Weekly Roundup: biotechin.asia

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Weekly Digest: October 19th – 25th 2015

Biotechin

Lab-grown burgers ‘will be on the menu by 2020

Whether or not we should continue to eat meat is an increasingly hot topic – its alleged impact on the climate and the ethical issues surrounding intensive farming have left many disillusioned with the carnivore’s diet. But scientists believe that they have a viable alternative that doesn’t involve sacrificing your steak for Quorn or lentils. A Dutch team claim that their lab-grown burger made from bovine stem cells could be on sale within five years. They have even set up a company in a bid to make the burger taste better and cheaper to produce. In 2013, the team cooked and ate a burger that cost £215,000 to produce. (Click here to read more)

Haze deteriorates: 1-hr PM2.5 reading reaches the highest recorded so far for this year

There has been a sharp deterioration in haze conditions in several regions of Singapore from about 9pm tonight. This was due to denser haze from the sea areas south of Singapore being blown in by the prevailing south-south easterly winds. As at 11pm today, the 24-hr PSI was 104-152, in the Unhealthy range, and the1-hr PM2.5 was 35-471 µg/m3. The1-hr PM2.5 concentration of 471 µg/m3 in the west region is the highest recorded so far for this year. PM or particulate matter refers to particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. While some particles can be suspended in the air for long periods of time, some are large or dark enough to be seen as soot or smoke. (Click here to read more)

PM Lee Hsien Loong opens the $450 million Fusionopolis 2; emphasizes on collaborative research

Fusionopolis two, the latest addition to one-north, an R&D hub and icon of Singapore’s knowledge economy masterplanned and developed by JTC, was officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday. With its state-of-the-art facilities at the heart of one-north’s Fusionopolis cluster, the opening of the $450million Fusionopolis two provides co-location opportunities for research, innovation and enterprise, aimed at sparking interdisciplinary collaborations amongst the public and private sector players. Fusionopolis 2 (F2) will be home to four of the A*STAR research institutes –Institute of Microelectronics (IME), Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) and Data Storage Institute (DSI). With this move, the entire A*STAR family will be based at both the Biopolis and Fusionopolis campuses except for Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES), that remains on Jurong Island. (Click here to read more)

3D printed teeth that helps you keep your mouth bacteria-free!

As additive manufacturing technology and 3D printing undergo rapid advances, newer and more exciting applications are coming to the fore. 3D printing in the dental market is not new. By combining CAD/CAM design, oral scanning and 3D printing – dental labs have been able to rapidly and accurately produce crowns, bridges, stone models and a range of orthodontic appliances for sometime now. Adding on to the repertoire of 3D printed dental products, scientists from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands have developed an antimicrobial plastic, that allows them to 3D print teeth which can also kill bacteria, thereby improving your oral hygiene too. Patients incur millions of dollars in cost annually, just due to the bacterial damage caused by the existing implants. By embedding quaternary ammonium salts inside existing dental resin polymers, they managed to achieve this antimicrobial action. The salts are positively charged and so disrupting the negatively charged bacterial membranes, caused them to burst and die. (Click here to read more)

You can make a working mini-brain with only $0.25!

The Hoffman-Kim’s lab in Brown University has described a method that allows researchers to build a working yet not-thinking miniature brain with accessible material in a very cost-effective way. Even though they don’t perform cognitive functions, they produce electrical signals and form their own neural connections (synapses) making them readily producible testbeds for neuroscience research. And apparently, each mini-brain costs you only $0.25 to make!. “We think of this as a way to have a better in vitro [lab] model that can maybe reduce animal use,” said graduate student Molly Boutin, co-lead author of the new paper in the journal Tissue Engineering: Part C. “A lot of the work that’s done right now is in two-dimensional culture, but this is an alternative that is much more relevant to the in vivo [living] scenario.” (Click here to read more)