Skip navigation

Taken from Next Big Future
"Carbon nanotubes could be ideal optical  antennae"



Cornell researchers have discovered that carbon nanotubes  can transmit and receive light at the nanoscale. Carbon nanotubes, cylindrical  rolled-up sheets of carbon atoms, might one day make ideal optical scattering  wires -- tiny, mostly invisible antennae with the ability to control, absorb and  emit certain colors of light at the nanoscale... To perform their experiments,  the researchers used a methodology developed in their lab that completely  eliminates the problematic background signal, by coating the surface of a  substrate with a refractive index-matching medium to make the substrate  "disappear" optically, not physically. This technique, which allowed them to see  the different light spectra produced by the nanotubes, is detailed in another  study published in Nano Letters.

Taken from Dr. Scheinbaum's Blog
"Eating Blueberries Can Slow Mental  Decline"



Earlier this year, researchers from the University of  Cincinnati Academic Health Center reported that 12 weeks of consuming a daily  drink of about 500 mL of blueberry juice was associated with improved learning  and word list recall, as well as a suggestion of reduced depressive symptoms  (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2010, Vol. 58, pp  3996–4000). The study was said to be the first human trial to assess the  potential benefits of blueberries on brain function in older adults with  increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Taken from Inside Higher Ed
"The Year in Reading"



For this week’s column (the last one until the new year) I  asked a number of interesting people what book they’d read in 2010 that left a  big impression on them, or filled them with intellectual energy, or made them  wish it were better known. If all three, then so much the better. I didn’t  specify that it had to be a new book, nor was availability in English a  requirement. Lila Guterman is a senior editor at  Chemical and Engineering News, the weekly magazine published by  the American Chemical Society. She named Rebecca Skloot’s The  Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, published by Crown in February. She called it  an “elegantly balanced account of a heartbreaking situation for one family that  simultaneously became one of the most important tools of biology and medicine.  It was a fast-paced read driven by an incredible amount of reporting: A really  exemplary book about bioethics.”

Taken from The Morning Call
"Are we wasting helium by using it in  balloons?"



Q: I read that there is a limited supply of helium, which is  important for MRI machines and other industrial uses. So why do we waste it  filling party balloons? A: Although helium is the second most abundant gas in  the universe (hydrogen is first), there is a limited supply on earth. Unlike  other gases that are a major component of air, such as nitrogen (78 percent),  oxygen (21 percent) and argon (1 percent), helium is present in very small  amounts (about 5 parts per million) and is therefore not economical to obtain  from the air around us... According to an American Chemical  Society article, "meager" quantities of helium were being sold for  $2,500 per cubic foot over a century ago. You can't afford to fill many party  balloons at that price. Hopefully we will use our precious helium supplies for  the more important things.

Taken from New Scientist
"Chemistry helps to trap the Trappist  imitators"



If you are pouring yourself one of the fine beers brewed at  Europe's Trappist monasteries this holiday season, spare a thought for the  Cistercian monks behind your tipple. Their beer sales suffer at the hands of  breweries trading falsely on the monastic name. The monks sell their ales to  generate cash for their monasteries, with any excess going to charitable causes.  Sales suffer at the hands of copycat brews that trade on the monastic moniker  without any Trappist connections. A test that can distinguish Trappist beer from  a cheaper copy could soon put paid to that. Of the hundreds of Trappist  monasteries worldwide, just seven brew the famous beers: those at Achel, Chimay,  Orval, Rochefort, Westvleteren and Westmalle in Belgium, and at La Trappe in the  Netherlands. In the latest edition of the Journal of Agricultural and  Food Chemistry, Claude Guillou of the European Commission's Institute  for the Health and Consumer Protection in Ispra, Italy, says little is being  done to defend the beers against commercial breweries who use heavy advertising  to suggest a "monastic origin".

Taken from Medical News Today
"American Chemical Society Applauds Congress For  Passing American Competitiveness Bill"



The American Chemical Society (ACS)  applauds Congress for reauthorizing the America COMPETES Act. America COMPETES  (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology,  Education and Science), was originally enacted in 2007 and needed to be  reauthorized this year in order to provide continued support for scientific  research, technological development, science, technology, engineering and math  education. "I want to extend our appreciation to Congress for passing COMPETES;  it is the backbone of our nation's scientific and technological economy," ACS  President Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D., said. "Despite a very  difficult economy, I am glad that members of Congress have agreed to reauthorize  this key legislation that keeps the engines of invention and innovation moving  forward." 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.

Taken from the Christian Science Monitor
"Toxic toy recalls: an opening for US 'green'  toys"



You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. Cadmium,  mercury, arsenic and chlorine. But, do you recall… Yes, they have been recalled.  Again and again. “Small companies, particularly startups, are well positioned to  meet customer demand for greener products,” said Sally Edwards, a sustainability  researcher at the University of Massachusetts. “The process of figuring out how  to make the safest, healthiest, greenest toys is easier to do on a small scale  than on large scale. Many small companies have benefited from being able to  design the product from the ground up.” That has been the case for Green Toys, a  San Francisco-based toy manufacturer that uses recycled plastic milk jugs to  make its line of classic toys that come in recycled cardboard packaging. The  ability to remain nimble, work closely with suppliers and source product  domestically has helped Green Toys stake out a big chunk of the ‘green’ toy  market. That agility is not something that comes easy for larger toy  manufacturers, said Monica Becker, who runs Monica Becker & Associates  Sustainability Consultants in Rochester, N.Y. “It has been difficult for large  companies to ‘green’ their products because they are reliant on manufacturers  all over the world where they mainly have to rely on their suppliers to do due  diligence,” said Becker, who along with Edwards, co-authored a paper on toxic  toys that appears in the current issue of the American Chemical  Society’s journal.

