A British Nobel Prize winner is hoping to revolutionise the mining industry with a new technique for extracting gold that does away with poisonous cyanide. Sir Fraser Stoddart, the Scottish-born scientist who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2016, is behind a new start-up that is testing a starch-based method of separating gold from ore. The “serendipitous discovery” by Sir Fraser’s research team at Northwestern University in Chicago is being developed by his company Cycladex in Nevada.

The technique uses a hydrogen peroxide-based substance that combines with a cornstarch-derived compound to extract gold at ambient temperatures.

Fossils from 1.6 billion years ago may be oldest-known plants

Fossils unearthed in India that are 1.6 billion years old and look like red algae may represent the earliest-known plants, a discovery that could force scientists to reassess the timing of when major lineages in the tree of life first appeared on Earth.

Researchers on Tuesday described the tiny, multicellular fossils as two types of red algae, one thread-like and the other bulbous, that lived in a shallow marine environment alongside mats of bacteria. Until now, the oldest-known plants were 1.2-billion-year-old red algae fossils from the Canadian Arctic. The researchers said cellular structures preserved in the fossils and their overall shape match red algae, a primitive kind of plant that today thrives in marine settings such as coral reefs but also can be found in freshwater environments. A type of red algae known as nori is a common sushi ingredient.

Courtesy www.telegraph.co.uk

Published in Young Nation magazine on March 25, 2017