Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Ноябрь 2016 г.

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2016 г.
Российская наука и мир
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)

январь февраль март апрель май июнь июль август сентябрь октябрь ноябрь декабрь

    Nature / 01 November 2016
    Russian science at the crossroads
    Upheaval in the former superpower is bad for research and the wider world.
    Редакционная статья журнала Nature о том, как может сказаться меняющийся геополитический климат на российской науке и международном сотрудничестве.

As the United States goes to the polls after an unprecedentedly vulgar election campaign, its former cold-war rival is exuding strength and confidence. Just last week, Russia cited its proud history of exploration and science in Antarctica when giving the green light to an international agreement to create a vast marine reserve in the Ross Sea. Even so, Vladimir Putin's chauvinistic approach to politics has a certain appeal to some - at home and abroad.
The Russian leader's perplexing popularity in some circles detracts from his enduring failure to modernize his country's government, society and economy. Russia's flagging science system is in dire need of a cure, too. But the recent appointment of Olga Vasilyeva as Putin's science and education minister casts strong doubts on whether the right healers are at work. Vasilyeva, an ultra-conservative historian, is mainly known for her affinity with the Russian Orthodox Church and her ambivalence towards Stalin.
Russian science is still struggling to recover from decades of neglect and post-Soviet degradation. Its research community is isolated. Foreign students and scientists are a rare commodity at Russian universities and research institutes. A generously funded government scheme to attract top foreign researchers to Russian labs is hampered by red tape: Westerners attempting collaborative science in Russia often complain that the security services and customs authorities interfere with civil research - harassments that many Russian scientists have been quietly enduring for many years.
According to official reading, science is held in high esteem. Putin and the clique of allies he has placed in key positions in industry and administration like to think of Russia as a technological powerhouse. But government programmes such as RUSNANO, a multibillion-rouble nanotechnology initiative launched in 2007, have by all accounts delivered little in terms of innovation. The Skolkovo Innovation Centre outside Moscow, hailed as a Russian Silicon Valley, grapples with allegations of embezzlement against members of its management body. Private initiatives and philanthropic ventures, meanwhile, are feeling the effects of jealous state control: the Moscow-based Dynasty Foundation, a rare private science-funding body, ceased operations last year after it was labelled an undesired "foreign agent".
Even so, some growth in public science spending in recent years, together with plans to strengthen universities and streamline the oversized Russian Academy of Sciences (which runs hundreds of research institutes), raised hopes that things might start to improve. Dmitry Livanov, a dynamic physicist who ran the science ministry from 2012, had seemed the right person to push through a series of reforms to get Russian science back on course. It came as a shock, therefore, when Putin fired him in August.
The reasons for Livanov's abrupt departure remain unclear, although they are likely to be political rather than related to the performance of the ministry he headed. His dismissal might be considered a win for the Russian Academy of Sciences and for numerous low-profile universities, which he intended to close. But wins in these cases would not be a win for Russian science at large.
The arrival of his successor has created fresh uncertainty. In one of her first moves, on 28 September, Vasilyeva announced her intention to suspend planned university mergers and expressed doubts about the future of a government programme to create five world-class universities by 2020. Then last month she said that Russian scholars and scientists should be assessed primarily on the basis of their publications in Russian-language academic journals. Scientists were puzzled: would the proposed system apply only to the humanities or to all fields of research, in which case it would render much of Russian science a footnote in global terms? Her ministry has failed to respond to requests for clarification from Nature.
Livanov's removal and Vasilyeva's awkward manoeuvres during her first months in office indicate that science and science-related affairs are becoming increasingly subject to Putin's autocratic scheming. Moscow's suspension last week of an agreement with the United States on cleaning up weapons-grade plutonium fits with that view.
But no matter how tense the geopolitical climate, Putin must understand that isolationism leads to a dead end in both science and politics. Livanov's reforms should continue, and Vasilyeva must urgently provide Russia's anxious research community with a clear outlook. Putin and his ministers must also strive for more constructive international collaboration, in science and in other spheres. Russia cannot go it alone, either in science or in Syria. One can only hope that its consent to join efforts to protect the high seas might herald a new era.

© 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All Rights Reserved.
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    Les Echos / Le 02/11/2016
    Quand la Russie fait son Web Summit
    • Nicolas Rauline
    26-28 октября в Сколково прошел пятый форум «Открытые инновации», российский аналог таких международных мероприятий, как CES (International Consumer Electronics Show) и Web Summit, где представляются последние тенденции и инновационные проекты в сфере высоких технологий.

L'Open Innovations Forum était organisé la semaine dernière, sur le site de Skolkovo. L'événement doit être pour la Russie l'équivalent du CES ou du Web Summit.
La vie n'est pas un long fleuve tranquille pour Skolkovo. Le projet public de « Silicon Valley russe » en a encore fait l'expérience lors de l'Open Innovations Forum, qui se tenait la semaine dernière dans la banlieue de Moscou, sur le site même de ce qui promet d'être le plus grand centre technologique d'Europe, et où les start-up ont l'habitude de travailler.
La session plénière inaugurale, à laquelle participaient plusieurs têtes d'affiche de la cinquième édition cette conférence (le vice-président d'Amazon en charge de l'innovation Paul Misener, le patron d'Hyperloop Dirk Ahlborn, le Ministre israélien des sciences et technologies Ofir Akunis...), a été interrompue avant son terme. Le Premier ministre russe Dmitri Medvedev n'a pas pu prendre la parole. Il a été évacué de la salle alors que trois impressionnantes détonations venaient de retentir. Un haut parleur venait de rendre l'âme, et un court-circuit menaçait la sécurité de l'événement.
« Champion du monde ou pas champion du tout »
Quelques minutes plus tard, l'événement reprenait son cours, Dmitri Medvedev pouvait même continuer sa visite, sur un lieu qu'il a lui-même grandement contribué à faire sortir de terre. C'est lui, en effet, qui a lancé le projet Skolkovo il y a plus de six ans. Et cet Open Innovations Forum doit être pour la Russie l'équivalent du Consumer Electronics Show de Las Vegas, ou du Web Summit pour l'Europe.
« A l'origine, c'était surtout un lieu d'échange d'idées, de pistes de régulation entre les entreprises et le secteur public, pour que l'économie russe maintienne sa compétitivité en matière d'innovation, raconte Alexander Chernov, vice-président de la fondation Skolkovo en charge de la communication extérieure. Mais il a fallu lui donner une dimension internationale car dans le secteur de l'innovation, de la technologie, on est champion du monde ou on n'est pas champion du tout. »
DJ et nucléaire
Comme sur son parc technologique, où résident déjà - ou vont résider - les Microsoft, Samsung et autres Siemens, Skolkovo a donc tout fait pour attirer des intervenants du monde entier. Cette année, 95 pays étaient ainsi représentés, parfois par une seule personne : le double de l'an dernier. « Si les gens viennent, c'est qu'ils voient un intérêt pour le marché russe », soutient Alexander Chernov.
Encore faudra-t-il, sans doute, développer les conférences en anglais pour attirer des intervenants plus divers : certaines interventions ne sont pas encore traduites et dans les allées de l'Open Innovations Forum, le russe reste la langue de communication par défaut.
Robot 100% russe
Pendant trois jours, se sont en tout cas succédé des concours de pitches, rythmés par une célèbre DJ russe et des hôtesses en tenue légère annonçant les « rounds », façon match de boxe, des discussions sur l'état de l'innovation en Russie et dans le monde sur des thèmes aussi variés que le e-commerce, le marketing, le nucléaire ou l'aérospatiale, et des présentations de nouveaux produits.
Comme le « Promobot », un robot 100% russe intégrant des couches d'intelligence artificielle, de reconnaissance faciale et vocale, et quelques gadgets pour faire plaisir aux geeks. Il est même l'interprète d'une chanson intitulée « Faisons du business ensemble ». Tout un programme pour un secteur qui, en Russie, défend l'intensification des échanges avec l'Europe, l'Asie et les Etats-Unis.

