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Health - Environment - 02.05.2022
Legionellosis Cases Continue to Increase in Switzerland
Legionellosis Cases Continue to Increase in Switzerland
The number of legionellosis cases in Switzerland has increased five-fold over the past 20 years. A study by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) published today in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health analysed case numbers from 2000 to 2020 and determined the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on reporting.

Environment - Pharmacology - 02.05.2022
Bioassays evaluate ozonation and post-treatment of wastewater
Bioassays evaluate ozonation and post-treatment of wastewater
Through wastewater, rivers and lakes are polluted with numerous micropollutants which originate from care products and pharmaceuticals, among other things. The Waters Protection Act therefore aims to expand Swiss wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) with the addition of a further treatment step. In pilot tests, two processes have proven particularly successful in the removal of trace substances: ozonation and treatment with activated carbon.

Environment - Materials Science - 29.04.2022
Improving the efficiency of tandem solar cells
Improving the efficiency of tandem solar cells
Scientists in Neuchâtel have developed a tandem solar cell that can deliver a certified efficiency of 29. This achievement was made possible by combining a perovskite solar cell with a textured silicon solar cell. Solar cells made of silicon are used widely but have limited power-conversion yields. These yields will likely top out at around 27% in the foreseeable future, owing to fundamental thermodynamic limitations.

Environment - Life Sciences - 27.04.2022
Climate warming alters glacier-fed stream ecosystems worldwide
Climate warming alters glacier-fed stream ecosystems worldwide
According to two recent studies carried out as part of the Vanishing Glaciers Project, the ecosystems of glacier-fed streams are undergoing profound change around the world. That could have major repercussions on the food chain and the natural carbon cycle. The ecosystems of glacier-fed streams have survived nutrient-poor and harsh environmental conditions over the course of thousands of years, yet they are now being transformed by climate change at unprecedented pace.

Environment - Computer Science - 26.04.2022
Less animal testing thanks to machine learning
Less animal testing thanks to machine learning
Countless chemical substances, including fertilisers and pesticides but also pharmaceutical substances and industrial products, leak into groundwater, lakes and rivers. "We want to know what the impact of these chemicals is on aquatic species, and whether they are toxic or not," says Marco Baity-Jesi, Head of the Eawag Data Science Group.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 19.04.2022
No glacial fertilization effect in the Antarctic Ocean
No glacial fertilization effect in the Antarctic Ocean
Can iron-rich dust fertilize the ocean, stimulate algae growth there, and thereby capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? An international research team involving the University of Bern and led by the University of Bonn used deep-sea sediment cores from the Scotia Sea to investigate whether this hypothetical greenhouse gas sink had an effect during ice ages.

Health - Environment - 14.04.2022
Chlorine in drinking water influences children's intestinal flora
Chlorine in drinking water influences children’s intestinal flora
Chlorine is deadly for many microorganisms and is therefore used to disinfect drinking water. But what does chlorinated water do to the intestinal flora of young children, which yet has to develop? An international team led by Amy J. Pickering from University of California in Berkeley and Timothy R. Julian from the Swiss Aquatic Research Institute Eawag examined stool samples from 130 children from a larger study in Bangladesh (see box).

Environment - 12.04.2022
Recovering energy from faeces
Recovering energy from faeces
The difference couldn't be starker: In Switzerland, 97 per cent of households are connected to central wastewater treatment plants, whereas three billion people worldwide have no connection to a sewage system at all - predominantly in low-income countries. Understandably, these two very different realities call for different solutions when it comes to sewage disposal.

Environment - 11.04.2022
How can invasive species be detected swiftly?
How can invasive species be detected swiftly?
"I would never have thought that this species would be so widespread," states Rosetta Blackman, a postdoctoral researcher at the aquatic research institute Eawag. She is referring to the peach blossom jellyfish (Craspedacusta sowerbii), a small freshwater jellyfish that is harmless to humans. It originates from the Yangtze River basin in China and is considered an invasive species in Switzerland.

Environment - 11.04.2022
Solution to world's largest waste stream: Make sand
Solution to world’s largest waste stream: Make sand
UNIGE and UQ researchers propose novel solution to drastically reduce world's largest waste stream and help avoid a sand sustainability crisis; by making ore-sand. After water, sand is the most exploited natural resource on the planet. However, its extraction from seas, rivers, beaches and quarries has an impact on the environment and surrounding communities.

