The red pigment prodigiosin could have cosmetic benefits, such as reducing dark spots and lightening a person’s complexion, Tatung University biological engineering professor Will Chen (陳志成) said this week.
About a decade ago, his research team added prodigiosin to fish feed to enhance the red coloring of a tropical species, Chen said.
About three months later, the doctoral candidates in charge of the fish reported that the experiment had failed, because the fish turned bone-white, he said.
Photo provided by Tatung University
The unexpected result triggered a series of new inquires, eventually leading to the discovery that prodogiosin could potentially counter the effect of melanin on skin tissue, which leads to dark spots and tanning, he said.
Prodigiosin is a naturally occurring carotenoid produced by several types of microbes — including the halophiles from which the team extracted the substance, he said, adding that prodigiosin is two to seven times more effective as an anti-oxidant than other carotenoids.
The Dead Sea is rich with salt-eating halophiles that produce prodigiosin, which could explain the reported cosmetic effects of the salt lake’s mud, he said.
Cell tissue research and early clinical trials at Tri-Service General Hospital found that using prodigosin might reverse melanin-induced pigmentation, he said, adding that the university team was working on applying the discovery to cosmetic medicine.
In other news, a new mosquito trap designed by the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) quickly identifies whether a mosquito could spread dengue fever and can determine high-risk locations.
Traditional traps are designed to kill mosquitoes, not to identify their species, but the newly developed “smart multimembrane mosquito trapping device” catches them alive and uses special technology to identify them, NHRI researcher Liao Lun-de (廖倫德) said yesterday.
As soon as a mosquito flies into the trap, the device takes 0.07 seconds to photographically determine with more than 90 percent accuracy whether it is the Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus species, which spread dengue fever and the Zika virus, Liao said.
The data can be transmitted to the NHRI and help in identifying neighborhoods at high risk for dengue fever, Liao added.
With enough data points, an early-warning system could be developed, allowing authorities to take preventive measures, Liao said.
Because the mosquitoes are captured alive, their blood can be tested to identify what they have bitten and whether they are carrying a virus, the researcher said.
It took the NHRI 18 months to design the trap, which combines photoelectric sensing and artificial intelligence technology, Liao said, adding that each device costs NT$2,000 to NT$4,000.
A domestically developed “suicide drone,” also known as a loitering munition, would be tested and evaluated in July, and could enter mass production next year, Taiwan’s weapons developer said on Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named drone was among nine drone models unveiled by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday. The drone has been dubbed the “Taiwanese switchblade” by Chinese-language media, due to its similarity to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which has been used by Ukraine in counterattacks during Russia’s invasion. It has a range of more than 10km, a flight time of more than 15 minutes, and an electro-optical
OFFLINE: People who do not wish to register can get the money from select ATMs using their bank card, ID number and National Health Insurance card number Online registration for NT$6,000 (US$196.32) cash payments drawn from last year’s tax surplus is to open today for eligible people whose national ID or permanent residency number ends in either a zero or a one, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. Officials from the ministry revealed which days Taiwanese and eligible foreigners would be able to register for the cash payments at a joint news conference with the Ministry of Digital Affairs. Online registration is to open tomorrow for those whose number ends in a two or three; on Friday for those that end in a four or five: on Saturday
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) officials are investigating why a Starlux Airlines flight to Penang, Malaysia, returned to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport nearly two hours after takeoff yesterday morning. The airline said in a statement that Flight JX721 to Penang took off from Taoyuan airport at 9:20am. “After the dashboard showed a signal of an abnormality in the hydraulic system, the captain followed standard operating procedures and returned the flight to Taoyuan airport for safety precautions,” the airline said, adding that the flight landed safely at the airport at 11:04am. The airline arranged for the passengers to have lunch after the flight landed and
WORKING UP AN APPETITE: Sales at the Rueifong Night Market surged 20 to 30 percent, while seats at Liouhe Night Market were packed until 1am, market officials said South Korean pop band Blackpink’s concerts over the weekend in Kaohsiung helped draw large crowds to local night markets, the Kaohsiung City Government said yesterday. The two concerts on Saturday and Sunday at Kaohsiung National Stadium drew more than 90,000 people. The city government offered NT$50 vouchers to spend locally to concertgoers who showed their ticket stubs. Liouhe Night Market (六合夜市) management committee head Chuang Chi-chang (莊其章) said that crowds over the weekend surged at about 10pm and the market remained packed until 1:30am. “Almost all the seats were filled,” Chuang said. Night market stall owners had stocked up in expectation of an increased number