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# Increasing Lactase stability for industrial applications

Lactose is the main carbohydrate present in milk. To be digested and absorbed by the body, it must be broken down into its constituents: glucose and galactose. The breakdown is catalyzed by an enzyme called lactase, produced in the small intestine of young mammals especially for the digestion of the maternal milk.

The production of this enzyme decreases with time, making the body progressively incapable of digesting lactose. Thus, despite the social habit of consuming milk from other animals and dairy products after childhood, around 65% of the world population has some degree of lactose intolerance.

# Electronic Effects on the Oxidation of Ethanol

In internal combustion engines, various toxic substances - such as $\rm CO$, $\rm NO_2$ - are produced due to the incomplete breakdown of fuels. By decreasing the activation energy required for complete combustion to occur, catalysts aid in transforming these products into less toxic gases - such as carbon dioxide ($\rm CO_2$), methane ($\rm CH_4$).

Nevertheless, $\rm CO_2$ and $\rm CH_4$ produced mainly by human activity are currently considered to be responsible for the rise in the average temperature of the planet, which leads to the intensification of extreme climatic events. Hence, the search for more efficient energy sources that can significantly reduce or even eliminate the emission of these gases has intensified.

# Crystal structure of Zika virus NS5 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase

Though initially described as a mild version of dengue fever, the Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak in the Americas unexpectedly revealed major neurological impacts as fetal microcephaly or other congenital brain injuries when women are infected during pregnancy and Guillain-Barre´ syndrome (a disorder in which the body's immune system damages the nerves) in adults. It can be transmitted both by the insect vector and sexual contact. Its outbreak became a global health threat of complex epidemiology and devastating neurological impacts, therefore requiring urgent efforts towards the development of novel efficacious and safe antiviral drugs.

# SIRIUS HAS MORE THAN 50% OF ITS CONSTRUCTION WORKS COMPLETED

Sirius - the new fourth-generation synchrotron light source of the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS) has recently completed more than half of its construction works. The inauguration is expected for 2018, following the first loop of the electron beams in the accelerators.

# Getting Eye to Eye (and Muscles) on Fish Fossils

Everything we know about the organisms that lived thousands of years ago comes from the fossils they left behind. The formation of fossils is an extremely rare phenomenon. It depends on the burial of the organism, the chemical processes responsible for its conservation and the non-destruction of the resulting fossil by later geological processes.

# Registration open for the 27th Annual Users Meeting

Registrations are open for the LNLS' 27th Annual Users Meeting (RAU), which will take place from November 22nd to 24th, 2017, at the CNPEM campus in Campinas, SP.

Those interested in participating should complete and submit the application form available on the website by June 10 (for those wishing to request financial assistance) or August 21 (all other).

The Annual Users Meeting (RAU) is an event organized by the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS) and brings together researchers using the infrastructure of the LNLS to conduct their research in order to evaluate scientific results and discuss issues relevant to the development of the institution.

# $\rm CO_2$ selective conversion to $\rm CO$

In 2016, the concentration of carbon dioxide ($\rm CO_2$) in the atmosphere has exceeded 400 ppm (parts per million), and has increased year by year since the beginning of the industrial revolution, when human activity began to inject more carbon into the atmosphere than the what the environment is capable of absorbing. The increase in the concentration of both $\rm CO_2$ and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is currently considered the main cause of the rise in the average temperature of the planet, which leads to the intensification of extreme climatic events.

# LNLS researcher receives award for best doctoral thesis

LNLS researcher Ingrid David Barcelos was awarded by the Brazilian Society of Physics (SBF) with the "Professor José Leite Lopes Award for Best Doctoral Thesis of 2015" for her thesis entitled "Study of structural and optical properties of heterostructures formed by two-dimensional materials ".

# Trace Elements in Human Cerebral Organoids

The study of the embryonic development of the human brain and the distribution of nutrients during this phase was for a long time limited to animal models and dead human tissues. Much has changed with the so-called organoids: mini-organs created in vitro in the laboratory, from a few cells of the organ themselves, from embryonic stem cells or from pluripotent cells. These organoids present a three-dimensional micro-anatomy similar to the real organ but more simplified.

# Complex Interplay of Properties of Catalyst for H2 Production

In the water gas shift (WGS) reaction, CO reacts with steam producing $\rm CO_2$ and $\rm H_2$. It is an important reaction to decrease the CO level in the syngas, deriving from the process of steam reforming of natural gas or other sources. In addition, WGS is one of the main reactions to produce $\mathbf{H_2}$ at industrial scale. In that case, it is performed in two steps: the first one at high temperature, with iron-based catalysts, and the second one at low temperature, with copper-based catalysts.