Tous droits réservés - Les Echos 2016.
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    Phys.Org / November 14, 2016
    Scientists discover the effect of red light on fluorescent protein
    Dendra2 - фотоактивируемый флуоресцентный белок. При интенсивном облучении светом определенной длины волны он меняет флуоресцентные свойства, что удобно для наблюдений. До сих пор переключение из зеленой формы в красную достигалось с помощью фиолетового излучения, которое могло повредить живые клетки. Сотрудники Института биоорганической химии РАН и Нижегородской государственной медицинской академии предложили новый метод - одновременное облучение синим и красным светом с длиной волны 630-650 нм. Это не вредит клеткам, к тому же более доступно для исследователей, поскольку такую длину обеспечивают стандартные недорогие красные лазеры.

Researchers have developed a new method of switching the Dendra2 fluorescent protein from its green to red form. This phenomenon does not inflict damage to the cells under study, and can be used for a wide range of research. The research results were published in Chemical Сommunications.
Dendra2 is a photo-activated fluorescent protein that was developed 10 years ago by researchers at the M.M. Shemyakin and Yu.A. Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences based on the Dendra protein from a particular kind of coral, the Dendronephthya sp. octocorals. These proteins are capable of undergoing significant change in their fluorescent properties when irradiated with a certain amount of light of a specific wavelength. Today, they are among the most popular tools for monitoring and tracking proteins, cells and tissues, and are particularly suitable for ultrahigh-resolution fluorescence microscopy.
Studies done on the mechanisms through which this protein are light-activated, in particular switching from green to red form under violet or blue light, had long been considered exhaustive. However, a year ago, researchers discovered that the weak photoactivation of the protein under blue light could be repeatedly strengthened by simultaneous irradiation via laser in the near infrared range (700 to 780 nm). This renders unnecessary the use of violet light, which can harm living tissue. However, the process itself involves using costly infrared lasers. In the new study, researchers from the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy discovered that even light sources with a substantially shorter wavelength in the red region of the visible spectrum (630-650 nm) are able to induce the same effect.
"During the study, we were able to demonstrate a significant increase in photoactivation efficiency when living cells are simultaneously irradiated with blue and red light under ultrahigh-resolution fluorescence microscopy," notes Alexander Mishin, Ph.D., one of the researchers from the IBCh RAS Laboratory of Biophotonics. "The cheap red lasers that are a standard part of many microscopes have made the new photoactivation method available to a wider range of researchers."
The data obtained from this collaborative research is of particular interest for understanding the photoactivation mechanism itself. As the scientists noted, this process is still riddled with many other unknowns, and even the nature of the unusual intermediate state of the fluorescent protein that absorbs light in a wide spectral range is still a mystery to this day.
Modern science implements several ways of using light to activate these proteins. The most common method involves transforming them from a green to a red fluorescent state. The first such protein was described by Japanese scientists in 2003, who managed to isolate it from madrepore. They named it Kaede, which means "maple leaf". However, this is not the only protein capable of changing its fluorescent properties in this way.

© Phys.org 2003-2016, Science X network.
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    The New York Times / Nov. 14, 2016
    Vast and Pristine, Russia's Lake Baikal Is Invaded by Toxic Algae
    • By Rachel Nuwer
    Статья об экологических проблемах Байкала: сбросе загрязняющих веществ, ведущему к избыточному росту водорослей; проекте (временно замороженном) Монголии по постройке восьми ГЭС на впадающих в Байкал реках; увеличивающемся потоке туристов; климатических изменениях.

