New  York Times (New York, N.Y.: daily circulation  951,063)

“Battery  Powered by Humid Air Shows Promise in Lab”

September 28,  2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs  (OPA) National Meeting press release

 

Anyone familiar with summer  lightning might suspect a link between humid air and electricity. Now the  research of a Brazilian scientist shows humidity creates an electrostatic charge  that might be harnessed to make simple batteries or to prevent lightning from  forming. "Our research could pave the way for turning electricity from the  atmosphere into an alternative energy source for the future," said study leader  Fernando Galembeck of the University of  Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil, in a description of his work.  "Just as solar energy could free some households from paying electric bills,  this promising new energy source could have a similar effect." Last month,  Galembeck presented a paper in Boston at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting,  showing that a simple battery acquired an electrical charge as researchers  ramped up the ambient humidity to which it was exposed. In an interview,  Galembeck said the battery -- composed of alternating layers of paper-like  cellulose fibers and thin sheets of metal similar to aluminum foil -- developed  a top charge of 0.8 volts. That is roughly half the 1.5-volt charge of a typical  AA-type battery.

 

Reuters (London, England: “viewed by more than 1  billion monthly”)

“Tofu Ingredient  Makes Safer Wood Glue”

September 29,  2010

Origin: OPA  PressPac

 

[AOL  News (New York,  N.Y.: 2.8 million monthly unique  users) also carried the story.]

 

An ingredient found in tofu and soy  milk can be used to make formaldehyde-free adhesive for plywood, furniture and  other wood products. Charles Frihart, a researcher with the U.S. Department of  Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory, announced the finding at the American Chemical Society's national  meeting. The new adhesive is made with soy flour along with an additive used to  make paper towels water resistant and other modifiers. The adhesive can be used  on plywood and other wood products like furniture and flooring. The researchers  behind it said it works as well as petroleum-based adhesives for interior  products and it does not produce formaldehyde vapors. Formaldehyde can cause  cancer and also short-term problems like skin irritation and burning feelings in  the eyes, nose and mouth. "Protein adhesives allowed  the development of composite wood products such as plywood in the early 20th  century," Frihart said in a statement.

 

CBS  News (New York, N.Y.: 9.6 million monthly unique  users)

“Aircraft  Fuel Emissions to Kill 8,000 People This Year”

September 29,  2010

Origin: OPA  PressPac

 

Fed up with getting nickel-and-dimed  to death each time you fly a commercial airliner? Think of the bright side: At  least - hopefully - you won't number among the estimated 8,000 people who  actually will die this year because of pollution emitted by commercial flights.  In a report published this month in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, MIT  researchers argue that airplanes flying at cruise altitude (or approximately  35,000 feet) contribute to 8,000 premature deaths around the world each year.  The researchers say that nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides emitted by aircraft  at that level combine with other gases in the atmosphere to create noxious  particulate matter. Earlier studies of the effects of aircraft pollution on air  quality have focused on landing and takeoff emissions as most airline fuel gets  burned at high altitudes. Lead author Steven Barrett told MIT's news service  that "anything above that [altitude] really hasn't been regulated, and the goal  of this research was to determine whether that was really  justified."

 

Times  of India (New Delhi, India: daily circulation 3.15  million)

“Garlic  oil prevents heart disease”

September 30,  2010

Origin: OPA  PressPac

 

[Twenty-seven other media outlets,  including Medindia (Chennai, India: 817,600 monthly unique users), The  Medical News (Sydney, Australia: 492,000 monthly unique users) and Thaindian  News (Bangkok, Thailand: 1.9 million monthly unique users), also carried the  story.]

 

A new study has revealed that garlic  has enormous potential to prevent cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that  is a leading cause of death in people with diabetes. Wei-Wen Kuo and colleagues  note that diabetics have at least twice the risk of death from heart disease as  others, with heart disease accounting for 80 percent of all diabetes-related  deaths. Especially dangerous is diabetic cardiomyopathy, which inflames and  weakens the heart's muscle tissue. The study results indicated that garlic might  help control the abnormally high blood sugar levels that occur in diabetes. They  found that rats given garlic oil experienced beneficial changes associated with  protection against heart damage. The find appears in ACS' bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

 

Oneindia (Bangalore,  India: 7.3  million monthly unique users)

“Soon,  engineered beers to suit the flavour of your  choice”

September 30,  2010

Origin: OPA  PressPac

 

[Twenty other outlets, including Genetic  Engineering & Biotechnology News (New Rochelle, N.Y.: bi-monthly  circulation 65,000), RedOrbit (Dallas, Tex.: 3.4 million monthly unique users) and Health  News Digest (New York, N.Y.: 19,300 monthly unique users), also covered the  story.]

 

Brewers may soon be able to engineer  the flavour and aroma of beer, for scientists have done the most comprehensive  deciphering of the beer's "proteome"-the set of proteins that make beer "beer".  Pier Giorgio Righetti and colleagues say they were inspired to do the research  by a popular Belgian story, Les Maitres de l'Orge (The Brew Masters), which  chronicles the fortunes of a family of brewers over 150 years. They realized  that beer ranks behind only water and tea as the world's most popular beverage,  and yet little research had been done to identify the full set of proteins that  make up beer. Those proteins, they note, play a key role in the formation,  texture, and stability of the foamy "head" that drinkers value so highly. The  report on the proteome appears in ACS' monthly Journal of Proteome  Research.

 

Science  Daily (Rockville, Md.: 3.6 million monthly unique  users)

“Simple  Approach Could Clean Up Oil Remaining from Exxon Valdez  Spill”

September 29,  2010

Origin: OPA  PressPac

 

[Fourteen other outlets, including  Oneindia (Bangalore, India: 7.3 million monthly unique users), PhysOrg.com (Evergreen,  Va.: 1.3 million monthly unique users) and Environmental  Protection Magazine (Dallas, Tex.) also covered the  item.]

 

Traces of crude oil that linger on  the shores of Alaska's Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez oil spill  remain highly biodegradable, despite almost 20 years of weathering and  decomposition, scientists are reporting in a new study. Their findings, which  appear in ACS' semi-monthly journal Environmental  Science & Technology, suggest a simple approach  for further cleaning up remaining traces of the Exxon Valdez spill -- the  largest in U.S. waters until the 2010 Deepwater  Horizon episode. The scientists collected oil-contaminated soil from different  beaches in Prince William Sound and treated the  samples with phosphorus and nitrogen fertilizer in the presence of excess oxygen  from the air. Oil in the fertilized samples biodegraded up to twice as fast as  oil in the unfertilized control samples, but significant biodegradation occurred  even in the unfertilized controls.

 

MSNBC (New York, N.Y.: 39.9 million monthly unique  users)

“Smart,  power-producing material could spawn microrobots”

September 29,  2010

 

Power-producing piezoelectric  materials are now getting smarter thanks to the work of scientists from Georgia  Tech. The new, so-called "piezotronics" could be lead to a new class of  intelligent, self-powered microrobots, which have a range of applications from  studying the environment to spying on extremists. "This is the first time that a  mechanical action has been used to create a logic operation," said Z.L. Wang, a  researcher at Georgia Tech and co-author of a series of reports in Nano Letters, Advanced Materials and  elsewhere detailing his recent advances in piezotronics. When bent, twisted or  otherwise stressed, piezoelectric materials generate an electrical charge.  Usually the charge is mild; most piezoelectric materials can only generate  millivolts worth of electricity, which isn't enough to power most consumer  electronics.

 

Odessa American (Odessa, Tex.:  daily circulation 27,670)

“Inventor  speaks”

September 29,  2010

 

The inventor of the home diabetes  test, Dr. Helen Free, will be a guest presenter at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday in  Library Lecture Hall 001. Her visit is sponsored by the Permian Basin Local Section of the American Chemical  Society.  The free event is open to the public. In 1995, Free  received the first ACS Award for Public Outreach. Since the mid-1940s, Free and  her husband Alfred worked in the biochemistry research group at Miles  Laboratories Inc. (now Bayer Healthcare).  They became two of the world’s  leading experts on urinalysis which subsequently led to her invention of the  home diabetes test. Earlier this year, Dr. Free’s work was honored as an ACS  National Historic Chemical Landmark.

 

… From the  Blogs

 

Eye  on Taiwan

“Taiwan researchers announce  breakthrough in cancer diagnosis”

September 30,  2010

 

A Taiwan-developed technology could  allow cancer patients to undergo same-day CT and MRI scans without the need to  wait for the clearance of contrast agents, cutting diagnostic times in half, a  pair of researchers announced at a news conference Wednesday. The research was  partly funded by the National Science Council. Results of in vitro and in vivo  testing were carried in the Sept. 29 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society as  a cover story.

 

Cancer Care Center

“17 Ways To Reduce Cancer  Hazards”

September 30,  2010

 

Although medical science is  developing rapidly and bio-scientists are diagnosing almost every foreign  disease and getting them cured, cancer is still incurable. It is fatal, but what  we can do is just avoid this ailment making few changes in our lifestyle.  Checkout which are the best ways to reduce substantial risks of cancer: 12.  Pesticide residues should be avoided. Washing, peeling and removing the  outermost parts of leafy vegetables reduces exposure to pesticides. It is always  better to buy organic foods, as these are produced without using pesticides.  Corn and strawberries, which are organically grown, contains significantly  higher levels of antioxidants; these antioxidants are supposed to be more active  cancer fighters than antioxidants that are available in conventionally grown  foods [cancer fighting foods]. This fact is supported by a study published in  the ‘Journal of Agricultural and Food  Chemistry.’

Chemistry World (London, England: “read by more than 50,000 scientists monthly”)

“America's scientific lead remains on the brink”

September 27, 2010

 

An influential US National Academies committee that sounded an alarm five years ago about the precarious position of American leadership in science and technology has renewed its call to action. The original Gathering Storm report, released in 2005, urged the federal government to bolster primary education and double the federal basic research budget. It attracted congressional and public attention, helping to secure in last year's economic stimulus package billions of extra dollars for science agencies in 2009 and 2010. In an update of the report released on 23 September, the committee revisits the issue of US competitiveness and concludes that despite some progress and 'occasional bright spots', the situation is worsening. The American Chemical Society (ACS) agrees with the overall conclusions of the National Academies panel. ACS spokesman Glenn Ruskin calls the last five years 'a mixed bag' in terms of the US response to the competitiveness challenge. The nation has increased investments and focus on scientific research and education, but Ruskin says these challenges need to be addressed in 'a more long-term oriented way, rather than through sudden bursts of positive energy,' like the one-time funds provided through the economic stimulus package.

 

The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.: daily circulation 319,625)

“Tapping into a dietary 'marvel'”

September 27, 2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs (OPA) National Meeting press release

 

In the next few months, three new anti-obesity drugs will be up for approval by the Food and Drug Administration. None of the names is familiar -- Lorcaserin, Qnexa and Contrave -- or terribly catchy. And recent history is littered with weight-loss drugs that proved harmful. But if any of these newcomers triggers safe weight loss, it could be a breakthrough against obesity. We need one of those. Badly. At the same time, though, some promising research points in a dramatically different direction, toward a dietary "miracle" that will never earn a pharmaceutical company a dime: Drink more water. It's that simple. Drink it when you're hungry. Drink it instead of drinking high-calorie beverages. And drink it -- a lot of it -- right before meals. Folk wisdom has long endorsed bulking up on water before meals. But results from a small study unveiled recently at the American Chemical Society's annual conference showed that increasing your water intake can make a sizable difference -- in your size. Drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water before meals was all it took. Brenda Davy, an associate professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech, tested this approach on 48 adults, ages 55 to 75, who all ate the same low-fat diet. After three months, those who stepped up their water intake lost 15 pounds. Those who didn't lost 11 pounds. The water drinkers were also more successful in keeping the weight off.

 

Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Tex.: daily circulation 263,810)

“Eat for life: Berry Infused Tea Spritzer”

September 28, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

The $10 billion tea industry has slaked our thirst, but much of the bottled, ready-to-drink tea we consume daily is not as healthful as we've been led to believe. For starters, most brands contain artificial ingredients, sweeteners, additives and unnatural colors. Bottled teas also may contain fewer of the beneficial chemicals that give tea its healthful reputation. Researchers presenting a preliminary, non-peer-reviewed study at last month's meeting of the American Chemical Society reported the concentration of polyphenols, a healthful antioxidant, in six bottled teas tested was virtually nonexistent. The average cup of home-brewed black or green tea contains 50 to 150 milligrams of polyphenols. The polyphenols in bottled teas occur in such low amounts that a consumer would have to drink 20 bottles to get the same amount found in a single cup of home-brewed tea.

 

KDVR.com (Denver, Colo.: 238,200 monthly unique users)

“New ways to fight bacteria”

September 27, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

[KTVI.com (St. Louis, Mo.: 220,800 monthly unique users) also covered the story.]

 

Doctors and infectious bacteria are locked in an arms race. In this ever-escalating battle, the bacteria evolve ways to avoid every drug humans throw at them. The conflict has intensified lately as more and more bacteria — particularly those lurking in hospitals — become able to resist nearly every antibiotic in our arsenal. Many current antibiotics come from bacteria or fungi that need to fight off neighboring microbes. Now, scientists are casting a wider net in their search for new antimicrobial agents — including looking in animals, such as frogs, that are very good at fighting off bacteria… Michael Conlon, a chemist at the United Arab Emirates University in Al-Ain, invites colleagues to send him samples of the chemicals frogs secrete on their skin so he can test their antibacterial activity. "People think I'm some kind of lunatic," Conlon says. "Why on earth would you ever look in frog skin for antibiotics?" The reason is that frogs live in warm, wet environments, making their skin an appealing home for bacteria. So frogs have evolved an arsenal of bacteria-killing chemicals to protect themselves. At the August meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, Conlon reported that he has amassed a collection of skin secretions from more than 6,000 kinds of frogs. He has found more than 100 frog slime compounds that attack bacteria. "They just rip big holes in the cell membrane," Conlon says. Fighting off the frog bactericides will require larger evolutionary changes than bacteria needed to resist current antibiotics, so it should take a while before they manage to resist the new drugs.

 

Gather.com (Boston, Mass.: 4 million monthly unique users)

“Can biofuel from chicken fat create an energy to replace diesel?”

September 27, 2010

 

Biodiesel is defined as an alternative fuel used to supplement or replace fossil diesel fuel.  One of the major disadvantages of biodiesel fuel is the questionable economical viability of the production process due to the high cost of the raw material to be converted. In a recent study published in the journal Energy and Fuels, biodiesel was produced from poultry fat, and evaluated for quality and consistency. Environmental scientists found they were able to convert chicken fat into biodiesel with reliable, mostly consistent results. There were small variations in the properties of the fuel, which the scientists noted could be due to the quality of the chicken fat material they used for their testing. The study of poultry fat as a fuel is not new. In 2007, Tyson - a large producer of animal fat leftover from chicken, cattle, and hogs - predicted cars would someday run on chicken fat.

 

Austin American-Statesman (Austin, Tex.: daily circulation 151,520)

“Announcing the Inaugural ACS Careers' Virtual Career Fair in Conjunction with Informex and C&EN”

September 27, 2010

 

The American Chemical Society, Informex, and Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) announced today that they are to partner in hosting the 'ACS Careers Virtual Career Fair in conjunction with Informex and C&EN' a completely virtual event, to be held November 2-3, 2010. The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, chose to work with Informex, the leading meeting place for buyers and sellers of high-value chemistry, and C&EN, the ACS' flagship publication, to present an opportunity rich event for the chemical industry.

 

Io9 (San Francisco, Calif.: 2.7 million monthly unique users)

“Quantum physics can turn wasted heat back into useful energy, making your car 25% more efficient”

September 26, 2010

 

Even the most efficient engine wastes a lot of the energy it produces in the form of excess heat. But thanks to a little quantum trickery, we can reclaim that heat...and maybe help save the ozone layer in the process. We already have devices that convert heat into energy, like refrigerators and steam turbines. But those have complex mechanics and moving parts, which make them less than ideal for catching the waste of other types of engines, and some of them require ozone-depleting chemicals known as chlorofluorocarbons. The trick is to create a molecular thermoelectric device, which can harvest waste heat without any need for moving parts. Researchers at the University of Arizona have now built just such a device in a computer simulation, and they're optimistic it can just as easily be built in the real world as well. (ACS Nano)

 

Azonanotechnology (Sydney, Australia: 80,800 monthly unique users)

“Celebration of 25th Anniversary of Nanotechnology Research at Rice University”

September 24, 2010

 

Next month Rice  University's Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology will kick off its Week of Nano with the Buckyball Discovery Gala, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the buckminsterfullerene at Rice and the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry that followed. The gala will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Imperial Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Downtown, 1200 Louisiana St. It will be preceded by a showcase of Rice nanotechnology at 5 and a reception at 6. A Bucky "Ball" Celebration the evening of Oct. 11 will include the presentation of the National Historic Chemical Landmark designation, facility tours and nanotechnology demos and memorabilia.

 

… From the Blogs

 

Professional Hygiene Development Services

“Coffee may prevent cavities”

September 26, 2010

 

A new research study indicates that coffee might help prevent cavities. The finding is reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society. Coffee made from fresh roasted coffee beans has antibacterial activities against certain microorganisms, including Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), a major cause of dental caries. Scientists at two Italian universities conducted laboratory tests that showed some coffee molecules prevent adhesion of S. mutans on tooth enamel.

 

The Daily Collegian

“Chemistry professor Sankaran Thayumanavan named campus’ first Spotlight Scholar”

September 27, 2010

 

Chemistry Professor Sankaran Thayumanavan has been named the University of Massachusetts’ first Spotlight Scholar for his and his team of researchers’ innovations in polymer structure and green energy development. Thayumanavan and his team have been working on creating a nanoscopic gel which they hope will coat and subsequently release drug molecules inside cells. This could be applied, according to the release, to treatments like chemotherapy, where drug molecules are applied inside cancer cells. UMass’ technology transfer office and Thayumanavan are currently seeking commercial sponsors for this project to bring the selected cell release gel to a clinical trial. The nanoscopic gel research was recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and was applauded for being “noteworthy chemistry” by the Society on Aug. 16.

BBC News (London, England: 55 million monthly unique users)

“Painless laser device could spot early signs of disease”

September 26, 2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs (OPA) PressPac

 

Portable devices with painless laser beams could soon replace X-rays as a non-invasive way to diagnose disease. Researchers say that the technique could become widely available in about five years. The method, called Raman spectroscopy, could help spot the early signs of breast cancer, tooth decay and osteoporosis. Scientists believe that the technology would make the diagnosis of illnesses faster, cheaper and more accurate. Raman spectroscopy is the measurement of the intensity and wavelength of scattered light from molecules. "We could target those calcifications and make a decision about whether they're benign or malignant," Nicholas Stone, head of the biophotonics research unit at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital told the magazine Chemical and Engineering News. "If they're malignant, or look like they are, you would come back for a biopsy. If they're benign, which is 80 to 90% of the cases, you would not come back for a biopsy."

