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What is mazut and what are its disadvantages for humans and the environment?



What is mazut

What is mazut ? Mazut is an inseparable friend of air pollution and we hear its name a lot these days. Now, what exactly is this infamous fuel and what are its dangers for humans and the environment?

What is mazut and what are its disadvantages for humans and the environment?

What is diesel fuel

With the arrival of the cold season, the issue of air pollution in big cities becomes one of the hot topics in every community. The main culprit of this problem is nothing but a fuel called “mazut”. To have a better understanding of this issue and to get to know the dimensions of this serious crisis, it is better to take a close look at this fuel and its complications.

What is mazut ?

The crude oil that is extracted from the ground has different compositions and must be refined using special methods. In the stages of refining crude oil by distillation, compounds called fuel oil are removed from the distillation tower. Mazut is one of the types of fuel oil, which, in addition to its very unfavorable quality, also has a very high viscosity.

Read More: Scientists have found a way to diagnose colon cancer more easily

The necessity of using fuel oil in different fields is to convert this product into suitable petrochemical products. Such a change is made with the help of equipment that did not exist in the past. The same issue also made mazut used as a household fuel in countries like the former Soviet Union before being converted into other products.

What is mazut


This type of fuel oil also has a lot of sulfur in its composition, which must be removed before using it for various purposes. Fuel oil desulfurization is done in three ways:

  • Wet method
  • dry method
  • Semi-dry method

Among the mentioned methods, the wet method is the most common method used for fuel oil desulfurization. In this method, with the help of adsorbents based on seawater, sodium, calcium, ammonia, potassium, and magnesium, the sulfur in fuel oil is extracted. Wet desulfurization, which consists of several successive stages, takes place in tanks called “wet washing towers”. What are the types of fuel oil?

The difference in the viscosity of diesel fuel causes this fuel to be divided into several different categories:

  • CST180
  • CST230
  • CST280
  • CST380
  • M100

Meanwhile, fuel oil 100 (M100) is also divided into 4 different types due to the presence of different amounts of sulfur:

  • High Sulfur: Contains 2 to 3.5% sulfur
  • Normal Sulfur: Contains 1 to 2 percent of sulfur
  • Low Sulfur: Contains 0.5 to 1 percent of sulfur
  • Very Low Sulfur: Contains 0.5% sulfur

What is the use of mazut?

In addition to having a high burning heat, diesel fuel has a cheap price, which makes it suitable for use in thermal power plants, steam boilers, and ship fuel. It should be mentioned that European and American countries use it in different ways by breaking down the compounds of this fuel and producing diesel.

What are the effects of mazut on human health?

Burning fuel oil leads to the release of toxic sulfur dioxide gas (SO2), whose large amounts pose serious risks to human health. The standard amount of sulfur dioxide in the air is 10 ppb, and if the air we breathe contains more SO2, we will experience many problems.

A burning sensation in the nose and throat, breathing problems, chest pain, increased risk of heart disease and red eyes are among the symptoms that we will encounter if we are exposed to a small concentration of dioxygen.

The emission of bad smells in the air means increasing the amount of SO2 to more than 500 ppb. In such conditions, the concentration of this gas is at a lethal level and is considered a very serious risk to human health. In such a situation, air pollution and solutions to deal with it become the most important issue of society and attract the attention of experts and officials more and more.

Using the best air pollution monitoring programs and knowing the concentration of existing pollutants is one the important measures that can be taken in this situation. If the amount of atmospheric pollutants increases, it is better not to leave the house and if forced to leave the house, use suitable face masks.

What are the effects of mazut entering the environment?

In addition to the direct effect on human health, fuel oil affects our lives indirectly through the environment. One of the important and familiar effects of mazut entering the environment is the phenomenon of “acid rain”. The dissolution of heavy metals in the soil is considered the most important consequence of acid rain and leads to the phenomenon of soil erosion. This phenomenon causes the soil to lose its power to maintain the roots of trees and plants. In this situation, the vegetation will be lost and this will increase the possibility of flooding.