LAKE BAIKAL, Russia - Yury Azhichakov set out early by bike for Senogda Bay, his favorite beach, on the northwestern shore of Lake Baikal in Siberia. The world's oldest, deepest and most voluminous lake, Baikal holds 20 percent of the planet's unfrozen freshwater. It is often described as the world's cleanest lake.
As Mr. Azhichakov discovered, that is no longer the case. Senogda's once pristine sands were buried under thick mats of reeking greenish-black goo.
"This stuff stretched far into the distance, for several kilometers," said Mr. Azhichakov, 61, a retired ecological engineer. "The beach was in terrible condition."
The muck, scientists have discovered, follows mass algal blooms at dozens of sites around Lake Baikal's 1,240-mile perimeter. Confined to shallow water and shores near towns and villages, the problem seems to stem from an influx of untreated sewage - the result of inadequate wastewater treatment.
Algal blooms threaten iconic freshwater bodies around the world, including the Great Lakes, Lake Geneva, and Lake Biwa in Japan. But Lake Baikal is especially precious: a World Heritage site home to more than 3,700 species, more than half found nowhere else.
"People are dumping sewage, waste and rubbish around the lake, creating pretty appalling conditions in some places," said Anson MacKay, an environmental scientist at University College London.
Runoff from fertilizers and other pollutants leads to so-called eutrophication, an excessive growth of algae. These blooms eventually deplete the water of oxygen, suffocating aquatic plants and animals.
Russian scientists had assumed that Lake Baikal is simply too vast to suffer such a fate, but recent growth in tourism and development seem to be changing the calculus.
"We have a saying in Russia: A clever person is trained on the mistakes of others," said Oleg Timoshkin, a biologist at the Russian Academy of Science's Limnological Institute in Irkutsk, 40 miles from Baikal's southwestern shore. "Unfortunately, we're now repeating the mistakes of so many other countries."
Dr. Timoshkin and his colleagues have found that Spirogyra, a type of green algae that had rarely grown in Lake Baikal's shallow zones, accounts for the outbreaks. In Severobaikalsk, Mr. Azhichakov's town, the researchers traced Spirogyra blooms to locations downstream of the town's wastewater facility, as well as to an illegal sewage dumping site. The researchers also found little difference in phosphorus and nitrogen content - indicators of synthetic detergents and fecal material - in treated and untreated water entering the lake. And, as it turned out, Russian Railways had been adding industrial-grade waste to the town's sewage system, overwhelming it. Despite remedial action, high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen in Severobaikalsk's wastewater persist even today, and fecal bacteria in treated wastewater have turned up at various sites around Lake Baikal. Dr. Timoshkin's team is trying to figure out which nutrients are fueling Spirogyra's growth. Spirogyra smothers other species of algae, and thousands of empty snail shells - gastropod cemeteries, as Dr. Timoshkin calls them - regularly wash up alongside the blooms. But the damage is more extensive than that.
Underwater forests of native Lake Baikal sponges have begun dying off. In nearly 90 dives around the lake, researchers have found that 30 to 100 percent of sponges are affected in a given area. The green stalks - some a century old - are turning a dull brown, reminiscent of cattails. The cause of death is unknown, although Dr. Timoshkin and his colleagues suspect that pathogens from sewage may be causing disease outbreaks, or that the influx of nutrients is causing symbiotic algae to vacate the sponges.
Without intervention, the researchers believe that the environmental damage will worsen. Algal blooms, for instance, can produce neurotoxins that are harmful to fish and crustaceans - and the humans who consume them. Last year, the largest algal bloom ever recorded shut down the crab and clam fisheries along the West Coast of the United States.
Along Lake Baikal, some locals say they can no longer drink water from their taps during blooms. Fishermen complain of Spirogyra tangling in their nets.
"Will Baikal be able to attract the same amount of tourism, which is a major part of the economy, if tourists show up and see a green lake?" said Ted Ozersky, a limnologist at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
In 2014, Dr. Timoshkin testified before the Duma, Russia's Parliament, about Lake Baikal's problems. Earlier this year, he and his colleagues also published their findings in The Journal of Great Lakes Research. They are calling for an immediate ban on synthetic detergents and for help from the federal government in reforming sewage facilities around the lake. But such fixes will probably be slow to come.
Some government officials and academics insist that the problems are caused by climate change, not pollution; others blame mud volcanoes, or even say that Lake Baikal's eutrophication is a lie made up by scientists to gain funding. Russia's Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment has yet to formally acknowledge that the lake's health is in question at all.
"One of the tragedies of Baikal is that top-level, senior scientists who are themselves never on a field expedition mistakenly believe that the lake can never be eutrophied because it is too huge, too pure and full of too much water," Dr. Timoshkin said. "It's an easy idea to have, but it's wrong."
Even as federal aid stalls, some people are attempting to address the problems where they live, organizing beach cleanups and trying to find ways to put the thousands of pounds of washed-up Spirogyra to use as fertilizer or material for making traditional Siberian paper.
Marina Rikhvanova, an award-winning environmental activist in Irkutsk who helped raise initial awareness about the Spirogyra outbreaks, persuaded a local investor to fund a plan for a prototype sewage treatment plant. "More and more people with various specialties and interests are working together for the lake," she said. "This, at least, is a source of optimism."
Eutrophication, however, is not the only threat to Lake Baikal.
Mongolia is planning to build up to eight hydroelectric dams on the Selenga River and its tributaries, the source of 50 percent of Lake Baikal's surface water. Despite hearings and protests in Russia and Mongolia, the Mongolian government - which imports around 8 percent of its energy from Russia and 12 percent from China - argues that the dams will help achieve energy independence and cut back on coal use.
Some experts think there must be a better way. Mongolia can technically produce around 100 gigawatts of power from wind and solar in their part of the Gobi Desert alone - about 90 times the country's current capacity, said Eugene Simonov, an international coordinator with the nonprofit Rivers Without Boundaries Coalition.
"Instead, the plan is to first build dams, then to develop a huge capacity to produce thermal energy from coal, then to build the next generation of big dams to offset the negative effects of coal on the climate and then, finally, to use some of the proceeds to build true renewables."
Researchers predict that Mongolia's dams would have significant ecological effects on Lake Baikal, including disrupting the flow of water and sediment into the lake, effecting the quality of breeding sites for birds and fish, and blocking migration routes.
"This is likely to be yet another step toward biotic homogenization, where widely distributed, cosmopolitan species like pike increase while unique endemic species like taimen lose ground," said Olaf Jensen, an aquatic ecologist at Rutgers University. "It's kind of the ecological equivalent of Starbucks replacing the local bodega."
Heeding such warnings, China, which is funding the largest of the projects, in July froze all dam construction until Mongolia and Russia jointly assess potential effects on the lake. "This is important, but just a small step in the right direction," Dr. Simonov said.
In October, however, Russian and Chinese tourism firms announced intentions to invest $11 billion in developing new hotels, attractions and infrastructure around the lake - a plan that Marianne Moore, an aquatic ecologist at Wellesley College, called "chilling."
"Even if the project is tightly regulated by the government, I'm unsure whether the coastal zone could be developed sustainably without harming it," she said. "Nutrient pollution from human waste and shoreline erosion will be enormous problems."
Overshadowing the threat of pollution and dams, however, is climate change, the effects of which are already being felt at Lake Baikal. Summer surface waters lake-wide have warmed about two degrees Celsius since 1977, and winter ice cover has decreased in duration and thickness compared with a century ago.
Plankton species associated with warm water have also increased in summer months. "The question that many ecologists are asking now is whether the endemic, cold-loving species will be able to adapt and persist if warm-loving species begin increasing in abundance," Dr. Moore said.
Another unanswered question is how the triple stressors of pollution, dams and climate change might combine to produce even greater effects on the lake. As Dr. Moore said, "Correcting the problems that we do have control over will help the lake respond as best it can to climate change."
But that first requires acknowledging that Lake Baikal is "absolutely ill," Dr. Timoshkin said.
"Will we Russians be able to show the world that Baikal can avoid the common fate of so many other lakes? That is a question I ask from the bottom of my heart."