 

Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles,  Calif.: daily circulation 616,606)

“New ways to fight bacteria”

September 27, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

Doctors and infectious bacteria are locked in an arms race. In this ever-escalating battle, the bacteria evolve ways to avoid every drug humans throw at them. The conflict has intensified lately as more and more bacteria — particularly those lurking in hospitals — become able to resist nearly every antibiotic in our arsenal. "We throw thousands and thousands of antibiotics on bacteria," says Marcin Filutowicz, a microbiologist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. "This is tremendous selection for antibiotic-resistant bacteria." Michael Conlon, a chemist at the United   Arab Emirates University in Al-Ain, invites colleagues to send him samples of the chemicals frogs secrete on their skin so he can test their antibacterial activity. "People think I'm some kind of lunatic," Conlon says. "Why on earth would you ever look in frog skin for antibiotics?" The reason is that frogs live in warm, wet environments, making their skin an appealing home for bacteria. So frogs have evolved an arsenal of bacteria-killing chemicals to protect themselves. At the August meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, Conlon reported that he has amassed a collection of skin secretions from more than 6,000 kinds of frogs. He has found more than 100 frog slime compounds that attack bacteria. "They just rip big holes in the cell membrane," Conlon says. Fighting off the frog bactericides will require larger evolutionary changes than bacteria needed to resist current antibiotics, so it should take a while before they manage to resist the new drugs.

 

Charlotte News & Observer (Charlotte, N.C.: daily circulation 176,083)

“Science Briefs: New life at Chernobyl”

September 27, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

In April 1986, a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine exploded and sent radioactive particles flying through the air, infiltrating the surrounding soil. Despite the colossal disaster, some plants in the area seem to be flourishing in the contaminated soil. This ability to adapt has to do with slight alterations in the plants' protein levels, researchers report in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Although the plants grown in the radioactive soil appear to be healthy, they may not be safe enough for consumption, researchers said.

 

Irish Times (Dublin, Ireland: daily circulation 106,926)

“Trains, not planes, are the future”

September 25, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

How can we adapt as environmental charges discourage the most polluting transport modes? According to an interview in yesterday’s Irish Times, Michael O’Leary would like to expand his airline by another 40 per cent, increasing passenger numbers from 73 million in 2010 to more than 100 million. In pursuing more and more growth, O’Leary doesn’t acknowledge climate change. Earlier this month, in characteristic fashion, he sought to compare climate science to the detritus of bulls and horses. The billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide sent into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels don’t affect climate, he claims, arguing that scientists “have nearly always been wrong”. A recent paper published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology examines the impact of different transport modes on the atmosphere over time. When viewed over a relatively short timeframe – five years – flying can be almost 50 times more damaging than overland travel. Lengthen the time horizon and the impact of aviation reduces relative to other transport modes.

 

Examiner.com (Denver, Colo.: 13.9 million monthly unique users)

“New studies explore why some self-medicate with unsweetened dark chocolate”

September 26, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

New local and national studies explore why some people use unsweetened dark chocolate as a mood-food and a stimulant to self-medicate for emotional swings. But few studies are discussing chocolate addiction in the mainstream media or in health publications directed to the general consumer. Chocolate contains caffeine and other stimulants. But it also reduces blood pressure slightly in hypertensives. Chocolate (in the form of cocoa) helps to reduce insulin resistance, but only when it is unsweetened, as you'd buy in a bar of unsweetened baking chocolate or use unsweetened cocoa powder that wasn't processed with alkali or 'Dutched.' The cocoa has some anti-oxidants. And why do so many people crave chocolate? Is it the sugar, the taste, or the cocoa that brings customers back for more?..  The American Chemical Society's study found that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduced levels of stress hormones in the bodies of people feeling highly stressed. Interestingly the study found that dark chocolate partially corrected other stress-related biochemical imbalances.

 

Science News (Washington D.C.: bi-weekly circulation 130,000)

“Tiny tools aren’t toys”

September 24, 2010

 

Researchers have created millimeter-sized metal tools that contort on command, clamping shut or popping open in response to specific chemical cues. The smart devices, described online September 17 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, may one day be used to biopsy a liver, prop open an artery or deliver drugs to a target site. Even tiny tools need some power source — a battery pack or electrical wires — but that adds unwanted bulk, says study leader David Gracias of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Yet nature is filled with minimachines: muscles contract, leaves turn to the sun, a Venus fly trap snaps shut. “In nature, and in us, these respond to chemistry,” Gracias says. It took some doing to make devices that could respond to chemicals in the right time and place, yet were still friendly inside the body. Gracias and his team began with thin silicon wafers and coated them with layers of chromium, nickel and gold. Using a high-tech version of a stencil, the researchers patterned the metal layers into parts that looked like a flower or open palm of the hand. They added hinges so the open hand could clamp shut.

 

Youngstown Vindicator (Youngstown,  Ohio: daily circulation 62,100)

“Local scientific group draws national award”

September 25, 2010

 

A surprise awaited members of the Penn-Ohio Border Section of the American Chemical Society during a 60th anniversary dinner. About 40 guests gathered Friday evening at Overture expecting to celebrate the section’s anniversary with dinner and a few guest speakers. What no one expected, said section counselor Doris Zimmerman, was to be surprised with a National Outstanding Performance Award. “I had a feeling they were all going to be extremely surprised,” Zimmerman said. “I think they’ll look at this and say, ‘We finally got it.’” Zimmerman said the award was presented Aug. 24 at the 12th Annual ChemLuminary Awards in Boston, and she was overcome with emotion as the section was announced as the winner.

 

Roanoke Times (Roanoke, Va.: daily circulation 97,000)

“Names & Changes”

September 26, 2010

 

Judy Riffle, professor of chemistry and director of Virginia Tech's interdisciplinary macromolecular science and engineering doctorate education program, has been named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.

 

… From the Blogs

 

Green Car Congress

“Lifecycle Analysis Finds That Algae Biodiesel Can Offer Energy and GHG Advantages Over Soy Biodiesel”

September 25, 2010

 

Researchers at Colorado State  University have found that a microalgae biodiesel process using currently available technologies can show improvement in lifecycle GHG emissions and net energy ratio (NER) compared to soybean-based biodiesel. A paper on their lifecycle analysis (LCA) appeared online 24 September in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. Their study proposed a detailed, industrial-scale engineering model for the species Nannochloropsis using a photobioreactor architecture. They integrated this process-level model with a lifecycle energy and greenhouse gas emission analysis compatible with the methods and boundaries of the Argonne National Laboratory GREET model to ensure comparability to preexisting fuel-cycle assessments.

 

Essential Brands Group

“Bio-energy potential from coffee beans and grounds”

September 27, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

More than 16 billion pounds of coffee are produced each year, and brewing cups of coffee to drink barely begins to extract the treasures from this resource. Yet, most of the used grounds are sent to landfills, never considered as a potential source of additional products. As individuals, we might compost the grounds, use them for dyeing craft projects or other small solutions. Such efforts, even by a dedicated group of recyclers, can never make a serious dent in the worldwide supply of used coffee grounds. In the wake of an exciting announcement from the American Chemical Society in December, 2008, this could change.  The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that waste coffee grounds are a potential source of economical biofuel.

 

 

 

Times of India (New Delhi,  India; daily circulation 3.15 million)

“Soon, nose drops to treat brain cancer”

September 23, 2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs (OPA) PressPac

 

[Oneindia (Bangalore, India: 7.3 million monthly unique users), the Medical News (Sydney, Australia: 476,800 monthly unique users) and All Headline News (West Palm Beach, Fla.: 205,800 monthly unique users) also covered the story.]

 

Scientists have reported the development and testing of a drug that could treat brain cancer, and can be given as nose drops rather than an injection. The new form of methotrexate promises to be more effective in cancer treatment unlike conventional methods wherein anticancer drugs have difficulty reaching the brain, they said. This happens due to a so-called blood-brain barrier (a protective layer of cells surrounding the brain) prevents medication in the blood from entering the brain. However, Tomotaka Shingaki and colleagues said that new evidence indicates that some drugs administered through the nose, either as nose drops or nasal spray, can bypass this barrier and travel directly into the brain. Among them are drugs for migraine headaches. When tested on lab rats having brain cancer, the nose drop drug reduced the weight of tumors by almost one-third, the scientists said. The report appears in ACS' Molecular Pharmaceutics, a bi-monthly journal.

Malaysia Sun (Petaling Jaya, Malaysia: daily circulation 265,443)

“Soap ingredient could treat parasitic disease that affects 2 billion”

September 23, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

[The Medical News (Sydney, Australia: 476,800 monthly unique users), the United Press International (Washington D.C.: 1.5 million monthly unique users) and Oneindia (Bangalore, India: 7.3 million monthly unique users) also covered the item.]

 

Soap, toothpaste, odour-fighting socks, and even computer keyboards contain an anti bacterial ingredient that could treat a parasitic disease that affects almost two billion people, reports a new study. Toxoplasmosis is spread by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), from contact with feces from infected cats, eating raw or undercooked meat, and in other ways. It can cause eye damage and other problems, even becoming life threatening in individuals with immune systems weakened by certain medications and diseases like HIV infection, which allow the parasite to become active again. Rima McLeod and colleagues said that triclosan could become the guiding light for future development of drugs for toxoplasmosis. Past research has shown that triclosan has a powerful effect in blocking the action of a key enzyme that T. gondii uses to live. The report appears in ACS' monthly Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

 

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (New Rochelle,  N.Y.: bi-monthly circulation 65,000)

“ACS applauds new National Academy of Sciences report on education and scientific innovation”

September 23, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

If America is to recover from years of severe job losses and financial crisis, the nation must stay the course of smart, sustained investments in our most valuable economic engine: scientific research and globally competitive education that together fuel technological innovation. So says a National Academy of Sciences report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited, that was issued today. "The Academy has taken a responsible position with long-term stability in mind," said American Chemical Society President Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D. "In our current economic climate there isn't a simple or an immediate solution. I am proud to say that ACS continues to agree with the authors' recommendations for creating economic security and prosperity for Americans." The importance of federal investments in scientific research, education on all levels, and technology was stressed in 2005 in the first iteration of the report, entitled Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future.

 

Journal & Courier (West Lafayette, Indiana: daily circulation 33,223)

“Purdue professor named to National Medal of Science Committee”

September 23, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

A Purdue  University professor has been named as a member of the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science. Joseph Francisco, the William E. Moore Distinguished Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Chemistry, is one of four new committee members named by President Barack Obama. The committee is composed of 12 appointed scientists and engineers, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the president of the National Academy of Sciences. Francisco, who is president of the American Chemical Society, has conducted research that has revolutionized the understanding of chemical processes in the atmosphere. The National Medal of Science program is administered by the National Science Foundation and was established by congress in 1959. The medal was first awarded in 1962 and has been awarded to 441 distinguished scientists and engineers.

 

Topix.com (Washington D.C.: 10.7 million monthly unique users)

“Electricity collected from the air could become the newest alternative energy source”

September 23, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

Imagine devices that capture electricity from the air - much like solar cells capture sunlight - and using them to light a house or recharge an electric car. Imagine using similar panels on the rooftops of buildings to prevent lightning before it forms. Strange as it may sound, scientists already are in the early stages of developing such devices, according to a report at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

 

Science360 News Service (Arlington, Va.: 101,800 monthly unique users)

“'Dry Water' Could Make A Big Splash”

September 24, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

An unusual substance known as "dry water," which resembles powdered sugar, could provide a new way to absorb and store carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, scientists reported at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. The powder shows bright promise for a number of other uses, they said. It may, for instance, be a greener, more energy-efficient way of jump-starting the chemical reactions used to make hundreds of consumer products. Dry water also could provide a safer way to store and transport potentially harmful industrial materials. Carter explained that the substance became known as "dry water" because it consists of 95 percent water and yet is a dry powder. Cooper's group at the University of Liverpool has since expanded its range of potential applications. One of the most recent involves using dry water as a storage material for gases, including carbon dioxide. In laboratory-scale research, Cooper and co-workers found that dry water absorbed over three times as much carbon dioxide as ordinary, uncombined water and silica in the same space of time.

 

MSNBC (New York, N.Y.: 39.9 million monthly unique users)

“Science Caf: Acoustics: The Science of Sound”

September 23, 2010

 

The Science Caf Little Rock, co-sponsored by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), will hold its next public forum, “Acoustics: The Science of Sound” on Sept. 28. Panelists will discuss sound propagation, physical acoustics, medical audiology and psychoacoustics. Held from 7-9 p.m. at the Vieux Carr Restaurant/Afterthought Bar in Little Rock’s Hillcrest area, the Science Caf is a relaxed opportunity for monthly exchanges with various experts. Admission is free and no reservations are needed. A variety of food and beverages are available for purchase. This month, panelists from UAMS, the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock will lead the discussion. The moderator is Dorothy Graves, Ph.D., research assistant professor at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. Science Caf was created in partnership with UAMS, Arkansas Biosciences Institute, UALR College of Science and Mathematics, Southwestern Energy, Arkansas INBRE… and the Central Arkansas Section - American Chemical Society.

 

Des Moines Register (Des Moines, Iowa: daily circulation 116,876)

“Every School Every Thursday”

September 23, 2010

 

Central Campus - Central Academy AP and IB chemistry instructor Jeff Hepburn has been distinguished by high school teachers by having a manuscript published in the Journal of Chemical Education (Sept. 2010 issue). Jeff is the most recent recipient of the James Bryant Conant Award from the American Chemical Society.

 

Warren Tribune Chronicle (Warren, Ohio: daily circulation 27,609)

“Postmark to be unveiled”

September 24, 2010

 

A special Boy Scouting postmark will be unveiled Saturday at the Youngstown Post Office with the ZIP code 44501 that is used at Youngstown State University. This is a rare postmark for collectors since YSU has its own ZIP code… The Penn Ohio Border Section of the American Chemical Society is celebrating its 60TH anniversary today at the DeYor Performing Arts Center in Youngstown with ACS past president Dr. William Carroll as presenter.

 

… From the Blogs

 

Science Blogs

“DNA sequencing and the Chocolate Factory”

September 23, 2010

 

It's been exciting to see the progress in getting the Theobroma cacao genome sequenced and off to the databases. But.... I've toured the Theo chocolate factory twice now, and there's a crucial piece in the story that appears to be missing. You see, chocolate is like wine. We don't get the chocolate we love from eating the fruit. We get the so-called "food of the gods" by eating the fruit after it's been fermented. And, just like wine, microorganisms are the ones doing the fermenting. I learned this from attending two separate tours at Theo chocolates, our local chocolate factory. One tour was sponsored by the Puget  Sound chapter of the American Chemical Society. The other was just a Saturday morning in the summer. Both were delicious. Before the tours, I was a virgin in the world of chocolate. Now, I'm a snob.

 

Science of Chemistry

“Good News about Chocolate Lovers”

September 23, 2010

 

According to a recent article from the American Chemical Society (ACS), there is a recent scientific findings that provided new evidence that chocolate may be healthier than is usually assumed. One of the reasons chocolate is unique is the temperature at which it melts: between 94o F and 97o F. The human body, at 98.6o F is just above the chocolate's melting temperature. Chocolate contains more than 300 chemicals. Caffeine, a stimulant, is the most well known, but it is present only in small amounts. Another stimulant is theobromine, found in amounts slightly higher than caffeine.

Voice of  America (970,000  monthly unique visitors)

Dry  Water Makes Waves in Fight Against Climate  Change

September  22, 2010

Origin:  Office of Public Affairs (OPA) PressPac

 

Dry water made some waves at a recent American  Chemical Society meeting in Boston. The substance looks  a lot like fine white sand, which isn't surprising since what makes it dry is  that each tiny water droplet is covered with water-repelling silica, the stuff  of ordinary beach sand…Researcher Ben Carter says that because it can absorb  such large amounts of carbon dioxide, the dry-water hydrate could prove to be an  effective method for reducing climate-changing gases in the atmosphere. Carter  says other lab experiments indicate that dry water could be made more recyclable  by adding a gelling agent to the water before it is  blended.

 

 

BNA  Environmental Compliance Bulletin (widely  read by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  officials)

American  Chemical Society Installs Green Roof on Headquarters

September 22,  2010

Origin: OPA news  release and staff interview

 

The American  Chemical Society Aug. 11 announced it is installing  a new “green” roof at its Washington, D.C., headquarters. When the work is completed  this fall, the ACS headquarters, the Clifford and Kathryn Hach Building, will have a new roof-top garden  featuring a mixture of plants that thrive in dry, hot roof-level conditions that  not only will provide a new lunch and break space for employees but also lessen  the building's environmental impact. “We are delighted to be able to transform  our headquarters building into an even-more environmentally friendly and  sustainable structure,” Madeleine  Jacobs, ACS executive director and CEO, said in a  statement announcing the new roof. “This  project is consistent with the core values of ACS, the world's largest  scientific society--to work for a  more sustainable city, country, and  world.”

 

 

Science Daily (3.5 million monthly unique  visitors)

Ingredient  in Soap Points Toward New Drugs for Infection That Affects Two  Billion

September 22,  2010

Origin: OPA  PressPac

 

[This story also was carried by Red  Orbit (2.7 million monthly unique visitors); PhysOrg.com (1.1 million  monthly unique visitors) and E!  Science News (983,000 monthly unique visitors); R&D  Magazine (703,000 monthly unique visitors) and Infection  Control Today (17,000 monthly unique visitors)]

 

The antibacterial ingredient in some  soaps, toothpastes, odor-fighting socks, and even computer keyboards is pointing  scientists toward a long-sought new treatment for a parasitic disease that  affects almost two billion people. Their report on how triclosan became the  guiding light for future development of drugs for toxoplasmosis appears in  ACS' monthly Journal of Medicinal  Chemistry. The antibacterial ingredient in some soaps, toothpastes,  odor-fighting socks, and even computer keyboards is pointing scientists toward a  long-sought new treatment for a parasitic disease that affects almost two  billion people. Their report on how triclosan became the guiding light for  future development of drugs for toxoplasmosis appears in ACS' monthly Journal of  Medicinal Chemistry.

