john simpson

Chitlins and cilantro

Posted by john simpson Nov 23, 2010

Taken from United Press International
"Cilantro gets rid of chitlin  smell"

 

 

Researchers in Japan say they have discovered a way to get  rid of the foul smell of chitlins -- a favorite on many Thanksgiving tables in  the U.S. South. Yasuyoshi Hayata of Meiji University in Kawasaki has identified  substances in the green leafed herb cilantro -- also known as coriander and  Chinese parsley -- that are responsible for counteracting the foul odor of  chitlins cooking. Chitlins -- hog large intestines -- boiled or fried are not  only a southern delicacy in the United States during the holidays, they are a  year-round staple in the cuisines of the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia,  Hayata says. Hayata and colleagues say they knew many chitlin cooks have long  used cilantro -- Coriandrum sativum L. -- and set about to find why cilantro  works so well. They successfully isolated one of the main deodorizing  ingredients -- a substance known as (E,E)-2,4-Undecadienal -- they say has the  ability to completely erase foul odor at concentrations as low as 10 parts per  billion -- the equivalent to about 10 drops in an Olympic-size swimming pool.  The findings are published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food  Chemistry.

Taken from Discovery News
"'CSI'-Like Camera Reveals Hidden  Blood"

 

 

The eerie blue glow of luminol on TV crime dramas could soon  be replaced with a less dramatic, but far more revealing photograph. Scientists  from the University of South Carolina have created a new proof-of-concept camera  that takes pictures of blood stains. If miniaturized and optimized, the new  camera could be used by crime scene investigators to find the tiniest blood  mists, and even detect whether a person handled drugs or explosives. "It's  called multimode imaging in the thermal infrared, and with it we have the  capability to detect any kind of stain on any kind of surface," said Stephen  Morgan, who, along with fellow professor Michael Myrick and several graduate  students from University of South Carolina, developed the new blood revealing  technology. Their research is detailed in the journal ACS Analytical  Chemistry.

Taken from Wine Spectator

"An Allergy-Free Wine?"

 

Roughly 8 percent of the world's population is  allergic to wine. For those 500 million allergy sufferers, toasting with a glass  of vino can trigger a runny nose, stuffy sinuses, even difficulty breathing.  Some just wake up the next morning with a splitting headache, wondering why one  glass is too much. Now a Danish study has found a family of compounds that may  be the cause, and the research could lead to a hypoallergenic wine hitting store  shelves one day. The common suspect for wine allergies has often been sulfites,  a byproduct of sulfur dioxide, which is naturally produced during fermentation  and also added as a preservative. But sulfite levels tend to be low in wine, and  only 1 percent of people are allergic to them. The allergen for others remains  largely a mystery—some people lack the enzyme to metabolize alcohol, while  others may be allergic to some other ingredient. The new study, conducted by  researchers at the University of Southern Denmark and published in the  Journal of Proteome Research, identified 28 organic compounds  in a Chardonnay that are similar to known allergens in other foods. The  compounds are glycoproteins, proteins with a carbohydrate molecule attached to  them. Glycoproteins are common in wine. Most are created during  fermentation.

Taken from LiveScience
"Shrinking the Computer Chip"

 

 

The science that helped make today's smartphones and iPods  smaller but more powerful than yesterday's desktop computers highlights the  latest episode in the American Chemical Society (ACS) Prized Science video series. The new high-definition video, released today, focuses on  IBM chemist Robert Miller, winner of the 2010 ACS Award for Chemistry of  Materials. Miller developed materials that helped pack more transistors onto  each computer chip, those postage stamp-size slivers of silicon that make up the  brains of computers and other electronic devices. In doing so, computer chips  became smaller, faster, and more powerful — sustaining the rapid miniaturization  underpinning the consumer electronics revolution. It is the third episode in  Prized Science: How the Science Behind ACS Awards Impacts Your Life, from the  American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society.

Taken from Oneindia
"New water filter kills disease-causing bacteria in  just seconds"

 

 

An inexpensive new filtering technology can kill up to 98  percent of disease-causing bacteria in water in just seconds without clogging.  American Chemical Society's (ACS) award-winning podcast series,  "Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions", latest episode focused  on development and successful initial tests of the technology. The technology  could aid many of the almost one billion people lacking access to clean, safe  drinking water. The new material developed by Yi Cui of Stanford University  could avoid many deficiencies of traditional filters. For starters, it does not  trap bacteria like most technologies. It kills them outright. "The removal of  bacteria and other organisms from water is very important, not only for drinking  and sanitation but also in industry as there's a frequent need to replace  filters due to clogging," said Cui in the podcast.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Scientists take aim at potato famine  culprit"

 

Researchers from Singapore say they have taken an important  step toward developing a way to fight the disease that caused the Irish potato  famine, which killed almost a million people in the mid-1840s. The culprit was a  species of the Phytophthora fungi. Reporting in the journal Organic  Letters, Teck-Peng Loh and colleagues at Nanyang Technological  University in Singapore said they have isolated an important hormone that allows  Phytophthora to reproduce. The scientists said that developing a synthetic  version of this hormone could help scientists develop a way to control the  fungus and reduce its threat.

Taken fron The Economist
"Pesticides: Smoking them out - Tobacco extracts  protect plants from pests and pathogens"

 

There are, as Paracelsus put it, no poisons—only poisonous  doses. That is certainly true of nicotine. The Victorians understood this and  regularly used nicotine as a lethal poison—not for people (except in the minds  of a few crime novelists) but for insects. The invention of modern, synthetic  insecticides has more or less killed that practice off. But Cedric Briens of the  University of Western Ontario is thinking of reviving it, and is also asking  whether tobacco has any other pesticidal properties that might be exploited by  the hard-pressed horticulturalist. To find out, Dr Briens and his colleagues at  Canada’s agriculture ministry ground up dried tobacco leaves using a blender and  a sieve. They then heated the result in a pressurised, oxygen-free environment  to distil out what they could in the form of a treacly oil. They tested this oil  on 11 species of fungus and four types of bacterium that are common agricultural  problems. They also tried it on the larvae of Colorado beetles, a notorious pest  of potatoes. As they report in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry  Research, the researchers found that several pestilential organisms  were affected by the oil. Specifically they discovered that Pythium ultimum, a  fungus that attacks aubergines, peppers, lettuces, tomatoes and cucumbers as  seedlings, Clavibacter michiganensis, a bacterium that kills young plants and  deforms fruits, and Streptomyces scabies, a second bacterium, which causes  potatoes to develop revolting scabs and for which no treatment currently exists,  all stopped growing in the presence of the oil.

Taken from Time Magazine
"Cheers! Could Hypoallergenic Wine Be on the  Horizon?"

 

As food allergens go, wine is easier to avoid than,  say, wheat. But there are some 500 million people worldwide — that's about 8% —  who will have to sit out toasts this holiday season because of wine allergies.  Lucky for them, however, researchers just got a step closer to figuring out what  causes those allergies, and perhaps, how to make wine that everyone can drink.  Symptoms of wine allergy can range from headaches and stuffy nose to skin rash.  About 1% of allergies relate to sulfites, a type of sulfur-containing  preservative that winemakers add to wine. But the triggers of the remaining 7%  of wine allergies remain a mystery. One culprit may be glycoproteins, a type of  protein coated with sugar that develops during the grape-fermentation process.  Now a new study in the Journal of Proteome Research supports  the theory by showing that many of the 28 glycoproteins found in an Italian  chardonnay had a similar cellular structure to known allergens, including the  proteins that cause reactions to ragweed and latex. Molecular biologist Giuseppe  Palmisano and his team are hoping that their work on the glycoproteins — many of  which were identified for the first time — will help lead to the development of  a glycoprotein-free wine.

Taken from Science Daily

"Low-Allergenic Wines Could Stifle Sniffles and  Sneezes in Millions of Wine Drinkers"

 

Scientists have identified a mysterious culprit  that threatens headaches, stuffy noses, skin rash and other allergy symptoms  when more than 500 million people worldwide drink wine. The discovery could help  winemakers in developing the first low allergenic vintages -- reds and whites  with less potential to trigger allergy symptoms, they say. The new study appears  in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research. Giuseppe Palmisano and  colleagues note growing concern about the potential of certain ingredients in  red and white to cause allergy-like symptoms that range from stuffed up noses to  headaches to difficulty breathing. So-called wine allergies occur in an  estimated 8 percent of people worldwide. Only 1 percent of those involve  sulfites, sulfur-containing substances that winemakers add to wine to prevent  spoilage and also occur naturally. But the wine components that trigger  allergies in the remaining 7 percent are unclear. Studies suggest that  glycoproteins -- proteins coated with sugars produced naturally as grapes  ferment -- may be a culprit. Their analysis of Italian Chardonnay uncovered 28  glycoproteins, some identified for the first time. The scientists found that  many of the grape glycoproteins had structures similar to known allergens,  including proteins that trigger allergic reactions to ragweed and latex.