© 2016 The New York Times Company.
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    Space / November 16, 2016
    NASA, Russia Set Flights for Trimmed-Down Space Station Crew
    • By Irene Klotz
    Экипаж Международной космической станции рассчитан на шесть человек, и российские космонавты обычно составляют половину. Но начиная со следующего запуска «Союза» в марте 2017 года, Россия планирует сократить одно место в своей команде на МКС и не восстанавливать его до запуска нового модуля - предположительно в 2018 году.

With Thursday's (Nov. 17) launch of three new crewmembers, the International Space Station (ISS) will be returned to full staffing - but not for long. Beginning with the next Soyuz launch, in March 2017, Russia is cutting one cosmonaut post from the station crew and doesn't plan to restore the job until a new module is launched, in 2018.
Cosmonauts typically comprise half the station's six-member crew, but "right now, we don't need it," Sergei Krikalev, a former cosmonaut who now oversees human spaceflight for the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, said in an interview at the International Astronautical Congress, which was held in late September in Guadalajara, Mexico.
"The Russian segment hasn't changed much for the last several years," Krikalev said. "When I flew on Expedition 11, I was on the Russian segment and [former NASA astronaut] John Phillips was on the American segment, so it's doable. It's difficult, but it's doable."
Russia intends to return to full staffing after its long-delayed Multipurpose Module (MLM) is launched. That flight, currently targeted for late next year, is likely to slip to 2018, Krikalev said. "We will need more people when we have more science," he said.
Following Thursday's launch of NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Russia's Oleg Novitskiy and Europe's Thomas Pesquet, the Russian job cut will leave an empty seat aboard two of the next four crew ferry flights, NASA said on Tuesday (Nov. 15).
That seat can't be sold for a space tourist flight, because there would be no return trip for several months.
NASA, which plans to add a fourth crewmember once flights from the United States resume, said in an email that the agency is not talking about buying extra seats from Roscosmos at this time.
"We are internally evaluating the advantages of an extra U.S. crewmember on orbit and determining the research and extra consumables needed to support the addition. We are also examining available funding," NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz told Space.com.
"We have concluded that a March 2017 option for a crewmember is not practical. There is not sufficient time to train nor sufficient research on board at that time to make effective use of the extra crew time," she added.
The decision will leave NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Russia's Fyodor Yurchikhin flying without a third crewmember in March 2017 for the Expedition 51/52 mission and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei flying only with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin for Expedition 53/54 in September, NASA said in a press release on Tuesday.
Two other launches in 2017, scheduled for May and October, will include a third crewmember from the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, respectively, NASA said.
NASA said it plans to add another member to the station crew once commercial space taxis, currently under development by SpaceX and Boeing, begin flying. The agency said it is hoping those flights begin in 2018. Since the retirement of the U.S. space shuttles in 2011, NASA has been dependent on Russia for station crew transportation, at a cost of more than $70 million per person.
In addition to its new science laboratory, Russia plans to add a docking module and a solar-power module to the ISS. All three components could be separated from the station once it is decommissioned, and those pieces will form the core of a new Russian orbital outpost, said Vladimir Solntsev, general director of the Russian space firm RSC Energia. Russia plans to end its participation in the ISS in 2024, Krikalev said.

Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved.
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    EurekAlert / 17-Nov-2016
    X-ray pulsars fade as propeller effect sets in
    Astrophysicists catch a glimpse of rapidly spinning neutron stars that "black out".
    Международная команда астрофизиков (Россия, Финляндия, Германия, Швеция, Нидерланды) впервые зафиксировала так называемый «эффект пропеллера», когда мощные вспышки излучения рентгеновского пульсара чередуются с быстрым угасанием. Теоретически явление было описано еще в начале 1970-х, но зарегистрировать его до сих пор не удавалось.