 

Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.:  125,000 daily circulation)

Quench  your thirst with home-brewed fruity tea

September 22,  2010

Origin: OPA national meeting news  release

 

Bottled teas may contain fewer of  the beneficial chemicals than give tea its healthful reputation. Researchers  presenting a preliminary, non-peer reviewed study at last month's meeting of the  American Chemical Society reported  the concentration of polyphenols, a healthful antioxidant, in six bottled teas  tested was virtually nonexistent. The average cup of home-brewed black or green  tea contains 50 to 150 milligrams of polyphenols. The polyphenols in bottled  teas occur in such low amounts that a consumer would have to drink 20 bottles to  get the same amount found in a single cup of home-brewed tea. Polyphenols are  generally bitter and astringent, so to create a smoother flavor, many  manufacturers add sweeteners or reduce the amount of  tea.

 

 

Science  Daily (3.5 million monthly unique  visitors)

Toward  the first nose drops to treat brain cancer

September 22,  2010

Origin: OPA  PressPac

 

Scientists are reporting the  development and successful initial testing of a new form of methotrexate -- the  mainstay anticancer drug -- designed to be given as nose drops rather than  injected. It shows promise as a more effective treatment for brain cancer, they  say. The report appears in ACS' Molecular  Pharmaceutics. Tomotaka Shingaki and colleagues note that  brain cancer is difficult to treat, partly because current anticancer drugs have  difficulty reaching the brain. That's because the so-called blood-brain barrier  (a protective layer of cells surrounding the brain) prevents medication in the  blood from entering the brain. But new evidence indicates that some drugs  administered through the nose, either as nose drops or nasal spray, can bypass  this barrier and travel directly into the brain.

 

International  Herald Tribune (240,000 daily  circulation)

Plants  near Chernobyl seem to grow protective shield

September 23,  2020

Origin: OPA  PressPac

 

In April 1986, a nuclear reactor at  the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine  exploded and sent radioactive particles flying through the air, infiltrating  surrounding soil. Despite the colossal disaster, some plants in the area seem to  have adapted well, flourishing in the contaminated soil. This ability has to do  with the slight alterations in the plants’ protein levels, researchers say in a  study that appears in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.  “Somehow plants were able to adapt to the radioactivity; we wanted to understand  what kind of molecule changes were going on,” said Martin Hajdusch, one of the  study’s authors and a plant geneticist at Slovak Academy of Sciences in  Slovakia.

 

 

 

… Broadcast  TV

 

WKRN-TV (Nashville, Tenn., daily viewers,  615,542)

Black  rice may be cheap source of antioxidants

September  21,  2010

Origin: OPA national meeting news  release

 

 

Blueberries and  blackberries have high levels of antioxidants, which help the body deal with  potentially dangerous cellular oxidation, but scientists say they've also found  a cheaper source of antioxidants for consumers: black rice. "Just a spoonful of  black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are  found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and  vitamin E antioxidants," study co-author Zhimin Xu said in a  news release from the American Chemical  Society.

 

… From the Blogs 

 

Science  News

ACS  President appointed to President’s committee on the National Medal of  Science

September 21,  2010

Origin: OPA news  release

 

President Barack Obama has appointed  American Chemical Society (ACS) President  Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D., to serve on the President's Committee on  the National Medal of Science. "I am deeply honored to have been appointed to  serve on the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science," ACS  President Joseph S. Francisco said. "The National Medal of Science is awarded to  distinguished scientists and engineers for lifetime contributions to research  and development. It is our nation's expression of thanks to the men and women  who have devoted decades to scientific discovery and  achievement."

 

BuzzG.com

Powering  homes with electricity from air soon may be  possible

September 23,  2010

Origin: OPA PressPac    

 

Electricity collected from the air  could become the newest alternative energy source, say scientists, who have  solved a 200-year-old scientific riddle about how moisture in the atmosphere  becomes electrically charged.“Our research could pave the way for turning  electricity from the atmosphere into an alternative energy source for the  future,” said study leader Fernando Galembeck. He is with the University of Campinas in Campinas,  SP, Brazil.“ Just as solar energy could  free some households from paying electric bills, this promising new energy  source could have a similar effect… The research has been presented at the 240th  National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Mother Nature Network (New York, N.Y.: 979,100 monthly unique users)

“Would you eat soybeans grown in Chernobyl?”

September 21, 2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs (OPA) PressPac

 

When the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl tragically exploded in 1986, the accident was considered to be the worst nuclear disaster in human history. Radiation killed hundreds of people, contaminated the soil and left the land barren. Most experts believed that the area would remain lifeless for generations. But now just a quarter of a century later, scientists are returning to the site of the explosion -- to plant soybeans and flax. Why? Though Chernobyl and the nearby town of Pripyat remain ghost towns, scientists have nevertheless been surprised at how certain plants have recovered throughout the area. The plants have somehow adapted and, in some cases, even thrived despite the fact that the environment remains highly radioactive. "It is just unbelievable how quickly this ecosystem has been able to adapt," Martin Hajduch from the Slovak Academy of Sciences told the BBC, who covered the story. Dr. Hajduch is a member of a group of researchers who traveled to Chernobyl, beginning in 2007, to plant crops specifically for the purpose of studying this remarkable phenomenon. The team is discovering that some plants may actually have evolved a strategy to cope with radioactivity millions of years ago when the Earth was more exposed to natural radiation. (Environmental Science & Technology)

 

R&D Magazine (Rockaway, N.J.: monthly circulation 80,000)

“ACS President appointed to President's committee on the National Medal of Science”

September 21, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

President Barack Obama has appointed American Chemical Society (ACS) President Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D., to serve on the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science. "I am deeply honored to have been appointed to serve on the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science," ACS President Joseph S. Francisco said. "The National Medal of Science is awarded to distinguished scientists and engineers for lifetime contributions to research and development. It is our nation's expression of thanks to the men and women who have devoted decades to scientific discovery and achievement." The White House released news of Francisco's appointment, as well as nominations and appointments for seven other key administrative posts, on Friday, Sept. 17, 2010. President Barack Obama was quoted in the release as saying, "I am confident that these impressive men and women will make valued additions to this administration. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead." Joseph S. Francisco is president of the American Chemical Society and served as president of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers from 2005 to 2007.

 

Seattle Times (Seattle, Wash.: daily circulation 263,588)

“Recipe: Berry Infused Tea Spritzer”

September 21, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

Once a summer-only beverage, iced tea has become a year-round refresher. The $10 billion tea industry has slaked our thirst, but much of the bottled, ready-to-drink tea we consume daily is not as healthful as we've been led to believe. For starters, most brands contain artificial ingredients, sweeteners, additives and unnatural colors. Bottled teas also may contain fewer of the beneficial chemicals that give tea its healthful reputation. Researchers presenting a preliminary, non-peer reviewed study at last month's meeting of the American Chemical Society reported the concentration of polyphenols, a healthful antioxidant, in six bottled teas tested was virtually nonexistent. The average cup of home-brewed black or green tea contains 50 to 150 milligrams of polyphenols. The polyphenols in bottled teas occur in such low amounts that a consumer would have to drink 20 bottles to get the same amount found in a single cup of home-brewed tea. Polyphenols are generally bitter and astringent, so to create a smoother flavor, many manufacturers add sweeteners or reduce the amount of tea.

 

Science360 News Service (Arlington, Va.: 101,800 monthly unique users)

“Science Elements: Antioxidants, Radioactive Isotopes And Patient Care”

September 22, 2010

Origin: OPA Podcast

 

Twenty million medical scans and treatments are done each year that require radioactive isotopes, and scientists described the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society that a global shortage of these life-saving materials could jeopardize patient care and drive-up health-care costs.

 

PhysOrg.com (Evergreen, Va.: 1.2 million monthly unique users)

“American Chemical Society: Support STEM education by inspiring students”

September 20, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

The American Chemical Society (ACS) today commended a new report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) that says the national imperative to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education will not truly be effective unless we inspire students. "The drive we know as scientific curiosity, that fire, that inspiration, has always been ignited by teachers and mentors sharing their excitement for discovery and investigation," said ACS President Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D. "I am heartened to see the PCAST report correctly places the responsibility to inspire our next generation of scientists in the hands of those who can be most effective: Well-trained teachers and scientists themselves." There are about 20 million people in the U.S. with degrees in STEM and healthcare disciplines, a "potentially tremendous asset to U.S. education," according to the PCAST report. In a March 3, 2010, letter, the STEM Education Coalition which is co-chaired by ACS, recommended to PCAST advisors that federal researchers should play a mentoring role through the STEM education process. "They can provide students and educators with hands-on research and experimental learning opportunities with world-class scientists."

 

United Press International (Washington D.C.: 1.4 million monthly unique users)

“China's environment challenges eyed”

September 21, 2010

 

China's environmental problems have global implications and countries such as the United  States need to help solve them, a U.S. environmental scientist says. A Michigan State University researcher argues developed nations such as the United  States need to help China adopt integrated solutions for the sake of global sustainability, a university release says. "What happens in China affects the rest of the world," fisheries and wildlife Professor Jianguo "Jack" Liu said. "China is growing very quickly and as its economy has grown, so have its environmental challenges.” A paper by Liu and Raven, "China's Environmental Challenges and Implications for the World," is published in Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology.

 

Kennebec Journal (Augusta, Maine: daily circulation 14,000)

“White pine needles help fight disease”

September 22, 2010

 

The ubiquitous white pine isn't just the source of Maine's nickname. It turns out the tree's aromatic needles are a source for a rare starter material in the anti-flu drug Tamiflu, researchers in the University of Maine's chemistry department have discovered. They reported their findings to the American Chemical Society in Boston last month and are getting ready to publish their work. They hope to attract interest from the state's forest products industry to develop a market for shikimic acid, as they refine their technique for extracting the substance from pine needles. "There are a heck of a lot of conifer needles just lying out in the forest," said Ray Fort, a chemistry professor who has worked on the research project for four years with fellow chemistry professor Barbara Cole, graduate student Gedivinne Nelmini and several undergraduate and high school students.

 

… Web sites

 

E! Science News (40,000 monthly unique users)

“American Chemical Society Launches Prized Science Video Series”

September 16, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

Did life on Mars become life on Earth? What "behind the scenes" technology made the Human Genome Project possible? How did wisps of material barely 1/50,000th the width of a human hair become forerunners of a new genre of medicines? Those topics highlight the premier episode of a new video series, Prized Science: How the Science Behind ACS Awards Impacts Your Life, launched by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society.

 

… From the Blogs

 

The Signal

“Orna to speak on analytical chemistry and art in Nell Mondy Lecture Sept. 27”

September 20, 2010

 

The Nell Mondy lecture series, coordinated by Ouachita Baptist University’s J.D. Patterson School of Natural Sciences, will host Dr. Mary Virginia Orna, professor of chemistry at the College of New  Rochelle in New York. Orna will present “Five Thousand Years of Chemistry: A Look at the Secrets of Ancient and Medieval Artists” Monday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the Mabee Fine Arts Center’s McBeth Recital Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public. Orna a specialist in the field of color and archaeological chemistry, serves as editor-at-large of “Chemical Heritage” magazine and is active in several divisions of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

 

Geeky Gadgets

“Bendable Batteries Set To Revolutionise Gadget Design”

September 22, 2010

 

New battery technology that has created a new bendable battery might be changing the development and design of future gadgets forever. The new ultrathin rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have been fabricated on a single sheet of paper, resulting in highly flexible and lightweight portable power sources. A study published in ACS Nano by Stanford University researchers explains these new batteries, at just 300 μm thick, are thinner and more flexible, but exhibit higher energy density and other electrical advantages, compared with other types of thin batteries.

New York Times (New York, N.Y.: daily circulation 951,063)

“Plants Near Chernobyl Appear to Grow a Shield”

September 20, 2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs (OPA) PressPac

 

[BBC News (London, England: 55 million monthly unique users) also covered the item.]

 

In April 1986, a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine exploded and sent radioactive particles flying through the air, infiltrating the surrounding soil. Despite the colossal disaster, some plants in the area seem to have adapted well, flourishing in the contaminated soil. This ability to adapt has to do with slight alterations in the plants’ protein levels, researchers report in a study that appears in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. “If you visit the area, you’d never think anything bad had happened there,” said Martin Hajduch, one of the study’s authors and a plant geneticist at the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Slovakia. “Somehow plants were able to adapt to the radioactivity; we wanted to understand what kind of molecule changes were going on.” He and his colleagues grew flaxseeds in contaminated soil in the Chernobyl region and compared them with flax grown in nonradioactive soil. They found that there were very few differences between the plants — aside from a 5 percent difference in protein levels. These protein alterations may be a defensive mechanism, better enabling the plants to protect themselves from radiation, the researchers believe. Although the plants grown in the radioactive soil appear to be healthy, they may not be safe enough for consumption, he said. “Now I don’t think anybody wants to eat this,” he said. “But one day, it may be cultivated and used for agricultural purposes.”

 

R&D Magazine (Rockaway, N.J.: monthly circulation 80,000)

“American Chemical Society: Support STEM education by inspiring students”

September 20, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

The American Chemical Society (ACS) today commended a new report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) that says the national imperative to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education will not truly be effective unless we inspire students. Educators and policy makers have long known that improving STEM education is essential to our country's economic renewal as a world leader in scientific discovery and technological innovation. But to convince students to make these disciplines their life's work they must feel a fascination for science and engineering. "The drive we know as scientific curiosity, that fire, that inspiration, has always been ignited by teachers and mentors sharing their excitement for discovery and investigation," said ACS President Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D. "I am heartened to see the PCAST report correctly places the responsibility to inspire our next generation of scientists in the hands of those who can be most effective: Well-trained teachers and scientists themselves."

 

PhysOrg.com (Evergreen, Va.: 1.2 million monthly unique users)

“Paper-thin supercapacitor has higher capacitance when twisted than any non-twisted supercapacitor”

September 21, 2010

 

In an effort to develop wearable electronics, researchers have designed a new ultra-thin supercapacitor that has a capacitance that is six times higher than that of any current commercial supercapacitor. What's more, the new supercapacitor was tested in a twisted state to demonstrate its good electrochemical properties with high flexibility. The researchers, Chuizhou Meng, et al., from the Tsinghua-Foxconn Nanotechnology Research Center at Tsinghua University in Beijing have published their results in a recent issue of Nano Letters. As the researchers explain, portable electronic devices are becoming increasingly small and flexible. However, the energy management components - e.g. batteries and supercapacitors - tend to lag behind the other components when it comes to small size and flexibility. Specifically, supercapacitors are limited by their conventional configuration, which is a separator sandwiched between two electrodes sealed in liquid electrolyte. The two major drawbacks with this configuration are that the liquid electrolyte requires safety encapsulation materials to prevent leakage, and the multiple parts of the system that move relative to each other decrease the performance and cycle life of the device.

 

Peoria Journal Star (Peoria, Ill.: daily circulation 60,000)

“KJS: Return to Hogwarts”

September 20, 2010

 

Take a trip to the magical world of Harry Potter this fall as the Peoria Park District presents “Return To Hogwarts 2010” at the Glen Oak Park Amphitheater and Lagoon. Upon arrival, Hogwarts students get their tickets at Gringotts Wizarding Bank and pass through platform 93/4, then take a magical journey around the “lake” (lagoon). They pass by the Dark Forest with its spooky sound effects, stop and chat with Aragog, the 3-foot-high spider, stop and take a tour of the Ministry Of Magic on the Ministry of Magic Elevator Ride, and end up in the middle of a trial before members of the Wizengamot! The Glen Oak Amphitheater becomes Hogwarts castle and some of the grounds surrounding Hogwarts. Once inside, there are magical classes. The Potions Class will be taught by representatives of the American Chemical Society performing chemistry demonstrations.

 

Nanowerk (Honolulu, Hawaii: 82,800 monthly unique users)

“Gaseous nanocatalyst could make fuel production better, greener”

September 20, 2010

 

A nanoparticle-based catalyst developed at Rice University may give that tiger in your tank a little more roar. A new paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society details a process by Rice Professor Michael Wong and his colleagues that should help oil refineries make the process of manufacturing gasoline more efficient and better for the environment. In addition, Wong said, it could produce higher-octane gasoline and save money for an industry in which a penny here and a penny there add millions to the bottom line. Wong's team at Rice, in collaboration with labs at Lehigh University, the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas and the DCG Partnership of Texas, reported this month that sub-nanometer clusters of tungsten oxide lying on top of zirconium oxide are a highly efficient catalyst that turns straight-line molecules of n-pentane, one of many hydrocarbons in gasoline, into better-burning branched n-pentane.

 

Biodiesel Magazine (Grand Forks, N.D.: bi-monthly circulation 5,000)

“Researchers explore direct conversion of wet algal biomass”

October 2010 issue

 

Researchers at the University of Michigan may have unlocked algae’s true potential as a viable feedstock for biodiesel production. The team published a feasibility paper detailing its novel two-step hydrolysis-solvolysis process that can produce biodiesel directly from wet algal biomass, obviating the need for costly biomass drying, organic solvent extraction and catalysts while providing a mechanism for nutrient recycling. The paper on the process was published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels. In the first step, a strain of algae called Chlorella vulgaris, grown sequentially under phototrophic and heterotrophic conditions, was comprised of 80 percent moisture and had a 53.3 percent lipid content. The wet algal biomass then underwent a reaction under subcritical water conditions in temperatures of 250 degrees Celsius, which transformed the wet algae into a paste-like state, according to Phillip Savage, lead researcher on the project. “At large scale that probably wouldn’t be applicable for an economical process,” he noted.

 

… From the Blogs

 

Our Sea, Our Life

“Purdue researcher cracks open secret of oysters' ability to stick together”

September 21, 2010

 

A Purdue University-led research team has uncovered the chemical components of the adhesive produced by oysters, providing information that could be useful for fisheries, boating and medicine. A better understanding of oysters' ability to stick together to form complex reefs would help those trying to boost the dwindling oyster population, aid in the creation of materials to keep boat hulls clean without harming the environment, and bring researchers one step closer to creating wet-setting adhesives for use in medicine and construction. A paper detailing the work is published in the current issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

 

GadgetzBuzz

“American Chemical Society Launches Prized Science Video Series”

September 20, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

Did life on Mars become life on Earth? What “behind the scenes” technology made the Human Genome Project possible? How did wisps of material barely 1/50,000th the width of a human hair become forerunners of a new genre of medicines? Those topics highlight the premier episode of a new video series, Prized Science: How the Science Behind ACS Awards Impacts Your Life, launched by the American Chemical Society. The video is available now on YouTube.

