Category Archives: Sustainability

The WHO global partners meeting in Geneva and launch of the 4th WHO NTD report | Sustainability

Starting the Neglected Tropical Disease summit in Geneva this week gone, the World Health Organisation brought together its global partners for a meeting to launch the 4th WHO report on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). As an important player in the global effort to control and eliminate these debilitating diseases, the Museum has been following the meeting closely.

Photograph with a number of jars of preserved worms, and two dishes with worms within them in the centre. A pair of forceps lies on the table beside them for scale.

Soil-transmitted helminths in the Museum’s collection

The Museum has had a long history of researching NTDs, particularly those caused by worm infections and/or transmitted by insects. Today the Museum hosts DeWorm3, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major project researching the control and elimination of soil-transmitted helminths, aka intestinal worms. Intestinal worms are the most common of NTDs. DeWorm3 and Museum NTD experts travelled to Geneva for the NTD summit and report on the meeting.

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Bioleaching cobalt from sulphide ores | COG3 Consortium

Recently, members of the Acidophile Research Team at Bangor University carried out some bioleaching experiments which aimed to leach cobalt from the Captain sulfide ore (from New Brunswick, Canada). Sarah Smith, a geomicrobiologist at Bangor University and one of the collaborators in the COG3 project reports.

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a) Mixed bacterial cultures used to inoculate the bioreactor experiments. b) A bioreactor before the addition of the culture and the ore. c) Adding the culture to the bioreactor experiment. d) The bioreactor at the end of the bioleaching experiment carried out at 45°C.”

The aim was to compare the bioleaching rates of metals (primarily cobalt) from the ore at two different temperatures. To do this, two different mixed cultures were grown up (one containing bacteria that are happy at about 30°C, and another with bugs that prefer slightly higher temperatures). The cultures were then added to the bioreactors, along with the ore, and the bugs were left to work their magic!
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DeWorm3: interview on disease elimination with Peter Jourdan│Sustainabilty

 

by Dr Peter Jourdan, Director of Science and Policy, DeWorm3, NHM

@deworm3_NHM

This recent interview outlines the plans and vision for DeWorm3, a major Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Museum project that is conducting rigorous research to provide evidence for the next generation of policies to guide the global control and elimination of infection by soil-transmitted helminths – STH.

STH are intestinal worms that cause a major neglected tropical disease (NTD) affecting millions of people worldwide in less-developed countries, especially in communities with poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.  This disease has major impacts on quality of life, ability to work and economic development. Continue reading

Eliminating soil-transmitted parasitic worms: the DeWorm3 challenge | Sustainability

by Hannah Wolley, Museum Development Intern

As someone with two science degrees and a fascination for the unusual I was intrigued, when I found out that the Museum is a world leader in the research of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

NTDs are a group of parasitic and bacterial infections that affect over 1 billion people worldwide. Infection can lead to disabling chronic conditions, delayed and cognitive development. Children are predominantly affected and impacted as they are more likely to come into contact with the parasites.

The research at the Museum has in recent years mainly focused on schistosomiasis (also known as Bilharzia), a debilitating disease caused by schistosome blood flukes that are picked up from contaminated fresh water – freshwater snails are hosts for part of the life cycle.

However, Museum research is now radically expanding to include major work on a group of NTDs called Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) and they have recently launched DeWorm3. Aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of using integrated platforms to interrupt the transmission of STH, DeWorm3 is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Copper futures: how Museum science searches for the copper we need | Sustainability

by Professor Richard Herrington, Head of the Department of Earth Sciences

The world needs copper – we all need copper. It carries the electricity and hot water in our homes through cables and pipes. It is part of all the electrical appliances we use at home and in industry – an essential ingredient in any low-carbon economy. The sources and security of supply of copper are important in economic terms and of great interest for government policy and business strategy.

Photo showing the deposit in the mountain side.

Quellaveco deposit (not yet being mined) in the Peruvian Andes. The white markers in the landscape mark the extent of the copper mineralisation at surface.

Every person in the UK uses around 8kg of copper per year. Worldwide usage exceeds 24 million tonnes annually and, whilst around 41% of European copper needs are met by recycling, the demands of growing economies like China and India mean that 75% of this usage is met by mined metal. Copper can’t be grown and simply recycling what we have already extracted won’t keep pace with demands.

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