Soil and vegetation damage is a very important issue that seriously affects the future of mankind, But the point that makes this issue much more serious and worrying is the long-lasting nature of these complications. Research shows that compounds such as xylene and benzene, which enter the soil as a result of fuel oil breakdown, remain in the environment for more than 10 years.


The discovery of a “lost world” belonging to a billion years ago




The discovery of a “lost world” belonging to a billion years ago. Newly discovered biomarker traces indicate the existence of a new group of previously unknown organisms called “protosteroids” that ruled complex life on Earth about a billion years ago.

The discovery of a “lost world” belonging to a billion years ago

According to AI, scientists have discovered ancient microorganisms that lived between one and 1.6 billion years ago. These creatures probably lived in marine environments.

It seems that the more we learn about the evolution of life, the more mysteries we uncover. In new research, fossils of unknown creatures have been discovered, which probably belong to about 1 to 1.6 billion years ago. These tiny organisms, known as protostole biota, lived in a world with much less oxygen than the present atmosphere and lived in the waterways of our planet.

These organisms, which belonged to the family of eukaryotes, had a complex cell structure with mitochondria and a nucleus, and they were very different from today’s eukaryotes such as animals, plants, and amoebas, and they were adapted to the needs of their environment.

Read More: The world’s oldest DNA dating back 2 million years, was discovered

These ancient organisms, which were discovered by scientists from the Australian National University (ANU) and the Helmholtz Society (Helmholtz) from German research centers, extended the current record of fossil steroids to 1.6 billion years (from 800 million). Another remarkable achievement lies in the way this discovery was made.

As Jochen Brocks, a professor at the Australian National University and one of the study’s first authors, explained, the scientists first had to find what they were looking for, using a combination of methods to “convert a variety of modern steroids into their fossil equivalents.” They were drawing. This allowed them to find overlooked traces of fossilized fat molecules inside a 1.6-billion-year-old rock at the bottom of the ocean near Australia’s Northern Territory.

Perform discovery

Dr. Benjamin Nettersheim of the University of Bremen and the other first author of the study explained how to determine where early organisms were found. Their goal, he says, is to trace the molecular remains of early organisms as far back as possible in Earth’s history.

He explains: “We knew from previous research how and where on Earth to find these precious molecular traces of early life on Earth.” There are only a few places in the world where ancient sediments are not buried deeper than a few kilometers and have never been warmed to such an extent that the diagnostic ecological information of key biological biomolecules is completely destroyed by heat and geological metamorphic processes.

The discovery of a "lost world" belonging to a billion years ago

One such place where diagnostic molecular fossils still exist is in northern Australia. As Dr. Nettersheim explained, the sedimentary rocks there have undergone very little change over 1.64 billion years of geologic history.

The discovery of a “lost world” belonging a billion years ago

To find these missing fossils, scientists had to develop new search patterns in the lab and then began finding fossil steroids in almost all rocks with biomarkers between 800 million and 1.6 billion years ago. According to Netersheim, of these, only bacterial hopanoids were known.

But these are not fossil cholesterols, but biosynthetically more primitive versions of them, he explained.

Now we have found fossil derivatives of these molecules. We think they probably derive in part from our very early eukaryotic ancestors, which must have been much more widespread and ecologically important than previously thought.

Changing our understanding of evolution

In response to the question of how this discovery affects our knowledge of evolutionary processes, Netersheim stated: “If our interpretation is correct that molecular fossils mainly originate from our early eukaryotic ancestors, it means that our early ancestors, which are the most Marine environments between 1.6 billion and about 800 million years ago still belonged to the stem of the eukaryotic tree.

This means that it was during the Tonian period, about 800 million years ago, that modern types of eukaryotes such as red algae and heterotrophic eukaryotes and so-called protists such as ciliates increased, and this is ecologically important on a global scale.

What caused their extinction?