Taken from Yahoo! Shine
"9 foods that may help save your  memory"

 

 

Healthy eating lowers your risk of diabetes, hypertension,  and heart disease, but it's not yet clear if that's true for Alzheimer’s disease  as well. “I can’t write a prescription for broccoli and say this will help—yet,”  says Sam Gandy MD, PhD, the associate director of the Mount Sinai Medical Center  Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, in New York City. (The National Institutes  of Health recently said there is insufficient evidence that food, diet, or  lifestyle will prevent Alzheimer’s disease.) It’s not a lost cause though. Here  are 9 foods that researchers think will keep your whole body—including your  brain—healthy. Studies have shown that people who consume moderate amounts of  red wine and other types of alcohol may be at reduced risk for Alzheimer’s  disease, but it may be that there is something else that tipplers do or don’t do  that affects their risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Carrillo says. “People who  drink alcohol or eat healthy may be healthier in other aspects of their life, so  it is difficult to disentangle whether it’s the healthy diet that protects them  versus other healthy behaviors.” The latest research presented at the National  Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston found that  blueberries, strawberries, and acai berries may help put the brakes on  age-related cognitive decline by preserving the brain’s natural “housekeeper”  mechanism, which wanes with age. This mechanism helps get rid of toxic proteins  associated with age-related memory loss.

Taken from Chemistry World

"US science agencies poised for tough  times"
November 17, 2010

 

Current political and economic conditions in the US could  mean bad news for the nation's science agencies and the researchers. Republicans  will assume control of the House of Representatives and pick up seats in the  Senate when the new Congress convenes in January, and those poised to assume  leadership have pledged to slash 2011 spending to pre-economic stimulus and  pre-bailout levels of 2008. The American Association for the Advancement of  Science (AAAS) says such actions would cut federal R&D investment by more  than $8 billion (£5 billion), or 5.5 per cent. Agencies like the National  Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science  would be among the hardest hit, with the NSF seeing R&D cut by more than 11  per cent from 2010, and the Office of Science seeing cuts of nearly 15 per cent,  according to Patrick Clemins, director of AAAS' R&D budget and policy  programme. For NSF these reductions equate to over 1400 fewer new grant awards,  he estimates. These projections are of concern to the American Chemical  Society (ACS), especially when paired with the rhetoric on Capitol Hill  and language in recent reports concerning the importance of dramatically  reducing US debt. ACS spokesman Glenn Ruskin notes that  Republican leaders have indicated that the Department of Defense (DOD) and the  Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be spared cutbacks to 2008 levels.  'If the budget is increased for DOD and DHS, that will have to come at the  expense of other agencies like NSF,' he says. The scientific community will be  lucky if funding for key agencies is held steady over the next several years,  Ruskin says. He has largely abandoned the hope that they might stay on the  budget-doubling trajectory set out in the America Competes Act. The Republican  proposals would have a 'chilling' effect on US innovation, according to Ruskin.  'In addition to NSF not being able to fund 1400 researchers, the question is how  much research is already being done that won't be completed,' he notes.

Taken from Azonano.com
"The Future for Nanopillars Now Looks Brighter Than  Ever"

 

 

Sunlight represents the cleanest, greenest and far and away  most abundant of all energy sources, and yet its potential remains woefully  under-utilized. High costs have been a major deterrent to the large-scale  applications of silicon-based solar cells. Nanopillars – densely packed  nanoscale arrays of optically active semiconductors – have shown potential for  providing a next generation of relatively cheap and scalable solar cells, but  have been hampered by efficiency issues. The nanopillar story, however, has  taken a new twist and the future for these materials now looks brighter than  ever. “By tuning the shape and geometry of highly ordered nanopillar arrays of  germanium or cadmium sulfide, we have been able to drastically enhance the  optical absorption properties of our nanopillars,” says Ali Javey, a chemist who  holds joint appointments with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) at Berkeley. A paper  describing this research appears on-line in the journal Nano  Letters.

Taken from R&D Magazine
"American Chemical Society announces speakers for  inaugural Kavli Foundation lectures"
November 15,  2010

 

 

A chemist who has developed synthetic biomaterials that  could revolutionize medicine and a scientist who helped institute a global ban  on the chemicals that destroy atmospheric ozone will inaugurate "The Kavli  Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lecture" program in 2011. The lectures,  which will be presented at American Chemical Society (ACS)  national meetings next year, will address the urgent need for vigorous, new,  "outside-the-box" thinking by scientists as they tackle many of the world's  mounting challenges including climate change, emerging diseases, and water and  energy shortages. ACS national meetings are held twice a year and attract  between 10,000 and 18,000 chemistry professionals and students. The speakers  are: * Virgil Percec, Ph.D., P. Roy Vagelos Professor of Chemistry at the  University of Pennsylvania, who will discuss the bio-inspired synthesis of  complex molecular systems during his lecture on March 27 at the 241st ACS  national meeting in Anaheim, Calif. * Susan Solomon, Ph.D., a senior scientist  for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who will deliver  her lecture on Aug. 29 at the 242nd ACS national meeting in Denver, Colo.  "Virgil Percec and Susan Solomon are among the world's most influential  scientific innovators," said ACS President Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D. "Their  efforts to improve people's lives through the transforming power of chemistry  should inspire us all. They are not just thinking `outside of the box.' They're  doing it in ways that will reshape our science and remake our world into a  better place."

Taken from PhysOrg.com

"President  Obama awards chemists National Medals of Science and Technology and  Innovation"
November 16, 2010

 

 

President Barack Obama will honor seven American  Chemical Society (ACS) members as recipients of the National Medal of  Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation at a White House  ceremony on Wednesday. "President Obama will honor our nation's top scientists  and engineers with the National Medals of Science and of Technology and  Innovation," said ACS President Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D. "I am thrilled to say  that seven chemists - all ACS members - will be recognized for their dedication  to discovery. This is a great achievement not only for these individuals, but  for our profession." ACS recipients include: Stephen J. Benkovic, Ph.D.,  Pennsylvania State University, Penn., Esther M. Conwell, Ph.D., University of  Rochester, N.Y., Marye Anne Fox, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego,  Calif., Susan L. Lindquist, Ph.D., Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute  of Technology, Mass., Stanley B. Prusiner, M.D., University of California, San  Francisco, Calif., Harry W. Coover, Ph.D., Eastman Chemical Company, Kingsport,  Tenn., Helen M. Free, Miles Laboratories, Elkhart, Ind. "The extraordinary  accomplishments of these scientists, engineers, and inventors are a testament to  American industry and ingenuity," Obama said. "Their achievements have redrawn  the frontiers of human knowledge while enhancing American prosperity, and it is  my tremendous pleasure to honor them for their important  contributions."

Taken from Health Canal
"UCLA researchers find faster way to produce  efficient nano-vehicles for gene delivery"
November 16,  2010

 

New stamp-sized microchip enables faster production of  low-cost, highly efficient nano-vehicles for gene-delivery. Gene therapy holds  the promise for curing a variety of diseases, including cancer, and  nanoparticles have been recognized as promising vehicles for effective and safe  delivery of genes into specific type of cells or tissues. This can provide an  alternative gene manipulation and/or therapy strategy to the conventional  approaches that use viruses... In a paper featured on the cover of the October  issue of ACS Nano, the research team outlines their results,  which represent a proof-of-concept demonstration for establishing the new method  to perform bioassays that are typically conducted to measure the effects of a  substance on a living organism and are essential in the development of new  drugs.

Taken from R&D Magazine
"Super-catalyst found to purify  hydrogen"
November 15, 2010

 

Hydrogen—the lightest and most abundant element on the periodic table—is also a  potential powerhouse. Today, we use pure hydrogen in a range of chemical  processes, including the synthesis of ammonia for fertilizers. Some scientists  believe that hydrogen could power everything from electronics to buildings to  cars in a model referred to as the hydrogen economy. In order to achieve such  feats, however, scientists need to produce pure hydrogen. Chemists can obtain  pure hydrogen through the water-gas shift reaction, in which carbon monoxide and  water yield carbon dioxide and pure hydrogen molecules. Four years ago,  Brookhaven chemist Jose Rodriguez and his colleagues began to investigate a  highly effective catalyst for this reaction, which combined gold and ceria  (CeO2). Their main objective was to understand exactly how each component of the  catalyst behaved... More recently, in the Journal of the American  Chemical Society, they compared catalytic effects with a dispersion of  gold, copper, and platinum nanoparticles. While platinum showed the highest  catalytic activity, meaning it produced the most hydrogen for a fixed amount of  ceria, copper was a close second and has the advantage of being a much less  expensive metal.

Taken from LiveScience
"Cool Tech: New Materials Prevent Ice  Formation"

 

Forget road salt and other deicers, engineers have  figured out how to stop chilled water in its tracks, before ice has a chance to  form. The scientists think their lab findings could lead to a new type of  coating that can be directly integrated into various materials and  commercialized in the near future. The result, they say, would be an  ice-prevention method that's more efficient and environmentally friendly than  the traditional deicing chemicals used on planes and roads. "We wanted to take a  completely different tact and design materials that inherently prevent ice  formation by repelling the water droplets," said study researcher Joanna  Aizenberg, an engineer at Harvard University. "From past studies, we also  realized that the formation of ice is not a static event. The crucial approach  was to investigate the entire dynamic process of how droplets impact and freeze  on a supercooled surface." The research was detailed online Nov. 9 in the  journal ACS Nano.