Taken from
"Rare form of silver observed during routine  calibration"



What started out as an ordinary instrument  calibration task using silver turned into research gold for scientists at  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Contradicting nearly 40 years of  measurement history, the team observed in vacuum a rare form of silver: Ag(III).  Aiming to calibrate an atomic oxygen source, they deposited thin films with  varying levels of silver and oxygen, then measured the oxidation range of silver  with an X-ray photoelectron spectrometer (XPS). The unexpected XPS signature  gave researchers a silver surprise. This research was chosen as the cover of  The Journal of Physical Chemistry C for December 16, 2010.

Taken from the Arizona Daily Star
"Oregano oil may counter  carcinogens"



When you salt and pepper your meat for flavor, you might  want to shake on a little oregano for health reasons, a University of Arizona  researcher says. Food microbiologist Sadhana Ravishankar has found the oil from  the herb can fight dangerous bacteria and compounds that can cause cancer.  Ravishankar got interested in food safety after the 1993 E. coli outbreak that  sickened hundreds and killed four children who ate at Jack in the Box  restaurants. Now her lab at the UA focuses on ways to control foodborne  bacteria... While testing carvacrol's anti-microbial properties in ground beef,  Ravishankar discovered it potentially could also prevent cancer. As raw meat  heats up on the grill, amino acids and glucose form molecules that mix with  creatinine in the muscle to form compounds that have the potential to cause  cancer. The higher the temperature, the higher the risk. But Ravishankar was  surprised to see that applying carvacrol to meat before grilling reduced the  formation of the cancer-causing compounds by up to 78 percent. "We did not have  any idea about the anti-oxidative activity at all," she said. "We were pretty  excited." Her research was funded by the American Cancer Society through the  Arizona Cancer Center, and her study was published in the Journal of  Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Taken from the Philadelphia Inquirer
"Healing powers: To help poor countries, simpler  health treatments not dependent on electricity"



Millions of people die from preventable or treatable illness  each year in poor countries, and while the developed world is increasingly  joining the battle, a big obstacle remains in many areas: no stable source of  electricity. Lab equipment has to be plugged in, after all. Certain medicines  must be kept cool. Now, three area research teams have had sparks of inspiration  to address the power problem... The Penn State project is led by Scott T.  Phillips, an assistant professor of chemistry, who recently announced he had  developed a key improvement for so-called lab-on-a-chip devices. Scientists and  companies have made chips that allow for a quick diagnosis of certain  conditions, just by placing a drop of urine or blood on the surface. As with a  home pregnancy test, the patient's condition is revealed by whether a spot on  the chip changes color. In a recent issue of Analytical  Chemistry, Phillips described how he could make the timer last longer  or shorter, as needed, by impregnating that portion of the chip with different  amounts of paraffin wax. He and coauthor Hyeran Noh made prototype timer chips  that measured glucose and cholesterol - no battery required.

Taken from Education Week
"Senate OKs America COMPETES Bill as Session Nears  End"


With the 111th Congress rapidly coming to a close, the  Senate on Friday approved legislation that seeks in part to improve education in  the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The action  was something of a surprise, as some analysts had feared the Senate might not  pass the measure this year. The bill to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act now  goes back to the House, which had approved its own version last spring. The  Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent. At this point, I'm still  gathering details on the plan, but James Brown, the co-chair of  the STEM Education Coalition and an assistant director at the American  Chemical Society, clued me into some key provisions. For one, he said  the Senate bill contains a new measure, also in the House bill, designed to  ensure better coordination of STEM education activities across federal agencies.  The Senate bill also reauthorizes a variety of STEM education programs,  including the the $55 million Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, which  encourages talented STEM majors and professionals to become K-12 math and  science teachers.

Taken from the Wellcome Trust blog
"Nanopore tech promises genome sequencing ‘in  minutes’"



Scientists from Imperial College London have taken an  important step towards developing breakthrough technology that could sequence a  genome in mere minutes, and at a fraction of the cost of current commercial  techniques. Following research published in the peer-reviewed journal  Nano Letters this month, the researchers are confident that  their finding could lead to an ultrafast commercial DNA sequencing tool in just  ten years. They say it would also make important medical tests cheaper and more  reliable.

