European Chemistry Congress: Bon bons of interesting chemistry

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– Kosuke Yoshida of Tokai University in Shizuoka, Japan has found a marine microalga, with the handsome name Nannochloropsis oculata, that can be trained to chop the noxious chemical formaldehyde into relatively benign ethyl formate. Yoshida is interested in using the trained strain to mitigate formaldehyde used to control parasites that live on fish gills in aquaculture.

– Hungarian Chemistry celeb George Olah was here yesterday, promoting his new book, Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy. He chatted with invitees just a few yards from where he is immortalized on a plaque listing Hungarian Nobel prize winners.

– A chat in the hotel bar with a fellow attendee reveals to ignorant old me that there is such a thing as Philosophy of Chemistry, and that it’s main journal is elegantly named Hyle, after the ancient Greek for “matter”. Further investigation reveals that Nature regular Phil Ball has a paper in the latest edition examining attitudes towards chemists in recent American fiction. The rest of the issue, all about the public image of chemistry is also very interesting. Awesome.

– Mobile phones might be bad for you, especially if your head is a vat of solution of lactoperoxidase, according to Roberta de Carolis of the University of Rome.

– Broccoli sprouts have more glucosinolates—a precursor to cancer-preventing Isothiocyanates—than full grown broccoli.

– The Seine is filled with caffeine and pain relievers.