Environment - Transport - 07.04.2022
On the way to climate-neutral road traffic
On the way to climate-neutral road traffic
If 60% of the conventional gasolineand diesel-powered passenger cars in Switzerland were to be converted to "electricity-based" vehicles by 2050, i.e.

Life Sciences - Environment - 07.04.2022
Role of fish in mixing and spreading nutrients in coastal waters revealed
Role of fish in mixing and spreading nutrients in coastal waters revealed
Oceans are made up of multiple layers, ranging from lighter, warmer waters at the top to denser, cooler waters at the bottom. Ocean mixing is vital to move heat, oxygen, nutrients and pollutants between different layers and therefore plays a major role in how ecosystems can sustain life. Although it is well established that winds and tides supply the bulk of the energy that drives mixing, the contribution made by swimming organisms has not been understood until now.

Agronomy / Food Science - Environment - 05.04.2022
Hardy Grazing Livestock: Protectors of the Mountain Landscape
Hardy Grazing Livestock: Protectors of the Mountain Landscape
Biodiverse mountain pastures are being overgrown by green alder shrubs. A study conducted by Agroscope and ETHZ shows that hardy sheep and goats can stop shrub encroachment. In particular, the traditional Engadine sheep has a taste for green alder. By debarking the shrub it damages it, thus preventing its spread and protecting valuable alpine pastures.

Computer Science - Environment - 04.04.2022
Gliding to Greater Sustainability
Gliding to Greater Sustainability
Imagine designing a robotic glider able to accelerate to 800km per hour using only the wind at its back. Combining passion with work, EPFL Professor Pascal Fua is leading research to develop the required capabilities, with important implications for sustainability. Head of EPFL's Computer Vision Laboratory (CV) in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences and a passionate gliding enthusiast, Pascal Fua always wanted to fly.

Environment - Life Sciences - 31.03.2022
A Single Gene Controls Species Diversity in an Ecosystem
A Single Gene Controls Species Diversity in an Ecosystem
To test if a single gene could affect an entire ecosystem, a research team of the University of Zurich conducted a lab experiment with a plant and its associated ecosystem of insects. They found that plants with a mutation at a specific gene foster ecosystems with more insect species. The discovery of such a -keystone gene- could change current biodiversity conservation strategies.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 29.03.2022
Restoring dammed rivers using artificial floods
Restoring dammed rivers using artificial floods
Naturally, water levels of rivers and streams are variable and fluctuate between drier and wetter periods. Spring snowmelt and the timing and location of rainfall events often drive these fluctuations, especially in alpine areas. Sediment and adsorbed nutrients are mobilised by flowing water and transported through river valleys.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 22.03.2022
'Groundwater, the invisible treasure'
’Groundwater, the invisible treasure’
Groundwater serves as drinking water for around half of the world's population and provides water for over 40 percent of the world's agriculture. So, there is no question that groundwater research plays an important role at Eawag. The aquatic research institute deals with groundwater quality, the regeneration of groundwater, geochemical processes in the subsurface and the treatment of groundwater to produce drinking water , both nationally and internationally.

Life Sciences - Environment - 18.03.2022
Genomics can help restore coral reefs in the Indian Ocean
Genomics can help restore coral reefs in the Indian Ocean
Two scientists are putting their expertise in coral reefs to work in Mauritius and Seychelles. The pair has joined a United Nations program that aims to restore reefs affected by human and environmental pressure using a method known as seascape genomics.

Environment - 17.03.2022
Making cities more livable
Making cities more livable
To meet the challenges in cities related to climate change and increasing urbanization, new approaches to transforming urban space are needed. One possibility are so-called Superblocks, large-scale city blocks with little or even no motorized through traffic inside them. An Empa study has analyzed the potential of different cities to be redesigned according to this principle.

Environment - Chemistry - 01.03.2022
Scientists map Arctic aerosols to better understand regional warming
Scientists map Arctic aerosols to better understand regional warming
Scientists at EPFL and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have studied the chemical composition and origin - whether natural or anthropogenic - of aerosols in a region spanning from Russia to Canada. Their findings provide unique insights for helping researchers better understand climate change in the Arctic and design effective pollution-mitigation measures.

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