Taken from the Times of India

"Drinking tea curbs weight  gain"

Researchers at Kobe University, Japan found that regular  consumption of tea also suppressed damaging changes in the blood linked to fatty  foods that can lead to type 2 diabetes, reports the Daily Mail. In the study  some mice were given a high fat diet and others a normal diet. Each of these two  groups were then split into smaller groups and given water, black tea or green  tea for 14 weeks. Both types of tea suppressed body weight gain and the build-up  of belly fat linked to a fatty diet. But black tea, which is used in most  ordinary cuppas, also counteracted the harmful effects on the blood normally  associated with a high-fat diet. These included increases in cholesterol, high  blood glucose and insulin resistance – a precursor to type 2 diabetes where the  body does not efficiently use the insulin it produces. The study was published  in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Taken from United Press International
"Fluoride coating much thinner than  thought"



German researchers say fluoride's protective cavity shield  on teeth is a 100 times thinner than previously thought. Frank Muller of  Saarland University, Saarbrucken, Germany, and colleagues said fluoride makes  teeth more resistant to decay by changing the hydroxapatite in tooth enamel into  fluorapatite. However, the researchers find this fluorapatite layer is only 6  nanometers thick -- much thinner than anyone had expected. The researchers  pointed out 10,000 of these layers would be needed to span the width of a human  hair. They have suggested a layer this thin may be quickly worn away by ordinary  chewing and question whether a layer this thin can shield teeth from decay or  whether fluoride has some other unrecognized effect on tooth enamel. They say  they will be searching for an answer to this question. The study is published in  the American Chemical Society's journal Langmuir.

Taken from the Examiner
"Eating whole grains & bran may lower heart  disease risk and high blood pressure"


Sacramento restaurants and schools continue to offer white  rice instead of brown, mahogany, or black rice. The difference between whole  grains and refined grains is that refining takes off the grain's outer coating.  But whole grains are left with the rich nutrients, bran and germ. If you want to  make soaking grains simple and basic, just soak what you want to eat overnight  in a covered jar of water in your refrigerator. The grains will do a little  fermenting, and that's the result you want. If you want to make soaking grains  simple and basic, just soak what you want to eat overnight in a covered jar of  water in your refrigerator. The grains will do a little fermenting, and that's  the result you want. According to an October 20, 2010 study published in the  Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, black rice bran may  cut inflammation.

"Nanoparticles  deliver one-two therapeutic punch to kill tumor cells"



The standard approach to cancer therapy today is to  mix and match chemotherapy drugs in order to attack tumors in multiple ways.  Now, two separate teams of investigators have demonstrated that using  nanoparticles to deliver multiple drugs simultaneously can produce a synergistic  effect that boosts the cell-killing ability of both drugs. In one study, a team  of investigators at Northwestern University has shown that they can combine two  powerful but extremely toxic anticancer agents - cisplatin and doxorubicin - in  one polymer nanoparticle, producing a substantial boost in their ability of the  combination to destroy tumors. In addition, the two-in-one nanoparticle reduces  the amount of both drugs needed to kill cancer cells, which presumably would  reduce the toxic side effects associated with these drugs. SonBinh Nguyen and  Thomas O'Halloran led this study, which was published in the Journal of  the American Chemical Society... Meanwhile, Mansoor Amiji and Zhenfeng  Duan, co-principle investigators of the Cancer Nanotechnology Platform  Partnership at Northeastern University, have shown that a different type of  polymer nanoparticle can also deliver two anticancer agents simultaneously and  as a result can kill cancer cells that have become resistant to drug therapy.  The investigators reported their findings in the journal Molecular  Pharmaceutics.

Taken from the Sacramento Bee
"Kazuo  Inamori to Receive 2011 Othmer Gold Medal at 10th Annual Heritage  Day"



Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera  Corporation, will receive the 2011 Othmer Gold Medal at the Chemical Heritage  Foundation (CHF) on April 8. The Othmer Gold Medal presentation will be the  premier event of CHF's 10th annual Heritage Day. "Entrepreneur, inventor,  management innovator, philanthropist, Kazuo Inamori's career shows how one  determined and talented individual can improve the lives of millions," said  Thomas R. Tritton, president and CEO of CHF. "His life and many accomplishments  combine greatness, vision, and the attention to detail with care for individuals  and high ethical standards that show his unique genius. His most recent  accomplishment, as he nears his 80th birthday, is rescuing Japan Airlines  (JAL)."... The Chemical Heritage Foundation established the Othmer Gold Medal in  1997 to honor outstanding individuals who have made multifaceted contributions  to our chemical and scientific heritage through outstanding activity in such  areas as innovation, entrepreneurship, research, education, public  understanding, legislation, or philanthropy. The medal is presented annually and  cosponsored by CHF and four affiliated organizations: the American  Chemical Society (ACS), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers  (AIChE), the Chemists' Club, and the Societe de Chimie Industrielle.

Taken from Science Daily
"Powerful  Biomarker Panel for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer  Discovered"



In the war on cancer, perhaps there is nothing more powerful  in a physician's arsenal than early detection. Despite recent advances in early  detection and treatment, breast cancer remains a common and significant health  problem in the United States and worldwide. Approximately one in ten women will  get breast cancer in their lifetime and more than half of women with late stage  cancer (II and III) have no cure or effective therapeutic available. Using a  new, powerful method for rapidly screening molecules associated with disease,  proteomics expert Joshua LaBaer and colleagues from the Biodesign Institute at  Arizona State University have identified a broad panel of 28 early predictors,  or biomarkers, that may one day aid in the early diagnosis of breast cancer. "We  do not have any available blood markers for breast cancer," said LaBaer, a  Virginia G. Piper Chair in Personalized Medicine at ASU who directs the Center  for Personalized Diagnostics at the Biodesign Institute. "Our hope is to combine  a new type of blood test with mammography screening to aid in the early  detection of breast cancer." Their findings appear in the American Chemistry  Society's Journal of Proteome Research.

