Planeta Br. 111 | BIOTEHNOLOGIJA
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» Glavni naslovi






Towards personalized and increasingly precise treatment

After thousands of years of practical experience in the application of biological processes to solve problems and improve everyday life, man today develops the most sophisticated molecular biotechnology. It introduces him to the medicine of the future, which already has the tools to enable fully individualized treatment both diagnostically and therapeutically, and eliminates the most common diseases that affect humans.
Biotechnology is as old as human civilization. Man has known and used some biological processes for thousands of years, such as, for example, the fermentation process thanks to which, with the help of yeast and lactic acid microorganisms, some of the first food products, bread and cheese, are created; ancient "genetic engineering" consisted in modifying the genetic characteristics of plants and animals, with the help of selective breeding that promoted their desirable traits, even eliminating some hereditary diseases.
Modern biotechnology - which we also call biotech - also uses (state-of-the-art) knowledge about biological systems and biological processes, and also manipulates living microorganisms but today it has the ability to solve very different problems on a most sophisticated level, and to develop different products and technology for all areas of life and work, from medicine to agriculture and environmental protection.
Biotechnology is paricularly important in the field of medicine where it facilitates the production of therapeutic proteins and other drugs, hence the common name biopharma. Moreover, it is believed that in the next 20 years, thanks to biotechnological breakthroughs such as disease vector control and the development of new therapies and preventive drugs, the most frequent diseases affecting the global population could be eliminated. The role of biotechnology in genetic engineering, which enables scientists to adjust (edit, modify) the genetic material of different organisms at will, is becoming increasingly prominent. In this context, the term "biotechnology" today is constantly and inextricably intertwined with the terms "genetics", "molecular biology" and "molecular biotechnology", "personalized (or precision) medicine"...



Urinary tract infections

Uncomplicated urinary infections, which are mostly related to the lower urinary tract, can be symptomatically very unpleasant, but most of them are effectively treated and successfully prevented with simple preventive measures. Untreated or late-diagnosed urinary infections, however, can also affect the kidneys, and in men, due to the proximity of the prostate, they can lead to life-threatening complications such as sepsis, says Dr. Radivoje Lazić, specialist in urology.
Urinary tract infections are among the most common bacterial infections affecting humans. Although it can be said that they occur at all ages and affect both sexes, they are most common in women, usually in the form of so-called uncomplicated urinary infections, which are relatively easily and effectively treated; in men, they develop less often, but can take on more severe forms as a result of the connection of the infection with an enlarged prostate or conditions such as calculi of the ureters and kidneys, and require more complicated treatment.
Dr. Radivoje Lazić, a specialist in urology at the Belgrade General Hospital Acibadem Bel Medic, says that taking enough fluids is an important factor for maintaining good health of the urinary tract and preventing urinary infections, and advises people of both sexes to first of all take care of good hydration of the body and that, on the other hand, they avoid delaying urination and retention of urine. But, apart from the differences in the anatomy of the urogenital organs between the two sexes, there are other factors that influence the possibility of bacteria reaching the urinary tract and developing an infection.



The role of electricity in the body

Although Nikola Tesla's work was primarily devoted to physics, that is, electrical engineering, and although Tesla was not directly involved in biomedical research, his discoveries and inventions significantly contributed to paving the way for medical physics, especially radiology and high-frequency electrotherapy. Analysis of Tesla's experiments and published works and articles indicates that he was deeply interested in the role of electricity in the body and how artificially produced currents affect human health.
The era of electrotherapy began in the 18th century, when efficient electrostatic generators and the first electrical energy storage devices were invented. Benjamin Franklin, for example, used static electricity to treat paralysis, but with less than convincing results. However, researchers began to appear who did not care much about the scientific basis of electrotherapy methods and this field of medicine became fertile ground for quack medicine.



Why is the Earth rich in minerals?

Minerals are natural compounds formed by various natural (geological) processes, they have a specific chemical composition, strictly ordered atomic structure and characteristic physical properties. The basic characteristics of minerals are not only their chemical composition but also their structure - crystal lattice. In this way, two minerals can have the same chemical composition, but different crystal lattices give them completely different physical properties, for example, graphite and diamond. There are thought to be over 5,300 known mineral species, of which over 5,230 are recognized by the International Mineralogical Association.
Many of the several thousand minerals that we know today "co-evolved" in the Earth's biosphere during a long geological time, with more than 90% belonging to the group of silicate minerals (feldspars are in first place), while quartz is the next most abundant. The Earth's crust is made up of 90% silicate minerals, 8% non-silicate (oxides, sulfides, carbonates...) and 2% metals, whereby the Earth's crust comprises only 1% of the Earth's volume. The Earth's central mantle is rich in silicates that are rich in magnesium and iron (eg olivine), while the Earth's core is mainly made of iron and nickel. This mineral composition of our planet is the product of its long-term evolution of about 4.5 billion years.



