M., Casties, I., Saborowski, R., Bleich, M., Melzner, F., and Dupont S. (2013). Digestion in sea urchin larvae impaired under ocean acidification. Natural Climate Change 3, 1044-1049, doi:10.1038/nclimate2028.

Wilson, R. (2017). Impacts of Climate Change on Mangrove Ecosystems in the Coastal and Marine Environments of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Caribbean Marine Climate Change Report Card: Science Review, 60-82.


Posted by unknown on March 20th, 2018  ⟩  0 comments

The GoldBio Floating Tube Rack is one of our more clever giveaways because of the unique purpose it serves. And, with it also being one of our most popular giveaways at shows, many labs tend to accumulate these foamy green squares – enough to come up with wild ways to use them.

GoldBio Floating Tube Rack Contest

So, naturally, we held a contest, calling for some of the most creative uses. What we got were some very inspiring submissions, some from our very own team (who were not eligible for any prizes).

Take a look at some of the unique ideas that came out of this year’s GoldBio Floating Tube Rack Contest:



Yuliya M.:

“I used the GoldBio floatie to organize my cables at my desk in the lab.”

Desk Cable Organizer

(One of 2018's winners!)


Diana B.:

“I use the floatie to hold microfuge tubes while I weigh small aliquots into the tubes.”


Karen P.:

“Floaters are great for rooting plant cuttings in water.”

(GoldBio Team Member Entry)



Eric S.:

“I made a busy board for my son's 1st birthday that includes the floaters. Here are a few pictures of the board and him playing with it!”

(One of 2018's winners!)


Katia R.:

“Pipette Rack with the floating tube racks. Takes 4 floaters and a little glue to make.”

(GoldBio Team Member Entry)


Category Code: 79105 79101 88261

Posted by Chris on February 21st, 2018  ⟩  0 comments

What is it about a name that gives us that sense of solidity, structure and instant recognition that, as humans, we seem driven to possess? From the dawn of mankind, we have endeavored in the naming of the world around us. And for the last few centuries, modern scientists have wrestled as the current arbitrators of the naming of things, whether that be creatures or organisms, chemicals or byproducts, everything from planets, stars and galaxies to organs, cells, organelles, atoms or quarks. Scientists seem even more driven to derive the most absolute, unquestionably succinct name for each new discovery (caveat: I am fully aware that there are some notable exceptions to this statement). But it’s as if, in naming the unknown as precisely as possible, we can inherently shine a spotlight on our discoveries for all future generations. And maybe that’s the key. So much of what we work on in science is just beyond the range of what we can physically see. Nobel awards have been given to scientists for the discernment of the actual structure of the important parts of our world, such as Watson and Crick did in their discovery of the structure of DNA.

But in the darkness before discovery, figuring out what to call something is similar to the SyFy Channel‘s game show “Total Blackout” in which contestants must work while completely blind to identify things with by feel, smell, taste or sound. The results are usually humorous to those of us who can watch with special cameras. In science, the answers are often teased apart, strand by strand, sometimes even with significant setbacks, until the full understanding can be revealed. Names for these blind discoveries are given all the while, revised, debated, discarded and then eventually accepted as the norm. The history and naming of DNase is one of these kinds of discoveries.

Deoxyribonuclease, as a tool, was likely discovered via ground up bovine organs (like the pancreas, liver, or spleen) in the mid to late 1800s. Though its use was known, the specifics of what was causing the observable enzymatic reactions remained a mystery. In 1903, the enzyme was being characterized by its activity on nucleins (Araki, 1903). Later, researchers would rename it based on what they were seeing the enzyme break down; Phoebus Levene and Florentin Medigreceanu attempted to characterize it as a “thymus” nucleinase in 1911, Robert Feulgen defined it as a “nucleogelase” in 1923 and 1935, Jesse Greenstein labeled it a Thymonucleodepolymerase in 1943. Then, in 1946, Michael Laskowski stated that the name should be officially amended to either Deoxyribonucleinase or Deoxyribonuclease depending on where the hydrolysis was occurring.

The issue here is that not only were these esteemed biochemists working in the dark about the enzyme, they also suffered from a limited understanding of the particulars of the cell itself. If asked to characterize something by touching alone, how can you do so if you don’t understand the difference between round and square? It took a few more years of characterizing the nucleus of the cells, of DNA in particular, and finally the crystallization of DNase by Moses Kunitz in 1950 to firmly settle the matter of the name (Fun Fact: Kunitz was nominated 3 times for a Nobel Prize for his work in this field, but never received the award).