Taken from Inside Higher Ed
"New  Measures of Scholarly Impact"



Higher education might be a high-end marketplace of ideas,  but its mechanisms for taking inventory for that marketplace have been, until  recently, relatively basic. The method for measuring the influence of journals  and authors by counting the number of times their articles are cited by other  articles — called the “impact factor” — has hardly changed since 1955, when it  was created by Eugene Garfield, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student  who went on to found the first citation database, the Institute for Scientific  Information (now owned by Thomson Reuters). But the way researchers read journal  articles has changed, especially in the sciences. “If you look at the traffic,  it’s pretty clear that most scholarly communications is consumed online, not in  print,” says Johan Bollen, an associate professor of informatics at the Indiana  University at Bloomington... The American Chemical Society,  which publishes 38 different journals, in 2008 started keeping track of how many  times articles from each of its journals were being downloaded at individual  campuses and setting different prices, based on usage, for each subscribing  library. This upset some librarians who saw their rates rise. But in some cases,  librarians might be able to use their own institution’s usage data to their  advantage. “Many librarians have informed me that they use usage data to build  ratios for price-per-use,” says Roger Schonfeld, manager of research for the  nonprofit Ithaka S+R. “If you have one provider that has a higher price than  another provider, that would be a way of trying to estimate the value received  from different resources.” Librarians might also use it as leverage when trying  to negotiate a lower subscription rate, Schonfeld says.

Taken from The Coastal Source
"The  Cooked Side of Veggies"



Scientists are finding that various methods of cooking  veggies can actually boost certain nutrients. Brocolli, carrots, tomatoes -- we  all eat them but should we eat them raw or cooked? Before you go home and make a  simple salad, think of this --- the Journal of Agricultural and Food  Chemistry advises, cooking your veggies can release additional  nutrients while making the food tastier. Steamed brussel sprouts and beets  retain more cancer fighting nutrients than if consumed raw. Also peel and chop  the beets before steaming to allow the beets to cook faster. Roasted tomatoes  cause cell walls to burst releasing more lycopene, which can help decrease the  risk of prostate cancer.

Taken from Chemistry World
"Vodka  taste test tiff"



'Tis the season for the office drinks party, so perhaps an  appropriate time for a row to have broken out over the science behind the taste  of vodka. Last May, Chemistry World reported on a paper published in the  Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in which a group led  by Dale Schaefer of the University of Cincinnati in the US demonstrated that a  particular hydrate of ethanol occurred in different concentrations in different  vodka brands.1 This hydrate consists of around five molecules of water  associated with one of ethanol. The relative amount of hydrate could give  different vodka brands a different 'structurability', the authors suggested, and  this in turn could account for people's preference for one brand over another.  Dirk Lachenmeier, head of the alcohol laboratory at the Chemical and Veterinary  Investigation Laboratory in Karlsruhe, Germany, and colleagues Fotis Kanteres  and Jürgen Rehm, however, remained far from convinced, and have published a  comment on the original paper. 'Probably there are differences in these  structures but in my opinion this has nothing to do with the taste,' Lachenmeier  tells Chemistry World. 'I do not think that very small difference would have an  influence. I think there is more influence from labelling and branding.'

Taken from PBS NewsHour
"Just  Ask: How Does Sunscreen Work?"



The first widely used sunscreen was a sticky, red substance  with a consistency like jelly. It was created during World War II by a man named  Benjamin Greene, who distributed the stuff to soldiers in the Pacific for their  sunburns. He later founded the American sunscreen company, Coppertone.  Sunscreen's job is to protect the skin from ultraviolet rays, an invisible form  of radiation emitted from the sun. UV rays can damage the skin's DNA and  increase the risk of skin cancer, while accelerating the aging process, and  creating wrinkles and pigmentation, says Stephen Wang, director of  dermatological surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center at Basking  Ridge, N.J. There are two common types of sunscreen: inorganic and synthetic,  and they work by either blocking or absorbing these rays. Inorganic sunscreen is  made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, and it reflects and scatters UV light  rays, says Stefan Wawzyniecki, a professor and chemist at the  University of Connecticut and the American Chemical Society.  "The tiny particles of oxides act like reflectors of the harmful UVB rays, which  are the ones that cause the skin to burn."

Taken from Medscape

"Birth  Control Pills Not a Major Source of Estrogen in Water Supply"


Oral contraceptives account for just 1% of the estrogen  found in our drinking water supply, according to a new report in  Environmental Science & Technology. Reports of intersex  fish, including male fish with some female characteristics, led to widespread  concerns about female hormones leaching into the nation’s water supply. Some  suspected that estrogen from birth control pills excreted in urine may be a  significant contributor, but the new study exonerates birth control pills as a  main source of estrogen in our drinking supply. Instead, agricultural sources  such as livestock waste, soy and dairy foods, and other pharmaceuticals are  among the main culprits. “When you take a birth control pill, whatever is  excreted goes through a treatment plant, so only a very minimal amount reaches  the drinking water,” says study author Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH, an associate  professor and director of University of California-San Francisco's Program on  Reproductive Health and the Environment. Unlike human urine, cow urine is not  treated before it enters our water supply.

