Canadian Science News

Food Sustainability Moves Forward with Acadia

University Affairs reported on the new hydroponic system at Acadia University. It will permit the harvesting of hundreds of pounds of greens within a month in a refurbished shipping container. This means that Acadia University now has a year-round source of greens only steps away from the campus dining hall.

A Growcer unit was installed in October, 2019, at the university, which is 40 feet by 8 feet, set with shelving, a hydroponic system, and seeds, along with a climate control and monitoring system. It is a joint initiative between Chartwells (the universities normal food supplier) and the campus sustainability office.

The sustainability coordinator, Jodie Noiles, for Acadia University said, “It’s based on our food plan for Acadia, which focuses on healthy, sustainable and affordable food.” Peter Welton, Acadia University’s executive chef, stated that they harvested 100 pounds of greens for the salad bar in the first month; 400 pounds are expected for the following months once everything is set at full capacity.

Immune Responses in the Central Nervous System in Molecular and Computational Analysis

The Science Advisory Board reported on how advanced analyses, computational and molecular, of the immune responses in the central nervous system sheds light on blood immune cells’ ability to enter the site of a lesion after injury or not.

Two types of immune cells, microglia and CNS-infiltrating macrophages, enter after an injury or can enter after an injury. Microglia account for 10% to 15% of all cells found in the brain. They are a first-response of the immune system. The CNS-infiltrating macrophages start in the bone marrow.

Researchers from the University of Calgary, the University of Alberta, and McGill University wanted to look at the “activation profile,” how they became active over time, of the microglia.

Dr. Jason Plemel, a Medical Researcher from the University of Alberta, stated, “We expected the macrophages would be present in the area of injury, but what surprised us was that microglia actually encapsulated those macrophages and surrounded them — almost like police at a riot. It seemed like the microglia were preventing them from dispersing into areas they shouldn’t be.”

Being able to study the microglia at this level may help researchers develop more effective therapies to treat some neurological disorders and diseases.

Artificial Photosynthesis in Action

SciTechDaily talked about the fascinating world of artificial photosynthesis to turn carbon dioxide into methane with simply sunlight. This may be an assistance in making natural-gas-powered devices zero net carbon contributors, as the methane can be used as a clean burning fuel.

A collaboration between McGill University and McMaster University resulted in a methane-generating method for a new type of catalyst. Even better, the type of solar-powered catalyst is abundantly, or readily, available because of the bounty of available materials used to make it.

Zetian Mi, a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, said, “Thirty percent of the energy in the U.S. comes from natural gas… If we can generate green methane, it’s a big deal.”

Emissions Reduction Alberta and the Natural Sciences, Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Blue Sky Program at the U-M College of Engineering funded the initiative’s research. U-M is seeking partners in order to bring the multiple patents on the catalyst (its own) to the market.