Taken from New Scientist
"Blood  camera to spot invisible stains at crime scenes"

 

 

Call it CSI: Abracadabra. A camera that can make invisible  substances reappear as if by magic could allow forensics teams to quickly scan a  crime scene for blood stains without tampering with valuable evidence. The  prototype camera, developed by Stephen Morgan, Michael Myrick and colleagues at  the University of South Carolina in Columbia, can detect blood stains even when  the sample has been diluted to one part per 100. At present, blood stains are  detected using the chemical luminol, which is sprayed around the crime scene and  reacts with the iron in any blood present to emit a blue glow that can be seen  in the dark. However, luminol is toxic, can dilute blood samples to a level at  which DNA is difficult to recover, and can smear blood spatter patterns that  forensic experts use to help determine how the victim died. Luminol can also  react with substances like bleach, rust, fizzy drink and coffee, causing it to  produce false positives. The research appeared in Analytical  Chemistry.

Taken from the Boston Herald
"Chitlins/Cilantro!  Who Woulda Thunk It?"
November 13, 2010

 

 

 

With chitlins about to make their annual appearance  on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day menus, scientists have good news  for millions of people who love that delicacy of down-home southern cooking, but  hate the smell. They are reporting the first identification of an ingredient in  cilantro that quashes the notoriously foul odor of chitlins — a smell known to  drive people from the house when chitlins are cooking. Their report appears in  ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Yasuyoshi  Hayata and colleagues note that chitlins — hog large intestines — are infamous  for their foul smell, which is reminiscent of the waste material that once  filled the intestine. However, many people enjoy the taste of the southern  delicacy. The scientists treated samples of hog large intestine with cilantro  extracts of different concentrations. A panel of human sniffers identified the  concentrations that were most effective in reducing the odor. Using high-tech  instruments, the scientists then isolated the main deodorizing ingredients in  the most effective extracts. The scientists identified several cilantro  ingredients that appeared to suppress the foul odor of chitlins. One of the  substances with the tongue-twisting name of (E,E)-2,4-Undecadienal had a flowery  fragrance that seemed to completely erase the odor. That substance worked at  concentrations as low as 10 parts per billion — an equivalent to about 10 drops  of substance in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Taken from Oneindia

"Be a science expert with ACS' Prized Science  video"

 

Do you want to know the minute details of several scientific  discoveries that occurred around the world? The American Chemical  Society (ACS) came up with all answers to your queries. The world's largest  scientific society and one of the leading sources of authoritative scientific  information, ACS launched a new video series - "Prized Science: How the Science  Behind ACS Awards Impacts Your Life." The video series would provide information  on every high-definition graphics and animations, and the commentary in the  video is suitable for classroom use and other audiences of students and  non-scientists. "Prized Science strives to give people, who may have no special  scientific knowledge, the opportunity to watch, listen, and discover how the  chemistry behind ACS' awards transforms life," stated ACS President Joseph S.  Francisco. The videos are now available for everybody at the Prized Science  website, YouTube, iTunes, and on DVD for free of cost.

Taken from Biodiesel Magazine
"Field pennycress shows feedstock  potential"

 

 

 

Research conducted by the UDSA’s Agricultural Research Service has  identified a promising new feedstock for biodiesel production, Thlaspi arvense.  More commonly known as field pennycress, the plant is a member of Brassicaceae  family, which includes canola and camelina. The project is being completed at  the Peoria-Ill.-based ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research.  According Bryan Moser, an ARS research chemist, the research team has been  studying field pennycress for approximately seven years, while the biodiesel  component of the project has been ongoing for the past four years. “The work  that we do in our unit, the Bio-Oils Research Unit, spans basically everything  from agronomic development and oil process, all the way to the production of  biodiesel and evaluation of the properties of methyl esters that result from  field pennycress oil,” Moser said. The work completed by Moser and other members  of the field pennycress research team have shown that field pennycress seeds  contain roughly 26 percent oil by weight. “On a yield-per-acre basis, you could  expect to obtain somewhere around 100 gallons [of oil] per acre of field  pennycress,” Moser said. Results of the team’s study were published in  Energy & Fuels.

Taken from Thaindian News
"Underground CO2 leakage could contaminate drinking  water"

 

A new study has revealed that leakage of carbon dioxide  injected deep underground to help fight climate change could turn up in drinking  water aquifers near the surface, driving up levels of contaminants in the water  tenfold or more in some places. “We found the potential for contamination is  real, but there are ways to avoid or reduce the risk,” said Robert B. Jackson at  Duke University... After a year’s exposure to the CO2, analysis of the samples  showed that “there are a number of potential sites where CO2 leaks drive  contaminants up tenfold or more, in some cases to levels above the maximum  contaminant loads set by the EPA for potable water,” Jackson said. “Along with  changes in carbonate concentration and acidity of the water, concentrations of  manganese, iron and calcium could all be used as geochemical markers of a leak,  as their concentration increase within two weeks of exposure to CO2,” Jackson  said. The study appears in the online edition of the journal  Environmental Science & Technology.

Taken from Oneindia

"Coming soon: camera that 'sees the  invisible'"

 

 

Chemists from the University of South Carolina are  reportedly developing a camera that has the ability to see the invisible - be it  bloodstains or any other substances. Called multimode imaging in the thermal  infrared, they claim the new technology could help in crime scene  investigations. Michael Myrick, Stephen Morgan and their graduate student  colleagues said that the luminol test (mainstay method for detecting bloodstains  and other body fluids at crime scenes) has certain disadvantages. Luminol, for  instance, is potentially toxic, has been reported to dilute blood solutions  below DNA detection limits, can smear informative blood spatter patterns, and  can provide false positive results. In their reports, the scientists described  the construction and successful testing of a camera that takes images in several  different ways. It captures hundreds of images in a few seconds, while  illuminating its subjects with pulses of invisible infrared light waves. The  reports are published in ACS' Analytical Chemistry.

Taken from CBC News

"Ban toxic toys, other kids' products: U.S.  study"

 

Toxic toys and other children's products containing harmful  ingredients require an extensive overhaul of the legislation that governs them,  says a new U.S. scientific paper. Calling the epidemic of recalls of these  products a "crisis," U.S. researchers at the University of Massachusetts, and  Monica Becker and Associates Sustainability Consultants say the current response  by government, advocacy and industry groups has been inadequate in restricting  the entry of toxic toys into the market. "Much of the response to the toxic toys  crisis has been reactive and piecemeal," write the authors. "Taken as a whole,  these responses have not been sufficient to ensure that toys and children's  products are safe." The paper, published in ACS Publications'  Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal,  says that in the past three years, 17 million toys have been recalled in the  U.S. over high lead levels. Other toxic substances commonly found in toys  include: Cadmium and phthalates (which can harm the reproductive system).  Brominated flame retardants and azo dyes (easily absorbed dyes linked to  cancer). Bisphenol A (suspected of being toxic to the brain and reproductive  system).

Taken from Chemistry World's blog
"Hypoallergenic emu eggs"

 

 

Japanese researchers who have compared the proteins in emu  and chicken egg white, focussing on the structures of proteins known to trigger  allergic reactions, report that emu egg white has an unusually low  allergenicity. Chicken egg white is, according to the researchers, ‘one of the  most common allergenic foods’. The researchers, whose findings are published in  the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, suggest that  emu egg white could replace its chicken equivalent in “industrial products”.  Apparently Australian Aborigines, who lived alongside Emus for centuries, had  always said the eggs were less likely to cause adverse reactions.

Taken from New Scientist

"Ice and a slice makes transistors more  precise"
November 10, 2010

 

Winter is just beginning in the northern hemisphere, but  pieces of equipment at Harvard University are already covered in ice. It seems  the clear solid can be used as a mask to build transistors more precisely – in a  process that's being dubbed "ice lithography". Daniel Branton and his colleagues  placed single-walled carbon nanotubes onto a silicon wafer, cooled it to about  -163 °C and sprayed it with water, causing an 80-nanometre-thick layer of ice to  form. Then the researchers used an electron beam to carve away two squares of  ice, exposing the tops of some nanotubes, and deposited a layer of palladium on  top of this ice mask. Dipping the structure in alcohol melted the ice. The  palladium layer above it then fell off, except in the two squares where the  metal had stuck directly to the nanotubes. The resulting cluster of nanotubes,  fused to two palladium electrodes, acted as a transistor. The process resembles  how computer chips are made, but in conventional, electron beam lithography, a  chemical such as polymethyl methacrylate is used as the mask. Using ice makes  the technique cleaner, cheaper and gentler on the nanotubes. The study appears  in Nano Letters.