Taken from Time
"Christmas  Shoppers, Rejoice: Toys Are Safer...or Are They?"



The past few years have not been good ones for  companies that manufacture toys and kids who play with them. In September,  Fisher-Price recalled 7 million tricycles due to safety concerns. In June,  McDonald's recalled 12 million promotional “Shrek” drinking glasses because the  paint contained cadmium, a toxic metal; last month, an Associated Press  investigation found many more kinds of glasses are unsafe too. In the past three  years, more than 17 million toys have been recalled due to lead. Yet, according  to a recent press release by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)  timed to coincide with the frenzy of holiday gift-buying, the agency “wants  parents and consumers to know that safeguards put in place in recent years are  making a positive impact and helping to restore confidence in the safety of toys  in the marketplace.” Say what? In a recent report in the American Chemical  Society's journal Environmental Science & Technology,  authors Monica Becker, Sally Edwards and Rachel Massey proclaim a “toxic toys  crisis” and call for the U.S. to ban or restrict the use of toxic substances in  toys and other children's products. "Until significant changes in policy and  practice occur, consumers cannot be confident that products they purchase for  children are safe, healthy, and environmentally sustainable," they  write.

Taken from Nanowerk

"Hollow capsules expand graphene  nano-toolbox"


Graphene has attracted a huge amount of attention  in recent years with its extraordinarily high electrical and thermal  conductivities, mechanical, chemical properties, and large surface area. In  order to meet the various demands for a variety of applications, preparation of  desired structures of graphene sheets with controlled dimension and architecture  are of significant importance. For example, a number of approaches have been  made to assemble well-dispersed oxidized or chemically reduced graphene oxide  nanosheets into thin films with tailorable properties. Researchers even have  made the surprising finding that graphene-based nanomaterials possess excellent  antibacterial properties and fabricated antibacterial paper made from graphene.  "By taking advantage of versatile nano-size control assembly, we have  demonstrated the successful formation of three-dimensional hollow graphene oxide  capsules," Byeong-Su Kim tells Nanowerk. Kim, an assistant professor at the  Interdisciplinary School of Green Energy and School of NanoBioscience and  Chemical Engineering at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology  (UNIST), and his group have reported their novel and versatile approach for  preparing hollow multilayer capsules of graphene oxide nanosheets in a recent  issue of The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

Taken from Clean Energy Authority
"Singlet Fission could account for increases of up to  35 percent"



Photovoltaics could see a 35 percent increase in efficiency  through a process called singlet fission. Recently National Renewable Energy  Laboratory (NREL) and University of Colorado, Boulder scientists created a  molecular system that demonstrates how singlet fission can get two electrons  from one photon, thereby increasing the efficiency of photovoltaics. The  development could increase light-harvesting in photovoltaics by 35 percent,  according to NREL. The research was published by NREL’s Justin Johnson and  Arthur Nozik and the university’s Josef Michl in the Journal of the  American Chemical Society. NREL explained that “in singlet fission, a  light-absorbing molecular chromophore shares its energy with a nearby  non-excited neighboring molecule to yield a triplet excited state of each.” When  the two triplets behave independently, they can generate two electron-hole pairs  for each photon that’s absorbed by a solar cell, increasing efficiency.

Taken from Plastics News //

"Akron researchers make imprint on  nanolithography"


Researchers at the University of Akron have discovered a new  method for patterning curved or topographically uneven surfaces on the nano  scale. Nanolithography is crucial for emerging technologies, but has been  restricted to patterning flat surfaces until recently. Findings by UA graduate  students Sarang Bhawalkar, Jun Qian (a visiting student from Tianjin University,  China), Michael Heiber, and assistant professor of polymer science Li Jia are  available in the November issue of Langmuir, a publication of  the American Chemical Society. “Nanoparticles arranged in hexagonal patterns  have been widely used for surface patterning before our work, but these  particles touch and support each other,” explains Jia. “We were curious to learn  if we could use stand-alone particles not supporting each other.”

Taken from Medical News Today
"School Of Pharmacy's Rosen Named Maryland Chemist Of  The Year"



Gerald Rosen, PhD, JD, the Isaac E. Emerson Professor of  Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, has  been named the Maryland Chemist of the Year by the Maryland Chapter of  the American Chemical Society (ACS) - the most prestigious honor given  by the chapter. Rosen and colleagues are developing real-time Electron  Paramagnetic Resonance Imaging (EPRI) to measure critical oxygen levels after  stroke, in tumors, and to improve drug development. "Dr. Rosen's groundbreaking  work to develop real-time imaging of brain function after a stroke or other  events offers medicine an unprecedented new tool for evaluating and potentially  treating brain injury," said Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, dean of the  School. Rosen has devoted his career to the synthesis of the organic compounds  called nitroxides as probes used to study physiology in targeted places in whole  living organisms, and in real time.

Taken from LiveScience
"Demystifying Magic Tricks"



"Demystifying Magic Tricks" solves the mysteries of  disappearing ink, those birthday candles that just won't go out and demonstrates  how to get a hard-boiled egg into a bottle with a small neck. We all use  chemistry all the time. Below you can find a  few more intriguing stories from the scientific journals of the  American Chemical Society.

