A possibly science-related weblog that probably focuses a bit on agriculture, plant science, gardening, and related bits.
I'm a freelance writer/editor with a focus on science and gardening--sometimes even both together.
When I write freelance news articles, sometimes they go up in news feeds pretty swiftly. Usually, however, they are put into a publishing vortex and appear weeks later, after I’ve already forgotten every single detail about them. And sometimes, I just get too busy between when they’re turned in and when they’re published to think about featuring my writing on here.
I have three other articles that I turned in in the past week, currently going through the editing cycle, and a profile of a scientist that will be turned in tomorrow. I should start drafting blog posts prior to turning these babies in—it’ll help me figure out why I thought they were interested when they get published weeks later!
After a long trip to the uninterneted South for a wedding last week, I’m back in action. While I was away, another JACS Spotlight I wrote was published about RNA’s role as pre-DNA genetic material and as pre-protein catalytic molecules. During the trip, I wrote another JACS Spotlight, which will be posted in the coming weeks, and a piece I wrote about a gene involved in inherited hypertension (high blood pressure) for Nature Middle East was posted, too. There are a few other projects I have in the wings, as well—everything from peptide friction to kamikaze cells!
Yesterday, my first freelance news article went up on Chemical & Engineering News's Latest News feed, in its Analytical SCENE and Biological SCENE feeds, which focus on American Chemical Society-published peer-reviewed scientific journal articles.
I wrote “Bitter Beer Compounds Stimulate Stomach Acids,” based on an article in today’s issue of the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry by nutritionist Veronika Somoza of the University of Vienna and colleagues. The basics: although many components of beer, such as organic acids and the all-important ethanol, have been identified as stimulators of gastric acid release, which can lead to health problems from acid reflux to cancer, no one has looked at the bitter acids derived from hops, compounds which provide many beers with distinct flavouring. So, Somoza and her colleagues did, finding that even though the bitter acids exist in low concentrations in beer, they pack a whollop of gastric acid secretion stimulation abilities. Figuring out which hops varieties have a better bitter acid profile and altering production processes may help brewers develop a more gut-friendly brew—I think the challenge will be retaining the great flavour profile while reducing gastric acid secretion stimulation.
Of course, seeing as how the researchers are all based in Austria and Germany, the home of some of most awesome beer in the world, I couldn’t not ask Prof. Dr. Somoza what her and her team’s favourite brew was—they tested local dark, wheat, lager, pilsener, and alcohol-free beers for their study. Prof. Dr. Somoza laughed when the question came up, declaring that her team is diverse, from different regions in Germany and Austria—“They all like beer!”
As a bonus, another one of my JACS Spotlights also went up online (again, for the full piece, you have to log in—and perhaps have extra credentials). This one is about an article looking at demethylases to get a handle on different structures and chemistries that can support demethylation reactions for epigenetic and post-translational control.
I wrote the demethylase Spotlight almost a month ago—I just turned another one in on Monday, so I’m sure it’ll be up in a few weeks, too!
Just like the first piece I had published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society for its JACS Spotlights feature, you can’t read the full pieces unless you sign up and sign in—and perhaps have extra credentials as well.
The other two Spotlights I wrote in December are now up on the web—I need to be more alert in looking for them! I have only one more Spotlight in the works to keep an eye out for (although hopefully more on the way).
One focuses on an article that details the mechanism of antituberculosis compounds. It was also accepted on the first write, which is always a rewarding experience! The other is about an intense strutural and chemical characterization of a multiple antibiotic resistance regulator protein from Streptococcus pneumoniae. This one was my first assignment and one that, because it seemed more familiar to me, was more difficult to write at a general level. But with only a few painless edits, it turned out swell!