The researchers believe their findings will improve our understanding of the major change that took place during the Tonian Period, a time known from about 1 billion to 720 million years ago. Netersheim believes that both the dramatic increase in eukaryote fossil diversity and the appearance of the first modern sterol fossils following the 800 million years of exclusively early sterols during that period produced a significant transformation of marine ecosystems on a global scale that should have led to extinction. These creatures have become ancient.

It is possible that early protosterol biota became extinct or, more likely, was marginalized by environmental disturbances during this period, he says. Their extinction may have been due, for example, to the emergence of modern eukaryotes and changes in atmospheric oxygen concentration or nutrient regimes.

Search for other ancient creatures

Now that they have identified some microorganisms from a billion years ago, scientists are looking to find more. They attempt to reconstruct ancient ecosystems and the evolution of early life as recorded in the rock record in as much detail as possible.

Their study titled “The Lost World of Complex Life and the Late Emergence of the Eukaryotic Crown” is published in the journal Nature.

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Climate change and tsunamis that will come from Antarctica




Climate change

Climate change and tsunamis that will come from Antarctica. A new study warns that climate change could trigger giant, deadly tsunamis from Antarctica, as sediment slippage beneath the Antarctic seafloor could trigger these massive tsunamis as oceans warm.

Climate change and tsunamis that will come from Antarctica

Climate change could trigger giant tsunamis in the Southern Ocean by triggering underwater landslides in Antarctica, a new study warns. Antarctica is a continent at the south pole of the earth. This continent is the coldest place on earth and more or less its entire surface is covered with ice.

Antarctica is the fifth largest continent on Earth after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America, but it has the least human population among all continents. It also has the highest average height, the lowest average humidity, and the lowest average temperature among all the continents of the world.

Read More: How does air pollution destroy our sense of smell?

More than 80% of the freshwater reserves of the planet are located in Antarctica. In this continent, nearly 30 countries have nearly 70 research bases, of which 40 are annual or permanent bases and 30 are summer bases.

Now, by drilling in sediment cores hundreds of meters below the seabed in Antarctica, scientists found that during previous periods of global warming (3 million years ago and 15 million years ago), loose sedimentary layers were formed and slid to send huge tsunami waves to the coast of South America, New Zealand.

As climate change warms the oceans, researchers think it’s possible that these tsunamis will occur again.

In a statement, Jenny Giles, a lecturer in hydrography and ocean exploration at the University of Plymouth in the UK, said in a statement: “Undersea landslides are a major hazard with the potential to cause tsunamis that could lead to loss of life.

” He added: “Our findings show how we need to urgently increase our understanding of how global climate change affects the stability of these regions and the potential for future tsunamis.”

For the first time in 2017, researchers found evidence of ancient Antarctic landslides in the eastern Ross Sea. Beneath these landslides are layers of weak sediments filled with fossilized marine organisms called phytoplankton.

Scientists returned to this area in 2018 and drilled deep into the seabed to extract sediment cores. These excavations are done by sinking long and thin cylinders into the earth’s crust, which reveal the geological history of the region layer by layer.

By analyzing these sediment cores, the scientists found that the weak sedimentary layers formed during two periods, one about three million years ago during the warmth of the mid-Pliocene period and the other about 15 million years ago during the favorable climate of the Miocene period.

During these periods, the waters around Antarctica were three degrees Celsius warmer than today, which led to an explosion of algae populations that, after dying, filled the seabed with rich, slippery sediment, making the region prone to landslides.

During the subsequent cold climate and Ice Age, these slip layers were covered by thick layers of sand, said Robert McKay, director of the Antarctic Research Center at Victoria University of Wellington and chief scientist of the International Ocean Exploration Program Expedition 374, which extracted sediment cores in 2018. The bulk was covered by glaciers and icebergs.

The exact trigger of past underwater landslides in the region is not known for certain, but researchers have found the most likely cause to be the melting of glacier ice due to global warming. The end of Earth’s periodic ice ages caused the ice sheets to shrink and retreat, lightening the load on Earth’s tectonic plates and pushing them back up in a process called isostatic rebound.

