X
X
X

Filters:

Ames Lab Scientists' Surprising Discovery: Making Ferromagnets Stronger by Adding Non-Magnetic Element

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory discovered that they could functionalize magnetic materials through a thoroughly unlikely method, by adding amounts of the virtually non-magnetic element scandium to a gadolinium-germanium alloy. It was so unlikely they called it a "counterintuitive experimental finding" in their published work on the research.

Cut U.S. Commercial Building Energy Use 29% with Widespread Controls

The U.S. could slash its energy use by the equivalent of what is currently used by 12 to 15 million Americans if commercial buildings fully used energy-efficiency controls nationwide.

How a Single Chemical Bond Balances Cells Between Life and Death

With SLAC's X-ray laser and synchrotron, scientists measured exactly how much energy goes into keeping a crucial chemical bond from triggering a cell's death spiral.

New Efficient, Low-Temperature Catalyst for Converting Water and CO to Hydrogen Gas and CO2

Scientists have developed a new low-temperature catalyst for producing high-purity hydrogen gas while simultaneously using up carbon monoxide (CO). The discovery could improve the performance of fuel cells that run on hydrogen fuel but can be poisoned by CO.

Study Sheds Light on How Bacterial Organelles Assemble

Scientists at Berkeley Lab and Michigan State University are providing the clearest view yet of an intact bacterial microcompartment, revealing at atomic-level resolution the structure and assembly of the organelle's protein shell. This work can help provide important information for research in bioenergy, pathogenesis, and biotechnology.

A Single Electron's Tiny Leap Sets Off 'Molecular Sunscreen' Response

In experiments at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists were able to see the first step of a process that protects a DNA building block called thymine from sun damage: When it's hit with ultraviolet light, a single electron jumps into a slightly higher orbit around the nucleus of a single oxygen atom.

Researchers Find New Mechanism for Genome Regulation

The same mechanisms that separate mixtures of oil and water may also help the organization of an unusual part of our DNA called heterochromatin, according to a new study by Berkeley Lab researchers. They found that liquid-liquid phase separation helps heterochromatin organize large parts of the genome into specific regions of the nucleus. The work addresses a long-standing question about how DNA functions are organized in space and time, including how genes are silenced or expressed.

The Rise of Giant Viruses

Research reveals that giant viruses acquire genes piecemeal from others, with implications for bioenergy production and environmental cleanup.

Grasses: The Secrets Behind Their Success

Researchers find a grass gene affecting how plants manage water and carbon dioxide that could be useful to growing biofuel crops on marginal land.

SLAC Experiment is First to Decipher Atomic Structure of an Intact Virus with an X-ray Laser

An international team of scientists has for the first time used an X-ray free-electron laser to unravel the structure of an intact virus particle on the atomic level. The method dramatically reduces the amount of virus material required, while also allowing the investigations to be carried out several times faster than before. This opens up entirely new research opportunities.


Filters:

Chicago Quantum Exchange to Create Technologically Transformative Ecosystem

The University of Chicago is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to launch an intellectual hub for advancing academic, industrial and governmental efforts in the science and engineering of quantum information.

Department of Energy Awards Six Research Contracts Totaling $258 Million to Accelerate U.S. Supercomputing Technology

Today U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced that six leading U.S. technology companies will receive funding from the Department of Energy's Exascale Computing Project (ECP) as part of its new PathForward program, accelerating the research necessary to deploy the nation's first exascale supercomputers.

Cynthia Jenks Named Director of Argonne's Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division

Argonne has named Cynthia Jenks the next director of the laboratory's Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division. Jenks currently serves as the assistant director for scientific planning and the director of the Chemical and Biological Sciences Division at Ames Laboratory.

Argonne-Developed Technology for Producing Graphene Wins TechConnect National Innovation Award

A method that significantly cuts the time and cost needed to grow graphene has won a 2017 TechConnect National Innovation Award. This is the second year in a row that a team at Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials has received this award.