Taken from
"Wired up and ready to glow"


Thirty years ago, no one believed that elements other than  carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen could form double bonds at room temperature. But  the discovery of 'kinetic protection' ligands -- large, bulky molecules that  trap heavy atoms into multiply-bonded arrangements -- forced a textbook rewrite.  Researchers soon found that unsaturated bonds in newly synthesized substances  such as disilenes, which have double silicon–silicon connections, generated  chemical reactivity unlike any materials seen before. Kohei Tamao and colleagues  from the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Wako and Kyoto University have now  discovered a way to make disilenes into thermally stable, light-emitting  crystals by combining them with aromatic hydrocarbons. The key to their approach  is a protecting ligand known as 'Eind' that is rigid enough to lock carbon and  silicon atoms into a wire-like network. (Journal of the American  Chemical Society)

Taken from Scientific American // nthesis

"Power Plants: Engineers Mimic Photosynthesis to  Harvest Light Energy"



Plants take advantage of quantum mechanics to harvest  sunlight with near-perfect efficiency—though only roughly 2 percent of that  capture sunlight ultimately gets stored as chemical energy. Now scientists are  studying how this light-harvesting step of photosynthesis is optimized by nature  to learn how to mimic it in engineered systems for use in solar cells or  artificial leaves that produce fuels directly from the sun... Modeling these  genetically engineered systems, Cao found that one structure—stacks of  chromophore disks—could be tuned to improve the overall efficiency by combining  multiple disks of similar size but different combinations of bridges, acceptors  and donors. One particular configuration of two disks comprising bridges and  acceptors stacked between disks made entirely of donors is a good candidate for  designing artificial light-harvesting devices, according to the study published  October 21 in The Journal of Physical Chemistry B.

The Sun Herald
"SciFinder® Enhancements Include Chemical  Experimental Procedures to Expedite Scientific Research"


Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), the world's  leading provider of chemical information, today announced new time-saving  advancements and usability improvements to SciFinder, its premier research and  discovery tool. The enhancements will accelerate researchers' workflow and are  especially valuable for synthetic chemists and other researchers who are engaged  in lab preparations and synthesis planning. In addition to presenting cleaner,  more streamlined layouts, CAS chemists incorporated new features that enable  researchers to View experimental procedures in context with a reaction. Access  experimental procedures from six American Chemical Society journals and patents  from USPTO, EPO, and WIPO patents -- all released between 2005 and 2009.  Examine, sort, and analyze experimental procedures for applicability to  synthetic research needs. * Search structures using SMILES and InChI strings.  Enter SMILES (Simplified Molecular Input Line Entry Specification) or InChI  (International Chemical Identifier) text strings into SciFinder's drawing editor  to conveniently generate structures. Rank reactions by relevance. Bring the most  relevant reactions to the top of your answer set, improving retrieval quality  and speed. Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), a division of the American  Chemical Society, is the world's authority for chemical  information.

john simpson

That old book smell...

Posted by john simpson Dec 13, 2010

Taken from New York Magazine
"Reasons to Love New York--Because We’re Home to Not  Only the Publishing Industry But Also to a Woman Who Spends Her Days Smelling  Books"



After artist Rachael Morrison, 29, started working at the  MoMA library, she’d joke that she was “smelling books” all day. She loves being  surrounded by all these books in an increasingly digitized age—they already seem  like artifacts. She began wondering what it would be like not to be able to  smell them anymore. “When you read a book, you become immersed in this way that  feels very special and individual,” she says... Last year, in an article in the  journal Analytical Chemistry, researchers led by a group from  University College London’s Centre for Sustainable Heritage attempted to define  the odor of old books as “a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and  a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness.” The smell of books comes from  the volatile organic compounds that paper emits as it decays. But in truth,  there are as many book smells as there are books: Paper can be made from any  number of trees and treated with any number of chemicals, and many types of inks  and glues have been used through the years. It also depends on where the books  were stored.

Taken from USA Today
"Study: Don't blame the pill for estrogen in drinking  water"



Contrary to popular belief, birth control pills are not to  blame for estrogen found in U.S. drinking water supplies, new research  concludes. Oral contraceptives account for less than 1% of the estrogen,  according to an analysis of studies published in the American Chemical Society's  biweekly journal Environmental Science & Technology. Almost  12 million U.S. women take the pill, and since their urine contains the hormone,  it's often been assumed that oral contraceptives are the major source of  estrogen in lakes, rivers and streams, says the analysis by Amber Wise, Kacie  O'Brien and Tracey Woodruff. Yet the researchers say more of the estrogen found  in drinking water comes from soy and dairy products as well as animal manure  used untreated as a farm fertilizer. They cite studies suggesting that such  manure accounts for 90% of estrogen in the environment.

Taken from Nanowerk
"Better batteries from the bottom up - microbatteries  built with nanowire hearts"



Rice University researchers have moved a step closer to  creating robust, three-dimensional microbatteries that would charge faster and  hold other advantages over conventional lithium-ion batteries. They could power  new generations of remote sensors, display screens, smart cards, flexible  electronics and biomedical devices. The batteries employ vertical arrays of  nickel-tin nanowires perfectly encased in PMMA, a widely used polymer best known  as Plexiglas. The Rice laboratory of Pulickel Ajayan found a way to reliably  coat single nanowires with a smooth layer of a PMMA-based gel electrolyte that  insulates the wires from the counter electrode while allowing ions to pass  through. The work was reported this week in the online edition of the journal  Nano Letters.