Stuff (Wellington, New Zealand: 1.5 million monthly unique users)

“How to pour champagne properly”

September 20, 2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs (OPA) PressPac

 

French scientists say they have settled a question that has long divided champagne lovers: How best to pour the bubbly? At an angle, not straight down. Scientists at the University of Reims say pouring bubbly at a slant, as you would a beer, preserves more of the tiny gas bubbles that improve the drink's flavour and aromas. The study - On the Losses of Dissolved CO2 During Champagne Serving - appears in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a US publication. The researchers say they looked at two ways of pouring champagne: the "traditional" method, with the liquid poured vertically to hit the bottom of the champagne flute; and the "beer-like way," executed by tilting the glass and gently sliding in the champagne. They say the study matters not just to champagne drinkers but to glassmakers. They noted the industry was researching a "new generation" of champagne glasses, specially designed to control the release of carbon dioxide, the gas that gives the drink its sparkle.

 

Norwich Bulletin (Norwich, Conn.: daily circulation 26,583)

“Health Watch: Senior Health: Water could be key in weight loss”

September 20, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

Losing weight could be as straightforward as turning on the kitchen tap. A new study found that middle-aged adults and older who drank a couple of glasses of water before each meal lost about 30 percent more weight than those who didn't. Drinking water before meals may work only if you've reached middle age. Researchers think that in younger people, water begins to leave the stomach almost immediately. But in older people, it takes longer for the stomach to empty, so they feel full for a longer time. The research was presented in Boston on Aug. 23 at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.

 

Forbes (New York, N.Y.: 4.7 million monthly unique users)

“Carbon Capture And Storage: Yea Or Nay?”

September 19, 2010

 

A new paper published in the prestigious American Chemical Society journal, Environmental Science and Technology, has put the cat among the pigeons over carbon capture and storage (CCS). It argues that the colossal amount of money that CCS would entail globally would be better spent on “virtual CCS,” meaning per se that instead of actual CCS, the emission of carbon could be avoided in the first place by a wholesale implementation of non-fossil energy sources, specifically wind and nuclear power. As a statistic to prove the point, it is estimated that one wedge (billion tons) of carbon in the form of CO2 sequestered by CCS would cost $5.1 trillion over 50 years, while the same amount of money used to build wind-turbines would save 1.91 “wedges” worth of CO2 over the lifetime of the windmills. A strong rebuttal to this case is presented in the September issue of Chemistry World, which calls for a parallel development of CCS and non-fossil energy rather than the exclusion of the former.

 

Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Tex.: daily circulation 194,257)

“Work Faces”

September 17, 2010

 

Anthony DiNota has been named vice president of commercial sales, marketing and customer support at American Eurocopter, a maker of commercial helicopters. Audrey Boda-Davis has been named upper school principal, and Roxann Breyer has been named lower and middle school principal at the Hill School in Fort Worth. Purnendu "Sandy" Dasgupta has received the American Chemical Society's 2011 Award for Chromatography. Dasgupta is a chemist at the University of Texas at Arlington.

 

Daily Herald (Provo, Utah: daily circulation 32,000)

“Tug Gettling: A skunk by any other name still stinks”

September 19, 2010

 

An elderly widow once requested the removal of a skunk from her yard, and so I obliged. By the end of the ordeal the skunk was captured, the widow happy, and me, you guessed it, I stunk! Utah is home to two native species of skunk; the Western Spotted Skunk (spilogale gracilis) and the Striped Skunk (mephitis mephitis) with the Striped Skunk being the more well known of the two. While skunks do not hibernate for the winter they do go through a dormant stage in which they retire to their dens for extended periods of time feeding infrequently and, for the most part, remaining inactive. Female skunks often den together in small groups while males generally go alone throughout the winter. Skunks are also crepuscular meaning that they are active mostly during dawn or dusk. The most common question that is debated with relation to a skunk is -- how do you remove skunk odor? There are a plethora of home remedies that claim to eliminate the odor, however most of them have been proven to be ineffective. Those that have been shown to work are those that break down the thiols. The most effective formula to date seems to be the one published in 1993 in "Chemical and Engineering News" by chemist Paul Krebaum which consists of mixing hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and liquid hand soap in an open container and then using it as a bathing solution followed by a warm rinse of water.


Natural Products Marketplace (Phoenix,  Ariz.: 10,000 monthly unique users)

“Delivering Antioxidants”

September 17, 2010

 

Back in the 60s, youthful health food lovers may have considered themselves “free radicals," rebelling against the establishment, practicing a lifestyle of free love, listening to revolutionary music and preaching peace. Nowadays, those “granola" types may still believe in the principles of their youth; but, a free radical is no longer embraced. They now look for natural products to help reduce the amount of these molecules within their bodies. This is where antioxidants shine. Supplements are a popular delivery form for antioxidants; some even say they are the best. One way products can tout their antioxidant capacity is by offering a number measurement of their activity. A variety of tests assay the amount of antioxidants in finished products; unfortunately, many disagree on which is the best method, and they all have their limitations. The oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) seems to be the most common measurement within the food industry; however, other antioxidant measurement tests are also used, including the Folin-Ciocalteu reagent, the Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity assay, HORAC (hydroxyl radical), NORAC (nitroperoxyl radical) and SOAC (singlet oxygen quenching). While the American Chemical Society points out there are between 25 and 100 various methods of measurement are used, it’s difficult to say which most accurate because the level of antioxidant of a product is different based on which method is used. ORAC is a good indication of in vitro antioxidant strength, but doesn’t necessarily reflect antioxidant activity in humans.

 

Biomed Middle East (Dubai, United Arab Emirates: 12,900 monthly unique users)

“Blood Test Developed For Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Diagnosis”

September 19, 2010

 

Scientists at the Basque Center for Cooperative Research in Biosciences and OWL Genomics Ltd., in collaboration with researchers at the INSERM and University Hospitals, Vanderbilt University, the University of Southern California, Clinic Hospital and IDIBAPS (Barcelona, Spain) and the Alcala de Henares University have used metabolomics technology to develop a blood test for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) diagnosis. This research, supported by the European Commission and the Carlos III Health Institute in Spain, has been recently published (August 4) in The Journal of Proteome Research. OWL Genomics Ltd. is beginning to commercialize this new test in Spain. Obesity posses a major risk factor for NAFLD. NAFLD is a progressive disease, ranging from the simple accumulation of fat in the liver (steatosis) to the more severe necroinflammatory complication non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), affecting up to 24% of the US and European population. The metabolomics-based blood test developed by OWL Genomics and CIC bioGUNE can distinguish between simple steatosis and NASH. “Results from this blood test could help clinicians diagnose NAFLD and inform on how a patient is responding to treatment”, says Professor José Mato, director of CIC bioGUNE and CIBERehd researcher.

 

… Broadcast TV

 

WSYR-TV (Syracuse, N.Y.: daily viewers 18,164)

“Darker coffee, gentler java?”

September 17, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

By applause, how many coffee lovers do we have in the audience today? So, did you all know that the type of coffee you drink may affect your health? A new study from the American Chemical Society says that darker coffee may be the gentler java in comparison with lighter blends. Espresso, french roast may be lighter on the body. The other kinds may be hard on your system.

 

… From the Blogs

 

Article Squeeze

“Texas and New York: At the Forefront of Wind Energy”

September 20, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

When it comes to fossil fuels, there are only two certainties: they’re powerful sources of energy and there’s a finite amount in the ground. That’s why many of America’s best and brightest have focused their energies on helping the country transition to using renewable forms of energy to generate electricity. This prodigious growth is the reason scientists such as Dr. Walter Kohn, winner of a share of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, expects wind and solar power to replace fossil fuel consumption levels. Science Daily notes that, in a presentation at the American Chemical Society’s 240th National Meeting, Dr. Kohn is heartened by the efforts of students to reclaim green energy wherever possible.

 

Nano Patents and Innovations

“Magical Beans: New Nano-Sized Particles Could Provide Mega-Sized Data Storage”

September 20, 2010

 

Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered an entire new class of phase-change materials that could be applied to PCM and optical data storage technologies. The new materials, alloys of a metal and semiconductor, are called "BEANs," for binary eutectic-alloy nanostructures. The ability of phase-change materials to readily and swiftly transition between different phases has made them valuable as a low-power source of non-volatile or “flash” memory and data storage. Daryl Chrzan is the corresponding author on a paper reporting the results of this research which has been published in the journal Nano Letters titled “Embedded Binary Eutectic Alloy Nanostructures: A New Class of Phase Change Materials.”

CNET News (San Francisco, Calif.: 15.5 million monthly unique users)

“Behold the strength of carbon nanotubes”

September 16, 2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs (OPA) PressPac

 

[Chemie.de (Berlin, Germany: 220,000 monthly readers) also covered the news.]

 

New tests of carbon nanotubes--those tiny cylinders expected to revolutionize medicine, electronics, warfare, and more--reveal that, ounce-for-ounce, they are 117 times stronger than steel and 30 times stronger than Kevlar used in bicycle tires and bulletproof vests. The nanotubes, roughly 50,000 of which add up to the width of an average strand of human hair, are already known for their strength. But this latest research, led by Stephen Cronin, electrical engineering assistant professor at the University  of Southern California, tested individual carbon nanotubes of various lengths and widths by applying what is being rather unscientifically described as "immense strain." It turns out that the nanotubes could be stretched twice as far as previously thought before breaking. The findings, which appear in the journal ACS Nano, establish "a new lower limit for the ultimate strength of carbon nanotubes," a phrase so telling it is the team's paper title.

 

The Patriotic Vanguard (New West Minister, Canada)

“Dr. David Kargbo, world class scientist”

September 17, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

A Sierra Leonean, David Kargbo, Ph.D., has been inducted into the exclusive club of world scientists. The Marquis Who Is Who Publications Board publishes on scientific inventors, discoverers and other very important personalities in America. According to its Charter, “…inclusion is limited to those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in their own fields of endeavor and who have, thereby, contributed significantly to the betterment of contemporary society.” Since its inception in 1899 each year the Marquis Who’s Who staff researches people from all walks of life that merit inclusion in the Who Is Who in America. Since its inaugural publication in 1899 it has featured such luminaries as renowned scientist Einstein, the most famous scientist that ever lived; Thomas Edison, the scientist who invented the light bulb; Henry Ford, the businessman who invented the first vehicle; Edward Teller, the scientist who invented the atomic bomb and a few others. For the year 2010, David Kargbo, Ph.D.., a distinguished Sierra Leone scientist, has been selected, and he may be the first African to date. Dr. David M. Kargbo had researched and published on how to cheaply convert sludge (filth) and other fat containing wastes to biodiesel to save our world of refuse and improve public health all over the world. The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, described the publication as one of the most important in its 240-year history.

 

Scientific American (New York, N.Y.: monthly circulation 676,000)

“It's a Gas: Light Hydrocarbons Drove Microbial Blooms Cleaning Up the Gulf Oil Spill”

September 16, 2010

 

Natural gases, not oil, helped jump-start the growth of microbial blooms that are consuming the various hydrocarbons spilled into the Gulf  of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon disaster, according to new research. Biogeochemist David Valentine of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his colleagues tracked at least four distinct plumes of these gaseous hydrocarbons during a June research cruise—not just the one plume reported previously by a separate team of scientists. The microbial communities in the four plumes first tackled easy-to-digest hydrocarbons, such as propane, butane and ethane, which were kept from bubbling quickly to the surface by deepwater high pressure and cold temperature. Only after consuming these gases, which boosted the populations, did the larger communities move on to harder-to-eat compounds, such as energy-dense but hard-to-crack methane and longer-chain hydrocarbons, such as the alkanes that comprise oil, the research suggests… Valentine and colleagues showed in the May 15, 2009, issue of Environmental Science & Technology that a large portion of the hydrocarbons flowing from a natural seep at Coal Oil Point in California ends up on the seabed, rather than being digested by microbes in the water. The same may prove true for the more than 600 million liters of oil spewed by BP's leaking well, running counter to the hopes raised by more optimistic reports.

 

Nanowerk (Honolulu, Hawaii: 83,700 monthly unique users)

“Pinning neurons in place with nanopillars”

September 16, 2010

 

Studies of the interface between nanostructures and live cells have been increasing rapidly in the past few years. Because the size of nanostructures is often comparable to internal organelles inside the cell, those nanostructures are very useful in serving as sensors to detect biological events inside a live cell. Even more futuristic concepts envision the incorporation of functional nanodevices inside living cells. For neuroscientists, monitoring the electrical signaling within neural networks is a fundamental issue. It has proven to be very challenging to monitoring individual neuron activities in a neuronal network for an extended time – weeks or months – which demands stable and specific neuron-electrode correspondence. Unfortunately for the scientists, neurons tend to migrate as far as hundreds of micrometers, often moving outside the range of the electrode that is supposed to monitor it. "Electric signals generated by a neuron can be detected extracellularly if there is an electrode in close contact" Bianxiao Cui, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at Stanford University, explains to Nanowerk. In their recent work, reported in the September 3, 2010 online issue of Nano Letters, the researchers describe the use of nanopillar arrays to pin the position of neurons in a noninvasive manner. This work provides a new means to anchor a neuron to an external electrode for long-term electric measurement.

 

… Web sites

 

Chemie.de (Berlin, Germany: 220,000 monthly readers)

“American Chemical Society launches Prized Science video series”

September 17, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

[Bionity.com (Berlin, Germany: 35,000 monthly readers) and New Design World (Oxford, England) also covered the news.]

 

Did life on Mars become life on Earth? What technology worked invisibly behind the headlines to make the Human Genome Project possible? How did wisps of material barely 1/50,000th the width of a human hair become forerunners of a new genre of medicines? Those topics highlight the premier episode of a new video series, Prized Science: How the Science Behind ACS Awards Impacts Your Life, launched by the American Chemical Society (ACS). Rich with high-definition graphics and animations, and commentary suitable for classroom use and other audiences of students and non-scientists, the videos are available without charge at the Prized Science website, YouTube, iTunes and on DVD. "Estimates suggest that more than 30,000 significant prizes - most for scientific or medical research - are awarded annually,” noted ACS President Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D. "For many of them, the spotlight of news media publicity rightly focuses on the recipients. Often lost behind the headlines, is an explanation of how the science honored in the award impacts the everyday lives of people throughout the world. That is Prized Science’s goal, to give greater visibility to the science that won the prize.”

 

… From the Blogs

 

Dr. Mercola – Natural Health Products

“Black Rice Vs Organic Blueberries: Which is the Better Antioxidant Source?”

September 17, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

Black rice was first introduced in the U.S. in 1995, and is making a comeback in supermarkets and restaurants. This dark grain is unmilled. Its unusual color and rich, slightly sweet nutty flavor make it ideal for desserts. According to a new study recently presented to the American Chemical Society, a spoonful of black rice bran (about 10 spoonfuls of cooked black rice) contains the same amount of anthocyanins as a spoonful of fresh blueberries. Blueberries have an edge over black rice because they are ready to eat and tasty. While blueberries contain more sugar than black rice, the latter is still a grain. Grains should be avoided or consumed sparingly by most people, especially those with gluten sensitivity.

 

Healthier Talk

““Tequila Plants” Promote Bone Health”

September 16, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

For countless centuries, the native peoples of Mexico and Central America have used the agave plant for food, clothing, rope and many other purposes. Perhaps the best-known use is the production of tequila (made from the blue agave). But a new – and decidedly healthier – use for agave may be on the horizon. In a report to the American Chemical Society, Mexican researchers showed that agave fructans may well promote bone health as well as other fructans. In this study, mice fed agave fructans absorbed – and retained – more calcium than those denied the fructans. And they showed a 50% increase in a protein linked to the building of new bone.

Oneindia (Bangalore, India: 7.3 million monthly unique users)

“Carbon nanotubes twice as strong as once believed”

September 16, 2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs (OPA) PressPac

 

[Fifteen other media outlets, including Thaindian News (Bangkok, Thailand: 1.8 million monthly unique users), The Medical News (Sydney, Australia: 452,900 monthly unique users) and Nanowerk (Honolulu, Hawaii: 83,200 monthly unique users), also covered the news.]

 

Scientists have reported that carbon nanotubes - those tiny particles poised to revolutionize electronics, medicine, and other areas - are much bigger in the strength department than anyone ever thought. New studies on the strength of these submicroscopic cylinders of carbon indicate that on an ounce-for-ounce basis they are at least 117 times stronger than steel and 30 times stronger than Kevlar, the material used in bulletproof vests and other products. Stephen Cronin and colleagues point out that nanotubes - barely 1/50,000th the width of a human hair - have been renowned for exceptional strength, high electrical conductivity, and other properties. To resolve uncertainties about the actual strength of nanotubes, the scientists applied immense tension to individual carbon nanotubes of different lengths and widths. The finding appears in appear in the monthly journal ACS Nano.

 

Science Daily (Rockville, Md.: 3.1 million monthly unique users)

“Discovery of the Secrets That Enable Plants Near Chernobyl to Shrug Off Radiation”

September 15, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

[Ten other media outlets, including PhysOrg.com (Evergreen, Va.: 1.2 million monthly unique users), e! Science News (30,000 monthly unique users) and Newsroom America (10,200 monthly unique users), also covered the item.]

 

Scientists are reporting discovery of the biological secrets that enable plants growing near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant to adapt and flourish in highly radioactive soil -- legacy of the 1986 nuclear disaster in the Ukraine. Their study, which helps solve a long-standing mystery, appears in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal. The scientists grew flax seeds in radiation-contaminated soil in the Chernobyl region and compared their growth to those of seeds grown in non-radioactive soil. Radiation exposure had relatively little effect on the protein levels in the plants, with only about five percent of the proteins altered, they note. Among them weree certain proteins involved in cell signaling, or chemical communication, which might help the plants shrug-off radioactivity, the scientists suggest.

 

RedOrbit (Dallas, Tex.: 2.3 million monthly unique users)

“New American Chemical Society Podcast: Big Building Blocks From Nanoparticles”

September 14, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

A new genre of construction materials, made with particles barely 1/50,000th the width of a human hair, is about to play a big role in the building of homes, offices, bridges, and other structures, according to the latest episode in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) award-winning podcast series, "Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions." A new Global Challenges podcast and website is highlighting both the potential benefits of these nanomaterials in improving construction materials and the need for guidelines to regulate their use and disposal. It is based on a report in the monthly journal ACS Nano. Pedro Alvarez, Ph.D., and colleagues at Rice University in Houston, Texas, note that nanomaterials likely will have a greater impact on the construction industry than any other sector of the economy, except biomedical and electronics applications. Certain nanomaterials can improve the strength of concrete, serve as self-cleaning and self-sanitizing coatings, and provide many other construction benefits, they say.