An international team of astrophysicists including Russian scientists from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), MIPT, and Pulkovo Observatory of RAS has detected an abrupt decrease of pulsar luminosity following giant outbursts. The phenomenon is associated with the so-called "propeller effect," which was predicted more than 40 years ago. However, this is the first study to reliably observe the transition of the two X-ray pulsars 4U 0115+63 and V 0332+53 to the "propeller regime." The results of the observations, the conclusions reached by the researchers, and the relevant calculations were published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
The two sources studied, 4U 0115+63 and V 0332+53, belong to a rather special class of transient X-ray pulsars. These stars alternately act as weak X-ray sources, undergo giant outbursts, and disappear from sight completely. The transitions of pulsars between different states provide valuable information about their magnetic field and the temperature of the surrounding matter. Such information is indispensable, as the immensely strong magnetic fields and extremely high temperatures make direct measurements impossible in a laboratory on Earth.
The name of a pulsar is preceded by a letter designating the first observatory to discover it, which is followed by a numerical code containing the coordinates of the pulsar. The "V" refers to Vela 5B, a US military satellite that was launched to spy on the Soviets. As for the "4U" in the other name, it stands for the fourth Uhuru catalog, compiled by the first observatory in orbit dedicated specifically to X-ray astronomy. Following the discovery of the first pulsar, it was originally known as "LGM-1" (for "little green men"), because it was a source of regular radio pulses, leading scientists to believe that they might have received a signal from intelligent extraterrestrials.
An X-ray pulsar is a rapidly spinning neutron star with a strong magnetic field. A neutron star can be part of a binary system. In a process that astrophysicists call accretion, the neutron star can channel gas from its normal star companion. The attracted gas spirals toward the neutron star forming an accretion disk, which is disrupted at the magnetosphere radius. During accretion the matter penetrates to a certain extent into the magnetosphere, "freezes into it," and flows along the lines of the magnetic field toward the magnetic poles of the neutron star. Falling toward the poles, the gas is heated to several hundred million degrees, which causes the emission of X-rays. If the magnetic axis of a neutron star is skewed relative to its rotational axis, the X-ray beams it emits rotate in a manner that resembles the way beacons work. For an "onshore" observer, the source appears to be sending signals at regular intervals ranging from fractions of a second to several minutes.
A neutron star is one of the possible remnants left behind by a supernova. It can be formed at the end of stellar evolution, if the original star was massive enough to allow gravitation to compress the stellar matter enough to make electrons combine with protons yielding neutrons. The magnetic field of a neutron star can be more than ten orders of magnitude stronger that any magnetic field that could be achieved on Earth.
A binary system where the normal star has filled its Roche lobe.
In a binary system, an X-ray pulsar is observed when the neutron star is accreting matter from its normal star companion-often a giant or a supergiant characterized by a strong stellar wind (ejection of matter into space). Alternatively, it can be a smaller star like our own Sun that has filled its Roche lobe-the region beyond which it is unable to hold on to the matter attracted by the gravity of the neutron star companion.
A NASA video showing the accretion of matter by a pulsar from its companion star.
The 4U 0115+63 and V 0332+53 pulsars are irregular X-ray sources (transients), owing to the fact that their stellar companions belong to the rather unusual Be star class. The axial rotation of a Be star is so rapid that it occasionally starts "bulging" at the equator, whereby a gas disk is formed around it, filling the Roche lobe. The neutron star starts rapidly accreting the gas from its "donor" companion, causing a sharp increase in X-ray emission called an X-ray outburst. At some point, after the matter in the equatorial bulge starts to deplete, the accretion disk becomes exhausted, and the gas can no longer fall onto the neutron star due to the influence of the magnetic field and the centrifugal force. This gives rise to a phenomenon known as the "propeller effect": the pulsar enters a state where accretion does not occur, and the X-ray source is no longer observed.
Astronomers use the term "luminosity" to refer to the total amount of energy emitted by a celestial body per unit time. The red line in the diagram represents the threshold luminosity for the 4U 0115+63 pulsar. Observations of the other source (V 0332+53) produced similar results. The blue lines mark the moments in time, when the distance between the pulsar and the companion was at a minimum. This proximity of the companion star might cause the neutron star to go into overdrive and resume emission (see diagram), provided that sufficient amounts of matter are still available for accretion.
The Russian scientists used the X-ray telescope (XRT) based on NASA's Swift space observatory to measure the threshold luminosity that marks the transition of a pulsar to the propeller regime. This parameter depends on the magnetic field and the rotational period of the pulsar. The rotational periods of the sources in this study are known based on the intervals between the pulses that we can register: 3.6 s in the case of 4U 0115+63 and 4.3 s for V 0332+53. Knowing both the threshold luminosity and the rotational period, one can calculate the strength of the magnetic field. The research findings are in agreement with the values obtained using other methods. However, the luminosity was only reduced by a factor of 200, as compared to the expected 400 times reduction. The researchers hypothesized that there could be two possible explanations for this discrepancy. Firstly, the neutron star surface could become an additional source of X-rays, as it cools down following an outburst. Secondly, the propeller effect could leave some room for matter transfer between the two stars, as opposed to sealing the neutron star off completely. In other words, an unaccounted for mechanism could be involved enabling accretion to continue to a certain extent.
The transition of a pulsar into the propeller mode is challenging to observe, as the low luminosity state cannot be detected easily. For 4U 0115+63 and V 0332+53, this was attempted following the previous outbursts of these sources. However, the instruments available at the time were not sensitive enough to see the pulsars in the "off-mode." This study is the first to demonstrate reliably that these two sources do indeed "black out." Moreover, the researchers showed that knowledge of the luminosity that marks the transition of pulsars into the propeller regime can be used to learn more about the structure and intensity of the magnetic fields around neutron stars.
Prof. Dr. Alexander Lutovinov of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of Laboratory at the Space Research Institute (IKI RAS) and a professor at MIPT, comments, "Knowledge of the structure of the magnetic fields of neutron stars is of paramount importance for our understanding of their formation and evolution. In this research, we determined the dipole magnetic field component, which is linked to the propeller effect, for two neutron stars. We demonstrate that this independently calculated value can be compared to the available results of magnetic field measurements based on the detection of cyclotron lines in the spectra of sources. By doing this, it is possible to estimate the contribution of the other, higher-order components in the field structure."

Copyright © 2016 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
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    The Planetary Society / 2016/11/17
    Spektr-RG sees (x-ray) light at the end of the tunnel
    • By Anatoly Zak
    Запуск российско-немецкой орбитальной астрофизической обсерватории «Спектр-РГ», уже отложенный несколько раз, теперь планируется на декабрь 2017 г. Поскольку осталось только проверить и установить телескопы (отечественный спектроскоп APT-XC и немецкий рентгеновский «eRosita», которым занимается Институт Макса Планка), есть надежда, что на этот раз все пройдет удачно.

