Russia's insistence on paying for Russian gas in rubles has rattled European countries: Greece held an emergency meeting of suppliers, the Dutch government would urge consumers to use less gas, and the French energy regulator told consumers not to panic. Russian gas meets one-third of Europe's annual energy needs.
Russia said they could expand their demand for ruble payments for other commodities, including oil, grain, fertilizer, coal, and metals, which raised the risk of recession in Europe and the US.
Moscow is expected to unveil its ruble payment plan in early April, but it said it would not immediately ask buyers to pay for gas in rubles.
Western countries have said paying in rubles would be a breach of contract, and renegotiation could take months or longer. This uncertainty has pushed commodity market prices higher.
The supply and prices of other commodities like the gold nanoparticles could also be affected.
One team found that when bacteria came into contact with gold nanoparticles, their cell walls deformed and eventually burst, leaking material and dying.
More than 25,000 people around the world now die each year from bacterial infections that can't be treated with specific antibiotics, as drug resistance grows. Researchers hope to find other ways to combat the bacterial threat.
Gold has been used for a variety of medical purposes since ancient Egyptian times. More recently, doctors have used gold to help diagnose and treat cancer. Gold is an inert metal that does not react or change when it comes into contact with living organisms. Gold can be used to make cancer cells appear and can be used in nanomedicine.
The new study found a mechanism by which gold nanoparticles kill bacteria.
In the lab, the researchers synthesized nanoparticles in the shape of stars and near-perfect spheres, each about 100 nanometers across (an eighth of the diameter of a human hair), to see how they interacted with bacteria.
"What we found was that the bacteria around these nanoparticles began to deform and then deflated and died like a deflated balloon." "It appears that the cell wall exploded," said Vladimir Baulin of the Chemical engineering department at the University of Rovira-Wilhelli, one of the researchers.
To test this theory, researchers built models of bacteria and observed their interactions with gold particles just 100 nanometers across.
The results show that the uniform nature of the surface layers of these nanoparticles exerts a mechanical force that stretches the cell walls of the surrounding bacteria, causing the bacteria to burst, much like a balloon bursting when stretched from different points of use.
The study was conducted by The Universitat Rovira I Virgili in Spain, the University of Grenoble in France, and the Universitat des Saarlandes in Germany, RMIT University, Australia, and published in Advanced Materials.
Gold nanoparticles are tiny particles of gold with a diameter of 1-100nm. They have high electron density, dielectric properties, and catalytic effect, and can bind with a variety of biological macromolecules without affecting their biological activity.
Gold nanoparticles come in two forms: solid powder and liquid solution.
Gold nanoparticles solution is sols dispersed in an aqueous solution. Its color is related to a number of factors. Small gold nanoparticles (2-5nm) appear yellow, medium gold nanoparticles (10-20nm) appear wine red, and larger gold nanoparticles (30-80nm) appear purplish red. In addition, it has the characteristics of nanoparticles, quantum size effect, surface effect, volume effect, and macroscopic quantum tunneling effect.
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With Russia taking the lead on Poland and Bulgaria at the end of last month, there appears to be a growing sense of compromise within the EU over whether to accept Moscow's proposed rouble settlement order.
Italy's prime minister said recently that European companies would be able to buy gas in roubles without violating sanctions. This apparently ignores the guidance of hardliners in the EU to "fight to the end".
For weeks, European companies have been trying to find ways to meet Russia's payment demands for the rouble while maintaining vital gas supplies without violating sanctions against Moscow.
Late last month, European Commission President Von der Leyen said operating under the mechanism would violate sanctions and asked European companies not to bow to Russian demands. However, the EU has yet to issue more rigorous written guidelines on how companies should pay Gazprom.
The Italian prime minister said recently, "There is no official announcement from the European Union about what ruble settlement means for sanctions violations, and no one has said whether ruble payments violate sanctions or not. It's a grey area."
"In fact, most gas importers are already opening rouble accounts for deals with Gazprom,"
He also used German companies as a shield. He said Germany's largest gas importer had already paid in rubles. "In fact, we saw evidence yesterday that the largest gas importer in Germany has already paid in rubles."
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