All using 3D

The Californian space company "Relativity Space" has been making rockets using 3D printing technology for eight years. The use of 3D printing technology is widely present in the space industry, both for the production of tools used in space and for the production of rocket parts. However, no company before this has designed, produced and launched a rocket based on a fully automated production process based on a computer model. The company's offering currently includes a disposable "Terran 1" rocket powered by their 3D printed "Aeon 1" engine. A reusable "Terran R" rocket is being prepared, which should be ready by 2024. It will be powered by the new "Aeon R" engine.
The rocket-building approach used by software companies in the last few years has proven to be a path that brings rapid innovation. Namely, in the second half of the 20th century, traditional space companies, which for decades received contracts from NASA or the US Department of Defense, adhered to the traditional approach to design. This meant that the design of the aircraft was perfected for years and that only at the end was the prototype made. Thus, many potentially revolutionary projects were canceled even before the creation of prototypes due to the change in the fiscal policy of the current administration. Also, in some cases, the projects reached the stage of making a prototype, but the project was canceled due to defects that would have been revealed during testing. The paradigm shift that took place in the last fifteen years, mostly thanks to "SpaceX", has meant that private space companies are no longer mere contractors for US or other government agencies, but rather autonomously design and implement new projects.



The search for methane

Of all the planets and satellites of the solar system, Mars is the one that most captures the attention of scientists and the curiosity of a large number of people. The reason is that the physical conditions on Mars are the most suitable (that is, the least unsuitable) for the settlement of the human population compared to other neighboring worlds, and there is also a well-founded assumption that, in the distant past, the planet had a denser, wetter and warmer atmosphere that enabled the existence of some primitive forms of life.
The path to the final knowledge of the true nature of Mars and the reconstruction of its past is not at all easy - since the first landers "Viking 1" and "2" successfully landed on its surface in 1976 and after the first pictures of Martian landscapes and scientific data on the conditions on its surface surface, during the following decades new missions of space probes, landers and rover vehicles were carried out and new scientific knowledge arrived - but there are still many questions that need to be answered by the ongoing missions of lander and rover vehicles its surface and numerous probes-satellites of Mars. The last landing on its surface in 2021 brought the rovers Perseverance (a mission that continues to be successful) and Zhurong, China's first successful Mars exploration venture.



A condition for the origin of life and planets

One of the secrets of the solar system, where the water in the universe comes from, may have been revealed thanks to a star that is 1,300 light years away from Earth. It is the young star V883 Orionis. It is surrounded by a huge disk of material that will one day form the planets in its orbit. Astronomers have discovered in that disk the presence of water vapor circulating around the star together with dust and gases, which will probably become an exoplanet.
This discovery by scientists of the American National Astronomical Observatory, published in the journal "Nature", points to the assumption that the water of our solar system, together with the water that is now on Earth, existed in the gaseous "cradle" from which the Sun was formed and that it was present in the universe before the Earth and before the Sun.
Water throughout the universe, apart from being a part of life as we know it, also plays a role in the formation of planets. Today it is known that stars are born from clouds of dust and gases in space, where this material is under the influence of gravity. Under its influence, material is collected from the environment, which is then shaped into a disk. This is how young stars are born.



Innovative wagon for CO2 capture

The American start-up company "CO2Rail" demonstrated the possibility of railway traffic to participate in the fight against climate change: their team invented wagons that could annually remove up to three thousand tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Using special openings, air is sucked into the wagons and taken to a large cylindrical chamber for collecting CO2. In this way, the team of engineers eliminated the need to install fans that consume a lot of energy and are used in standard direct carbon dioxide capture operations. The air then goes through a chemical process of CO2 separation. Purified air is returned to the atmosphere through the rear or lower part of the wagon. When enough greenhouse gas has been captured, the wagon's chamber is closed. Collected CO2 is stored in a reservoir in liquid form. Respecting the principles of the circular economy, carbon dioxide is then disposed of in special landfills.






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