Problems 2017


1. Life in plastic, it’s fantastic

Plastics that are able to undergo rapid degradation in natural conditions were believed to become a solution for environmental pollution. However, the rate of decomposition of such plastics still depends on the conditions of utilization (composting, UV irradiation, water ingress, etc.). In addition, the sorting of plastic waste in the process of recycling does not allow separating the plastic from “normal” and quickly degradable. This increases the likelihood of degradation of future plastic products made from recycled materials during operation. Suggest sorting methods that will uniquely exclude quick-disintegrating plastics from the recycling process.

2. Robin the Bobbin

There are shown positive effects of dietary therapy or caloric restriction (CR), which is to limit calorie intake. CR is used as a general healing procedure, as well as in complex therapy for hypertension, allergic, neurodegenerative diseases, etc. The mechanisms of the positive effect of CR are not fully understood. Consider the possible mechanisms of CR influence on the organism, evaluate the effectiveness of this impact.

Problem was proposed by Ekaterina V. Pershina, junior researcher at the Laboratory of experimental neurobiology, Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics, RAS, Pushchino, Russia

3. To see the forest for the trees

The gene pool of agricultural plants is one of the most valuable resources of mankind, without which the survival of our species is impossible in connection with the ever-increasing demand for food. The search for the most successful genotypes, their hybridization or other methods of improving the applied qualities of plants can be carried out only on the basis of available collections of varieties and forms of agricultural plants. Collections of annual plants are preserved in the form of a periodically updated seed bank. Collections of perennial woody plants exist in the form of plantations that occupy huge areas, which leads to large economic costs for their maintenance or to limiting the number of samples in collections. Suggest an alternative version of the collection of genetic resources of perennial crops, the number of samples in which can increase without limit, allowing testing properties and using the plants in it as a selection material.

Problem’s author is Mariya A. Sundyreva, senior researcher at Laboratory of physiology and biochemistry of plants, North Caucasian Region Research Institute of Horticulture and Viticulture, Krasnodar, Russia

4. Lullaby, and good night, you are mother’s delight.

The functions of the waking brain, the effectiveness of human activity and the realization of its cognitive capabilities depend on the quantity and quality of daily night sleep. Sleep disorders are a fairly common problem. 8-15% of the adult population of the entire globe make frequent complaints about bad sleep, and 9-11% use various sleeping pills. The current experience of using pharmacological drugs to improve the quality of sleep shows that long-term use of such drugs can lead to addiction or serious side effects.

Propose new ways of non-pharmacological therapy of sleep disorders and cognitive functions by activating the natural restorative functions of sleep.

The problem was proposed by the Vice-President of the Russian Society of Sleep Medicine  Vladimir D. Dorokhov, Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology RAS, Moscow.

5. Sterile eggs

There are several ways to deal with dangerous insect species (flesh fly, tsetse fly, fruit flies and others). One of them is as follows: at the special bio-factories, the production and sterilization of males are carried out with the subsequent release of these sterile males into natural populations. Such males, mating with females, doom the latter to lay sterile eggs, from which the larvae do not form. Suggest ways to use sterile eggs of insects and mites, which can be produced at bio-factories in large quantities, what scientific and practical problems can be solved in this way?

The problem was proposed by prof. Sergei Y. Popov, Timiryazev Moscow Agricultural Academy, Russia