After many years of development, a cutting-edge Russian-German space observatory with little-known contribution from the US is finally approaching the launch pad...or so its scientists say. Resembling a giant asymmetrical binocular, the Spektr-RG spacecraft is made of two dissimilar telescopes designed to capture intergalactic x-rays, which, fortunately for all but astrophysicists, does not reach the surface of the Earth. Spektr-RG will circle the Sun at a location 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth's nightside, using Earth as a natural sunshade for the telescope's hyper-sensitive instruments. The spacecraft can stay in this location without much tax in propellant because it is a Lagrange point (to be specific, the L2 point), where the gravitational influence of Earth and the Sun cancel each other, providing a quiet harbor for spacecraft.
There, Spektr-RG will spin slowly around its axis making a full revolution in four hours. Simultaneously, it will follow the Earth around the Sun, completing a full sweep of the sky in half a year.
"Beauty of this is that you can get the entire large-scale structure of the Universe in x-rays, revealing very early clusters, which is possible to see," Mikhail Pavlinsky of Moscow Space Research Institute told planetary.org, "...it will make it possible to practically totally catalog all galaxy clusters which formed in our Universe."
Although the US German ROSAT space observatory mapped the x-ray sky in the 1990s, Spektr-RG should boost the clarity of the picture by orders of magnitude. "The sensitivity of the survey will be 30 times deeper than that achieved by ROSAT," Pavlinsky said.
To achieve such sharpness, Spektr-RG carries two telescopes: German-built eROSITA and the Russian ART-XC. "We have best x-ray CCD camera ever flown and eROSITA has seven of them simultaneously," Dr. Peter Predehl, from Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, which built the instrument, wrote in an e-mail to planetary.org.
According to Russian sources, eROSITA is the most complex and expensive piece of hardware ever imported to Russia by the German Space Agency, DLR. The price tug for the telescope is estimated at around 100 million Euro.
Not to be outdone, IKI in Moscow and their colleagues from Russia's premier nuclear research center, VNIEEF, developed an ART-XC telescope, which will expand the sensitivity of the observatory toward so-called "harder" range of x-ray radiation.
Earthly problems
However, before technological marvels of Spektr-RG can begin their pioneering work, its creators must conclude an almost quarter of a century-long saga of building Spektr-RG. The project traces its roots all the way to the 1980s, when Soviet engineers conceived a follow-on satellite to the Granat observatory, launched in 1989.
The initial scheme, which involved more than a dozen countries and five telescopes installed on a nearly six-ton spacecraft, collapsed a decade after the USSR. It was eventually reborn in the first decade of the 21st century with only two surviving participants - Russia and Germany.
After many technical challenges, assembly of the two telescopes finally began, when the Russian-Ukrainian conflict almost derailed the project. The Russian ART-XC telescope depended on a set of unique x-ray mirrors, which were ordered after a long search from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. They were almost completed when Russia annexed Crimea in the spring of 2014. All contacts between Russian and American scientists were suddenly cut, subject to sanctions. Fortunately, after agonized lobbying of scientists on both sides, the US State Department made an exception for Spektr-RG. The observatory was reportedly second on the list of allowed cooperative projects after the International Space Station!
In fact, by most accounts, Spektr-RG ended up being the only Russian spacecraft with sophisticated US hardware onboard. However, the fallout from the Crimean crisis is not over yet. As German and Russian scientists are gearing up for the final assembly of the flight-worthy spacecraft at the beginning of next year, there is a new potential time bomb.
Spektr-RG was expected to ride into orbit on the Zenit rocket built in Ukraine. In the wake of the Crimean crisis, production stopped exactly after the rocket intended for the Spektr-RG mission had arrived at the launch site in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
However, the rocket is now out of warranty and there are other contenders for the nearly extinct Ukrainian vehicle in Russia. Roskosmos decided to give the remaining Zenit for a commercial mission carrying a communications satellite for the government of Angola. (Contracts for commercial launches often have deadlines with penalty clauses, which explains the situation).
NPO Lavochkin, the prime contractor on the Spektr-RG, publically floated a backup plan to switch the mission to the Proton rocket. The project scientists were not impressed with that prospect to say the least. Pavlinksy characterized the plan to switch to Proton as a last resort.
Behind the scenes, Lavochkin officials told the Spektr-RG team that it would take an extra nine months to re-tailor the observatory for the Proton, but scientists warned that the delay might lead to warranty expiration on some unique components of the Spektr-RG.
According to Pavlinsky, the spacecraft is on track for launch as currently scheduled in December 2017.
"From the standpoint of scientific payload, Spektr-RG is ready to fly in 2017 ", - Pavlinsky told planetary.org, "We will have all our pieces together for final integration of the flight-worthy spacecraft at the end of this year." Max Planck officials did confirm to planetary.org that the eROSITA telescope for Spektr-RG was scheduled to be delivered to Russia around Christmas.

© 2016 The Planetary Society. All rights reserved.
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    New Eastern Europe / Thursday, 24 November 2016
    Strange bedfellows: How the politics-business nexus stifles innovation in Russia
    • By Dina Rosenberg
    Вопрос, что нужно для конкурентоспособности страны в современном мире, сводится, по сути, к тому, что нужно для развития инноваций. Автор статьи полагает, что инновации - вопрос в первую очередь политический, а не экономический, поскольку зависят от политики гораздо больше, чем любая другая экономическая деятельность. Насколько при данных условиях конкурентоспособна на мировом рынке Россия?