After the formation of enough weak sedimentary layers, the continental growth of Antarctica triggered earthquakes that caused the coarse sand above the sliding layers to spill out from the edge of the continental shelf, which caused landslides and tsunamis.

The scale and size of ancient ocean waves are unknown, but scientists point to two undersea thrusts that generated massive tsunamis and caused significant loss of life. The first was the Grand Banks tsunami in 1929, which created waves 13 meters high and killed about 28 people on the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, and the second tsunami in Papua New Guinea in 1998, which created waves 15 meters high and killed 2,200 people.

Considering that many layers of sediment are buried under the Antarctic bed and the glaciers above the water are also slowly melting, the researchers warn that if their melting really caused tsunamis in the past, landslides and tsunamis in the future may occur again.

Those same layers still exist on the outer continental shelf, says McKay. So it’s a starting point for more of these thrusts to occur, but the big question is whether the trigger for these events is still ongoing.

He added: “We consider isostatic rebound as a logical potential driver, but it could be a random failure or climate change in ocean currents eroding sediment at key locations on the continental shelf that could cause this to happen.” These are things we can use computer models to evaluate in future studies.

This study was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.

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How does air pollution destroy our sense of smell?




air pollution

How does air pollution destroy our sense of smell? Losing the sense of smell or anosmia can have a significant impact on our quality of life, and researchers say that air pollution plays a role in causing it.

How does air pollution destroy our sense of smell?

In this article we’re going to read about how does pollution destroy our sense of smell . The sense of smell is one of our richest and broadest windows to the world around us, which plays a vital role in what we taste and our social interactions, and even helps us recognize possible dangers. But the threat in the air we breathe can destroy our sense of smell.

Covid-19 has shown many people what it is like to lose the sense of smell. Loss of the sense of smell, which is called “anosmia”, can have a significant impact on our well-being and quality of life. But while a sudden respiratory infection may lead to a temporary loss of this important sense, the sense of smell may gradually deteriorate over many years due to air pollution.

Exposure to PM2.5 (the collective name for particulate air pollution that comes mainly from burning fuel in our vehicles, power plants, and homes) has previously been linked to olfactory disorders, but usually only in certain environments, writes the BBC. Industrial or occupational. But new research reveals the true scale of olfactory impairment caused by air pollution and the potential harm caused by the pollution we breathe in every day. The findings of this study are important for all of us.

In the lower part of the brain, just above the nasal cavities, is the olfactory bulb. This sensitive tissue has nerve endings and is essential for the diverse image we get of the world with the help of the sense of smell. The olfactory bulb is also our first line of defense against viruses and pollutants entering the brain. But when repeatedly exposed to harmful factors, this defense slowly weakens.

“Our data show a 1.6- to 1.7-fold increased risk of developing anosmia in conditions of persistent particulate matter pollution,” says Murugapan Ramanathan, a nasal disease specialist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. Ramanathan has been curious about whether there is a connection between suffering from anosmia and the level of air pollution where people live. The simple question that Ramanathan wanted to answer was this: Is the prevalence of anosmia higher in people who live in areas with higher PM2.5 pollution?

Until recently, there was little scientific research on this topic. A Mexican study from 2006 used the smell of coffee and oranges to show that residents of Mexico City, who are often exposed to air pollution, have a poorer sense of smell on average than people living in rural areas of the country.

With the help of colleagues including Genevieve Zhang, an epidemiologist who created a map of air pollution data in the Baltimore area, Ramanathan conducted a study using data from 2,690 patients who visited Johns Hopkins Hospital over a four-year period. About 20% of the mentioned patients had anosmia and most of them did not smoke. Smoking affects the sense of smell.

air pollution

PM2.5 levels were higher in neighborhoods where patients with anosmia lived, compared to healthy control group participants. Even when the effect of age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index, and alcohol and tobacco use were taken into account, the same result was obtained: even a small increase in exposure to ambient PM2.5 may be associated with anosmia.

Read More: What is mazut and what are its disadvantages for humans and the environment?