Taken from EmaxHealth
"Toxins in Toys Prompts new  Recommendations"

 

 

Recent recalls of toys from harmful chemicals such  as lead and other toxins have created a “toxic toy” crisis, according to Monica  Becker, Sally Edwards and Rachel Massey, sustainability consultants writing in  the ACS' Environmental Science & Technology publication.  Toxins found in children’s toys and recent recall of jewelry containing cadmium  have prompted the analysts to call for new recommendations from the government  and the manufacturing industry. The authors cite the June 2010 recall of 12  million toxic cadmium coated glasses from a well known fast food chain. In the  past three years, the government has issued 17 million toy recalls from lead  that can cause neurodevelopment disorders and is still found in our soil, posing  potential hazard to children... The authors recommend the government and toy  industry ban or restrict toxins in children’s toys, label harmful chemicals in  toys and develop an accessible database, require chemical manufacturers, rather  than the government, to disclose chemical toxicity information and promote  design and development of safer toys by providing incentives. They also suggest  the government support green chemistry and research in addition to expanding the  EPA’s Green Chemistry and Design for Environment programs.

Taken from The Medical News
"New approach to sneak nerve-protective drug  erythropoietin into blood-brain barrier"

 

 

 

Scientists are reporting development of a long-sought method  with the potential for getting medication through a biological barrier that  surrounds the brain, where it may limit the brain damage caused by stroke. Their  approach for sneaking the nerve-protective drug erythropoietin into the brain is  medicine's version of the Trojan Horse ploy straight out of ancient Greek  legend. It also could help people with traumatic head injuries, Parkinson's  disease, and other chronic brain disorders. Their report appears in ACS'  Molecular Pharmaceutics, a bi-monthly journal. William  Pardridge and colleagues explain that erythropoietin is a protective protein  that has engendered great medical interest for its potential in protecting brain  cells cut off from their normal blood supply by a stroke, or brain attack.  Tests, however, show that erythropoietin, like other drugs, cannot penetrate a  tightly-knit layer of cells called the blood-brain-barrier that surrounds and  protects the brain from disease-causing microbes and other harmful material. The  researchers found an antibody that can go through the blood brain barrier and  linked it to erythropoietin to make a hybrid protein. Tests showed that the  approach worked in laboratory mice, with the hybrid protein successfully  penetrating the blood-brain barrier. The advance will allow scientists to begin  testing erythropoietin's effects on mice with simulated stroke and other brain  disorders, so that scientists can establish the most effective dose and best  timing for possible future tests in humans.

Taken from the Times of India
"Lemon-lime drink boosts oral cancer  treatment"

 

A popular lemon-lime soft drink could play an unexpected  role in improving the effectiveness of an oral anticancer drug, an experiment  with artificial stomach has suggested. The experiments produced evidence that  patients will absorb more of the unnamed drug, tested in Phase I in clinical  trials, when taken with 'flat' or degassed Sprite. Faraj Atassi and colleagues  note that efforts are underway to develop more anticancer medications that  patients can take by mouth. However, biological variations among patients — due  to variations in stomach acidity and other factors — can reduce the  effectiveness of oral anticancer drugs. Such was the case with the unnamed  anticancer drug in the study, identified only as "Compound X." There were wide  differences in how the drug was absorbed in the first patients who took it. The  scientists combined Compound X with Captisol, a substance that helps improve the  solubility of drug ingredients, and turned to the artificial stomach. That  glass-and-plastic device is used to study how drugs and foods dissolve through  the GI tract. They showed that Sprite seemed to control stomach acidity in a way  likely to allow greater absorption of the drug into the body. The study has been  published in ACS' Molecular Pharmaceutics, a bi-monthly  journal.

Taken from Nanowerk
"The rise of white graphene"

 

 

Graphene nanoribbons – atomically-thin strips of graphene  that are just a few nanometers wide – are considered to be excellent candidates  for future electronics applications as their properties can be adjusted through  width and edge shape. Along with graphene, boron nitride nanoribbons have  attracted more and more fundamental research interest. For instance, researchers  have found that magnetism could be induced in such ribbons by the replacement of  B or N with Be, B, C, N, O, Al, and Si, or with vacancy defects. They also found  that the ribbons could have a narrowed band gap and improved electrical  conductivity tuned by a transverse electric field or special edge structure.  These findings promise a bright future in in optoelectronics and spintronics for  atomically thin boron nitride nanoribbons... In new work that represents an  important step in bridging theoretical predictions and experimental realization  of atomically thin boron nitride nanoribbons, [Haibo] Zeng and coworkers (from  National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) in Japan and Nanjing University  of Aeronautics and Astronautics (NUAA) in China) demonstrate the successful  fabrication of 'white graphene' nanoribbons – made of thermally and chemically  stable atomic layers of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) – by unwrapping  multiwalled boron nitride nanotubes under delicate argon plasma etching. The  team has reported their findings in the October 28, 2010 online issue of  Nano Letters.

Taken from MIT News
"A greener way to grow carbon  nanotubes"

 

 

Given their size, strength and electrical properties, carbon  nanotubes — tiny, hollow cylinders made of carbon atoms — hold promise for a  range of applications in electronics, medicine and other fields. Despite  industrial development of nanotubes in recent years, however, very little is  known about how they form or the environmental impacts of their manufacture. It  turns out that one process commonly used to produce carbon nanotubes, or CNTs,  may release several hundred tons of chemicals, including greenhouse gases and  hazardous air pollutants, into the air each year. In a paper published last week  on the ACS Nano website, the researchers report that in  experiments, removing one step in that process — a step that involves heating  carbon-based gases and adding key reactive “ingredients” — reduced emissions of  harmful by-products at least tenfold and, in some cases, by a factor of 100. It  also cut the amount of energy used in the process by half. “We were able to do  all of this and still have good CNT growth,” says Desiree Plata, who led the  research between 2007 and 2009 as a doctoral student in MIT’s joint program with  the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Science Daily
"Nanopore Array Allows Simultaneous Tests in Search  for New Drugs"

 

Membrane-associated receptors, channels and  transporters are among the most important drug targets for the pharmaceutical  industry. The search for new drugs resembles looking for a needle in a haystack.  Therefore new analytical techniques are required which facilitate the  simultaneous screening of a large library of compounds across a variety of  membrane proteins. However, this class of methods is still at the early stages  of development. The group of Prof. Dr. Robert Tampé, in collaboration with the  Walter Schottky Institute at Technical University Munich, has now presented a  novel, automatable lab-on-chip device for high-throughput screening of sensitive  membrane proteins. The work is detailed in the journal Nano  Letters, where the scientists describe the analysis of membrane  proteins on a nano-fabricated chip surface that contains almost 50,000  nanopores. These pores are covered by a freely suspended lipid membrane that  incorporates the proteins to be analyzed. Because the lipid membrane is free of  organic solvents and the proteins do not touch the solid support, the fragile  structure (and therefore function) of the proteins is preserved.

PhysOrg.com
"ACS Webinars focus on navigating your career through  uncertain times"

 

 

News media and others interested in the chemical sciences  are invited to join the next in a series of American Chemical Society  (ACS) Webinars™ focusing on how to successfully navigate your career  through the uncertain waters of mergers, acquisitions, and restructuring.  Scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 11, from 2 - 3 p.m. EST, the free ACS Webinar™ will  feature John Ferguson of PRICHETT speaking on how to survive company changes as  they restructure. Ferguson serves as Vice President of Change Management/Mergers  & Acquisitions at PRITCHETT. ACS Webinars™ connect you with experts and  global thought leaders in the chemical sciences, management and business to  address current topics of interest to scientific and engineering professionals.  Each webinar includes a short presentation followed by a question and answer  session. News media and scientists can tune into the conference without charge  but must register in advance at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/881150466.  Participants will learn: The predictable personal and team dynamics associated  with Mergers & Acquisitions and restructuring, how to deal first with  uncertainty (and then with change) and how to make smart choices in your career  during the transition.

Taken from R&D Magazine

"New book examines health and environmental impacts  of common (and not-so-common) chemicals"

 

Chemicals pervade our lives. While the benefits to society  from the development of these chemicals have been impressive, enabling safer,  more efficient and more convenient consumer products and life-saving  pharmaceuticals, many chemicals also have a dark side. Today, a growing  awareness of the risks posed to humans and the environment from harmful  chemicals has stimulated intensive investigations into their lifecycle and the  unintended consequence of their use. The topic is vast, though much of what is  known about many potentially harmful chemicals has been assembled in a new book,  appearing this week: Contaminants of Emerging Concern in the Environment:  Ecological and Health Considerations, published by the American Chemical  Society. Rolf Halden, a biologist and engineer at the Biodesign  Institute at Arizona State University edited the ambitious volume, which  provides a sourcebook to researchers in the field as well as to policymakers  grappling with the daunting challenges facing chemically reliant societies. "The  book consists of 27 chapters, covering everything from the sources of  environmental pollution with pharmaceuticals and personal care products and  other emerging contaminants, to exposure, environmental bioaccumulation and  health effects on aquatic and terrestrial biota, as well as on humans," Halden  says.

Taken from the Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, Calif.: daily  circuation 600,449)
"Oil will run out 90 years before alternatives are  widely available, UC Davis study says"

 

 

The global oil supply is set to run dry 90 years before  replacements such as renewable energy are ready to satisfy the same amount of  demand, according to UC Davis researchers. Current policies that set targets for  batteries, hydrogen, biofuel and other alternative energy sources won’t be  enough, a study published Monday says. Deb Niemeier, a professor of civil and  environmental engineering, and postdoctoral researcher Nataliya Malyshkina  examined existing public companies dealing in non-oil fuels such as BlueFire  Ethanol Inc. of Irvine and Enova Systems Inc. of Torrance. The technologies in  the market “may not be able to occupy a sufficient enough niche in the market by  the time we need them to,” Niemeier said in an e-mail. The pair looked at  activity from long-term investors as a predictor of whether and when the  burgeoning technologies would go mainstream. They also considered the value and  dividends of public companies in both the oil and alternative energy markets.  The research appeared in the journal Environmental Science and  Technology.