It is no secret that innovation is responsible for as much as 80 per cent of economic growth. Not surprisingly, given the current situation in the global economy, especially the rising inequality in the developed world and the dysfunction of commodity-driven economic models in many developing countries, the next economic breakthroughs lie in innovation in fields such as biotechnology, genetic engineering, 3-D printing and robotics. The question of what it takes to be globally competitive really comes down to what it takes to be innovative. And the answer lies in politics.
The fact that the economic market depends on the political market is well-known. However, there are multiple channels of how politics can influence the economy that are yet to be discerned. According to Paul Krugman, the recent currency crisis in Russia is no stranger to the political economy of other countries, albeit with one important difference. Russia did not use borrowed money to pay for its imports and thus did not run trade deficits, but rather spent it on oligarchs, which is a textbook example of crony capitalism. This explains a large part of how the Russian economy works, but surely not all of it.
Another channel of influence, largely overlooked by experts and scientists, is the connection between political institutions and innovation, which is thus particularly relevant for a country's global competitiveness in the modern world. Innovations are first and foremost a political rather than economic question because they change the balance of political power in the society. At first glance, this point of view can be easily rebuffed by saying that any economic redistribution alters the political configuration in the country, for instance by empowering certain economic agents over others. Yet there are important differences between innovative activities and any other economic activity, which make innovations much more susceptible to politics: they are expensive, risky, long-term and possess qualities of public goods - once an idea is in the air, anyone is free to use it. Radical, or disruptive, innovations render the existing products redundant (e.g. computers replaced typewriters), which makes the owners of the obsolete capital resist and prevent new economic agents from entering the market. This is done, for example, through reaching monopolistic agreements, erecting administrative barriers, as well as bribing and/or lobbying politicians for preferential treatment. Imagine now how much easier it is to resist and, more importantly, to win the battle if you are a state-backed monopoly. Of course, such a situation will discourage rational entrepreneurs and investors: they will either give up innovating or flee the country. Both trends are present in Russia.
Is Russia globally competitive?
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the most competitive (with higher productivity) countries consistently outperform the least competitive countries in terms of economic growth, especially during and after the 2008 global financial crisis. The global and interdependent nature of the modern world dictates its own definition of being globally competitive. The most comprehensive index of countries' competitiveness produced by the WEF seems to reflect all of the components that are crucial for a country to successfully withstand global pressure and stay competitive. These include institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.
Although invaluable for policy recommendations and comparative purposes, this index has its shortcomings that are common for almost all indexes. First, it is not clear how much each component should be weighted, and whether these weights are the same across different countries. Second, components might not be equal in terms of the effort/result ratio. For instance, market size is usually highly correlated with country size, which is for the most part an exogenous factor, whereas labor market efficiency and the macroeconomic environment require a good deal of effort on the part of many political and economic actors. Third, and what I dislike most about indexes: they mix up explanatory factors and outcomes. The resulting score is then of little help in exploring causal relationships between important political and economic variables. Also, it is not clear regarding how to escape double counting: what if protection of property rights explains the lion share of a country's ability to innovate? Fourth, the survey methodology that is used to construct some indicators is always questionable. Thus, interpreting these scores should be theoretically warranted and country-specific, which I will demonstrate on the example of Russia below.
According to WEF's annual global competitiveness reports, Russia has been steadily improving its score since 2012: from 67 in 2012-2013 to 43 in 2016-2017 among the 138 countries analysed (the lower the score, the better). But the devil is in the details. Deconstructing the indexes further illustrates the genuine driving forces behind Russia's success: foreign market size index (5), government debt (10), tertiary education enrollment rate (13), mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions (13), quality of railroad infrastructure (25) and several others. It is self-evident that these components are either exogenously given (market size), represent the artifact of the Soviet system (education) or are simply a result of oil dollars. If we look at the factors that drag down Russia's score, the picture will be more pessimistic: inflation (132), property rights (123), quality of roads (231), soundness of banks (121) and capacity for innovation (78). Russia's institutional development is at the level of Gabon, macroeconomic development - Senegal, financial market development - Benin and business sophistication - Honduras. Ironically, according to Aleksashenko, it is exactly these institutional and macroeconomic components of the index that can lead to the salvation of the Russian economy. What do these close-to-failing scores tell us about the current and future situation of the Russian economy?
What is the real situation of the Russian economy today?
The so-called fat 2000s of the Russian petrostate economy, boosted by soaring oil and gas prices, were replaced by stagnation that kicked in around eight years ago and according to the Ministry of Economic Development may last for another two decades. Most experts would agree that the consequent economic turmoil that hit the country in 2014 was largely triggered by plunging oil prices, questionable political decisions, such as the annexation of Crimea and Russian actions in eastern Ukraine, and the resulting Western economic sanctions. According to Konstantin Sonin, long-term stagnation is the most important and thus worrying signal of the state of the economy.
The pernicious economic consequences include the devaluation of the national currency, the sharp fall in real income for the first time in 16 years, a massive outflow of foreign capital and a palpable decrease in GDP. If in 2014 the devalued ruble helped to save national reserves, finances (including the state's liability before its workers and pensioners) and even some industries due to much lower production costs, 2015 saw a continuing output contraction and decline in consumption, which reinforce each other in a vicious circle.
More recently, it has been claimed that the Russian economy is slowly making inroads in leaving the recession behind, showing an increase in the PMI index of business activity in the manufacturing sector a growing demand in the internal market, and decreasing inflation. However, as Rogov shrewdly notices, successes in the manufacturing sector during the summer of 2015 and 2016 follow periods of an appreciation of the rouble, which indicates weakness of the economy rather than successful import substitution: producers simply benefit more from a strong rouble that allows them to economise on imported parts for their products.
Strikingly, the lion's share of such imported parts is cutting-edge technology that Russia simply does not produce on its own. The level of its dependence on imports is shocking: up to 80 per cent in the medical industry, around 90 per cent in heavy machinery, and almost 100 per cent in computer technologies, to name just a few. In 2015, Brazil produced nearly 80 per cent of its manufacturing equipment at home, which is undoubtedly an achievement of its democratic government since 1985, when the manufacturing sector accounted for only 27 per cent of the country's GDP. Sanctions added to the commodity crisis, and imports fell drastically: for instance, by March 2016 imports of mechanical and electrical equipment fell by 46 per cent and 34 per cent over three years, respectively. Is import substitution a panacea? According to Mirkin, it is doomed to fail: the level of investment in Russia is 18.4 per cent of GDP (compared with 45 per cent in China) and investments in human capital still lag behind the levels of the developed world. The brain drain problem that was exacerbated by the recent economic hardship adds to this. So the only viable option for Russia to stay globally competitive is for politicians to "re-friend" the West. Will they? And more importantly, can they?
Where is Russia heading politically?
Even if politicians are nominally trying to restore their relationships with the West, do they really mean it? What the West wants from Russia, for better or worse, coincides with what it takes to be innovative today: political and economic reforms that will eventually lead to a politically competitive regime. Is the recent rhetoric in Russia pandering to the West and shrouding its real intentions? Current political events point to "yes".
Russia is simultaneously strengthening all of its repressive organs and weakening the judicial system, including business courts that were arguably the most (the only?) efficient element of the system. Propaganda and machine politics prosper as opposed to free democratic elections and civic activism: both parliamentary and street opposition are nipped at the bud. State intervention in the economy is gaining momentum: gas and oil assets are being re-nationalised, which pushes out private investment. The guns-and-butter debate is slanted towards the former: the country intends to cut healthcare spending, which is already low by Western standards, by 33 per cent. The litany of facts and intentions may continue, but the overall tendency is obvious: Russia is building a dictatorship.
These trends bode inauspiciously for political competition that is already miniscule and will soon be ceased. The only alternative that such a regime might offer is a system of denouncements among bureaucrats reminiscent of the Soviet Union, which, as history teaches us, fails to generate long-term and innovation-led growth. As Krugman explains, "One can make a case that whereas old-fashioned heavy industry was susceptible to central planning, new technologies, especially in microelectronics, favor free-wheeling competition over centralized control".
From this perspective, the often-mentioned shortcomings of the Russian innovative system - low R&D expenditures, an underdeveloped system of university-industry linkage, an inability to innovate despite the brilliant ability to invent, the state's (as opposed to business') immense role in funding research - are a mere manifestation of the bigger political problems described above. And if Russia is sliding back to the system in which the greatest inventors are not free to speak their minds, a failure to stay globally competitive is a foregone conclusion.