Honeywell UOP and Argonne Seek Research Collaborations in Catalysis Under Technologist in Residence Program

Researchers at Argonne are collaborating with Honeywell UOP scientists to explore innovative energy and chemicals production.

Follow the Fantastic Voyage of the ICARUS Neutrino Detector

The ICARUS neutrino detector, born at Gran Sasso National Lab in Italy and refurbished at CERN, will make its way across the sea to Fermilab this summer. Follow along using an interactive map online.

JSA Awards Graduate Fellowships for Research at Jefferson Lab

Jefferson Sciences Associates announced today the award of eight JSA/Jefferson Lab graduate fellowships. The doctoral students will use the fellowships to support their advanced studies at their universities and conduct research at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) - a U.S. Department of Energy nuclear physics laboratory managed and operated by JSA, a joint venture between SURA and PAE Applied Technologies.

Muon Magnet's Moment Has Arrived

On May 31, the 50-foot-wide superconducting electromagnet at the center of the Muon g-2 experiment saw its first beam of muon particles from Fermilab's accelerators, kicking off a three-year effort to measure just what happens to those particles when placed in a stunningly precise magnetic field. The answer could rewrite scientists' picture of the universe and how it works.

Seven Small Businesses to Collaborate with Argonne to Solve Technical Challenges

Seven small businesses have been selected to collaborate with researchers at Argonne to address technical challenges as part of DOE's Small Business Vouchers Program.

JSA Names Charles Perdrisat and Charles Sinclair as Co-Recipients of its 2017 Outstanding Nuclear Physicist Prize

Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, announced today that Charles Perdrisat and Charles Sinclair are the recipients of the 2017 Outstanding Nuclear Physicist Prize. The 2017 JSA Outstanding Nuclear Physicist Award is jointly awarded to Charles Perdrisat for his pioneering implementation of the polarization transfer technique to determine proton elastic form factors, and to Charles Sinclair for his crucial development of polarized electron beam technology, which made such measurements, and many others, possible.


Filters:

Oxygen: The Jekyll and Hyde of Biofuels

Scientists are devising ways to protect plants, biofuels and, ultimately, the atmosphere itself from damage caused by an element that sustains life on earth.

The Rise of Giant Viruses

Research reveals that giant viruses acquire genes piecemeal from others, with implications for bioenergy production and environmental cleanup.

Grasses: The Secrets Behind Their Success

Researchers find a grass gene affecting how plants manage water and carbon dioxide that could be useful to growing biofuel crops on marginal land.

New Perspectives Into Arctic Cloud Phases

Teamwork provides insight into complicated cloud processes that are important to potential environmental changes in the Arctic.

Mountaintop Plants and Soils to Become Out of Sync

Plants and soil microbes may be altered by climate warming at different rates and in different ways, meaning vital nutrient patterns could be misaligned.

If a Tree Falls in the Amazon

For the first time, scientists pinpointed how often storms topple trees, helping to predict how changes in Amazonia affect the world.

Turning Waste into Fuels, Microbial Style

A newly discovered metabolic process linking different bacteria in a community could enhance bioenergy production.

Department of Energy Awards Six Research Contracts Totaling $258 Million to Accelerate U.S. Supercomputing Technology

Today U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced that six leading U.S. technology companies will receive funding from the Department of Energy's Exascale Computing Project (ECP) as part of its new PathForward program, accelerating the research necessary to deploy the nation's first exascale supercomputers.

Electrifying Magnetism

Researchers create materials with controllable electrical and magnetic properties, even at room temperature.

One Step Closer to Practical Fast Charging Batteries

Novel electrode materials have designed pathways for electrons and ions during the charge/discharge cycle.


