The use of colloidal silver to treat illnesses has become more popular in recent years, but its ingestion, prohibited in countries like the US, can be harmful to health. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute in Germany have now confirmed that silver nanoparticles are significantly toxic when they penetrate cells, although the number of toxic radicals they generate can vary by coating them with carbohydrates.
Bottled water sold in Spain is practically free of constituents given off by plastic packaging or glass bottle lids. They are only detected in some cases, albeit in quantities much lower than limits found harmful for health. This was revealed by the analysis of more than 130 types of mineral water by researchers at the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).
The explosion of a lorry tanker carrying propylene in the Los Alfaques campsite (Tarragona) in 1978 left more than 200 dead. A decade later, 20,000 people were evacuated when a cargo ship loaded with toxic products ran aground on Finisterre’s coastline (A Coruña). In 2003, a deflagration in a Puertollano (Ciudad Real) refinery caused nine deaths and many injuries. These are some of the accidents that have determined the improvements in the safety of transport and the chemical industry’s processes in Spain, according to a study by Catalan researchers.
Researchers at the Rey Juan Carlos University and the Alcorcón Hospital (Madrid) have compared the volatile substances exhaled by eleven people with cancer of larynx, with those of another twenty healthy people. The results show that the concentrations of certain molecules, mainly ethanol and 2-butanone, are higher in individuals with carcinoma, therefore they act as potential markers of the disease.
Researchers from the Basque centre CIC biomaGUNE and the University of Antwerp (Belgium) have designed nanoparticles with one half formed of gold branches and the other of silicon oxide. They are a kind of Janus particle, so-called in honour of the Roman god with two faces, which could be used in phototherapy in the future to treat tumours.
Researchers from the University of Burgos have developed a smart material which changes colour based on the amount of iron in a fluid, whether it be water, wine or blood serum. Afterwards, if the result is photographed with a digital camera such as those on mobile phones, the concentration of this metal can be quantified without the need for chemical analysis.
Researchers from the IDAEA (CSIC) centre measured the concentration of harmful compounds in a café in Barcelona before and after the anti-smoking law. The results show that toxic and carcinogenic substances dropped 90%, a finding that corroborates that of the Ministry of Health’s latest report.
Researchers from the University of Oviedo have labelled sulphur in brewer’s yeast with a non-radioactive method so that when feeding it to laboratory rats the course taken by the element can be tracked and the amino acids and proteins analysed at the point of incorporation. The technique could be very useful for studying the metabolism of this micro-nutrient in vivo and verifying how sulphur-based drugs behave in the organism.
The recipe and process for preparing Maya Blue, a highly-resistant pigment used for centuries in Mesoamerica, were lost. We know that the ingredients are a plant dye, indigo, and a type of clay known as palygorskite, but scientists do not know how they were ‘cooked’ and combined together. Now, a team of chemists from the University of Valencia and the Polythecnic University of Valencia (Spain) have come up with a new hypothesis about how it was prepared.