Copyright © 2011-2013 by Kolegium Europy Wschodniej im. Jana Nowaka-Jeziorańskiego.
* * *
    Business Wire / November 28, 2016
    Professor Evgeny M. Dianov, Russian Academy of Sciences, Awarded 2017 John Tyndall Award
    Honor presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions in optical fiber technology and laser science.
    Российский физик, академик РАН Евгений Дианов стал лауреатом премии имени Джона Тиндаля за 2017 г. - «за выдающийся вклад в нелинейную волоконную оптику и волоконно-оптические усилители».
    Награда вручается с 1987 г. Оптическим обществом (OSA) и Обществом фотоники Института инженеров электротехники и электроники (IEEE Photonics Society) за достижения в области волоконно-оптических технологий.

WASHINGTON - The Optical Society (OSA) and the IEEE Photonics Society today announced that Professor Evgeny M. Dianov, Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Russian Federation, is the recipient of the 2017 John Tyndall Award, an honor endowed by Corning, Inc. Dianov is being recognized "for pioneering leadership in optical fiber development and outstanding contributions to nonlinear fiber optics and optical fiber amplifiers." The award, one of the top honors in the fiber optics community, will be presented to Dianov during the plenary session of the 2017 Optical Fiber Conference (OFC) Conference taking place in Los Angeles, California, USA, 19-23 March 2017.
Dianov graduated from Moscow State University in 1960 and began his scientific career at the P.N. Lebedev Physics Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1960-1983), then worked in the General Physics Institute (1983-2006). Dianov is currently with the Fiber Optics Research Center of RAS (2006 - present). His research interests include laser physics, nonlinear optics and fiber optics, and he has published more than 700 scientific papers and patents. He received the 1974 State Prize of the Soviet Union for "Neodymium Glass Lasers." In 1994 Professor Dianov became a Full Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
"Professor Dianov and his team began their early research in the field of low loss optical fiber with very notable results - advancing the optical design, transmission, modal characterization, linearity and dispersion of a wide-range of optical fiber compositions," said Elizabeth Rogan, CEO, The Optical Society. "Several of those advancements were first-to-the-world and possessed record performance attributes. With this award, we congratulate Professor Dianov and his decades-long passion, determination and ground-breaking research in nonlinear fiber optics and optical fiber amplifiers."
Christopher Jannuzzi, Executive Director, IEEE Photonics Society added, "Professor Dianov's research brought about a new field of nonlinear fiber optics, enabled by the combination of low loss optical fibers and high power ultrafast lasers. Dianov's contributions significantly advanced fiber optic technologies and we are honored to recognize his many accomplishments and impressive career."
Since 1974 Dianov has been involved with most aspects of fiber optics, including fiber fabrication technologies, fiber measurements, nonlinear fiber optics, soliton propagation, fiber lasers and optical amplifiers. The main results included new types of optical fibers such as high-strength hermetically metal-coated, dispersion-decreasing, nitrogen-doped and low-loss highly nonlinear fibers; new results in nonlinear fiber optics such as the first observation of soliton self-frequency shift, the discovery of electrostriction mechanism of soliton interaction, generation of a train of fundamental solitons at high repetition rate, the proposal and experimental confirmation of a photovoltaic model of second-harmonic generation in glass fibers; the development of highly efficient Raman fiber lasers and optical amplifiers.
Dianov received the State Prize of the Russian Federation for infrared fibers in 1998 and Vavilov Gold Medal for studies of nonlinear processes in optical fibers and the development of fiber sources of radiation in visible and near IR spectral ranges based on nonlinear phenomena.
The John Tyndall Award is named for the 19th century scientist who was the first to demonstrate the phenomenon of internal reflection. First presented in 1987, the Tyndall Award recognizes an individual who has made pioneering, highly significant, or continuing technical or leadership contributions to fiber optic technology. Corning, Inc. endows the award, a prize check and a glass sculpture that represents the concept of total internal reflection. The award is co-sponsored by The Optical Society and the IEEE Photonics Society.

© 2016 Business Wire, Inc.
* * *
    Nature World News / Nov 30, 2016
    Game Changer: Scientists Develop New Technique to Test Antibiotic Efficiency
    • By Arrianne Nellaine del Rosario
    Сотрудники химического факультета МГУ нашли недорогой, надежный и эффективный способ поиска новых антибиотиков. Система позволяет одновременно определять механизм действия нового вещества и измерять его эффективность.

A safe, inexpensive, and highly efficient way to speed up and improve the search of new germicides - this is what a team of scientists from the Lomonosov Moscow State University, in collaboration with their colleagues from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and Gause Institute of New Antibiotics, have developed.
Published in the prominent scientific journal, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, the experts have built a system, which measures antimicrobial activity, along with determining the mode of action of a new material.
"We've worked out an approach, which allows to in vivo determine not only the mode of action of new promising antimicrobial agents, but also their efficiency. Approach automation has allowed to analyze thousands of compounds per day," Ilya Osterman, Doctor of Chemical Sciences, a researcher of the Chemistry of Natural Compounds Department, at the Faculty of Chemistry of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, the author said.
"At the first stage there was elaborated a gene engineering design, which included two fluorescent proteins. First protein expression depended on the presence of protein synthesis inhibitors, while expression of the second one - on the presence of DNA synthesis inhibitors. Afterwards, with the help of a hyperresponsive strain of coliform bacteria there was created a reporter, aimed at the detection of corresponding antibiotic types," Osterman shares, in an article by Eureka Alert.
The group created a reporter system based on genes, which code two fluorescent proteins: a far-red protein Katushka2S and RFP, a red fluorescent protein.
"So far, with the help of this approach we've analyzed more than 50 thousands of compounds, discovered new inhibitors of protein and DNA synthesis, which could become the basis of new germicides in the future. The process of screening will be continued," Osterman said further.
The breakthrough technique by the Russian scientists could potentially help solve the problem of the growing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

© 2016 NatureWorldNews.com All rights reserved.
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