Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

strongest glue: A bacterium that inhabits rivers, streams and human aqueducts uses nature's strongest glue to stay in one place, according to a study by scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and Brown University, both in the US.

The scientists found a force of about 1 micronewton had to be applied to remove a single Caulobacter crescentus from a glass pipette. This force is equivalent to a huge stress of 70 newtons per square millimetre (sq mm). For comparison, commercial "super" glue breaks when a shear force of 18-28 newtons per sq mm is applied.

drug risk: Women who take Prozac or similar antidepressants during pregnancy may increase the likelihood that their baby will be stillborn, premature, or of low birthweight, claims a new study.

Conducted by researchers from the University of Ottawa in Canada, it compares the health of babies born to 972 women taking antidepressants with a control group whose members did not take the drugs during pregnancy. Women in the first group were almost twice as likely to have a low birth-weight baby as those in the control group. Almost 20 per cent of the first group gave birth prematurely, while the control group had a premature baby rate of 12 per cent.

organic nitrogen: Scientists have found that organic nitrogen is more important for plant growth than previously thought.

It is generally believed that the most important source of nitrogen for plants is inorganic nitrogen, supplied mainly through fertilisers. However, researchers from the University of Lancaster and the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research in the UK have found organic nitrogen can be directly taken up by plants. Their findings have significant implications in unfertilised, low-productivity grasslands where organic nitrogen often appears in greater concentrations than inorganic forms

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.