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Environmentally friendly production of mandelic acid

Sometimes potentially useful enzymes are not easy to discover because their biocatalytic capabilities may go beyond their natural and thus known range of action. By recombining a newly discovered enzymatic capability, a research team from the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology led by Tobias Erb created a “green” way to produce mandelic acid.

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Solving the space junk problem

Space is getting crowded. Aging satellites and space debris crowd low-Earth orbit, and launching new satellites adds to the collision risk. The most effective way to solve the space junk problem, according to a new study, is not to capture debris or deorbit old satellites: it’s an international agreement to charge operators “orbital-use fees” for every satellite put into orbit.

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Does MRI have an environmental impact?

Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have surveyed the amount of gadolinium found in river water in Tokyo. Gadolinium is contained in contrast agents given to patients undergoing medical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and it has been shown in labs to become toxic when exposed to ultraviolet rays. The researchers found significantly elevated levels, particularly near water treatment plants, highlighting the need for new public policy and removal technologies as MRI become even more commonplace.

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Multitasking in the workplace can lead to negative emotions

From writing papers to answering emails, it’s common for office workers to juggle multiple tasks at once. But those constant interruptions can actually create sadness and fear and eventually, a tense working environment, according to a new study aimed at understanding what shapes the emotional culture of a workplace.

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