Taken from Yahoo! News

"DuPont Recognized Again for Agriculture  Excellence"

 

DuPont and retired DuPont scientist George Levitt received  two prestigious Agrow Awards for innovation and excellence in agriculture. This  is the third year DuPont has been recognized by Agrow, a leading provider of  news, analysis and data to the global agriculture industry. DuPont earned the  Agrow Best Formulation Innovation award for the DuPont ™ CyazypyrTM insect  control SuspoEmulsion formulation. SuspoEmulsion is a breakthrough technology  that enables highly effective insect control with less active ingredient for a  reduced environmental footprint. This innovative formulation’s optimal oil  content ensures crop safety, while its minimized emulsifier level further  reduces the environmental load. Levitt, a retired senior principal investigator  for DuPont, was honored with the Agrow Lifetime Achievement Award for his  pioneering work in the discovery of the sulfonylurea (SU) herbicides. Levitt’s  achievements have been recognized with numerous honors and awards over the past  three decades, including the U.S. National Medal of Technology and the  American Chemical Society Heroes of Chemistry Award.

Taken from Midland Daily News
"Dow Chemical Co. partnering for International Year  of Chemistry 2011"

 

 

A yearlong celebration of the power of chemistry will  kickoff in January and include events around the world for kids and adults. The  Dow Chemical Co. will partner with the International Union of Pure and Applied  Chemistry as the first global partner for the United Nations-designated  International Year of Chemistry in 2011. IYC is an initiative  led by IUPAC and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural  Organization. Katie Hunt, a Dow chemist and past president of  the American Chemical Society, said many things people use  every day are based on chemistry. IYC will be centered on themes such as the  environment, energy, food and health. "In all those arenas, there are wonderful  opportunities for chemistry to come to the fore, and I think Dow sees that and  that's why we've embraced being a sponsor," Hunt said. Part of the efforts will  bring Dow scientists, including Hunt, into schools to conduct demonstrations.  Hunt said she'll take a typical household item like paint and show students that  it doesn't work right without all of the different parts -- the right chemistry  -- in place. This teaches them the scientific process, formulations and  innovation. "I ask the kids to get up with me and ask them to be chemistry  partners with me," she said. "It's about making chemistry fun."

Taken from The Scotsman
"Scots scientists hail new hope for  Alzheimer's"

 

 

Scottish scientists believe they have made an  important breakthrough in understanding how Alzheimer's disease takes hold of  the brain. Researchers from the University of St Andrews have found a new way of  studying the enzyme that has been implicated in the development of the disease.  The team now hopes to use its findings, published in the journal ACS  Chemical Biology, to design a drug that could potentially stop  Alzheimer's in its tracks. The Alzheimer's Research Trust, which is funding the  work, described it as "an exciting step forward for dementia research". Kirsty  Muirhead, a PhD student at St Andrews, has been collaborating with scientists  across the globe in the development, which involves the use of a new fluorescent  tracking chemical that reacts with the enzyme inside living cells, allowing  scientists to see the interaction.

Taken from the Sacramento Bee
"WuXi AppTec, Leading China-based CRO, Chooses CAS  SciFinder® to Advance its R&D Competitiveness Share"

 

 

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), the world's  authority for chemical information, announced today that WuXi AppTec, the  leading China-based contract research organization (CRO), has signed a contract  to provide SciFinder for all scientists within their  organization. In 2009, a CAS analysis of chemical literature showed that China  led all nations in chemical patent publications and was surging in output of  journal literature. WuXi AppTec is convincing proof of the continuous investment  and ambition of China-based corporations to lead the world market in the field  of chemical research. Scientists recognize SciFinder as the first choice for  searching and retrieving chemistry and related scientific information. With  streamlined navigation, an intuitive interface, and secure access to CAS  content, SciFinder makes it simple to quickly find the right information to  support research and make decisions with confidence. "We are pleased to select  SciFinder to advance our R&D competitiveness. As a knowledge-based,  problem-solving provider of broad chemistry-based services, WuXi will have  instant access to more than 10,000 journals and 61 patent authorities, using an  intuitive interface to seek out the latest in state-of-the-art research in  addition to the wealth of a century of scientific information, thereby enabling  our scientific team to more effectively address our customers' needs in  chemistry R&D," commented Dr. Ge Li, chairman and CEO of WuXi AppTec.

Taken from RedOrbit
"We're Talking Quantum To  Cosmos"

 

 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) invites media and  members of the public to a series of lectures sponsored by the Directorate for  Mathematical and Physical Sciences. Upcoming talks listed below will help  promote a national discussion of issues that scientists expect to shape their  research in the coming years. The first talk will be on Monday, November 15, and  will feature William F. Bottke, a planetary scientist who will discuss the  formation of planets. All lectures will be held at NSF, 4201 Wilson Boulevard in  Arlington, Va. (easily accessible from the Ballston Metro station). Visitors are  welcome but must have a pass to gain access. Please email Lisa Van Pay or phone  703-292-8796 to register to attend. Complete Schedule of Lectures: Planet  Formation: What's New with the Oldest Events in the Solar System, William F.  Bottke, Southwest Research Institute, 2 p.m., November 15, 2010, Room 110.  Quantum Mechanics on Giant Scales, Nergis Mavalvala, MIT, 2 p.m., December 13,  2010, Room 110. The Chemical Enterprise: Thinking and Acting Globally,  Joseph S. Francisco, Purdue University, 2010 President  of the American Chemical Society, 2 p.m., May 16, 2011, Room 375

Taken from R&D Magazine
"American Chemical Society launches Chemistry and  Engineering News Archives online"

 

 

The American Chemical Society (ACS) today  launched a new resource that gives students, journalists, scientists, libraries  and others instant access to more than eight decades of content from its popular  weekly news magazine, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN). Called  C&EN Archives, it includes more than 500,000 pages of content from 85+ years  of C&EN. It is available at http://pubs.acs.org/cen-archives. C&EN  Archives constitutes an unparalleled chronicle of the chemical enterprise-- and  the multiple other scientific disciplines that involve chemistry. At its initial  launch, C&EN Archives includes content from 1923 through 2009. In early  2011, content from 2010 will also be added. C&EN Archives is fully  searchable and accessible via the same user-friendly platform that enables  readers to peruse their current electronic editions of ACS' suite of 38  peer-reviewed scientific journals. "We're tremendously excited about the launch  of C&EN Archives," says Rudy M. Baum, editor-in-chief of C&EN. "Since  its debut in 1923 as the News Edition of the ACS journal Industrial &  Engineering Chemistry, C&EN has been devoted to providing its readers with  news, events, and trends in the entire chemistry enterprise - industry, academe,  government, and ACS itself - in a timely, balanced, and accurate fashion.

Taken from MedIndia
"Video-game Technology may Give an Impetus to New  Drugs' Development"

 

 

A new technology employed in video games may assist in  speeding up the development of new products and potentially life-saving drugs.  C&EN Associate Editor Lauren K. Wolf notes that consumer demand for  life-like avatars and interactive scenery has pushed computer firms to develop  inexpensive yet sophisticated graphics hardware called graphics processing  units, or GPUs. The graphical units work in conjunction with traditional central  processing units (CPUs) - the "brains" of desktop and laptop computers - and  accelerate the rendering of three-dimensional images in games such as Prince of  Persia and Guitar Hero... The article notes that manufacturers have developed  GPUs that are having a big impact on chemistry, breezing through computations  that once would have required all the processing power of a supercomputer.  Chemists have embraced the technology to simulate the movement of molecules in  the quest to develop new drugs and materials for solar cells and other products.  The big edge GPUs have over CPUs is in speed, reducing processing times from  years to months and months to weeks. The article was published in the latest  issue of Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly  newsmagazine.

Technology Review
"Nanogenerator Powers Up"

 

 

Devices that harvest wasted mechanical energy could make  many new advances possible—including clothing that recharges personal  electronics with body movements, or implants that tap the motion of blood or  organs. But making energy-harvesting devices that are compact, flexible, and,  above all, efficient remains a big challenge. Now researchers at Georgia Tech  have made the first nanowire-based generators that can harvest sufficient  mechanical energy to power small devices, including light-emitting diodes and a  liquid-crystal display... In a paper published online last week in the journal  Nano Letters, [Zhong Lin] Wang's group describes using a  nanogenerator containing more nanowires, over a larger area, to drive a small  liquid crystal display.