PNNL Supports White House Efforts on Soil

Article ID: 665933

Released: 2016-12-05 14:05:13

Source Newsroom: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

  • Credit: Photo courtesy of PNNL

    Soil under scrutiny at PNNL

PNNL supports White House efforts on soil

Dozens of scientists performing research on planet Earth’s fragile ‘skin’

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Earth’s soil is a very active but poorly understood ecosystem right beneath our feet. The Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has two ongoing research efforts exploring the properties of this important – but oft-overlooked – system. The research, involving a range of diverse projects looking at soil’s role in Earth’s climate, the environment, food and fuel production, supports today’s announcement by the White House of a framework for Federal soil science to maintain and create healthy soils.

The White House announcement comes on the same day that the National Academy of Sciences puts its focus on soil. The academy’s workshop, “Soils: The Foundation of Life,” attracted scientists from around the nation, including PNNL’s Vanessa Bailey, Janet Jansson and Kathe Todd-Brown. Participants are discussing soil in relation to national security, climate, food security, biodiversity and other issues.

The two soil-related PNNL efforts, known as MinT and IPASS, are internally funded by the laboratory through its Laboratory Directed Research and Development program. Through the two PNNL initiatives, approximately $20 million supports research related to soil – a critical ecosystem resource that makes food and bioenergy crop production possible, influences the quality of the air we breathe, and has a broad impact on climate. These projects are in addition to several other soil-related research studies at PNNL funded by the Department of Energy Office of Science.

MinT: Microbiomes in Transition

In the MinT initiative, more than two dozen PNNL researchers are focusing on the role of microbes in soil, climate, health and the environment. In soil, microorganisms living in communities known collectively as microbiomes perform most of the activity that occurs in soil, helping to determine plant health, crop productivity, how the land stores carbon, when and how carbon is released into the environment, and the fate of contaminants and other compounds in the environment.

Just a teaspoon of soil has tens of thousands of different microbial species present – an army of actors on which Earth depends for its future. The soil microbiome is crucial to understanding how plants take up nutrients and how crops sustain or develop resistance to conditions like drought.

Three years remain on this research effort, which is led by Janet Jansson.

IPASS: Integrated Plant Atmosphere Soil Systems

In this four-year initiative launched earlier this year, 20 PNNL scientists are studying fundamental processes that affect the flow and transformation of carbon, nitrogen and water through the plant ecosystem. Soil, plants and the atmosphere are all important to the health and future of the planet, but many research efforts look at the components separately. The IPASS team is looking at the interactions between plants, microbes, the soil and the atmosphere as one – very complex – system, including the effects of genetic information in the plants and the effects of environmental factors including climate.

Scientists will take an unprecedented look at the “rhizosphere,” the area in soil surrounding a plant’s roots. This root zone holds great sway over the climate. Plants take in carbon from the atmosphere and can send it through their roots into the soil, or they can shunt the carbon into their leaves and other structures. And once carbon is in plants and soil, its fate – mainly whether it enters the ecosystem or stays locked in the ground – depends on a number of factors. Understanding the factors that determine what happens to the load of carbon absorbed by plants and stored in the soil will help scientists plan for the future.

IPASS is led by Christer Jansson, who has done extensive work deciphering the factors that underlie the growth of plants, particularly drought-resistant plants, which could be used as fuel or food.

Recent contributions

The three PNNL participants in today’s academy workshop have all made important contributions to our knowledge of soil:

• Earlier this year, Bailey and colleague Ben Bond-Lamberty showed that microbes in soil may not be as resilient as scientists have thought when it comes to climate change. Next week, at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, Bailey will give an update on the fate of carbon in soil. Later this week she will host a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session on the topic.

• Janet Jansson is helping scientists worldwide map out ways to expand our knowledge of microbes in soil. Last year she published findings in Nature that explore how the activity of microbes in permafrost will change with warmer temperatures. She is part of another White House effort, on the microbiome, and is a leader bringing together scientists from around the world to decide on next steps in research, including the technologies necessary for further discoveries.

• Todd-Brown is part of an international team that just last week published a paper in Nature showing that carbon stored in soil is expected to be released at an accelerating rate in the next few decades.

# # #