With the establishment of an accurate name, science can more precisely utilize a biological tool like DNase. Since Kunitz’s final characterization of the enzyme, DNase has been cited over 100,000 times in pubmed. It has been cloned and expressed in E. coli, and is even still being characterized by scientists for characteristics such as its specificity (Heddi, 2010) and binding activity. More recently, GoldBio’s DNase was utilized in the understanding of the expression patterns of Fragile X syndrome (FXS), a common inheritable genetic mutation causing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Wallingford, 2017).

Research such as theirs is instrumental in the continued understanding of our world and ourselves. And as we increase in our understanding of how things work, we can begin to more precisely intervene and continue the fight against the nameless (and sometimes named) monsters that still frighten us in the dark.



References

Araki, T. (1903). Über enzymatische Zersetzung der Nucleinsäure. Hoppe-Seyler’s Zeitschrift für physiologische Chemie, 38(1-2), 84-97.

Levene, P. A., and F. Medigreceanu. "ON NUCLEASES Second Paper." Journal of Biological Chemistry 9, no. 5 (1911): 389-402.

Feulgen, R. (1935). Über a-und b-Thymonucleinsäure und das die a-Form in die b-Form überfahrende Ferment (Nucleogelase). Hoppe-Seyler’s Zeitschrift für physiologische Chemie, 237(5-6), 261-267.

Greenstein, J. P. (1943). Tumor enzymology. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 3(4), 419-447.

Laskowski, M. (1946). Crystalline protein with thymonucleodepolymerase activity isolated from beef pancreas. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 166(2), 555-563.

Kunitz, M. L. (1950). Crystalline desoxyribonuclease: I. Isolation and general properties spectrophotometric method for the measurement of desoxyribonuclease activity. The Journal of general physiology, 33(4), 349-362.

Heddi, B., Abi-Ghanem, J., Lavigne, M., & Hartmann, B. (2010). Sequence-dependent DNA flexibility mediates DNase I cleavage. Journal of molecular biology, 395(1), 123-133.

Wallingford, J., Scott, A. L., Rodrigues, K., & Doering, L. C. (2017). Altered Developmental Expression of the Astrocyte-Secreted Factors Hevin and SPARC in the Fragile X Mouse Model. Frontiers in molecular neuroscience, 10, 268.


Category Code: 79101

Posted by Karen on February 12th, 2018  ⟩  0 comments

With a long history of myth and tradition, the Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year or Spring Festival) still remains the most important holiday in China. It is a time for reunion, feasting, honoring ancestors and making way for a good luck. And the celebration is not limited to China. In the United States, several cities put on extravagant parades to ring in the New Year.


San Francisco

San Francisco not only claims the biggest celebration in the country, it is also the oldest. The first celebration in San Francisco happened in 1858 where Chinese traditions were incorporated into a parade with flags, drums and lanterns. Since the Gold Rush, the parade has become a mesmerizing show filled with firecrackers, dragons, lions, giants, dancers, acrobats and more.

This year’s parade starts on Market, Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 5:30 pm.

To find more information about the famous parade and surrounding events, click here.

Chicago

Events in Chicago begin February 16th and run all the way through the first week of March. With one of the largest Chinatowns in North America, you can be sure to find a wealth of festivities including parades, foods and this year – puppies! You can find an events calendar here.

Chicago’s popular Navy Pier will host performances food and art. On Sunday, February 25th in Chigago’s Chinatown, you can see the annual Lunar New Year parade celebrating the year of the dog. And of course, dogs are invited to participate. If you want your pup to be in the spectacle, fill out the entry form here.

New York City

New York City has one of the highest Chinese populations outside of Asia. Therefore, it’s no surprise that this culturally diverse city would have many significant events during the Lunar New Year.

On February 16th, you can find a show featuring 600,000 firecrackers, food, crafts, lion dancers and more at Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

Also on Friday is the Lunar New Year parade in Chinatown. With it being the year of the dog, canines will have their place in the procession. To learn more about Lunar New Year events in New York City, click here.