Taken from New Scientist
"Green machine: Heat scavengers come in from the  cold"

 

 

 

The vast quantities of heat lost each day – whether from car  engines, power-plant chimneys or simply sunlight – is a largely untapped source  of energy that could be used to make electricity or simply warm our homes.  Decades of research show that it's tricky to capture and use such heat  cost-effectively, but a spate of new studies suggest some solutions. Sunlight  reaching the Earth is readily harnessed and converted to electricity using solar  cells, but the heat carried with it is lost. Perhaps not for much longer,  though, if the work of Jeffrey Grossman at the Massachusetts Institute of  Technology and his colleagues pays off. They want to make a rechargeable battery  that can store and release heat from sunlight on demand... Thermoelectric materials, which convert a  temperature difference across their surface into a current, offer yet another  way to generate energy from waste heat. Most existing thermoelectric devices are  based on rare, expensive and unstable materials such as bismuth telluride,  making them unsuitable for widespread use in energy generation – but Peidong  Yang's team at the University of California, Berkeley, have found a cheap  alternative in silicon. (Nano Letters)

Taken from the Boston Globe (Boston, Mass.: daily circulation  232,432)
"Maine pine needles yield valuable Tamiflu  material"

 

 

 

A little-known raw material used in the most widely used  antiviral flu medicine comes from the fruit of trees native to China. It turns  out it also comes from pine trees in Maine's backyard. Researchers at the  University of Maine at Orono say they've found a new and relatively easy way to  extract shikimic acid -- a key ingredient in the drug Tamiflu -- from pine tree  needles. Shikimic acid can be removed from the needles of white pine, red pine  and other conifer trees simply by boiling the needles in water, said chemistry  professor Ray Fort Jr. Additional testing is needed, and it remains to be seen  if there's demand for the product or if the process can applied commercially in  the private sector, he said...Testing so far has taken place in a laboratory and  additional large-scale testing is needed before the process is passed on to a  private company for commercial development, Fort said. The goal is to eventually  make pine needles economically valuable for Maine's forestry industry. "We're  looking at maybe one more year in the laboratory," Fort said. The research was  presented in August at an American Chemical Society national  meeting in Boston and reported in the Portland Press Herald. Fort plans to have  the results published in a scientific journal.

Discovery News
"Material Could Collect Sunlight from Roof and  Windows"

 

 

You've probably heard of thin-film solar power, but  scientists from Los Alamos and Brookhaven National Laboratories made new  light-harvesting material that's actually transparent. Solar electricity from  the whole house, anyone? A team led by physical chemist Mircea Cotlet created a  transparent thin film using a relatively simple process. As James Rickman of Los  Alamos National Laboratory explained to me, it involved taking a standard  polymer -- plastic -- and spiking it with soccer-ball shaped 60-carbon-atom  spheres called fullerenes, better known as "buckyballs" after Buckminster  Fuller. Their research was just published in the journal Chemistry of  Materials. While the material design isn't Earth-shattering, Rickman  says the novelty is in the transparency. "The way that these things line up, you  get this honeycomb-shaped pattern that's like a screen from a screen door," he  says. The transparent effect is caused when micron-sized water droplets are  sprayed across a thin layer of the buckyball-plastic solution. The water and  solution naturally create a concentration of semiconducting material in the  pattern as the water evaporates.

From U.S. News & World Report
"Building a Better Bomb  Sniffer"

 

 

A handheld device that sniffs out the same powerful  explosive employed by the would-be shoe bomber may be coming soon to an airport  near you. Chemists have developed a sensor that detects minute amounts of TATP,  an explosive favored by terrorists because it is easy to make and difficult to  detect. The new sensor consists of a postage stamp–sized array of dyes that  change color when they react with certain compounds. When air containing  triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, is drawn toward the sensor, it passes over a  chemical catalyst. Some of the TATP in the air reacts with the catalyst and the  resulting mixture hits the dyes. The ensuing chemical reactions yield a specific  color pattern that is discernable within minutes, researchers report in the Nov.  10 Journal of the American Chemical Society. "When the  challenge is to identify a particular compound it is very difficult to do it  with a single sensor," says materials scientist Howard Katz of Johns Hopkins  University in Baltimore. "But what they have done—a multisensor array that gives  you a specific pattern of dots—this is the right direction, the direction we  need to be going."

Taken from MIT News
"Fine-tuning photosynthesis"

 

A new analysis by MIT researchers could make it possible to  design more efficient artificial systems that mimic the way plants harvest the  energy of sunlight through photosynthesis. The study is the latest in an ongoing  series examining the process of photosynthesis and the different variables that  determine its efficiency, conducted by Associate Professor of Chemistry Jianshu  Cao and his postdocs and colleagues... There are three basic types of  chromophores: acceptors, which absorb the light’s energy; donors, which emit  light; and bridges, which transfer the energy from one reaction center to  another. In systems composed mainly of donors and acceptors, the addition of  extra bridges can greatly increase the efficiency of the process, the  researchers found. In addition, specific ratios of acceptor to donor sites lead  to the most efficient transfer of energy. Their findings were published in The  Journal of Physical Chemistry, and the work was supported by  the MIT Energy Initiative, the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and  Technology, the National Science Foundation and the MIT Center for Excitonics.

Taken from Medical News Today
"Guidelines To Regulate The Use And Disposal Of  Nanomaterials Needed"

 

Bricks, blocks, and steel I-beams - step aside. A new genre  of construction materials, made from stuff barely 1/50,000th the width of a  human hair, is about to debut in the building of homes, offices, bridges, and  other structures. And a new report is highlighting both the potential benefits  of these nanomaterials in improving construction materials and the need for  guidelines to regulate their use and disposal. The report appears in the monthly  journal ACS Nano. The scientists analyzed more than 140 studies  on the benefits and risks of nanomaterials. They found that the materials can  provide a wide variety of benefits for the construction industry, ranging from  greater strength and durability to improved energy efficiency. The report also  identified potential adverse health and environmental effects, and cites the  importance of developing guidelines to regulate the use and disposal of  construction nanomaterials.

Taken from Science Daily
"Chemical Coarsening: How the Big Get  Bigger"

 

 

Patricia Thiel of Iowa State University and the Ames  Laboratory put a box of tissues to the right, a stack of coasters to the middle  and a trinket box to the left. "Nature," she said of her table-top illustration,  "doesn't want lots of little things." So Thiel grabbed the smaller things and  slid them into a single pile next to the bigger tissue box. "Nature wants one  big thing all together, like this." It describes a process called coarsening.  That's when "a group of objects of different sizes transforms into fewer objects  with larger average size, such that 'the big get bigger,'" says the paper.  Examples of the process include the geologic formation of gemstones, the  degradation of pharmaceutical suspensions and the manufacture of structural  steels. Thiel and Evans were invited to write the paper after Thiel delivered a  talk at an American Chemical Society meeting about their  studies of coarsening, an emerging field in surface chemistry.

Taken from Softpedia
"New Transparent Material Can Absorb Light  Efficiently"

 

A new type of transparent material has been  produced in the United States, by a team of investigators at two national  laboratories. The experts say that the thin films could conceivably be used to  underlie the development of transparent solar panel technology. The thing about  these thin films is that they are perfectly capable of absorbing a lot of  sunlight over a large area. They then convert the energy of the elementary  particles making up light, called photons, into electricity. Scientists at the  US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and  Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) worked together to create this advanced  material. “Potentially, with future refinement of this technology, windows in a  home or office could generate solar power,” says LANL Chemistry Division  researcher Hsing-Lin Wang. The expert is a co-corresponding author of a new  research paper describing the material, which is published in the latest issue  of the scientific journal Chemistry of Materials.

Taken from The Mail Online
"Can a fruit juice cure YOUR health problems as  scientists discover beetroot juice can protect against  dementia?"

 

 

We all know that fruit juice is generally good for you. But  every day it seems scientists are discovering new benefits for specific  illnesses. Yesterday, U.S. researchers revealed that beetroot juice can help  keep dementia at bay, as it contains nitrate, which helps open blood vessels,  boosting blood supply to the brain... Cranberry juice for urinary infections --  How it works: A study conducted this year showed that cranberry juice prevents  the growth of the bacteria E.Coli, the most common cause of urinary infections.  Researchers who presented their findings to the American Chemical  Society showed that within eight hours of drinking a glass of cranberry  juice, the juice could help prevent bacteria from developing into an infection  in the urinary tract. However, contrary to popular belief, the juice will not  treat cystitis if the infection has already occurred — indeed, because it is  acidic it can actually exacerbate the discomfort.

Taken from the London Telegraph
"Organic vegetables 'no healthier than conventional  food'"

 

[The Mail Online, the Daily Express and the Independent also covered the story.]