Taken from the Illinois Daily Herald
"Dist. 211 conference aims to interest girls in  science careers"



High school District 211 is hosting its first GEMS, Girls in  Engineering, Math, & Science, Extravaganza to encourage girls to pursue  careers in those fields Saturday, Feb. 12, at Conant High School in Hoffman  Estates. The conference is for fifth- and sixth-grade girls in Palatine Township  Elementary School Districts 15, Schaumburg Township Elementary School District  54 and private schools within the District 211 attendance area, along with their  parents. The purpose of the conference is to educate girls about careers in  these fields and introduce female role models from the industry and District  211’s five high schools. Girls attending the conference will participate in  hands-on and interactive activities, as well as speaker sessions including women  from the American Chemical Society, Stepan Chemistry, and  Northwestern University.

Taken from the Poughkeepsie Journal
"Good life: Your positive  achievements"



Faculty and college students associated with the  Women's Chemist Committee of the American Chemical Society hosted 60 Brownies and Girl Scouts from Dutchess and Orange counties for a day  of experiments at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh during National Chemistry  Week. The goal of the event was to inspire girls to pursue careers in science,  according to a news release. National Chemistry Week is a community-based annual  event that unites local sections of the American Chemical Society, businesses,  schools and individuals in communicating the importance of chemistry.

Taken from Oneindia
"New forms of dietary fiber could be a boon to  health"




New types of dietary fiber are under development, which can  make high fiber foods tastier and more appealing to consumers. An article in  current issue of Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN), ACS'  weekly newsmagazine talks about this consumer friendly form of fiber, which  could be a boon to health. C&EN Associate Editor Jyllian Kemsley said that  dietary fiber plays key roles in human health. Fiber creates a feeling of  fullness that can reduce calorie intake, and provides an energy source for  beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. Studies link high fiber diets to a  reduced risk of diseases such as diabetes and colon cancer. Scientists and food  manufacturers are hoping that a new type of food fiber, called  digestion-resistant starch, would help boost fiber intake without agitating the  palate. Some scientists are trying to produce these new fibers by heating or  chemically altering existing starches and others are focusing on engineering  plants, such as wheat and rice, so that they can produce these fibers naturally.  A study found that when a group of men ate pieces of white bread containing a  form of the new fiber, their blood glucose and insulin levels dropped by nearly  half.

john simpson

Making sense of scents

Posted by john simpson Dec 10, 2010

Taken from The Economist
"Making  sense of scents"




Perfumes have colourful descriptions, such as floral or  musky, to give buyers an inkling of their aromas. But perfumers often disagree  about how to describe a particular fragrance, so the classification of scents is  inconsistent. Now researchers have revealed a new system to bring some order to  this odoriferous business. One reason why people describe smells differently is  a weakness of the nose. Although the human sense of smell is keen, it is  hampered by a lack of precision. When presented with hundreds of odours, the  nose can simultaneously distinguish only a few. Keenly aware of these problems,  Alírio Rodrigues at the University of Porto in Portugal and his colleagues  compiled an extensive list of scent descriptions from the existing databases  used by the perfume industry... Overall, as the researchers report in  Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, their system  agreed with assessments made by experts who had come to similar conclusions, and  it provided logical descriptions for perfumes that are frequently disputed. The  researchers plan to make their radar available as a product which they believe  perfumers can use to save time and money developing new scents.

Taken from Associated Content

"2011:  The International Year of Chemistry"




The United Nations General Assembly has designated 2011 as  the International Year of Chemistry (IYC). IYC will be a year-long celebration  of chemistry -- its achievements and contributions to humankind. Opening  ceremonies will take place at UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and  Cultural Organization) headquarters in Paris on Jan. 27-28, 2011. Scientists all  over the world are encouraged to participate in IYC-inspired activities in their  local schools and communities. The American Chemical Society (ACS) is part of the celebration, and is helping to organize events and  activities suitable for groups ranging from elementary school children to  professional scientists. The goals of IYC 2011 are "to increase public  appreciation of chemistry in meeting world needs, to encourage interest in  chemistry among young people, and to generate enthusiasm for the creative future  of chemistry." Additionally, the year 2011 provides a special opportunity to  celebrate the contributions of women scientists, as it marks the 100th  anniversary of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to Marie  Curie.

Taken from Centre Daily Times
"Using Yeast to Build a Better  Plastic"



Dr. Richard Gross, professor of chemical and biological  science at Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly), has  developed a method for producing a strong, highly ductile bioplastic using yeast  and one of nature's simplest building blocks: fatty acids of plant oils. The  findings were published in the Journal of the American Chemical  Society. Like all plastics, the new material is a polymer — a large  molecule comprised of smaller, repeating units called monomers. In this case,  the monomer itself is relatively new. The units are called omega-hydroxyfatty  acids, and when strung together to form a polymer, they can produce a  biologically friendly plastic. Until now, omega-hydroxyfatty acids were  difficult and expensive to produce using traditional methods, prohibiting their  widespread use. Gross produced the monomer in a first-of-its-kind fermentation  process, a fairly quick, low-cost method. The monomer is then polymerized to  form a uniquely ductile, strong natural plastic that biodegrades completely in  soil.