 

The Medical News (Sydney, Australia: 452,900 monthly unique users)

“Anonymous Funding promote drug development for fragile X syndrome”

September 16, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

Funding from an anonymous wealthy family has been the secret to progress, at long last, in developing drugs that show promise for helping millions of people worldwide with Fragile X syndrome, the most common genetic cause of autism. That's the topic of a fascinating article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine. C&EN Senior Editor Lisa Jarvis notes that until recent interest from big pharmaceutical companies, a small drug company in Cambridge, Mass. named Seaside Therapeutics was virtually the only company trying to develop drugs for autism and fragile X syndrome. The article describes how Seaside, armed with funding from an anonymous wealthy family and new insights into the basic science behind these disorders, is making progress toward treating these much-neglected diseases. Two of the company's potential drugs show promise in clinical trials as treatments for Fragile X syndrome. One appears to improve the behavior of children with severe social impairments. On the heels of Seaside's encouraging results, big pharmaceutical companies that once showed little interest in tackling these diseases are now trying to develop their own new medications.

 

Natural News (Toronto, Ontario: 300,580 monthly unique users)

“You can change your fat destiny, turn off genetic predisposition to obesity”

September 16, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

If you are overweight, it can be pretty discouraging to know you come from a fat family -- your parents, siblings and even cousins and grandparents may mostly be overweight, too. It can make you think you are destined to be fat due to your ancestry. And in fact, for some people, there is a genetic predisposition to obesity. But there's new hope you can conquer this inherited fat factor. Research headed by Dr. Ruth Loos from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge in the United Kingdom concluded that the genetic predisposition to obesity can be reduced by an average of almost half -- not through drugs or starvation, but by simply increasing regular physical activity. In other breaking obesity research from Europe, Anja Rosenow, Ph.D., and colleagues at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, have come up with new evidence that shows how extra weight may damage health. The scientists have found "spare tires" and lower belly pooches are not just storage sites for surplus calories -- instead, this fat tissue acts as an active organ that sends chemical signals to other parts of the body. These chemical messengers could increase the risk of heart attacks, cancer, and other diseases. The Maastricht researchers reported discovering 20 new hormones and other substances not previously known that are secreted into the blood by human fat cells. The study was just published in the Journal of Proteome Research.

 

Reuters (New York, N.Y.: “viewed by more than 1 billion monthly”)

“Fall Events from UC Berkeley Extension Explore Green Chemistry, Eating Disorders, Personalized Medicine, and More”

September 15, 2010

 

UC Berkeley Extension’s fall 2010 public event series highlights timely topics, including green chemistry, the treatment of eating disorders, the effects of medical technologies on personalized medicine, and the Oxford Berkeley Program. A reading series also features Extension instructors` published writings. UC Berkeley Extension presents the following events as part of its mission to bring the educational excellence of the University of California, Berkeley, to the community. Dr. Berkeley Cue, a thought leader in green chemistry, discusses the goals and accomplishments of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute, founded in 2005. Topics include greener chemical reactions, environmental footprint reduction benchmarking, legislative action, education, globalization, and more. Tuesday, Sept. 21, 6:30-8 p.m.; UC Berkeley Campus, 105 Stanley Hall; Free

 

CNS News (Alexandria, Va.: 935,700 monthly unique users)

“White House Science Czar: "'Global Warming' Is a Dangerous Misnomer"

September 14, 2010

 

John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, says that the term "global warming" is "a dangerous misnomer” that should be replaced with “global climate disruption." Rudy Baum, the editor-in-chief of Chemical and Engineering News who attended the event in Oslo, and wrote in his blog about Holdren’s remarks. The blog states: “Holdren then discussed the Obama Administration’s views on climate change. ‘Global warming is a dangerous misnomer,’ Holdren observed. ‘It suggests that the changes are uniform, primarily about temperature, gradual, and likely benign. None of these are true.’ “In fact, Holdren pointed out, the changes that are occurring are highly nonuniform, not only about temperature, occurring rapidly, and quite harmful to the environment. The correct term, he said, should be ‘global climate disruption.’”

 

R&D Magazine (Rockaway, N.J.: monthly circulation 80,000)

“Unlocking secrets to cheaper ethanol”

September 16, 2010

 

New insight into the structure of switchgrass and poplars is fueling discussions that could result in more efficient methods to turn biomass into biofuel. Researchers from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Georgia Tech used small-angle neutron scattering to probe the structural impact of an acid pretreatment of lignocellulose from switchgrass. Pretreatment is an essential step to extract cellulose, which can through a series of enzymatic procedures be converted into sugars and then ethanol. The findings, published in Biomacromolecules, could help scientists identify the most effective pretreatment strategy and lower the cost of the biomass conversion process. "My hope is that this paper and subsequent discussions about our observations will lead to a better understanding of the complex mechanisms of lignocellulose breakdown," said co-author Volker Urban of ORNL's Chemical Sciences Division. A key finding is that native switchgrass that has been pretreated with hot dilute sulfuric acid undergoes significant morphological changes. While the data demonstrate that the switchgrass materials are very similar at length scales greater than 1,000 angstroms, the materials are profoundly different at shorter lengths.

 

… From the Blogs

 

Science Blog (78,100 monthly unique users)

“Progress on vaccine for ‘Ich,’ bane of fish farms and home aquarium hobbyists”

September 15, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

Tests of a potential vaccine against “Ich” — the dreaded “white-spot” disease that plagues fish in commercial fish farms, public aquariums, pet fish retail outlets, and home aquariums — are raising hopes for finally controlling the disease, scientists reported at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. “Outbreaks of the parasitic disease caused by Ichthyophthirius (Ich) can result in losses of 50-100 percent of fish,” Dehai Xu, Ph.D., said. “The disease is very common, and almost every home fish hobbyist has encountered it.”

 

Science Codex (71,700 monthly unique users)

“New evidence on how cranberry juice fights bacteria that cause urinary tract infections”

September 15, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

Scientists reported new evidence on the effectiveness of that old folk remedy — cranberry juice — for urinary tract infections at the ACS' 240th National Meeting. "A number of controlled clinical trials — these are carefully designed and conducted scientific studies done in humans — have concluded that cranberry juice really is effective for preventing urinary tract infections," said Terri Anne Camesano, Ph.D., who led the study. "That has important implications, considering the size of the problem and the health care costs involved."

Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.: daily circulation 279,032)

“ARCADIS’ Jane Staveley to moderate Congressional Briefing on Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water”

September 14, 2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs (OPA) press release

 

Jane Staveley, a Principal Environmental Scientist for ARCADIS, the international consultancy, design, engineering and management services company, will moderate a distinguished panel of experts on the topic of "Pharmaceuticals in Our Water: Concerns and Responses" during a briefing in the Rayburn House Office Building today, September 14. The briefing will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. and is presented by the American Chemical Society's Science & the Congress Project, the Society for Risk Analysis and the Society of Toxicology, with honorary co-host, the House Science and Technology Committee. With a focus on the presence of pharmaceuticals in waterways and drinking water throughout the United States, the briefing is designed to explore what is known about the relative contributions from different types of drugs, their persistence in the environment, and the best methods of drug disposal to reduce the amount getting into the environment. 

 

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Pittsburgh,  Pa.: daily circulation 150,253)

“Berry-Infused Tea Spritzer keeps it healthy”

September 14, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

Once a summer-only beverage, iced tea has become a year-round refresher. The $10 billion tea industry has slaked our thirst, but much of the bottled, ready-to-drink tea we consume daily is not as healthful as we've been led to believe. For starters, most brands contain artificial ingredients, sweeteners, additives and unnatural colors. Bottled teas also may contain fewer of the beneficial chemicals that give tea its healthful reputation. Researchers presenting a preliminary, non-peer reviewed study at last month's meeting of the American Chemical Society reported the concentration of polyphenols, a healthful antioxidant, in six bottled teas tested was virtually nonexistent. The average cup of home-brewed black or green tea contains 50 to 150 milligrams of polyphenols. The polyphenols in bottled teas occur in such low amounts that a consumer would have to drink 20 bottles to get the same amount found in a single cup of home-brewed tea.

 

Nanowerk (Honolulu, Hawaii: 81,400 monthly unique users)

“New American Chemical Society podcast: Big building blocks from nanoparticles”

September 14, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

A new genre of construction materials, made with particles barely 1/50,000th the width of a human hair, is about to play a big role in the building of homes, offices, bridges, and other structures, according to the latest episode in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) award-winning podcast series, "Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions." A new Global Challenges podcast and website is highlighting both the potential benefits of these nanomaterials in improving construction materials and the need for guidelines to regulate their use and disposal. It is based on a report in the monthly journal ACS Nano. Pedro Alvarez, Ph.D., and colleagues at Rice University in Houston, Texas, note that nanomaterials likely will have a greater impact on the construction industry than any other sector of the economy, except biomedical and electronics applications. Certain nanomaterials can improve the strength of concrete, serve as self-cleaning and self-sanitizing coatings, and provide many other construction benefits, they say.

 

Food Consumer (Sherwood, Ore.: 27,100 monthly unique users)

“Corn sugar new name proposed for high fructose corn syrup”

September 15, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

The industry has seen the sales of high fructose corn syrup on the decline. Could a new name help the sweetener that has been linked to increased risk of health conditions like obesity and diabetes? On September 14, the Corn Refiner’s Association said in a press release posted on its website that it has asked the Food and Drug Administration to allow manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, to use the name "corn sugar" instead of high fructose corn syrup. The FDA considers HFCS as natural, even though critics point out that this sweetener consisting of both glucose and fructose is in reality, not found in corn.  This product is made by enzymatically converting some portion of glucose, which is derived from corn starch, into fructose. Researchers at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey reported that reactive carbonyls, which are found high in the blood of diabetes patients, are also found in soft drinks sweetened with HFCS. Dr. Chi-Tang Ho and colleagues found one single can of a HFCS sweetened soft drink contained a five times higher concentration of reactive carbonyls than the concentration found in the blood of an adult with diabetes. Reactive carbonyls have been found by other scientists to have the potential to trigger cell and tissue damage that could lead to diabetes, according to a news release by the American Chemical Society, which was reporting Dr. Ho's finding.

 

Medical News Today (U.K.: 1.1 million monthly unique users)

“Chemists Study Quadrupedal Molecular Machines”

September 15, 2010

 

Molecular machines can be found everywhere in nature, for example, transporting proteins through cells and aiding metabolism. To develop artificial molecular machines, scientists need to understand the rules that govern mechanics at the molecular or nanometer scale (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter). To address this challenge, a research team at the University of California, Riverside studied a class of molecular machines that 'walk' across a flat metal surface. They considered both bipedal machines that walk on two 'legs' and quadrupedal ones that walk on four. "We made a horse-like structure with four 'hooves' to study how molecular machinery can organize the motion of multiple parts," said Ludwig Bartels, a professor of chemistry, whose lab led the research. "A couple of years ago, we discovered how we can transport carbon dioxide molecules along a straight line across a surface using a molecular machine with two 'feet' that moved one step at a time. For the new research, we wanted to create a species that can carry more cargo - which means it would need more legs. But if a species has more than two legs, how will it organize their motion?" Study results appeared online last week in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and will appear in print in an upcoming issue of the journal.

 

Yale Daily News (New Haven, Conn.)

“Leaks from the Lab”

September 15, 2010

 

Synthetic molecules can help the body fight prostate cancer. A team led by Yale researchers has found a new site on a prostate cancer cell protein for synthetic molecules to bind onto, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. By allowing the synthetic molecules to latch on as a tag, the new binding site should help the body’s immune system better fight prostate cancer.

 

… From the Blogs

 

Natural Health Dossier

“Brain “Cleaners” Essential to Good Mental Health”

September 14, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

Blueberries may be the single most powerful brain-preserving food in the world. Brand new research shows that they don’t just protect your brain… but also help to clean its mental pathways. There are dozens of studies showing how they power mental health… and the research is so exciting that some scientists are calling them “brain berries.” During the national meeting of the American Chemical Society last week, scientists revealed why our brains decay with age. Shibu Poulose, Ph.D., delivered the report – based on a ground-breaking new study. Dr. Poulose headed up the project for the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston.

 

Hubble Innovations

“Auto-Cleaning dust technology could revolutionize Solar Panel Industry”

September 15, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

The Solar Panel market has reached $24 billion dollar today, but further growth depends on overcoming weaknesses that hold back the technology. One of them is… dust. Just 1/7 of an ounce per square yard of dust could decimate a solar panel’s power conversion by up to 40%! The key to improving effectiveness are cleaning technologies that keep solar panels dust-free. As reported by GreenTech, there might be a major revolution coming. Professor Malay Mazumder first developed self-cleaning technology for NASA that until now was never commercialized for mainstream use.

Wall Street Journal (New York, N.Y.: daily circulation 2.1 million)

“Swatting 'Superbugs' in Hospitals, Homes”

September 14, 2010

 

Antibiotic-resistant superbugs have become a big public health concern, but the existing antibacterial cleaners and soaps on the market are often based on harsh chemicals that kill everything they come into contact with or leach out into the environment. In other cases, their effect is only temporary. Now scientists are working on a new crop of antimicrobials—microscopic weapons that prevent or defeat bugs—to improve their effectiveness, kill specific types of bugs, or reduce their potential side effects on people and the environment. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., recently developed a new way to kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA—one of the most widespread and deadliest superbugs—on contact using tiny tubes coated with proteins to destroy the bugs by deflating them like balloons. Some 53 million individuals worldwide are believed to be infected with MRSA, according to a 2006 paper published in the Lancet. In his team's recent work, published last month in an American Chemical Society journal called ACS Nano, Dr. Jonathan Dordick, Professor Ravi Kane and other colleagues investigated whether enzymes could be added to tubes a million times smaller in diameter than a human hair. These "nanotubes," could be inserted, along with the enzyme, into paint or other substances.

 

Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario: daily circulation 322,807)

“Social Studies - A daily miscellany of information”

September 13, 2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs (OPA) PressPac

 

“Cattle infected with mad cow disease give off a telltale glow in their eyes, according to new research published in the journal Analytical Chemistry,” Jennifer Viegas reports for Discovery News. “In future, the discovery could lead to a long-sought test to detect infection with the agent that causes mad cow disease, preventing it from spreading throughout the food supply for humans.” The characteristic fluorescence is thought to come from an accumulation of lipofuscin in the retina, said research team leader Jacob Petrich of Iowa State  University. Lipofuscin is pigmented waste material that’s made up of free radical-damaged proteins and fats. In human skin it’s the common cause of “age spots.” The scientists also determined that the retinas of sheep infected with scrapie, which is similar to mad cow disease, emit a characteristic glow when examined with a beam of light from a special instrument.

 

Natural News (Toronto, Canada: 300,580 monthly unique users)

“Nutrition discovery: black rice rivals blueberries as source of healthful antioxidants”

September 14, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

In ancient China, nobles commandeered every grain of a variety of black rice known as "Forbidden Rice" for themselves and forbade the common people from eating it. Now 21st century scientists have discovered that black rice truly is a treasure -- at least when it comes to nutrition. In fact, a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, plus the rice bran has less sugar, more fiber and an abundance of vitamin E. That's the conclusion of Zhimin Xu, Associate Professor in the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Dr. Xu just announced his research team's findings at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) being held in Boston. Many fruits are known to be rich sources of anthocyanin antioxidants and these phytochemicals show promise for fighting heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. But according to Dr. Xu and his colleagues, research shows black rice is also rich in these health-protecting phytochemicals -- so adding black rice bran to the diet or the bran extracts to breakfast cereals, beverages, and other foods could help protect and improve health.

 

Bioscience Technology (Rockaway, N.J.: monthly circulation 55,000)

“American Chemical Society hosts briefing on pharmaceuticals in water on Sept. 14”

September 13, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

The American Chemical Society Science & the Congress Project invites news media to attend a luncheon briefing on "Pharmaceuticals in Our Water: Concerns and Responses." It will be held Tuesday, Sept. 14, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Room 2325 of the Rayburn House Office  Building. No advance registration is necessary. The briefing focuses on the different types of drugs in waterways and drinking water, their persistence in the environment, and the best ways of drug disposal to reduce the amounts that reach the environment. Co-hosted by The Society for Risk Analysis, The Society of Toxicology, and the House Science and Technology Committee, the briefing will feature the following panelists and an open discussion: Moderator: Jane Staveley, Arcadis U.S., Inc. Panelists: Mae Wu, Natural Resources Defense Council, Shane Snyder, University of Arizona, Sierra Fletcher, Product Stewardship Institute, Richard Williams, formerly of Pfizer, Inc.

 

Domestic Fuel (Holts Summit, Mo.)

“Chemists’ Podcast Features Biodiesel from Sewage”

September 13, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

A U. S. Environmental Protection Agency researcher says that biodiesel can be made from municipal sewage sludge that would cost about the same as diesel made from non-renewable petroleum. In the latest episode of the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) podcast series, “Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions,” the EPA’s David M. Kargbo says sewage treatment plants could use microorganisms that produce higher amounts of oil … up to 10 billion gallons of biodiesel, more than three times the nation’s current biodiesel production capacity: Kargbo points out in the podcast that demand for biodiesel has led to the search for cost-effective biodiesel feedstocks, or raw materials. Sewage sludge is an attractive alternative feedstock — the United   States alone produces about seven million tons of it each year. Sludge is a good source of raw materials for biodiesel. Kargbo’s results appear in ACS’ Energy & Fuels, a bi-monthly journal: “Biodiesel Production from Municipal Sewage Sludges.”

 

Boston Globe (Boston, Mass.: daily circulation 232,432)

“Altatech Semiconductor's Inkjet Printing System Selected for Developing Flexible Electronics”

September 13, 2010

 

To further enable its research in direct-write printing of micro- and nanoscale electronic devices, the Italian Institute of Technology's (IIT) Center for Nanoscience and Technology has purchased a JetLab® 4xl-A maskless nanoprinting system from equipment supplier Altatech Semiconductor S.A. The system will be installed at IIT's facility in Milan by the end of November. IIT and other European research centers are racing to develop a reliable, cost-effective process for printing nanoscale arrays of metallic, conductive ink droplets to produce smaller, faster-switching semiconductor transistors for next-generation flexible electronics. Dr. Mario Caironi, team leader at IIT's Center for Nanoscience and Technology, was the lead author of a research paper on this subject published earlier this year by the American Chemical Society.