 

Researchers conducted a two-year experiment growing potatoes, carrots  and onions under both organic and traditional conditions before testing the  health giving properties of each. There was little difference between them when  it came to levels of polyphenols – the chemical compound in vegetables that  helps fight cancer, heart disease and dementia. Danish researchers cultivated a  total of 72 plots of land, half using traditional farming methods including  treating them with pesticides, non-organic fertilisers and adding nutrients. The  other half were farmed organically, under conditions recommended by various  organic food organisations, which meant using natural aids like manure instead  of fertiliser. But the end result is that there was little difference in the  amount of polyphenols in either the onions or the carrots though a slightly  higher level in organic potatoes than conventional ones. The study by  environmental scientists at the University of Copenhagen was published by the  Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Taken from Yale Scientific
"Paul Anastas: A Power Player in the Global Chemical  Industry"

 

 

In 2008, ICIS named Yale’s Professor Paul Anastas one of its  Top 40 Power Players in the Chemical Industry for his contributions to the field  of “green chemistry.” The ICIS title was not the last and hardly the first award  Anastas was honored with; today, his Yale Chemistry Department homepage lists a  staggering 16+ honors—and those have only updated until 2008. Perhaps the most  revealing name Anastas has, however, is an informal one coined by the scientific  community: “Father of Green Chemistry.” On May 28, 2009, President Obama  nominated Anastas to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s)  Office of Research and Development; in January 2010, the U.S. Senate confirmed  Anastas’ appointment as the new Assistant Administrator for Research and  Development for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)... In 1997, Anastas  also catalyzed the founding of the Green Chemistry Institute (GCI), an  organization that later merged with the American Chemical  Society (ACS) to foster collaborations between industry, academia, and  government. The ACS, whose environmental focus had always focused on cleanup,  began to concentrate on prevention. The institute now has 25 international  chapters, a globalizing effect in which Anastas has been very  instrumental.

Taken from Associated Content
"Simple Autism Test Undergoing  Trials"

 

 

According to a story in the Daily Mail, British scientists say that all  it takes to definitively diagnose Autism is a few drops of urine, a non-evasive  test. Jeremy Nicholson, from Imperial College London said that the urine of an  Autistic child contains a distinctive "chemical fingerprint". It points to a  link between Autism and the gut, a marker long suspected but never proved. Some  factors point to a link between Celiac Disease (sprue) an autoimmune disease and  Autism. The article published in the "Journal of Proteome  Research" in June of 2010 goes on to say that the bacteria in the gut  of an Autistic child is different from those found in guts of a normal child.  Researchers tested the urine of three trial groups of children, those with  Autism, normal siblings of the Autistic group, and a group composed of children  without Autism or Autistic siblings. With a test called H NMR Spectroscopy, they  determined that each group had different chemical markings in their urine.  Siblings of the Autistic child showed a different marker than the so-called  normal children. However, scientists debate whether the differences point to gut  markers as a byproduct of Autism or if they cause the condition.

Taken from Discovery News
"Where Saltwater Meets Fresh:  Power"

 

As long as rivers of freshwater flow into a salty sea, rivers of  electricity could flow from estuaries into the power grid. Scientists from the  Netherlands have found a way to harvest electricity from estuaries using devices  similar to a fuel cell and they say that a full-scale production plant could  provide significant amounts of power to nearby cities. These small stacks have  no moving parts to endanger wildlife or break, and could add electricity to the  grid as fast as freshwater is dumped into saltwater. "Wind energy is only  available when the wind is blowing," said Sybrand Metz, a scientist at the Dutch  Center for Sustainable Water Technology or Wetsus, who, working with colleagues  at the University of Groningen and the University of Twente, co-authored a new  study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. "You  can use this technology to generate electricity all the time." The process is  called reverse electrodialysis. In normal electrodialysis an electric current  creates freshwater from saltwater by removing the dissolved charges. In reverse  electrodialysis (RED) the mixing of two different solutions with different  salinity produces a mild electric current. The larger the difference in salinity  the greater the power that can be generated.

Taken from Oneindia
"Organic onions, carrots 'do not have higher levels  of healthy antioxidants'"

 

 

Organically grown onions, carrots, and potatoes generally do not have  higher levels of healthful antioxidants and related substances than vegetables  grown with traditional fertilizers and pesticides, scientists have reported. In  the study, Pia Knuthsen and colleagues point out that there are many reasons to  pay a premium for organic food products. The most important reasons for the  popularity of organic food products include improved animal welfare,  environmental protection, better taste, and possible health benefits. However,  the health benefits of organic food consumption are still controversial and not  considered scientifically well documented. "On the basis of the present study  carried out under well controlled conditions, it cannot be concluded that  organically grown onions, carrots, and potatoes generally have higher contents  of health-promoting secondary metabolites in comparison with the conventionally  cultivated ones," the report stated. Their study has been published in ACS'  bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Taken from the Indianapolis Star
"Applause for our young  scientists"
Written by Joseph F.  Francisco, president of the American Chemical Society

 

You endure test after test. Your determination races against  the clock, against your competitors, against your doubt. You dedicate every  ounce of all you know and can do. And when you win, you're invited to the White  House. The president of the United States shakes your hand. When our nation's  sports heroes win championships, they are invited to the White House. President  Barack Obama told 75 of America's top science, engineering and math students --  during the first White House Science Fair last month -- that their victories  also deserve our nation's highest recognition. One young woman is developing a  new drug to cure cancer. A team is engineering a solar-powered car. And a West  Lafayette native who helped chemists one summer at Purdue University, where I  teach, simulated how protein molecules interact in living cells. Now, this young  man is a sophomore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, my alma mater  and that of many leading scientists and engineers... President Obama and other  leaders have become so concerned that improving science, technology, engineering  and math education has become a national imperative. In one recent week, three  national events were held to encourage students to take up science: the first  White House Science Fair, the first U.S. Science and Engineering Festival, and  National Chemistry Week. The "World Cup" of chemistry kicks off  in 2011 with the start of the International Year of Chemistry, which I hope will be  a klaxon call to students to become our nation's future innovators.

Taken from Radio Iowa
"ISU researchers hope test can be used for mad cow  detection"

 

Researchers at Iowa State University say they’ve found a  relatively simple way to use light to check livestock for certain neurological  diseases — with one goal of the project being a fast, easy test for mad cow  disease. I.S.U. chemist Jake Petrich says they’ve discovered the eyes of  infected animals have an intense white “glow” when a special blue fluorescent  light is shined on them. “The difficulty is making the live animal sit still for  five seconds without blinking its eye or jiggling around,” Petrich says.  “Probably, it’s more practical to do the test in the packing plant immediately  after slaughter.” The light test has been performed with the eyes of dozens of  sheep, some of which were infected with scrapie (SCRAPE-ee), a neurological  disorder similar to mad cow disease. Petrich says their discovery of this “glow”  in infected animals has the potential for global implications... The project was  supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense and the findings were  published in the journal Analytical Chemistry.

Taken from AOL Health
"Is Black Rice the Latest  Superfood?"

 

 

 

Everyone knows that brown rice is healthier than  white, but is black rice the fairest of them all? Like its paler sibling brown  rice, black rice is high in vitamin E, iron, fiber and antioxidants, but a new  study suggests that it may also alleviate inflammation associated with  allergies, asthma and other diseases... The current study, published in the  American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food  Chemistry, looked at the effects of black rice bran extract on skin  inflammation in lab mice. The research was conducted at universities in Korea.  Researchers found that feeding mice their standard diet supplemented with 10  percent black rice bran significantly suppressed chemically induced inflammation  of the ear skin as compared to mice fed a diet without black rice bran or a diet  supplemented with 10 percent brown rice bran.

Taken from the Los Angeles Times
"Worried about bisphenol A in food? Before you  shop..."

 

 

Believe it or not -- considering all of the negative  publicity the chemical bisphenol A has received, resulting in efforts to ban its  use in baby bottles and other items for small children -- scientists didn't get  around to publishing a peer-reviewed study measuring levels of the chemical in  U.S. food until this week. The work was published online Tuesday in the journal  Environmental Science & Technology. A research team led by  Arnold Schecter of the University of Texas School of Public Health measured 105  foods purchased from grocery stores in Dallas in March 2010. They detected  "quantifiable levels" of bisphenol A, which is often used to line food cans and  to harden plastics, in 63 of them. The BPA levels detected by the researchers  were almost 1,000 times lower than the tolerable daily intake levels set by the  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the European Food Safety Authority, the  scientists reported. But many researchers aren't convinced that those guidelines  are appropriate. The paper reported that studies have identified adverse affects  at lower doses.

Taken from Nanowerk

“Nanotoxicology myth  buster”

 

 

Some scientists believe that, with  the increased mass production of engineered nanoparticles like carbon nanotubes,  there is a realistic chance for these particles to interact with water, soil and  air, and subsequently enter the food chain. However, understanding the behavior  and impacts of nanomaterials in the environment and in human health is a  daunting task. Today, we don't even know what the impact of most chemicals is,  and that includes products we have been using for many years. Nevertheless, a  general understanding about nanotoxicity is slowly emerging as the body of  research on cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, and ecotoxicity of nanomaterials grows…  David B. Warheit from the DuPont Haskell Global Centers for Health and  Environmental Sciences has written an article in the October 29, 2010 online  edition of Nano Letters, where he  addresses issues that he perceives to be myths and misconceptions regarding  nanotoxicology: Myth 1: Nanoparticles are always more toxic than bulk particles  of similar or identical composition. Myth 2: Particle size and surface area are  the critical indices that influence nanoparticle toxicity. Myth 3: All forms of  nanotitanium dioxide particles have similar toxicity profiles – or nano TiO2 is  nano TiO2 – i.e., we can identify nanoparticle types by their "core identities"  without specifying their compositional physicochemical  characteristics.

