ResearchPad - artificial-light Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Thalamic, cortical, and amygdala involvement in the processing of a natural sound cue of danger]]> When others stop and silence ensues, animals respond as if threatened. This study highlights the brain areas involved in listening to the dangerous silence.

<![CDATA[A paper-based, cell-free biosensor system for the detection of heavy metals and date rape drugs]]>

Biosensors have emerged as a valuable tool with high specificity and sensitivity for fast and reliable detection of hazardous substances in drinking water. Numerous substances have been addressed using synthetic biology approaches. However, many proposed biosensors are based on living, genetically modified organisms and are therefore limited in shelf life, usability and biosafety. We addressed these issues by the construction of an extensible, cell-free biosensor. Storage is possible through freeze drying on paper. Following the addition of an aqueous sample, a highly efficient cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) reaction is initiated. Specific allosteric transcription factors modulate the expression of ‘superfolder’ green fluorescent protein (sfGFP) depending on the presence of the substance of interest. The resulting fluorescence intensities are analyzed with a conventional smartphone accompanied by simple and cheap light filters. An ordinary differential equitation (ODE) model of the biosensors was developed, which enabled prediction and optimization of performance. With an optimized cell-free biosensor based on the Shigella flexneri MerR transcriptional activator, detection of 6 μg/L Hg(II) ions in water was achieved. Furthermore, a completely new biosensor for the detection of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), a substance used as date-rape drug, was established by employing the naturally occurring transcriptional repressor BlcR from Agrobacterium tumefaciens.

<![CDATA[Description of a new species of the Neotropical cichlid genus Gymnogeophagus Miranda Ribeiro, 1918 (Teleostei: Cichliformes) from the Middle Paraná basin, Misiones, Argentina]]>

Gymnogeophagus jaryi, new species, is described from Southern tributaries of the Middle Paraná basin in Misiones. It can be distinguished from all other members of the genus, except from G. australis and G. caaguazuensis, by the presence of a hyaline to grey anterior portion of the dorsal fin. Gymnogeophagus jaryi differs from G. caaguazuensis by a longer caudal peduncle, caudal fin not lyrate, central portion of scales on dorsal portion of trunk light iridescent blue and by white spots in soft portion of dorsal fin in adult males, and from G. australis by the light iridescent blue coloration of central portion of scales on the dorsal portion of trunk and tail, and by the lack of scales on the soft portion of the dorsal fin. Additionally, it can be diagnosed by the following unique combination of characters: 10–11 dorsal-fin branched rays, 27–30 E1 scales, absence of lips thickening, and, in males, by the possession of a hump in adults, caudal fin not lyrate, presence of large white spots forming transversal stripes distally and in anterior area of the dorsal fin’s soft portion, central area of scales on the dorsal portion of the trunk light iridescent blue, lack of scales on the base of the dorsal fin’s soft portion, absence of a conspicuous and oblique dark band from the eye to the anterior border of the head, anterior portion of dorsal fin hyaline to grey, scales of the midlateral spot each bearing a semicircular light blue blotch, head hump starting at the horizontal through the eyes, concave anterior profile in lateral view, base of unpaired fins yellow, and whitish hyaline spots on caudal fin. The new species, based on mtDNA phylogeny, is the sister species of G. caaguazuensis from the Paraguay basin and is closely related to G. australis.

<![CDATA[Environmental factors in school classrooms: How they influence visual task demand on children]]>


The key visual factors in a classroom environment include the legibility, angle subtended at the eye, illumination, contrast, and colour of the visual task. The study evaluated the visual environmental factors in the school classrooms.

Materials and methods

The distance Visual Acuity (VA) demand was evaluated based on the size of visual task i.e. the smallest size of chalkboard writing and its viewing distance. The environmental factors which can have an effect on the visibility in classrooms such as illuminance on the chalkboard and at student’s desk, chalkboard contrast, light sources and the student’s perception of their classroom visual environment were measured. To quantify the distance VA demand and to compare with a standard high contrast VA chart measure, a validation of the measurements was performed by chalkboard simulation experiment. The “acuity reserve” to be included to the measured distance VA demand was evaluated.


We included twenty-nine classrooms of eight schools. The median distance VA threshold demand was 0.28 logMAR(0.25,0.45). The median illuminance on front desk position and chalkboard contrast was 130 lux(92,208) and 40(36,50) respectively with 62% classrooms having low illumination (<150lux). The acuity reserve evaluated to be included to the distance VA demand was 0.13logMAR and 0.29 logMAR in classrooms with optimal and low chalkboard illumination respectively which was based on the results of the simulation experiment. The median distance VA demand including the acuity reserve was 0.09 logMAR(-0.03,0.23) [Snellen Equivalent: 20/25(20/19,20/34)].


The study findings highlight the increased visual task demand in school classrooms and the need for appropriate seating arrangements in classrooms based on the visual acuity of children. The study emphasises regular audit of the classroom environment along with the school eye screening.

<![CDATA[Unique photosynthetic electron transport tuning and excitation distribution in heterokont algae]]>

Heterokont algae are significant contributors to marine primary productivity. These algae have a photosynthetic machinery that shares many common features with that of Viridiplantae (green algae and land plants). Here we demonstrate, however, that the photosynthetic machinery of heterokont algae responds to light fundamentally differently than that of Viridiplantae. While exposure to high light leads to electron accumulation within the photosynthetic electron transport chain in Viridiplantae, this is not the case in heterokont algae. We use this insight to manipulate the photosynthetic electron transport chain and demonstrate that heterokont algae can dynamically distribute excitation energy between the two types of photosystems. We suggest that the reported electron transport and excitation distribution features are adaptations to the marine light environment.