The latest issue of my SpectroscopyNOW column is now live. This week:
US researchers are developing the next generation of laser ablation technology, which might one day be used in a future planetary lander to carry out isotopic analysis of a planets surface, for instance, and so allow precise “geological” ages of samples to be determined. The technique, LAMIS, is not yet as sensitive or precise as mass spectrometry but has the advantage of requiring no chemical dissolution, sample preparation, vacuum chambers or laboratory infrastructure, a boon for a planetary lander. - LAMIS.
Spectroscopic information from samples of caffeine-containing drinks has provided researchers in Germany with the necessary data to determine whether a new test beverage contains natural or synthetic caffeine. The technique could let regulators check how well manufacturers of added-caffeine products are adhering to the rules regarding labelling products as “natural” with respect to the drink’s caffeine content. - Caffeinated caffeine.
X-ray diffraction has been used to pin down the mode of action of the sulfa antibiotics, which were first used 70 years ago. The work could provide clues to developing a new generation of antibiotics that would have fewer side effects and could stave off bacterial drug resistance at least temporarily. - Sulfa drugs.
Researchers in the US have combined nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography to gain new insights into the way in which a member of the histone chaperone family of specialized proteins functions. The resulting three-dimensional structure of the histone chaperone Rtt106 and interactions could have applications under understanding gene silencing and the way DNA responds to damage. - Chaperones.