Other cities hosting remarkable festivals include Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia and more. For an in-depth look at events in those cities, click here.


    
              Karen Martin
GoldBio Marketing Director


"To understand the universe is to understand math." My 8th grade
math teacher's quote meant nothing to me at the time. Then came
college, and the revelation that the adults in my past were right all
along. But since math feels less tangible, I fell for biology and have
found pure happiness behind my desk at GoldBio, learning, writing
and loving everything science. 



Posted by Karen on February 9th, 2018  ⟩  0 comments

Insects have an established history within folklore and mythology. Butterflies, bees, scarabs and other bugs have become symbolic markers of rebirth, purity, life and death. The firefly, with its enchanting light is no exception. In ancient Amazonian mythology, firefly light came from the gods and provided hope and guidance (Kritsky & Cherry, 2000). And in Japanese legend, two species of firefly, the Genji-hotaru and the Heike-hotaru, are associated with the ghosts of the Minamoto warriors and the Taira warriors. Each year in Japan several viewing festivals start up during the month of June to see the "battle of the fireflies." Fireflies, in ancient times, were also believed to offer universal remedies, counteracting poison and driving away evil (Davis, 2008).

Firefly ancient folklore and modern innovation

It’s no surprise that in modern times, we still draw from the inspiration and curiosity of the firefly’s flickering radiance. As a result, fireflies continue to fulfill their legendary roles, not quite literally, but they presently hold an important position within guidance in healing. Popularly, luciferin, the magic behind the firefly’s glow, has been used in cancer research. Scientists use the methodology behind the luciferin-luciferase relationship to study cancer metastasis and tumor growth.

But the importance of luciferin is not limited to the study of cancer. Engineers at MIT are using the glowing concept to turn plants into natural lamps. Rather than genetically altering a plant, making it capable of luciferase expression, the researchers at the Strano Lab at MIT are using nanoparticles packed with the chemical components necessary to carry out the luciferin-luciferase reaction. And so far, the team has been successful in adapting this technology in several plant types (Trafton, 2017).

While glowing plants have the potential to benefit the world, relieving us of some aspects of energy dependence, it has also allowed researchers to visualize plant reactions to certain stimulation. Back in 2000 plant geneticist Janet Braam used this iconic chemical relationship to study plants’ reactions to human touch (Riley, 2000).

Braam’s early studies showed evidence that regular human touch could negatively stunt the growth of certain plants. To further her research on this topic, she incorporated the glowing mechanism with plant "touch genes." When a plant was touched, it glowed where it was touched. Further, she observed that over time, other areas of the plant glowed causing her to suspect that the “information” traveled through other areas of the plants switching on those "touch genes" (Riley, 2000).

There are countless studies that have used this marvelous mechanism. The mysticism of these glowing creatures, along with many other bioluminescent organisms continues to inspire our curiosity and guide us on a path of unimaginable discovery.



References:

Davis, F. H. (2008). Myths and Legends of Japan. Moskva: "T︠s︡entrpoligraf".

Hooper, R. (2013, April 14). Casting a little light on fireflies. The Japan Times. Retrieved February 6, 2018, from https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/04/14/national/science-health/casting-a-little-light-on-fireflies/#.WnoTIK6nG01

Inagaki, Y., Fujioka, M., Kanzaki, S., Watanabe, K., Oishi, N., Itakura, G., . . . Ogawa, K. (2016). Sustained Effect of Hyaluronic Acid in Subcutaneous Administration to the Cochlear Spiral Ganglion. Plos One,11(4). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0153957

Kritsky, G., & Cherry, R. H. (2000). Insect mythology. San Jose: Writers Club Press.

Riley, C. (2000, May 17). Glowing plants reveal touch sensitivity. BBC News. Retrieved February 06, 2018, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/751069.stm

Trafton, A. (2017, December 12). Engineers create plants that glow. Retrieved February 06, 2018, from http://news.mit.edu/2017/engineers-create-nanobionic-plants-that-glow-1213


    
              Karen Martin
GoldBio Marketing Director


"To understand the universe is to understand math." My 8th grade
math teacher's quote meant nothing to me at the time. Then came
college, and the revelation that the adults in my past were right all
along. But since math feels less tangible, I fell for biology and have
found pure happiness behind my desk at GoldBio, learning, writing
and loving everything science. 



Category Code: 79101 88241