Taken from The  Medical News

“Vacuum  cleaner with UV technology effective at reducing carpet's surface  microbes”

 

 

New research suggests that the  addition of ultraviolet light to the brushing and suction of a vacuum cleaner  can almost double the removal of potentially infectious microorganisms from a  carpet's surface when compared to vacuuming alone. Researchers say the findings  suggest that incorporating the germicidal properties of UV light into vacuuming  might have promise in reducing allergens and pathogens from carpets, as well.  "What this tells us is there is a commercial vacuum with UV technology that's  effective at reducing surface microbes. This has promise for public health, but  we need more data," said Timothy Buckley, associate professor and chair of  environmental health sciences at Ohio State  University and senior  author of the study. "Carpets are notorious as a source for exposure to a lot of  bad stuff, including chemicals, allergens and microbes. We need tools that are  effective and practical to reduce the associated public health risk. This vacuum  technology appears to be a step in the right direction." The research appears  online in the journal Environmental Science  & Technology.

Taken from Science  Daily

“Pivoting  Hooks of Graphene’s Chemical Cousin Could Revolutionize Work of Electron  Microscopes”

 

 

The single layer material graphene  was the subject of a Nobel prize this year, and now research led by a team of  scientists at the University of Warwick has found molecular hooks on the  surface of its close chemical cousin, graphene oxide, that could provide massive  benefits to researchers using transmission electron microscopes. These hooks  could even be used in building molecular scale mechanisms. The research team was  looking at the possibility of using graphene as a base to mount single molecules  for imaging by transmission electron microscopy. As graphene forms a sheet just  one atom thick that is transparent to electrons it would enable high precision,  high contrast imaging of the molecules being studied as well as the study of any  interactions they have with the supporting graphene. While this idea is great in  theory, graphene is actually very difficult to create and manipulate in  practice. The researchers therefore turned to graphene's easier to handle  cousin, graphene oxide. This choice turned out to be a spectacularly better  material as they found extremely useful properties, in the form of ready-made  molecular hooks that could make graphene oxide the support material of choice  for future transmission electron microscopy of any molecule with oxygen on its  surface… The research is published in the journal Nano Letters.

Taken from Personal  Liberty Digest

“Black  Rice Bran Could Have The Potential To Reduce  Swelling”

 

 

Inflammation in the body can be  caused by a number of health problems such as arthritis, allergies, asthma and  other diseases. However, scientists have discovered that black rice may help  people who suffer from inflammation. The study, published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,  indicates that previous research has already proven that there may be health  benefits for individuals who eat black rice bran. These studies suggest that the  bran can suppress the release of a compound, histamine, which causes  inflammation. For the new research, the scientists used mice and tested how  black rice bran extract can affect skin inflammation. When the extract was  administered to the mice, their inflammation was reduced by 32 percent. This was  compared to a control group that did not exhibit these results. Substances which  are known to contribute to inflammation were also reduced in the animals that  were given the bran extract. The researchers noted that overall, black rice bran  reduced swelling that had been caused by skin irritation due to allergic contact  dermatitis, in the mice.

Taken from RedOrbit

“New  American Chemical Society Podcast: Stop Wasting Food And Save  Energy”

 

 

 

Generations of Moms and Grandmas  have preached the virtues of not wasting food. Now scientists are reporting a  compelling new reason to follow this advice: It could save enormous amounts of  energy, according to the latest episode in the American Chemical Society's (ACS)  award-winning podcast series, "Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions." They say  that the United  States could immediately save the energy  equivalent of about 350 million barrels of oil a year — without spending a penny  or putting a ding in the quality of life: Just stop wasting food. The new Global  Challenges podcast and website describe scientific research explaining that food  contains energy and requires energy to produce, process, and transport.  Estimates indicate that between 8 and 16 percent of energy consumption in the  United  States went toward food production in 2007.  Michael Webber and Amanda Cuéllar, in their study in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology,  found that it takes the equivalent of about 1.4 billion barrels of oil to  produce, package, prepare, preserve and distribute a year's worth of food in the  United  States.

Taken from Fresno State News

“Chemistry  students to receive national awards”

 

 

The Chemistry Club at California State University, Fresno has  gained national recognition from the American  Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, and will  receive two prestigious awards at the society’s 241st national meeting in  Anaheim next  March. Fresno  State will receive the  National Outstanding Award, the highest honor bestowed upon student chapters  nationwide, and the Green Chemistry Award. Additionally, the chapter will be  recognized in two magazines, Chemical &  Engineering News and in Chemistry. “We are very excited to be honored  with these two prestigious awards from the American Chemical Society,” said Dr.,  Melissa Golden, assistant professor of chemistry and club adviser. “To our  knowledge, this is a first for our chapter.” For the award, the chapter was  required to participate in such activities as field trips, community service and  social functions. The students submitted a 41-page report based on their  activities.

Taken from the Orlando Sentinel

“UCF  professor's cancer fighter may start clinical trials next  year”

 

 

A UCF professor's breast- cancer  research is one step closer to moving from the lab to doctor's offices. The  University of Central Florida and Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa have signed an  agreement with GLG Pharma, a Florida biotechnology firm, to take Dr. James  Turkson's cancer-fighting compound to the next level of development with  clinical trials of the compound beginning as soon as next year. Eventually, it  may be used as a weapon against a variety of cancers, including breast cancer.  Turkson and a team at Moffitt Cancer Center worked together to develop GLG-302,  a compound that has been shown to prevent the uncontrolled activity of the STAT3  protein, which has been linked to breast cancer and many other cancers…  Turkson's research on the STAT3 protein began at Moffitt and grew at UCF with  major grants from the National Institutes of Health and Florida Hospital. His findings have been published  in the academic journals Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and  ACS Chemical Biology.

Taken from Maclean’s

“Out of the  red”

 

 

The Danube River  is famously blue, but after a recent toxic waste spill in Hungary, parts of it were flooded  with a sickly red slurry. On Oct. 4, a reservoir wall had collapsed at an  alumina plant near the village of Kolontar, releasing over 750 million  litres of red mud—a byproduct of turning bauxite to alumina, which is needed for  aluminum production. The disaster forced hundreds from their homes and left nine  dead. The red mud was waist-deep in some places, locals reported; one witness  said it smelled like blood. A chemical soup of heavy metals and minerals  (including iron oxide, hence its colour), red mud is highly corrosive; workers  in Hungary measured the pH level and  found that, in some places, it was as caustic as bleach. We end up creating 63  million tonnes of red mud each year worldwide, but we still don’t know what to  do with it: red mud is typically stored in reservoirs, dried out and buried, but  it’s so chemically stable it won’t really break down. Marcel Schlaf, a chemistry  professor at the University of Guelph, has a better idea. Red mud, he  believes, could help transform bio oil derived from plant waste into fuel… About  two years ago, Schlaf was teaching an undergraduate class about red mud, he  says, when “a light went off.” He looked harder at the mud’s composition, and  realized it might contain the right mix of metals to catalyze chemical reactions  and upgrade bio oil, which he acquired from Berruti’s lab. (His findings were  published in the journal Energy &  Fuels earlier this year.)

Taken from Oneindia

“Deodorant  made from nanoparticles to eliminate unpleasant odours”

October 31,  2010

Origin: OPA  PressPac

 

Scientists have come with a new  approach for dealing with offensive household and other odours. The new method  does not mask odours like today's room fresheners, but eliminates them at the  source. Their research found that a deodorant made from nanoparticles - hundreds  of times smaller than peach fuzz - eliminates odours up to twice as effectively  as today's gold standard. Brij Moudgil and colleagues note that consumers use a  wide range of materials to battle undesirable odours in clothing, on pets, in  rooms, and elsewhere. The scientists describe development of a new material  consisting of nanoparticles of silica (the main ingredient in beach sand) - each  1/50,000th the width of a human hair - coated with copper. That metal has  well-established antibacterial and anti-odour properties, and the nanoparticles  gave copper a greater surface area to exert its effects. A report on these  next-generation odour-fighters appears in ACS' Langmuir, a bi-weekly  journal.

Taken from USA Today

“Experts:  Improvised explosives still main terror weapon”

 

 

Improvised explosives like the ones  used in two bombs discovered in U.S.-bound cargo shipments are the weapon of  choice for terrorists and will continue to be a threat because they are so  difficult to detect, say security and terrorism experts. Despite a nearly  decade-long effort to better screen for explosives, they continue to be used in  attacks launched everywhere from Afghan and Iraqi war zones to hidden al-Qaeda  strongholds. The PETN found hidden in toner cartridges is a military-grade  explosive that has been used repeatedly by terrorists. Though officials have not  described the bombs in detail, it appeared they each could have held 2 to 3  pounds of PETN, said Neal  Langerman, an explosives expert who is an officer with the American Chemical Society. "It would have  been enough to do significant damage wherever it detonated," Langerman said. If  the bombs had exploded, they would have likely caused significant damage to the  cargo jets that carried them, and killed or injured anyone nearby. To an enemy  who cannot match our military might or easily penetrate our borders, a small,  hidden bomb that can be assembled with easily obtained materials such as  cellphones is an attractive weapon. "Explosives pack a lot of energy in a very  small package," Langerman says. "That's what it's all  about."