 

Science Daily (Rockville, Md.: 3.2 million monthly unique users)

“If the Water Looks and Smells Bad, It May Be Toxic”

September 13, 2010

 

Earthy or musty odors, along with visual evidence of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, may serve as a warning that harmful cyanotoxins are present in lakes or reservoirs. In a newly published USGS study of cyanobacterial blooms in Midwest lakes, taste-and-odor compounds were found almost every time cyanotoxins were found, indicating odor may serve as a warning that harmful toxins are present. "It is commonly believed that there are no health risks associated with taste-and-odor compounds," said Dr. Jennifer Graham, USGS limnologist and lead scientist on this study. "While taste-and-odor compounds are not toxic, these pungent compounds were always found with cyanotoxins in the blooms sampled. This finding highlights the need for increased cyanotoxin surveillance during taste-and-odor events so that the public can be advised and waters can be effectively treated." (Environmental Science & Technology)

 

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.: daily circulation 113,991)

“Grapes in season this week, another Central New York super food”

September 14, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

Move over orange juice. In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry researchers found that Concord grape juice ranked No. 1 among 13 juices tested for the highest antioxidant activity. It even beat out pomegranate juice. That is because grapes have a number of nutrients that work together to protect our health. These substances, called polyphenols, are strong antioxidants. One is called resveratrol, which has been called the new "fountain of youth" for its ability to increases lifespan and repair clogged arteries. Before you buy into the hype, know that the body absorbs resveratrol better from grape foods and drinks than from pills. Research conducted by Cornell University plant scientist, Leroy Creasy, found that red wine from New York  State has the highest reveratrol content. The resveratrol is in the skin of the grape, so purple grape juice, red wine and fresh concord grapes are the best place to find this nutrient.

 

… From the Blogs

 

HLife

“HReport: In The Journals”

September 14, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

Sounds like those muffin tops may make us suffer a lot more than we thought. Scientists are reporting new evidence that the fat tissue in that spare tire and lower belly pooch is far from harmless. According to a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research, belly fat tissue is an active organ that sends chemical signals to other parts of the body, taking part in various functions, which may lead to disease. The scientists report the discovery of 20 new hormones and other substances not previously known to be secreted into the blood by human fat cells.

 

Energy Balance

“Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) - Yay or Nay?”

September 13, 2010

 

A new paper published in the prestigious American Chemical Society journal, Environmental Science and Technology, has put the cat among the pigeons over carbon capture and storage (CCS). It argues that the colossal amount of money that CCS would entail globally would be better spent on "virtual CCS", meaning per se that instead of actual CCS, the emission of carbon be avoided in the first place by a wholesale implementation of non-fossil energy sources, specifically wind and nuclear power.

BBC News (London, England: 55 million monthly unique users)

“Glow in cattle's eyes may be a sign of mad cow disease”

September 11, 2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs (OPA) PressPac

 

The eyes of cattle may reveal signs of neurological disorders such as mad cow disease, say scientists. Noticing the symptoms early may help prevent infected meat from getting into the food supply. Researchers, led from Iowa State University,  US, examined the retinas of sheep infected with scrapie - a disease similar to BSE, or mad cow disease. They write in the journal Analytical Chemistry that sick sheep's eyes had a distinctive "glow". People may contract a brain-wasting disease similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and to scrapie if they eat contaminated meat. Just like BSE, the Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in humans is a type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) - a neurodegenerative disorder caused by abnormally shaped prion proteins. These mutated prions destroy brain tissue, causing fatal brain and nerve degeneration and eventually death.

 

The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon: daily circulation 319,625)

“Books can open the mind's eye, and the mind's nose as well”

September 11, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

News item floating under the old proboscis this morning: The American Chemical Society announces a new "sniff test" whereby the slow death of old books can be accurately measured by analysis of aroma; it turns out that the musty murky bookish smell we all know is composed of hundreds of organic compounds being released, in fairly strict chronological order, by the pages and binding. "A combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness," says the society's report, sounding entertainingly like a wine doofus, before noting that papers containing pine tar and wood fiber are the first to give up the ghost (or gas). And away sprints my mind, pondering favorite books and their smells, and the adventures evoked by their smells, and the way some books smell like their stories -- "Tom Sawyer" smells like summer, doesn't it? Odd, isn't it, that mere ink on the page, alphabetical parades and processions, stacked in lines and bound with glue, could elicit such a sensory response in the reader, far more than merely the scent trails of paper and glue changing into gasses, ever so slowly; but that is perhaps the deepest pleasure of all, book-wise, that by diving into the story we change planes, worlds, bodies, time zones, centuries, and without warning we are plunged wholly in another world -- plunged so thoroughly that sometimes, wonderfully, thrillingly, we emerge, unsure for a moment where exactly we are.

 

The South End (Detroit, Mich.: daily circulation 8,000)

“Chemistry professor nominated to fellowship”

September 12, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

James H. Rigby, chairman of the biochemistry department at Wayne  State, was nominated to the American Chemical Society’s 2010 Class of Fellows. According to ACS, this honor is bestowed upon scientists who have made outstanding contributions to both chemistry and to ACS. “Whether it’s making new materials, finding cures for diseases, or developing energy alternatives, these fellows are scientific leaders improving lives through the transforming power of chemistry,” said ACS President Joseph S. Francisco in announcing the 2010 class of Fellows. “I am particularly honored by this award since it is really a recognition of my entire research career and my involvement with the profession over the years,” Rigby said.

 

Medical News Today (U.K.: 1.1 million monthly unique users)

“Low Levels Of Formaldehyde In Clothing Unlikely To Pose Health Risk”

September 10, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

The formaldehyde added to fabrics to keep clothing looking fresh and wrinkle-free is unlikely to pose a health risk to consumers, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine. C&EN Senior Correspondent David J. Hanson notes that manufacturers have added formaldehyde to fabrics for almost a hundred years to make fabrics easier to care for, particularly to reduce wrinkling in cotton and prevent stains. The article describes a new analysis of formaldehyde levels in clothing and the potential health risks. The analysis found that formaldehyde levels in clothing have fallen significantly over the past 25 years. In 1984, for instance, 67 percent of fabrics tested in government studies had levels greater than 100 parts per million, a level the textile industry considers high. But since 2003, less than two percent of items tested showed such high levels and most clothing items had nondetectable levels, the article says, noting that the health risk from formaldehyde is likely very small.

 

Belleville News Democrat (Belleville,  Ill.: daily circulation 53,967)

“Answer man: EasyWater can't get rid of the hard”

September 12, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

Whether you're willing to trust a bunch of normally sedate French scientists after working around champagne is up to you. But they're virtually bubbling over about their findings, so let there be no sour grapes this holiday season: They say the best way to preserve the quality and fizz of your Dom Perignon is to hold your flute at an angle and pour the wine gently down the side. Their paper won't make you want to dance a jig with a lampshade on. It's dryly titled "On the loss of dissolved CO2 (carbon dioxide) during Champagne serving" and was published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry -- not exactly the first place Frasier and Niles Crane would turn for their oenology update. In it, Gerard Liger-Belair and his team explain that those tiny bubbles that Don Ho loved to sing about are the essence of such wines. Past studies have shown that it's those bubbles -- which are formed through the release of dissolved CO2 -- that help transfer the taste, aroma and the feel of the wine in the mouth. Thus, the longer you can keep those bubbles coming, the longer any glass of champagne will satisfy the palate.


Science News (Washington D.C.: bi-weekly circulation 130,000)

“Dry air might boost flu transmission”

September 10, 2010

 

For flu germs, warm muggy weather is simply too close for comfort. It saps their vigor, cutting the period in which they remain infectious, according to a pair of new studies. Although it remains a mystery why flu viruses are so sensitive to heat and humidity, both papers highlight conditions that can aid and abet infection — factors that might be thwarted by controlling aspects of the indoor environment. One laboratory study measured how long highly pathogenic avian influenza remains infectious. Scientists applied known quantities of virus to a variety of surfaces that might be found outdoors on a chicken farm… Virus particles didn’t remain infectious for more than about a day at room temperature and high humidity, Wood’s team reports in a paper posted online September 3 in Environmental Science & Technology. When the researchers dropped the temperature and humidity, things changed abruptly. The virus remained infectious through day four on feces, and through the end of the study — 13 days — on glass, metal and soil. In fact, the environmental engineer notes, except on feces, “There was hardly any loss of the virus. It’s a bit disconcerting.”

 

Miami Herald (Miami, Fla.: daily circulation 240,223)

“Discovery could lead to an anti-germ coating”

September 12, 2010

 

Imagine a coating on a hospital doorknob that safely kills deadly drug-resistant bacteria on contact. Well, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute believe they have invented just that. Their discovery may lead to commercial products for walls, furniture, medical equipment and hospital gowns to destroy methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, and other dangerous microbes that circulate in hospitals. The technique could also be applied on food-processing equipment or boat hulls to protect from barnacles and algae. Scientists at RPI took natural bacteria-killing enzymes and placed them in carbon nanotubes -- tiny structures that lock the enzymes in place. Then, they added those nanotubes to latex paint. ``We literally went to Wal-Mart and got some paint,'' said Jonathan S. Dordick, professor of chemical and biological engineering and director of RPI's Center for Biotechnology & Interdisciplinary Studies. The team's experiments showed 100 percent of MRSA that touched the paint was destroyed, according to an article that appeared in ACS Nano, a journal published by the American Chemical Society. The material is also safe, Dordick said. Unlike other antimicrobial coatings, it does not leach, it is not toxic to humans and it does not rely on antibiotics.

 

… Broadcast News

 

WFLA-TB (Tampa Bay, Fla.: 54,472 daily viewers)

“Darker coffee, gentler java?”

September 10, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

[WJXT-JAX (Jacksonville, Fla.: 22,260 daily viewers), WDRB-LOU (Louisville, Ky.: 19,667 daily viewers), WKMG-ORD (Orlando, Fla.: 9,488 daily viewers), KCOY-SBA (Santa Barbara, Calif.: 2,787 daily viewers), KTVK-PHX (Phoenix, Ariz.: 26,709 daily viewers), WCSH-TV (Portland, Maine: 9,099 daily viewers), WVUE-NO (New Orleans, La.: 9,853 daily viewers) and WDJT-MILW (Milwaukee, Wisc.: 26,081 daily viewers) also carried the news clip.]

 

By applause, how many coffee lovers do we have in the audience today? So, did you all know that the type of coffee you drink may affect your health? A new study from the American Chemical Society says that darker coffee may be the gentler java in comparison with lighter brends. Esspresso, french roast may be the lighter on the body. The other kinds may be hard on your system. Everyone's had a moment when they get acid reflux, but when you get increased acidity in the stomach, which some get after drinking coffee it can exacerbate the burning sensation.

 

… From the blogs

 

FairWarning

“Chemicals Equally Present in Rich and Poor Households, Study Shows”

September 13, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

Chemicals that disrupt human hormones are equally present in the indoor air of wealthy and poorer households, though there are higher levels in the outdoor air of the less affluent, more industrialized neighborhoods, a recent study found. The study measured airborne concentrations of endocrine disruptors — chemicals that may lead to reproductive and developmental problems– in two California communities: Bolinas, a rural, affluent coastal town, and Richmond, a working-class city ringed by oil refineries. The study was published online in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, and was co-authored by researchers from Columbia University and the University  of California-Berkeley.

 

Biofuels Journal

“EPA Podcast for American Chemical Society Says Biodiesel Could Be Produced at Reasonable Cost From Sewage Sludge”

September 9, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

Biodiesel fuel could be produced from municipal sewage sludge at a cost that is within a few cents a gallon of being competitive with conventional diesel refined from petroleum, according to the latest episode in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) award-winning podcast series, "Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions." To boost biodiesel production, sewage treatment plants could use microorganisms that produce higher amounts of oil, says study leader David M. Kargbo, Ph.D., with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That step alone could increase biodiesel production to the 10 billion gallon mark, which is more than triple the nation's current biodiesel production capacity, he reports.

Reuters (New York, N.Y.: “viewed by more than 1 billion  monthly”)

“USA  Science & Engineering Festival Announces Science Dream Team: Honorary  Congressional Host Committee Pledges Support to National Mall Event This  October”

September 9,  2010

 

Over 22 senators and 64  Congressional representatives announced their support for improving U.S.  science, technology, engineering and mathematics education (STEM) today by  joining the USA Science & Engineering Festival Honorary Congressional Host  Committee. Members of this bi-partisan committee represent over 32 states, the  District of Columbia and the  U.S. territory of American Samoa.  The goal of the USA  Science & Engineering Festival and the Honorary Congressional Host  Committee, is to recruit the next generation of scientists and engineers, in  part by engaging K-12 students in how science intersects with their daily lives.  These fields have job growth, need more Americans with the education and  experience to work in them, and are vitally important to the future of our  nation. More than 550 science and engineering companies, professional  associations, colleges and universities, 200 K-12 schools and other  organizations are participating in two weeks of events at the Festival which is  hosted by Lockheed Martin. The USA Science & Engineering Festival`s grand  finale is a two-day Expo on the National Mall, October 23-24, 2010, with over  1,500 interactive exhibits. Professional science & engineering society  partners include AAAS, American Chemical  Society, American Physical Society, and American Women in  Science.

 

MSNBC (New York, N.Y.: 39.9 million monthly unique  users)

“Mad  cow disease causes cattle eyes to glow”

September 9,  2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs  (OPA) PressPac

 

Cattle infected with mad cow disease  give off a tell-tale glow in their eyes, according to new research published in  the journal Analytical Chemistry.  In future, the discovery could lead to a long-sought test to detect infection  with the agent that causes mad cow disease, preventing it from spreading  throughout the food supply for humans. Jacob Petrich in the Department of  Chemistry at Iowa  State University and colleagues conducted the  new research. They note that the human form of mad cow disease is linked to  eating beef from animals infected with abnormal proteins called prions  implicated in a range of brain diseases. Past studies suggest that chemical  changes in an animal’s retina, the light sensitive nerve tissue in the back of  the eye, may provide a basis for detecting prion diseases. "The characteristic  fluorescent signatures are thought to be the result of an accumulation of  lipofuscin in the retina," explained Petrich and his team. Lipofuscin is  pigmented waste material that's made up of free radical-damaged proteins and  fats. In human skin it's the common cause of "age spots." The scientists  determined that retinas of sheep infected with scrapie, which is similar to mad  cow disease, emit a characteristic glow—likely due to the colored waste  material— when examined with a beam of light from a special instrument.

 

Azocleantech (Sydney, Australia: 905,100 monthly unique  users)

“American Chemical  Society Forecasts Affordable Biodiesel from Sewage  Sludge”

September 9,  2010

Origin: OPA press  release

 

The recent episode in the "Global  Challenges/Chemistry Solutions" podcast series of the American Chemical Society (ACS) has  indicated that biodiesel could be manufactured from the municipal sewage sludge  even at a low cost of few cents per gallon towards being competitive with  traditional diesel that is refined from petroleum. In order to catapult the  biodiesel production to higher levels, the sewage treatment facilities could as  well use the microorganisms present in the sludge for producing oil in higher  amounts, as per the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). This step could  bolster biodiesel production by taking it to 10 billion gallons, amounting to  thrice the nation’s present biodiesel production capacity. The podcast series  from ACS is an award-winning series.

 

MedIndia (Chennai, India: 755,000 monthly unique  users)

“Quality  of Patient Care Threatened by Worldwide Shortage of Isotopes for Medical  Imaging”

September 9,  2010

Origin: OPA  PressPac

 

Scientists today revealed that a  global shortage of life-saving materials isotopes used for imaging could  jeopardize patient care and drive-up health care costs. They spoke at a  symposium at one of the opening sessions of the 240th National Meeting of the  American Chemical Society. Medical  isotopes are minute amounts of radioactive substances used to diagnose and treat  a variety of diseases. Isotopes injected into the body can enable doctors to  determine whether the heart has adequate blood flow; cancer has spread to a  patient's bones; and help diagnose gallbladder, kidney, and brain disorders.  When delivered into a malignant tumor, isotopes can kill the cancer cells  minimizing damage to nearby healthy tissue. The shortage of radioactive isotopes  also threatens activities in other areas, including basic and environmental  research, oil exploration, and nuclear proliferation, the scientists noted.  "Although the public may not be fully aware, we are in the midst of a global  shortage of medical and other isotopes," said Robert Atcher, Ph.D., MBA, in an  interview. "If we don't have access to the best isotopes for medical imaging,  doctors may be forced to resort to tests that are less accurate, involve higher  radiation doses, are more invasive, and more expensive."

 

Connecticut Business News  Journal (New  Haven, Conn.)

“"Drugging  the Undruggable" Symposium Highlights Advances In Treating Cancer, Diabetes and  Other Major Disease”

September 10,  2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press  release

 

Scientists from government,  industry, and academia presenting at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society released a new  report highlighting advances in creating the next generation of medicines for  treating cancer, diabetes, and other major diseases. The report, which was  featured during the special symposium, "Drugging the Undruggable," summarized  progress in drug development for diseases that were once considered  "untouchable." These treatments specifically targeted conditions where previous  efforts to develop a drug therapy had failed. However, after decades of a  seemingly impossible search, scientists appear to be making a breakthrough in  the area of drug development to treat cancers and other diseases. As Science  Daily noted in their coverage of the report and symposium, scientists have  identified "stapled peptides," a new family of potential drugs capable of  blocking a key protein that's involved in the development of  cancer.

 

… Broadcast  News

 

WCBS-NY (New York, N.Y.: daily viewers 2.36  million)

“Dark  coffee, gentler java?”

September 10,  2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press  release

 

[KOVR-SAC (Sacramento, Calif.: daily viewers 18,388) also covered the  story.]

 

By applause, how many coffee lovers  do we have in the audience today? So, did you all know that the type of coffee  you drink may affect your health? A new study from the American Chemical Society says that darker coffee may be  the gentler java in comparison with lighter brends. Esspresso, french roast may  be the lighter on the body. The other kinds may be hard on your system.  Everyone's had a moment when they get acid reflux, but when you get increased  acidity in the stomach, which some get after drinking coffee it can exacerbate  the burning sensation.

 

… From the  Blogs

 

Metamodern

“Chemists deserve more credit:  The 150th anniversary of the first international science  conference”

September 10,  2010

 

In this week’s Chemical & Engineering News, the  American Chemical Society marks  the 150th anniversary of the world’s first scientific conference — yes, a  chemistry conference — held Sept. 3, 1860, in Karlsruhe, Germany. August Kekulé suggested idea  of holding a conference, and he drew support from other chemists frustrated by  ongoing quarrels about the relative masses of the constituents of the chemical  elements, and hence about the atomic composition of molecules: ‘Although most  chemists believed in atoms and molecules, nobody could agree on molecular  formulas. Even simple molecules such as water were hotly debated: Most leading  chemists at the time claimed that water’s molecular formula was OH, and a  minority argued that it was H2O.’ After non-PowerPoint presentations and what  weren’t called “breakout sessions” and “breakout group reports”, the  participants agreed to nothing. Nonetheless, two participants — Lothar Meyer and  Dmitri Mendeleev — gained the insights that led them to puzzle out what we call  the “Periodic Table of the Elements”

 

Selected  Science News

“Why fish don't freeze in the  arctic ocean”

September 10,  2010

 

Together with cooperation partners  from the U.S., the researchers surrounding  Prof. Dr. Martina Havenith (Physical Chemistry II of the RUB) describe their  discovery in a so-termed Rapid Communication in the prestigious American  chemistry journal, the Journal of the  American Chemical Society (JACS). Temperatures of minus 1.8 ° C  should really be enough to freeze any fish: the freezing point of fish blood is  about minus 0.9 ° C. How Antarctic fish are able to keep moving at these  temperatures has interested researchers for a long time. As long as 50 years  ago, special frost protection proteins were found in the blood of these fish.  These so-called anti-freeze proteins work better than any household antifreeze.  How they work, however, was still unclear. The Bochum researchers used a special technique,  terahertz spectroscopy, to unravel the underlying  mechanism.

