Clear batteries, mucus busters, a 3-D invisibility cloak and more in this week's news
Breaking up is hard for goo
Scientists have hit upon a couple of compounds that weaken the stiff mucus that afflicts the lungs of many cystic fibrosis patients. Mucus usually forms a sticky blanket that traps and helps clear inhaled particles, but in people with cystic fibrosis, fibrous bundles of DNA make mucus stiff, thick and tough to clear. Two extracts from alginate, a primary ingredient in algae cell walls, disrupt mucous interactions, Catherine Nordgård and Kurt Draget of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology report in an upcoming Biomacromolecules. The compounds may be useful for modifying mucus in the respiratory tract and beyond —Rachel Ehrenberg
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.