Weekly News Bites: Measuring meat, the Skeleton Panda Sea Squirt, and the least amount of exercise

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are a biosensor to detect meat freshness, a cute and spooky sea creature, and how even shorter amounts of exercise can lead to benefits.

Spoiled meat can be hazardous to human health, hosting a variety of bad bacteria. To help detect how fresh meat is, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology and Russian Academy of Sciences have developed a biosensor using graphene electrodes and zinc oxide nanoparticles. This biosensor is faster and easier to use when compared to current food-testing methods.

The more weight a plane has to carry, even including the paint on its body, the more fuel it burns. Scientists from Kobe University have developed near-invisible nanospheres for paint, reflecting light with minimal weight to produce colors. This paint can be used to reduce the weight and therefore fuel costs and CO2 emissions emitted by airplanes.

University of Hong Kong researchers reveal Mars' volcanic past which can provide an insight into how our early planet looked like. The volcanoes on the planet’s surface are massive and explosive, possibly due to Mars having one tectonic plate. In comparison, the Earth has multiple (which we can feel through earthquakes), allowing more pressure to escape so our volcanoes are not as large.

Meet the Skeleton Panda Sea Squirt, a new species of sea creature studied by Hokkaido University researchers which went viral due to its panda-like face and skeleton-like body. The skeletal “bones” are actually blood vessels, and the panda patterns are, as far as the scientists know, just patterns. The sea squirt hadn’t been studied before pictures of it went online.

Men and women have different amounts of muscle in their body and can experience different benefits from exercise. Research from Qingdao University suggests that women benefit more from exercise than men do. The scientists observed that 140 mins of moderate exercise per week reduces women's risk of premature death by 18%, compared to men needing 300 mins. This study, however, does not take into account household work and the fact that the tasks can require more physical effort from women than men.

As mentioned above, even shorter amounts of exercise can have large benefits. A new study from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College suggests that 'weekend warrior' exercise—packing in recommended weekly activity over 2 days—can help lower belly fat levels. Good news for those who can’t fit in exercise during the work week!