Discovery News (Silver Spring, Md.: 10.9 million monthly unique users)

“Mad Cow Disease Causes Cattle Eyes to Glow”

September 8, 2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs (OPA) PressPac

 

[Seventeen other news outlets, including United Press International (Washington D.C.: 1.4 million monthly unique users), The Medical News (Sydney, Australia: 437,000 monthly unique users and St. Louis Globe-Democrat (St. Louis, Mo.: 42,300 monthly unique users), also covered the news.]

 

Cattle infected with mad cow disease give off a tell-tale glow in their eyes, according to new research published in the journal Analytical Chemistry. In future, the discovery could lead to a long-sought test to detect infection with the agent that causes mad cow disease, preventing it from spreading throughout the food supply for humans. In addition to posing a threat to humans, mad cow disease has devastated cattle operations in the past. During an epidemic of the disease in the United   Kingdom, for example, more than 179,000 cattle were found to be infected and 4.4 million cows were slaughtered. Scientists have been trying to better understand mad cow disease ever since. Jacob Petrich in the Department of Chemistry at Iowa State University and colleagues conducted the new research. They note that the human form of mad cow disease is linked to eating beef from animals infected with abnormal proteins called prions implicated in a range of brain diseases. Past studies suggest that chemical changes in an animal’s retina, the light sensitive nerve tissue in the back of the eye, may provide a basis for detecting prion diseases.

 

Times of India (New Delhi,  India: daily circulation 3.15 million)

“Plant-based antioxidants cause cancer?”

September 9, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

[Twenty other news outlets, including Oneindia (Bangalore, India: 7.3 million monthly unique users), R&D Magazine (Rockaway, N.J.: monthly circulation 80,000) and The Medical News (Sydney, Australia: 437,000 monthly unique users), also covered the news.]

 

A lot of studies have highlighted the health properties of plant-based antioxidants, but a new study claims that some of these natural substances might aggravate or even cause cancer in some individuals. Kuan-Chou Chen, Robert Peng, and colleagues said that quercetin and ferulic acid, two such antioxidants - appeared to aggravate kidney cancer in severely diabetic laboratory rats. Quercetin is abundant in onions and black tea, and ferulic acid is found in corn, tomatoes, and rice bran. Both also are ingredients in certain herbal remedies and dietary supplements. "Some researchers believe that quercetin should not be used by healthy people for prevention until it can be shown that quercetin does not itself cause cancer," the report stated. "In this study we report that quercetin aggravated, at least, if not directly caused, kidney cancer in rats," it added, suggesting that health agencies like the U. S. Food and Drug Administration should re-evaluate the safety of plant-based antioxidants. The study appears in ACS' bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The Guardian (London, England: daily circulation 283,063)

“The surprisingly complex truth about planes and climate change”

September 9, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

We hear much about the environmental costs of air travel. As our recent Q&A explained, the problem is not just that planes burn a lot of fuel and therefore kick out plenty of CO2 per passenger. Just as important are a host of other high-altitude impacts, including vapour trails and ozone production, that are usually estimated to cause as much warming as the CO2 itself. Hence we often hear that although air travel accounts for only a small fraction of global emissions (relatively few people can afford to fly), one transatlantic flight can add as much to your carbon footprint as a typical year's worth of driving. Surely it couldn't get any worse, could it? Unfortunately for green-minded air travellers, it just did. Kind of. The new paper, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, finally pins some numbers on all this theory by examining the impact over different time periods of various different modes of transport. The results are illuminating. According to the paper, if we focus just on the impact over the next five years, then planes currently account for more global warming than all the cars on the world's roads – a stark reversal of the usual comparison.

 

Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Canada; daily circulation 123,856)

“Angled method best when pouring champagne”

September 9, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

Pouring champagne down the side of the glass might stop the bubbles overflowing too quickly, but is it the best way? According to French scientists, it is, preserving both its taste and fizz -- and the bubbly should be well chilled. Researchers from the University of Reims in France set out to settle a long-standing disagreement over the best way to pour a glass of champagne. Gerard Liger-Belair and his colleagues set out to see how the act of pouring a glass of bubbly could impact the gas levels in champagne and its quality. "Pouring champagne down the side preserved up to twice as much carbon dioxide in champagne than pouring down the middle, probably because the angled method was gentler," they wrote in their study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

United Press International (Washington D.C.: 1.4 million monthly unique users)

“Shortage of medical isotopes a concern”

September 8, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

A global shortage of radioactive isotopes used in medical scans and treatments could jeopardize patient care and drive up healthcare costs, scientists say. The warning was delivered in a symposium at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, a society release said. "Although the public may not be fully aware, we are in the midst of a global shortage of medical and other isotopes," Robert Atcher, director of the National Isotope Development Center at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, said in an interview. "If we don't have access to the best isotopes for medical imaging, doctors may be forced to resort to tests that are less accurate, involve higher radiation doses, are more invasive, and more expensive." Medical isotopes are minute amounts of radioactive substances used to diagnose and treat a variety of diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and gallbladder, kidney and brain disorders.

 

R&D Magazine (Rockaway, N.J.: monthly circulation 80,000)

“New American Chemical Society podcast: Economical biodiesel from sewage sludge”

September 8, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

Biodiesel fuel could be produced from municipal sewage sludge at a cost that is within a few cents a gallon of being competitive with conventional diesel refined from petroleum, according to the latest episode in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) award-winning podcast series, "Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions." To boost biodiesel production, sewage treatment plants could use microorganisms that produce higher amounts of oil, says study leader David M. Kargbo, Ph.D., with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).That step alone could increase biodiesel production to the 10 billion gallon mark, which is more than triple the nation's current biodiesel production capacity, he reports. Kargbo points out in the podcast that demand for biodiesel has led to the search for cost-effective biodiesel feedstocks, or raw materials. Soybeans, sunflower seeds and other food crops have been used as raw materials but are expensive. Sewage sludge is an attractive alternative feedstock - the United States alone produces about seven million tons of it each year. Sludge is a good source of raw materials for biodiesel.


CBC News (Toronto, Ontario: 4.8 million monthly unique users)

“Chocolate Pudding: the inside story”

September 8, 2010

 

There's no doubt that desserts are popular with most kids. When it comes to the lunch that kids take to school, pre-packaged desserts are certainly quick and easy — which isn't necessarily a bad thing. And they are an easy trading favourite in the lunchroom or the schoolyard. There are choices in pre-packaged desserts, and if you pay attention to the nutrition labels, you can find nutritious options. However, the list of ingredients may leave you scratching your head. We're looking at a number of popular products that wind up in lunch bags across the country and examining what's in them. Cocoa: The cocoa used is processed with alkali. This method of removing the bitter taste — the Dutch process — was invented by Dutch chocolate maker Coenraad Johannes van Houten in the nineteenth century. The process also increases solubility and enhances colour. Antioxidants called flavanols are thought to be responsible for cardiovascular health benefits. "Cocoa powder is one of the richest sources of flavanol antioxidants," according to Ken Miller, the lead author of a 2008 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Miller is a scientist at the Hershey company.

 

Science Daily (Rockville, Md.: 3.1 million monthly unique users)

“Harmful Amyloid Interferes With Trash Pickup for Cells in Alzheimer's Disease”

September 7, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

Chemists at the University of California, San Diego, have identified how a protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease interferes with the ability of cells to get rid of debris. They also found a natural mechanism by which this protein, amyloid beta, itself may be discarded. Plaques of amyloid are a hallmark of the ailment, but no one is sure exactly how they contribute to catastrophic loss of memory and cognition. Scientists have begun to suspect that amyloid disables a structure called a proteasome, which chops up proteins that cells no longer need into pieces that can be reused or discarded. Proteins that have been tagged for destruction pile up in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Yang and postdoc Xiaobei Zhao showed that amyloid actually doesn't harm the proteasome. Instead it interferes with the processing of other proteins by competing for access, they report in a forthcoming issue of the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

 

… From the Blogs

 

Chemistry World (London, England: read by more than 50,000 scientists)

“Grab those cameras again for the NanoTube video contest”

September 8, 2010

 

At the American Chemical Society (ACS) national meeting in Boston, US, a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a flyer for the latest in their series of NanoTube video contests – What is nano? Part II. The name puzzled me a bit at first, because this is the 3rd such video competition the ACS has run. Eventually I worked it out – the second one was a little more focused - ‘How will nano change the world?’ This time, the scope is broader again – budding (or experienced) chemistry film-makers are challenged to illustrate (in as inventive and appealing a way as possible) how nanotechnology is making things smaller, lighter, and more efficient; making it possible to build better machines, solar cells, materials, and devices; and how it is going to impact both us and the world.

 

Nano Patents and Innovations

“Biodiesel Fuel Could Be Produced From Municipal Sewage Sludge For Same Cost as Petroleum”

September 8, 2010

Origin: OPA press release

 

Biodiesel fuel could be produced from municipal sewage sludge at a cost that is within a few cents a gallon of being competitive with conventional diesel refined from petroleum, according to the latest episode in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) award-winning podcast series, "Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions." To boost biodiesel production, sewage treatment plants could use microorganisms that produce higher amounts of oil, says study leader David M. Kargbo, Ph.D., with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 

 

 

 

AARP (Washington D.C.: bi-monthly circulation 24.5  million)

“The  Simplest, Cheapest Weight Loss Trick Ever”

September 7,  2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs  (OPA) National Meeting press release

 

Losing weight could be as  straightforward as turning on the kitchen tap. A new study found that middle-age  and older adults who drank a couple of glasses of water before each meal lost  about 30 percent more weight than those who didn't. Common wisdom has long held  that drinking water before meals can promote weight loss, but there  were no studies proving the point. To test it, researchers at Virginia Tech in  Blacksburg  assigned 48 overweight or obese men and women ages 55 to 75 to one of two  groups. Both groups consumed low-fat, low-calorie diets for 12 weeks, but one  group was told to drink two 8-ounce glasses of water before breakfast, lunch and  dinner. At the end of the 12 weeks, the water drinkers shed about 15.5 pounds,  while the other group dropped about 11 pounds. The research was presented in  Boston on Aug.  23 at the 2010 annual meeting of the American  Chemical Society. The study was funded by the Institute for Public  Health and Water Research, a nonprofit, independent science organization that  was launched by an unrestricted grant from the Brita Products  Co.

 

Scientific  American (New York, N.Y.: monthly circulation  676,000)

“A  Man's Home is His Renewable Energy Castle, Thanks to New Fuel  Cells”

September 7,  2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press  release

 

A new fuel cell being developed at  the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is set to take households a giant step  closer to energy independence. MIT researchers envision an integrated system  consisting of a solar installation and a fuel cell. During the day, the solar  array produces electricity to power the household, and to charge batteries  including electric vehicle batteries. At night, the system would shift to the  fuel cell, which would produce additional electricity as well as clean drinking  water. The key is reducing the cost of fuel cells, which right now are expensive  partly due to the use of platinum as a critical component. That’s where the new  research comes in. At the recent 240th  national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the MIT team  described a powerful new catalyst that could help make the solar-fuel cell  integrated system more affordable. In the integrated solar and fuel cell system,  solar energy would provide electricity to run an electrolyzer (a device that  breaks down plain water into hydrogen and oxygen). It requires a catalyst to  jumpstart the reaction, and until now the catalysts of choice have been based on  platinum, which aside from being expensive involves the use of potentially toxic  chemicals.

 

Glamour (New York, N.Y.: monthly circulation 2.4  million)

“Afternoon  Snack: Have a Glass of Cranberry Juice--It Protects You From More Than Just  UTIs!”

September 7,  2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press  release

 

Everyone knows the old health wisdom  of drinking cranberry juice to ward off urinary tract infections (UTIs), of  course. But now researchers say there's another--potentially more  important--benefit to that glass of cranberry juice. Wait until you read this.  We already know of cranberry juice's ability to fight off bacterial  infections--namely, of the urinary tract variety--but researchers from Worcester  Polytechnic Institute say that a glass of cranberry juice may go a long way in  protecting your body from dangerous staph infections. The data from their small  study, reported at a recent meeting of the American Chemical Society, indicates that  cranberry juice may help your body fight off staph aureus infections, which can  cause everything from minor skin rashes to serious bloodstream infections, even  MRSA.

 

Kansas  City Star (Kansas City, Mo.: daily circulation  260,724)

“Berry  Infused Tea Spritzer”

September 7,  2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press  release

 

Once a summer-only beverage, iced  tea has become a year-round refresher. The $10 billion tea industry has slaked  our thirst, but much of the bottled, ready-to-drink tea we consume daily is not  as healthful as we’ve been led to believe. For starters, most brands contain  artificial ingredients, sweeteners, additives and unnatural colors. Bottled teas  also may contain fewer of the beneficial chemicals that give tea its healthful  reputation. Researchers presenting a preliminary, non-peer reviewed study at  last month’s meeting of the American Chemical  Society reported the concentration of polyphenols, a healthful  antioxidant, in six bottled teas tested was virtually nonexistent. The average  cup of home-brewed black or green tea contains 50 to 150 milligrams of  polyphenols. The polyphenols in bottled teas occur in such low amounts that a  consumer would have to drink 20 bottles to get the same amount found in a single  cup of home-brewed tea.

 

Discovery  News (Silver Spring, Md.: 10.9 million monthly unique  users)

“Swallowing  Diamonds Could Find What's Ailing You”

September 7,  2010

 

Scientists from Taiwan  have developed nanodiamonds that, when swallowed, harmlessly coat the digestive  track. When coated with special sugars or proteins, the nanodiamonds are  absorbed into the body and attach themselves to specific cells. The research,  which is currently limited to animals, could eventually diagnose and eventually  treat diseases in humans. "This research work demonstrates that nanodiamonds are  non-toxic in both cellular and organismic levels," said Yi-Chun Wu, a scientist  who, along with Huan-Cheng Chang and their colleagues in Taiwan,  co-authored a new study in the journal ACS Nano Letters. Nanodiamonds are tiny pieces  of pure carbon only a few of nanometers across. (One nanometer is about 100,000  times smaller than a human hair.) Most nanodiamonds are formed by blowing up TNT  or other explosives to create high temperate and high pressures that bond carbon  atoms together in a classic 3D diamond nanostructure. These nanodiamonds are not  solid, however. Inside those tiny structures are tiny holes, called vacancies,  where a nitrogen atom from the air has replaced two carbon atoms. Nitrogen  vacancies in diamonds are common. Natural diamonds with lots of nitrogen have a  yellow tint to them. The nanodiamonds the scientists from Taiwan  used absorb yellow light and emit violet light.

 

… From the  Blogs

 

The  Wellness Warrior

“Red cabbage – the purple cancer  eater”

September 8,  2010

 

My pug, Edie, goes nuts over purple  cabbage. It is up there with her favourite foods. This culinary preference may  seem strange, particularly for a pooch, but it turns out she might be on to  something. As well as prettying up your plate with its lovely purple hue, purple  cabbage has been found to contain 36 anti-cancer properties. According to a new  study conducted by researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's  Agricultural Research Service and published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,  red cabbage contains 36 different varieties of anthocyanins, a class of  flavonoids that have been linked to cancer  protection.

 

TexZine

“Introducing ACS Mobile for your  iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch”

September 7,  2010

Origin: OPA press  release

 

ACS  Mobile provides readers with a searchable,  multi-journal, up-to-the-minute live stream of new peer-reviewed research  content published across the Society’s preeminent portfolio of scholarly  research journals, including the flagship Journal of the American Chemical Society.  The application also includes a “Latest News” feed from Chemical and Engineering News – the  Society’s industry-leading magazine and preferred source of online news for its  more than 161,000 member professionals. ACS Mobile makes a scientist’s daily  commute, business travel, or time away from the desk or laboratory a more  rewarding and productive experience.

The Hindu (Chennai, India: daily circulation 1.45 million)

“Fat deposits are an active organ”

September 2, 2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs (OPA) PressPac

 

[Twenty-six other media outlets, including RedOrbit (Dallas, Tex.: 3 million monthly unique users), The Medical News (Sydney, Australia: 426,800 monthly unique users) and Health Jockey (Kalyan, India: 25,000 monthly unique users), have also covered the item.]

 

The fat tissue in those spare tires and lower belly pooches - is not just a dormant storage depot for surplus calories, but is an active organ that sends chemical signals to other parts of the body, perhaps increasing the risk of heart attacks, cancer, and other diseases, according to scientists. They have discovered 20 new hormones and other substances not previously known to be secreted into the blood by human fat cells and verification that fat secretes dozens of hormones and other chemical messengers. The scientists identified 80 different proteins produced by the fat cells. These include six new proteins and 20 proteins that have not been previously detected in human fat cells. The findings could pave the way for a better understanding of the role that hormone-secreting fat cells play in heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases. The study appears in ACS’ monthly Journal of Proteome Research.

 

The Economist (London, England: weekly circulation 1.6 million)

“Fast-track testing”

September 2, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

To most people magnetic levitation (maglev) connotes high-speed passenger trains. It is what enables the Shanghai Transrapid to glide over the tracks at speeds of as much as 430kph (267mph). But the same technology has recently found a much more pedestrian use in testing food and water. One way to identify a substance without resorting to fiddly chemical methods is to determine its density. This will not provide a precise composition but it can give a decent approximation. The purity of minerals is often assessed in this way, as are things like the amount of fat in milk or salt in water. The researchers twigged that this phenomenon could be used to measure density and, as they report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they set about this task by erecting a stack of two off-the-shelf neodymium magnets separated by a vertical vial of paramagnetic fluid. The magnets’ like poles were facing one another, creating a field which was weakest precisely in the centre of the vial.

 

The Independent (London, England: daily circulation 183,547)

“The 'new' blueberry: it's cheaper and packed with more antioxidants”

September 3, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

[More than 280 international news outlets, including Zimbio (San Carlos, Calif.: 20.1 million monthly unique users) and the IBTimes UK (London, England), have covered the news.]

