Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Atomic mass unit


The purpose of this study was to develop novel dissolving microneedle arrays fabricated from hyaluronic acid (HA) as a material and to improve the transdermal permeability of relatively high molecular weight drugs. In this study, fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled dextran with an average molecular weight of 4 kDa (FD4) was used as a model drug with a relatively high molecular weight. The microneedle arrays significantly increased transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and reduced transcutaneous electrical resistance (TER), indicating that they could puncture the skin and create drug permeation pathways successfully. Both TEWL and TER almost recovered to baseline levels in the microneedle array group, and relatively small pathways created by the microneedles rapidly recovered as compared with those created by a tape stripping treatment. These findings confirmed that the microneedle arrays were quite safe. Furthermore, we found that the transdermal permeability of FD4 using the microneedle arrays was much higher than that of the FD4 solution. Furthermore, we found that the microneedle arrays were much more effective for increasing the amount of FD4 accumulated in the skin. These findings indicated that using novel microneedle arrays fabricated from HA is a very useful and effective strategy to improve the transdermal delivery of drugs, especially relatively high molecular weight drugs without seriously damaging the skin.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Molecule, Drug, Mass, Array, Atomic mass unit, Molecular mass


A novel chitinase from the persimmon fruit was isolated, purified and characterised in this report. The Diospyros kaki chitinase (DKC) was found to be a monomer with a molecular mass of 29 kDa. It exhibited optimal activity at pH 4.5 with broad pH stability from pH 4.0-9.0. It has an optimal temperature of 60°C and thermostable up to 60°C when incubated for 30 min. The internal peptide sequences of DKC showed similarity with other reported plant chitinases. It has the ability to hydrolyse colloidal chitin into chito-oligomers such as chitotriose, chitobiose and into its monomer N-acetylglucosamine. It can be used to degrade chitin waste into useful products such as chito-oligosacchaarides. DKC exhibited antifungal activity towards pathogenic fungus Trichoderma viride. Chitinases with antifungal property can be used as biocontrol agents replacing chemical fungicides.

Concepts: Bacteria, Molecule, Mass, Cell wall, Persimmon, Atomic mass unit, Molecular mass, Trichoderma viride


To study the preparation and separation of Konjac oligosaccharides, Konjac Glucomannan was degraded by the combination of γ-irradiation and β-mannanase, and then the degradation product was separated by ultrafiltration. To our interest, for most of Konjac oligosaccharides obtained by this method, the molecular mass was lower than 2200Da. In addition, the 1000Da molecular weight cut off membrane could effectively separate the Konjac oligosaccharides. In conclusion, the combination of γ-irradiation and β-mannanase was an efficient method to obtain Konjac oligosaccharides, and the oligosaccharides of molecular mass lower than 1000Da could be effectively separated by ultrafiltration.

Concepts: Molecule, Mass, Atomic mass unit, Molecular mass, Separation, Glucomannan, Konjac, Shirataki noodles



We previously reported that nanoparticles (NPs) coated with 10 kDa PEG were mucoadhesive. Here, we demonstrate that by increasing the surface density, PEG with molecular weight (MW) as high as 40 kDa can be used as a mucoinert NP surface coating.

Concepts: Molecule, Mass, In vivo, Coating, Atomic mass unit, Molecular mass, Charge density


There is an increasing interest in the quest for low molecular weight biomarkers that can be studied on extra-terrestrial objects by direct laser desorption mass spectrometry (LD-MS). Although molecular structure investigations have recently been carried out by direct LD-MS approaches, there is still a lack of suitable instruments for implementation on a spacecraft due to weight, size and power consumption demands. In this contribution we demonstrate the feasibility of LD-MS structural analysis of molecular species by a miniature laser desorption-ionization mass spectrometer (instrument name LMS) originally designed for in situ elemental and isotope analysis of solids in space research.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Molecule, Mass, Mars, Force, Isotope, Atomic mass unit, Space exploration


Over 200 components with molecular mass ranging mainly from 400 to 4000 Da were characterized from the venom of the vermivorous cone snail Conus fulgetrum that inhabit Egyptian Red Sea. One major component having a molecular mass of 2946 Da was purified by HPLC, and its primary structure was determined by a combination of Edman degradation and MS/MS analysis.

Concepts: Protein structure, Molecular biology, Atomic mass unit, Conus, Conidae, Radula


Competitive dye displacement titration has previously been used to characterize chitosan-DNA interactions using ethidium bromide. In this work, we aim to develop a fast and reliable method using SYBR Gold as a fluorescent probe to evaluate the binding affinity between ssRNA and chitosan. The interaction of chitosan with ssRNA was investigated as a function of temperature, molecular weight and degree of acetylation of chitosan, using competitive dye displacement titrations with fluorescence quenching. Affinity constants are reported, showing the high sensitivity of the interaction to the degree of acetylation of chitosan and barely dependent on the molecular weight. We propose that the mechanism of SYBR Gold fluorescence quenching is governed by both static and dynamic quenching.

Concepts: DNA, Fluorescence, Electron, Molecular biology, Ethidium bromide, Atomic mass unit, Agarose gel electrophoresis, Quenching


Each gas molecule has its own molecular weight, while such a microscopic characteristic is generally inaccessible, and thus, it is measured indirectly through e.g. ionization in conventional mass analysis. Here, we present a novel approach to the direct measurement of molecular weight through a nanoarchitectonic combination of aerodynamics, thermodynamics, and mechanics, transducing microscopic events into macroscopic phenomena. It is confirmed that this approach can provide molecular weight of virtually any gas or vaporizable liquid sample in real-time without ionization. Demonstrations through analytical calculations, numerical simulations, and experiments verify the validity and versatility of the novel mass analysis realized by a simple setup with a flexible object (e.g. with a bare cantilever and even with a business card) placed in a laminar jet. Owing to its unique and simple working principle, this aero-thermo-dynamic mass analysis (AMA) can be integrated into various analytical devices, production lines, and consumer mobile platforms, opening new chapters in aerodynamics, thermodynamics, mechanics, and mass analysis.

Concepts: Physics, Matter, Fluid dynamics, Molecule, Chemistry, Mass, Greek loanwords, Atomic mass unit


We present an approach to study macromolecular assemblies by detecting component proteins' characteristic high-resolution projection patterns, calculated from their known 3D structures, in single electron cryo-micrographs. Our method detects single apoferritin molecules in vitreous ice with high specificity and determines their orientation and location precisely. Simulations show that high spatial-frequency information and-in the presence of protein background-a whitening filter are essential for optimal detection, in particular for images taken far from focus. Experimentally, we could detect small viral RNA polymerase molecules, distributed randomly among binding locations, inside rotavirus particles. Based on the currently attainable image quality, we estimate a threshold for detection that is 150 kDa in ice and 300 kDa in 100 nm thick samples of dense biological material.

Concepts: DNA, Electron, Gene, Molecular biology, Molecule, Atom, Computer graphics, Atomic mass unit