Volume 544 Number 7648

Editorials

News

News Features

News & Views

The search for no neutrinos p.38

sign of an elusive nuclear decay that could help to explain why the Universe is dominated by matter, rather than antimatter. An upgraded experiment continues the search with unprecedented sensitivity. See Letter p.47

doi: 10.1038/544038a

Large rise in carbon uptake by land plants p.39

A proxy for the amount of carbon dioxide taken up by plants for photosynthesis has been used to estimate historical global uptake, revealing a large increase that might partly offset the rise in atmospheric CO2 levels. See Letter p.84

doi: 10.1038/544039a

The aerodynamics buzz from mosquitoes p.40

Mosquitoes flap their long, thin wings four times faster than similarly sized insects. Imaging and computational analysis of mosquito flight illuminates some aerodynamic mechanisms not seen before in animal flight. See Letter p.92

doi: 10.1038/nature21904

Receptors grease the metabolic wheels p.42

Structural insights into adiponectin receptors provide evidence that these proteins have an inherent enzymatic activity, which gives them the ability to propagate signalling by their ligand, the hormone adiponectin. See Letter p.120

doi: 10.1038/nature21900

Chain mail reverses the Hall effect p.44

The sign of a material's charge carriers is usually reflected in the sign of the 'Hall voltage'. But for a structure inspired by chain mail, altering its geometry inverts the Hall voltage, even if the charge carriers are unchanged.

doi: 10.1038/nature21902

A wine-induced breakdown p.45

A polysaccharide called rhamnogalacturonan II is a major component of some fruits, but humans rely on their gut microbiota to digest it. The microbes and processes responsible for this digestion have now been revealed. See Article p.65

doi: 10.1038/nature21901

Articles

Letters

Low-temperature hydrogen production from water and methanol using Pt/α-MoC catalysts p.80

Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) running on hydrogen are attractive alternative power supplies for a range of applications, with in situ release of the required hydrogen from a stable liquid offering one way of ensuring its safe storage and transportation before use. The use of methanol is particularly interesting in this regard, because it is inexpensive and can reform itself with water to release hydrogen with a high gravimetric density of 18.8 per cent by weight. But traditional reforming of methanol steam operates at relatively high temperatures (200–350 degrees Celsius), so the focus for vehicle and portable PEMFC applications has been on aqueous-phase reforming of methanol (APRM). This method requires less energy, and the simpler and more compact device design allows direct integration into PEMFC stacks. There remains, however, the need for an efficient APRM catalyst. Here we report that platinum (Pt) atomically dispersed on α-molybdenum carbide (α-MoC) enables low-temperature (150–190 degrees Celsius), base-free hydrogen production through APRM, with an average turnover frequency reaching 18,046 moles of hydrogen per mole of platinum per hour. We attribute this exceptional hydrogen production—which far exceeds that of previously reported low-temperature APRM catalysts—to the outstanding ability of α-MoC to induce water dissociation, and to the fact that platinum and α-MoC act in synergy to activate methanol and then to reform it.

doi: 10.1038/nature21672