 

Chinese black rice could replace blueberries as the supreme superfood for a fraction of the price and deliver more health benefits announced researchers at American Chemical Society's (ACS) annual fall meeting. Zhimin Xu, associate professor at the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, explained a September 1 ACS announcement, "Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants. "If berries are used to boost health, why not black rice and black rice bran? Especially, black rice bran would be a unique and economical material to increase consumption of health promoting antioxidants." Black rice "is rich in anthocyanin antioxidants, substances that show promise for fighting heart disease, cancer, and other diseases."

 

Miami Herald (Miami, Fla.: daily circulation 240,223)

“Indoor air gets another knock”

September 6, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

[Eleven other media outlets, including the Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.: daily circulation 260,724), the Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.: daily circulation 279,032) and the Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho: daily circulation 61,000), have covered the story.]

 

It's no longer a surprise to hear that, in many cases, indoor air is worse than outdoor air. Given all the chemicals in our homes, you might wonder which way the pollution is blowing when you open a window. A recent study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology looked at endocrine-disrupting chemicals in two California communities and found, yep, that levels were higher inside. Ruthann Rudell of the Silent Spring Institute in Massachusetts and her colleagues analyzed air samples from 40 non-smoking homes for levels of 104 "analytes" of chemicals, including phthalates, alkylphenols, parabens, polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants,  polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pesticides, and phenolic compounds. These are substances in plastics, in personal care products, in furniture, in the plastic housings of electronics equipment, and so on. The researchers detected 39 analytes in outdoor air and 63 in indoor air.

 

Yahoo! Shine (Sunnyvale, Calif.: 14.3 million monthly unique users)

“7 Foods That Boost Every Type of Bad Mood”

September 1, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

While that tub of ice cream in the back of the freezer may be what you crave when you’re feeling blue, there is a long list of other (healthier!) foods that can cure a grouchy morning or a stressed-out afternoon. We talked to the experts to get the scoop on what to eat to make you feel better no matter what your mood. The scenario: It’s Friday at 6:30 p.m. You're hungry, tired and late for your dinner date. You were supposed to be out of work an hour ago, but your boss has asked you for a favor…again. The stress is building, so what can calm you down fast? Now’s the time to pull out the chocolate bar hiding in the back of your desk drawer. Experts say that chocolate—particularly dark chocolate—may help reduce the stress hormones that are swarming in your body. In fact, a recent study by researchers in Switzerland, published in the Journal of Proteome Research, found that eating just a smidge of dark chocolate (about 1.4 ounces) has the power to lower the stress hormones cortisol and catecholamines in the body, reducing your anxiety and giving you a better chance to get the job done—and make your date.

 

Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Mich.: daily circulation 308,944)

“Now hiring? Help wanted? Where are the jobs?”

September 4, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

The same U.S. corporations that have been so happy doing business in China - shipping American jobs and manufacturing plants to that Asian nation and raking in enormous profits - are now hopping mad at China. According to a UPI story, China controls the bulk of the globe’s supply of “rare-earth,” the family of little-known elements that are used in everything from computer disc drives to weapons. And China is seriously clamping down on the export of rare- earth, meaning that manufacturers in other parts of the globe aren’t getting the raw materials they need to make their products. According to the magazine Chemical & Engineering News, China’s insanely low production costs ran rare earth-mining operations in other countries out of business by driving down the price of commodity. As the magazine article explained, the biggest rare-earth mine in the U.S. was mothballed in 2002 and now that China is the dominant player in the rare- earth market, they’re choking off the supply by tightening exports of the highly valued material.

 

U.S. News & World Report (Washington D.C.: monthly circulation 1.27 million)

“Many Urban Streams Harmful to Aquatic Life Following Winter Pavement De-Icing”

September 3, 2010

 

The use of salt to de-ice pavement can leave urban streams toxic to aquatic life, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study on the influence of winter runoff in northern U.S. cities, with a special focus on eastern Wisconsin and Milwaukee. More than half of the Milwaukee streams included in this study had samples that were toxic during winter de-icing. In eastern and southern Wisconsin, all streams studied had potentially toxic chloride concentrations during winter, with lingering effects into the summer at some streams. Nationally, samples from fifty-five percent of streams studied in 13 northern cities were potentially toxic; twenty-five percent of the streams had samples that exceeded acute water quality criteria. Toxicity was measured by direct testing of organisms in samples during the local study component; in the regional and the national study components, observed chloride levels were used to assess potential toxicity. "While winter driving and walking safety are the priority in treating pavements, this study suggests the need for advancements that will reduce salt loads to surface waters without compromising safety," said Matthew C. Larsen, USGS Associate Director for Water. This USGS report is published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology and is available as a free download online at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es101333u.

 

New Scientist (London, England: weekly circulation 170,000)

“Nano-engineered cotton promises to wipe out water bugs”

September 3, 2010

 

[Discovery News (Silver Spring, Md.: 11 million monthly unique users) also covered the item.]

 

Cotton impregnated with silver nanowires and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) could provide a cheap and effective method of purifying water in remote locations. A new filter needs only gravity and a weak electric current to produce its sterilising effect, making it suitable for a portable water-treatment device. The fabric is easy to produce, says lead researcher Yi Cui at Stanford University in California. Cui's team simply dip a piece of cotton into a solution of CNTs and then pipette droplets containing silver nanowires onto the cotton. When Cui and his colleagues poured water contaminated with the bacterium Escherichia coli (pictured) through the silver-coated, electrically-conducting fabric, they found it killed 89 per cent of the bacteria. By conducting three successive runs through the fabric, they were able to kill over 98 per cent - enough to make the water safe to drink. (Nano Letters)

 

Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.: daily circulation 193,577)

“Science Briefs”

September 5, 2010

 

Oysters and other marine organisms like to attach themselves to one another. In sticking together, oysters avoid major impact from waves and can more easily reproduce. By forming a dense block, the oysters also make it difficult for predators to remove individual oysters. Now, researchers have found the oysters' adhesive is a unique material. Their findings will appear in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Both oyster shell and oyster adhesive are made of protein and calcium carbonate, said Dr. Jonathan Wilker, a chemist at Purdue University. However, although shell contains about 1 percent to 2 percent protein, oyster adhesive contains five times this amount. Still, oysters seem to use far less protein in their adhesive than other marine animals do. Understanding more about oyster adhesives could help scientists develop better synthetic glues that could have applications in medicine.

 

… Broadcast News

 

WTOP-DC (Washington D.C.)

“Scientists say frog skins might cure your disease”

September 5, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

Dr. Michael Conlon told a meeting of the American Chemical Society that biochemists at United Arab Emirates University have found a way to tweak the molecular structure of a strong natural antibiotic on frog skin to make them less toxic to humans. Researchers say they've identified and purified the chemical structure of about 200 substances -- a treasure trove of antibiotics waiting to be used.

 

WTOP-DC (Washington D.C.)

“Dry water to fight global warming?”

September 5, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

An unusual substance known as "dry water," which resembles powdered sugar, could provide a new way to absorb and store carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, scientists reported at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. The powder shows bright promise for a number of other uses, they said. It may, for instance, be a greener, more energy-efficient way of jumpstarting the chemical reactions used to make hundreds of consumer products. Dry water also could provide a safer way to store and transport potentially harmful industrial materials.

 

WCMH-CBO (Columbus, Ohio: 2.99 million daily viewers)

“CAS an invaluable resource for scientists”

September 5, 2010

 

Chemical Abstract Service has been in Columbus for a century, affiliated with the division of the American Chemical Society. Once a strictly volunteer research service housed at Ohio  State, the databases are an invaluable resource for chemical information accessed by scientists around the world. ‘Research that we cover here at Chemical Abstract Service can be helpful for future scientists to uncover new drugs for cancer, new cures.’

 

… From the Blogs

 

Discuss Pharmacy

“A Potential New Imaging Agent For Early Diagnosis Of Most Serious Skin Cancer”

September 7, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

 

Scientists in Australia are reporting development and testing in laboratory animals of a potential new material for diagnosing malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. Their study is published in the ACS’ Journal of the Medicinal Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication. Ivan Greguric and colleagues working within the Cooperative Research Consortium for Biomedical Imaging Develop, an Australian Government funded research group, note that about 130,000 new cases of malignant melanoma occur each year worldwide. The scientists’ search for better ways of diagnosis led them to a new group of radioactive imaging agents, called fluoronicotinamides, which they tested in laboratory mice that had melanoma.

 

Orlando Sentinel’s Vital Signs

“Cancer science: New probes light up cells”

September 1, 2010

 

A new way of snapping pictures deep within cancer cells could give researchers clues about why tumors grow without abandon. Scientists at the University of Central Florida engineered tiny probes that sneak into cells and fluoresce when hit by near-infrared laser light, a “redder than red” color the human eye can’t detect. By attaching to lysosomes, the cell’s natural trash disposal, the probes illuminate the elusive organelle that plays a role in tumor growth, decline in cognition and aging. “We want to track changes that occur over time in the lysosomes,” said Kevin Belfield, a chemist and author of the paper that appears in this month’s Journal of the American Chemical Society. “Until now, there hasn’t been a good way to do that.”

MSNBC (New York, N.Y.: 39.9 million monthly unique users)

“Dust-zapping tech for Mars could work on Earth”

August 31, 2010

Origin: Office of Public Affairs (OPA) National Meeting press release

 

Technology developed to prolong the lives of robotic probes on the moon and Mars is being tested for a new use on Earth: keeping solar panels dust-free. A mere one-seventh of an ounce of dust spread out over a square yard of solar paneling can cut the amount of power harvested by 40 percent, according to researcher Malay Mazumder, with Boston University. More than four times that amount of dust settles on Arizona every month. The Middle East, Australia and India are even dustier. Mazumder and colleagues have spent nearly a decade developing a transparent, electrode-laced shield that can zap away dust from the surface of a solar panel. Embedded sensors detect when dust levels reach a critical mass and automatically trigger an electric charge that cascades across the shield, levitating and transporting dust grains that have settled on the surface. Colleague Doug Wilson, who is working on the system's electronics and power supply, sees solar-powered cell phone towers as another potential market. "They're in more remote locations, and they need to be serviced regularly. Having something that would clean itself would be big plus for them," Wilson said. Mazumder presented his research last week at the American Chemical Society annual meeting in Boston.

 

Yahoo! Health (Sunnyvale, Calif.: 4 million monthly unique users)

“Bottled Tea: Antioxidants Barely There”

August 31, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

Most of us know that tea is brimming with antioxidants and health benefits--or is it? A recent study found that bottled tea contains very low levels of antioxidants when compared with brewed tea. It is no coincidence that tea is the second most widely consumed drink in the world, after water. In recent years numerous studies have touted antioxidant-rich tea as an effective aid in combating cancer, reducing heart disease, and preventing other illness risks. In response to these findings, tea sales in the United States have increased fourfold in the past two decades. With the increasing demand for tea, manufacturers began supplying bottled teas as a health-conscious alternative to soft drinks and sugary juices. But how healthy is bottled tea? Research presented at a recent meeting of the American Chemical Society revealed that health-savvy consumers of bottled tea may not be getting their antioxidant bang for their buck. The healthy antioxidants--called polyphenols--that are responsible for tea’s ability to protect our cells from free radical damage are barely present in most bottled teas.

 

Quote.com (Hayward, Calif.: 191,000 monthly unique users)

“Armstrong named 'hero' for Januvia”

August 31, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

A trio of Merck scientists who led the discovery and development of a first-in-class treatment for type 2 diabetes have been honored as "Heroes of Chemistry" by the American Chemical Society. Nancy Thornberry, Ann Weber and Joe Armstrong were one of two teams inducted this year into this scientific "hall of fame" for their central roles in the creation of Januvia, a medication that has helped millions of type 2 diabetics control their blood sugar. The researchers accepted the award on Sunday at a ceremony during the ACS National Meeting in Boston. Armstrong, 49, is the son of Norma Armstrong of Tarboro and a 1978 graduate of Tarboro High School. "Through close collaboration with our external partner Solvias, our team discovered a completely new transformation: the asymmetric catalytic hydrogenation of unprotected enamines," Armstrong said. "This methodology is now being applied to numerous synthetic efforts of other chiral molecules containing this important biologically active scaffold and highlights Merck's commitment to chemistry innovation and scientific excellence.”

 

MSNBC (New York, N.Y.: 39.9 million monthly unique users)

“Researchers rescue Moore's Law”

August 31, 2010

 

Will memristors save Moore's Law? The answer appears to be yes … that is, if you redefine Moore's Law, which has fueled the growth of the computer industry for four decades. Research groups say that memristors, a new type of memory device that's on the verge of going commercial, will dramatically enhance the storage capacity and usability of computers. HP, the world's top PC manufacturer, today announced a collaboration with memory-chip maker Hynix to get the first memristors to market in three years. One of the first goals will be to create a computer you can “turn on and off like a light bulb,” said Stan Williams, founding director of HP Lab's Information and Quantum Systems Laboratory. But that's just the beginning. HP isn't the only company joining the memristor revolution: IBM and Samsung have also looked into the technology, and in the journal Nano Letters, Rice  University researchers today report the development of silicon-based memristors that they say will extend the limits of circuit miniaturization for years or even decades to come.

 

Denver Post (Denver, Colo.: daily circulation 707,000)

“People on the move”

September 1, 2010

 

The Colorado Association of Libraries recognized Range view Library District director Pam Sandlian Smith as the 2010 Colorado Librarian of the Year. The award recognizes exceptional achievement by a librarian in Colorado. The American Chemical Society honored Robert M. Williams, university Distinguished Professor in the chemistry department at Colorado State  University, with the 2011 Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products. The National Institute For Trial Advocacy named Carrie Newell payroll coordinator and accounting assistant.

 

Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah: daily circulation 128,186)

“Good chemistry”

August 31, 2010

 

Many kids have a ho-hum reaction when they first learn atoms are the basic units of matter. Not Denise Villarta. It blew her mind. The Maple Mountain High  School chemistry teacher was a seventh-grader at East Ely Elementary in Ely, Nev., when teacher Jack Howell introduced her to the fascinating world of electrons, protons and neutrons. Later, in high school, she cracked open a chemistry textbook for the first time. “It was the most interesting thing I’d ever seen,” Villarta said. “I thought it was wonderful.” She has loved the subject ever since. Last month, the American Chemical Society (ACS) honored Villarta with the Utah High School Chemistry Educator Award for 2010, recognition given to two Utah teachers each year. The ACS is made up of mainly of university professors and working chemists. “The fact that these people say that I’m a good chemistry teacher validates that I know what I’m doing in chemistry, and that I’m producing students who know chemistry well,” Villarta said.

 

Gizmag (Melbourne, Australia: 1 million monthly unique users)

“New high-speed, low-cost water purifying nanofilter developed”

August 31, 2010

 

As their name suggests, most existing water purifying filters clean the water by physically trapping or filtering out bacteria. Stanford researchers have now developed a new kind of water purifying filter that isn’t really a filter at all. Instead of trapping bacteria, the new filter actually lets them pass right through. But, by the time they emerge from the filter they have been killed by an electrical field running through it. Not only is the new filter more than 80,000 times faster than existing filters, it is also low-cost, has no moving parts and uses very little power, which should make it particularly attractive for use in the developing world where it is needed most. The key to the new filter is coating the filter fabric – ordinary cotton – with nanotubes and silver nanowires. When an electric field is passed through the highly conductive “nano-coated” cotton, it kills almost all the bacteria passing through it. In lab tests, over 98 percent of Escherichia coli bacteria that were exposed to 20 volts of electricity in the filter for several seconds were killed. "This really provides a new water treatment method to kill pathogens," said Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford whose research team is also responsible for using nanomaterials to build batteries from paper. Cui is the senior author of a paper describing the research that will be published in an upcoming issue of Nano Letters.

 

Nanowerk (Honolulu, Hawaii: 76,100 monthly unique users)

“New infrared light may open new frontier in fighting cancer, Tay Sachs”

September 1, 2010

 

A "game-changing" technique using near infrared light enables scientists to look deeper into the guts of cells, potentially opening up a new frontier in the fights against cancer and many other diseases. University of Central Florida chemists, led by Professor Kevin Belfield, used near infrared light and fluorescent dye to take pictures of cells and tumors deep within tissue. The probes specifically target lysosomes, which act as cells' thermostats and waste processors and which have been linked to a variety of diseases, including types of mental illnesses and cancers. The probes can be adapted to search for certain proteins found in tumors, which means they someday may help doctors diagnose and potentially treat tumors. "This is a game-changer," Belfield said. "Until now, there was no real way to study lysosomes because existing techniques have severe limitations. But the probe we developed is stable, which allows for longer periods of imaging." Belfield's findings, which include comparisons to the only two existing probes on the market today, are published in this month's Journal of the American Chemical Society, one of the most highly ranked journals in chemistry.

 

… Broadcast News

 

WGCL-TV (Atlanta, Ga.: daily viewers 4.25 million)

“Drinking water good for keeping calories down, scientists find”

August 31, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

[KPHO-TV (Phoenix, Ariz.: daily viewers 19,091), KIRO-TV (Seattle, Wash.: daily viewers 10,371) and WWL-TV (New Orleans, La.: daily viewers 9,129) also covered the story.]

 

Drinking water is good for keeping those calories down. Researchers at the American Chemical Society found that people that drink H2O before eating eat fewer calories and lost more weight than those who didn't drink the water. Experts noted the tip only works for middle-aged adults. In other news, drinking tea in the bottle may not have as many health benefits as fresh brewed. A new study out of New Jersey found bottled teas may contain far lower levels of antioxidants than home-brewed tea. Of the different bottled tea beverages studied, half of them contained virtually no antioxidants.

 

… From the Blogs

 

AutoImmune Explorations

“Could Black Rice be a Cheap Source of Antioxidants?”

August 31, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

Blueberries and blackberries have high levels of antioxidants, which help the body deal with potentially dangerous cellular oxidation, but scientists say they've also found a cheaper source of antioxidants for consumers: black rice. "Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants," study co-author Zhimin Xu said in a news release from the American Chemical Society.

 

Unexplainable.net

“New Discovery Could Make Electricity from Thin Air”

August 31, 2010

Origin: OPA National Meeting press release

 

Since long before mankind first appeared on the Earth there was a force booming and lighting up the sky with tremendous power, exploding in the atmosphere and killing animals with its mysterious electrical arcs.  But lightning may no longer simply be a romantic and terrifying force of nature, according to scientists reporting to the 240th American Chemical Society Meeting.  It may be the solution to some of our greatest challenges. Scientists have finally discovered a key element of energy transferal in the atmosphere.  Contrary to once held popular opinion, water particles in the air can pick up the electrical charge of dust in the air as they float into the air high above the ground.