Pharmaceutical products, pesticides – many harmful substances pollute drinking water, and not only in Germany. Sewage treatment plants are ineffectual against them. Researchers are working on a solution: environmentally friendly chemicals that decompose on their own.
Germany’s drinking water is not as clean as it looks. Treatment plants are unable to remove many biologically active substances such as medications and pesticides, which persist in the water supply, with possible long-term effects on human health. That is why researchers in Lüneburg are proposing a new concept involving biodegradable medicines.
They have already developed an anticancer drug that breaks down in wastewater. In the pipeline are chemicals for use by textile manufacturers. The hope is that pharmaceutical and chemical companies will join in the environment-friendly project.
Prof. Dietrich Borchardt from the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research is talking about ways that science can contribute to secure the quality of groundwater in Germany and other countries.
European scientists are working on improving the raspberry. In addition to lots of vitamins and minerals, these fruits contain polyphenols, which are bioactive substances that may benefit human health. Researchers have discovered that the presence of certain fungi in the ground can cause levels of polyphenols in the berries to rise.
Ulf Andersson Ørom pursues his research in Berlin at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics. The 33-year-old Dane heads a team there looking at genes that are key to development. At home, Ørom is involved in the topic at a practical level as well: his first child was born just a few weeks ago.
Tomorrow Today’s ‘Brilliant Minds’ series presents young researchers from all over the world who have chosen to live and work in Germany.
Abhee Purbhoo from Port Louis (Mauritius) wants to know: Why is nuclear fusion so difficult on earth?
A German-Georgian team of mining archeologists has discovered a 5,000 year old gold mine not far from the Georgian capital Tbilisi. They believe it may be the oldest one in the world. The excavations show that the technology of the time was at a surprisingly high level.
The gold was extracted from the rock 25 meters underground with a host of stone tools and sophisticated techniques - thousands of years before the invention of dynamite!