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Shrimp Shells Crawl From Dinner Table To Hospital Operating Room

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Chitosan fiber in the making — Photo: U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

At first glance, the thread looks like a run-of-the-mill material. But the glossy white, strong and elastic strand is anything but ordinary.

This antibacterial material can stop the flow of blood and dissolves naturally within the human body. It can be used to produce plasters, dressings, surgical stuffing, surgical textiles and clothing for patients who suffer from skin conditions, like neurodermatitis, the German news agency DPA reports.

But the most fascinating aspect is what it's made of: the shell of shrimp, crab and other crustaceans.

"It is brilliant to find such a wonderful use for waste material," says Rolf-Dieter Hund, a director at the Institute of Textile Machinery and High Performance Material Technology in Dresden, Germany.

Shell-based waste is a by-product of the food industry. It is pulverized and reaches the institute's research team in the form of a powder that is dissolved in water and filtered. Trapped air is freed from this concoction under vacuum pressure and then squeezed through small nozzles. The resulting yarn is washed, dried and covered in protective film.

The machine that produces the textile can produce a shell-shocking 30 to 40 meters of the textile per minute. So it's easy to produce implants, such as those for abdominal wall constructions, cartilage and bone defects, which require little thread.

There's a catch for this shrimp yarn though: The fiber is very expensive, meaning you'll need to shell out the big bucks.

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Inside Copernicus, Where All The Data Of Climate Change Gets Captured And Crunched

As COP28 heats up, a close-up look at the massive European earth observatory program 25 years after its creation, with its disturbing monthly reports of a planet that has gotten hotter than ever.

A photo of Sentinel-2 floating above Earth

Sentinel-2 orbiting Earth

Laura Berny

PARIS — The monthly Copernicus bulletin has become a regular news event.

In early August, amid summer heatwaves around the Northern Hemisphere, Copernicus — the Earth Observation component of the European Union's space program — sent out a press release confirming July as the hottest month ever recorded. The news had the effect of a (climatic) bomb. Since then, alarming heat records have kept coming, including the news at the beginning of November, when Copernicus Climate Change Service deputy director Samantha Burgess declared 2023 to be the warmest year on record ”with near certainty.”

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Approaching the dangerous threshold set by the Paris Agreement, the global temperature has never been so high: 1.43°C (2.57°F) higher than the pre-industrial average of 1850-1900 and 0.10°C (0.18°F) higher than the average of 2016 (warmest year so far). Burgess, a marine geochemistry researcher who previously served as chief advisor for oceans for the UK government, knows that the the climate data gathered by Copernicus is largely driving the negotiations currently underway at COP28 in Dubai.

She confirmed for Les Echos that December is also expected to be warmer than the global average due to additional heat in sea surfaces, though there is still more data to collect. “Are the tipping points going to be crossed in 2023,?" she asked. "Or is it just a very warm year part of the long-term warming trend varying from one year to the next?”

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