These findings have been repeated in studies in other regions of the world. For example, a recent study in Brescia in northern Italy showed that the more teenagers and young adults were exposed to nitrogen dioxide (another pollutant produced when fossil fuels are burned, especially from vehicle engines), the more sensitive their noses were to odors. Another annual study in São Paulo, Brazil, also found that people who lived in areas with higher particle pollution had a poorer sense of smell.

How does air pollution destroy our sense of smell?

According to Ramanathan, there are two possible paths. One is that some pollution particles pass through the olfactory bulb and directly enter the brain and cause inflammation. “The olfactory nerves are in the brain, but there’s an opening at the base of the skull where small nerve fibers enter the nose,” says Ramanathan.

In 2016, a team of British researchers found the following metallic particles in human brain tissue that appeared to have passed through the olfactory bulb. Barbara Maher, a professor of environmental science at Lancaster University who led the study, said at the time that the particles were similar to those found in polluted air near busy streets. (Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves were also other possible sources).

air pollution

Maher’s study shows that when tiny metal particles enter the brain, they can be toxic and cause oxidative brain damage that damages neural pathways; Although this is still theoretical. Another possible mechanism, says Ramanathan, may not even require pollution particles to enter the brain. Particles of pollution by constantly hitting the olfactory bulb, cause inflammation and damage to the nerves and destroy them slowly. Think of this situation as coastal erosion, where sand and salt waves gradually erode the shoreline. Let’s say those airwaves are full of pollution and the coastline is our nasal nerves.

Therefore, it is not surprising that anosmia mostly affects older people whose noses have been exposed to air pollution for a longer period. Interestingly, none of the Johns Hopkins patients lived in areas with excessive air pollution. Most of them lived in the green areas of Maryland, and none of them lived in highly polluted areas. This shows that even low levels of air pollution can cause problems in the long run.

A similar study was conducted separately by the Center for Aging Research at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Postdoctoral researcher Ingrid Ekström was puzzled by findings from the early 2000s that showed more than 5.8 percent of adults in Sweden had anosmia and 19.1 percent had some form of smell disorder.

Knowing that the rate of anosmia is higher among the elderly, Ekstrom and colleagues designed a study using 3363 patients aged 60 years and older. Using sticks that gave off 16 common household odors, participants were scored based on the number of odors they could correctly identify.

As in the Baltimore study, participants’ home addresses were mapped based on urban air pollution, and here, too, a strong correlation was seen between higher pollution levels and poorer olfactory strength. “They had been exposed to pollution throughout their lives,” says Ekström. We don’t know exactly when their olfactory disorder started.” But he is confident that long-term exposure to pollution, even at low levels, has caused people’s olfactory disorders.

In 2021, the World Health Organization changed its health-based guidelines for the maximum annual average exposure to PM2.5 particles, changing it from 10 micrograms per cubic meter to 5 micrograms per cubic meter.

Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is one of the few big cities in the world that is below the set level with an annual average of 4.2 micrograms per cubic meter. In contrast, Pakistan’s Islamabad has an annual average PM2.5 of 41.1 micrograms per cubic meter, while this average in Bloemfontein, South Africa is 42.3 micrograms per cubic meter.

This makes the Stockholm findings even more important: even Stockholm residents lose their sense of smell due to low pollution levels; How much worse can this problem be in areas where pollution levels are high? It’s also a reminder of how local pollution can be, both outdoors and indoors. Cooking and heating methods may expose some households to higher levels of pollution than their neighbors.

Meanwhile, modern combustion methods from vehicle engines to new wood stoves can produce tiny nanoparticles that barely register in PM2.5 readings, but are small enough to enter our bloodstream and brain tissue directly.

Air pollution is the cause of a quarter of deaths from heart disease and stroke and almost half of the deaths from lung diseases.

Maybe our sense of smell does not seem so alarming compared to the mentioned diseases. But Ramanathan and Ekström warn that the sense of smell and the problems caused by its lack are more important than they think.

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