Taken from tje Kansas City Star
"Home and garden news and  notes"



Add a little Nordic flavor to your holiday celebration with  "Swedish Christmas Traditions: A Smorgasbord of Scandinavian Recipes, Crafts,  and Other Holiday Delights." In the book, Swedish interior designer and TV  personality Ernst Kirchsteiger offers his signature twist on the tastes and  sights of a traditional holiday celebration in his homeland. He includes ideas  for simple decorations, elegant flower arrangements and Christmas goodies -  including, of course, meatballs, glogg and three herring dishes. Q: I just  bought a Real Simple underbed storage bag to store some clothes in. The problem  is the overpowering stink of the plastic bag, kind of a petrol smell. Do you  have any suggestions for getting rid of the odor? A: You're smelling the  plasticizer that makes the bag very flexible, said Neal  Langerman, a member of the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Health & Safety. He suggested leaving the bag open  outdoors or in a well-ventilated garage until the odor dissipates. Washing it  with hot, soapy water and thoroughly drying it will help also.

Taken from the Wall Street Journal
"The Dicey Calculus of  Cooking"



Someone's in the kitchen with a calculator. It's holiday  entertaining time, which means that aside from the usual hurdles—seating charts  as thorny as the Congress of Vienna, obscure dietary preferences—home cooks are  wrestling with dishes they might make once a year and recipes that must be  doubled or tripled to feed a crowd. Pitfalls abound, and math is one of them.  Cooking is a blend of art and science, and while recipes aim to reduce the  margin of error, there are so many variables in contemporary cooking that the  opportunities to go awry are plentiful... If roasting is tricky, baking is  harrowing. "All cooking is in some way chemical," says Mr. Willoughby, "but  baking is really chemistry." Think you can substitute an eight-inch cake pan for  a nine-inch? Don't—the nine-inch holds 27% more batter. Sara  Risch, a food scientist and consultant, notes that a smaller pan will  cause a cake to form a dome, since the edges will set into a solid crust while  the thicker center remains liquid and able to expand. Ms. Risch notes another  problem for bakers: The thermostats in most home ovens aren't capable of  maintaining a constant temperature. The actual temperature can fall as much as  25 degrees before the heating element starts bringing it back up. Thus, she  says, heavier pans—like glass, for instance—perform particularly well since they  insulate a cake or pie from the fluctuations.

Taken from MSNBC
"Dirty money: Tests detect chemical BPA on dollar  bills"



As if holiday shopping weren’t stressful enough, a new  report says the dwindling stash of cash in your wallet might be tainted with the  controversial chemical BPA. Tests on a small sample of dollar bills found traces  of bisphenol A, the hormone-mimicking chemical linked to health problems from  infertility and cancer to early puberty and obesity, said Erika Schreder, a  scientist who led the study. “Most people don’t expect to find a toxic chemical  in their wallets,” said Schreder, who works for the Washington Toxics Coalition  in Seattle, which co-sponsored the report with the advocacy group Safer  Chemicals Health Families... But at least one critic said that testing 22 dollar  bills for BPA contamination hardly counts as a scientific sample. The U.S.  Treasury Department printed 2.6 billion $1 bills last year alone. “I hear these  kinds of reports and my first reaction is to shrug and say, ‘So what?’’’ said  Neal Langerman, a chemist and member of the health and safety  division of the American Chemical Society. "The data don't even  rise to the level of speculation." BPA is ubiquitous, Langerman agreed, but he  said there's little evidence so far to suggest that low levels of exposure lead  to major health hazards. There’s little doubt that BPA rubs from receipts onto  money, Langerman agreed. On that point, he and Schreder offered similar advice  to consumers worried about dirty money: Wash your hands.

Taken from Reuters

"Asian Nations Driving Innovation in Nanofiltration  to Address Impending Water Crisis"


Water scarcity is driving a wave of innovation in water  filtration technology from Asian nations, according to a report issued today by  Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), the world's authority for  chemical information. The report, CAS Chemistry Research Report: Nanofiltration  Shows Promise in the Quest for Pure Water, found that Asian researchers now lead  the world in patent activity related to nanofiltration, the most-researched  method of water filtration. According to the Asian Development Bank, Asian  nations will face a 40 percent deficit between water supply and demand by 2030.  Today's report finds that in the quest to counter water scarcity, Asian  researchers have issued 60 percent of all nanofiltration patents over the last  20 years, with China issuing 33 percent of all patents, followed by Japan and  Korea, issuing 16 and 10 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the United States led  in the publication of scholarly research on nanofiltration, issuing 25 percent  of all research journal literature between 1990 and 2009. "Asian populations are  growing exponentially faster than those of other countries making water  shortages a looming issue," said Christine McCue, vice president of marketing at  CAS. "The CAS databases suggest that Asian researchers are focused intensively  on mitigating this threat as they take a leadership position in the research and  commercialization of nanofiltration technology, surpassing the U.S. and Western  science output."

Taken from The Medical News
"Firefly enzyme offers new medical imaging agent for  blood clot detection"




The enzyme that makes fireflies glow is lighting up  the scientific path toward a long-sought new medical imaging agent to better  monitor treatment with heparin, the blood thinner that millions of people take  to prevent or treat blood clots, scientists are reporting. Their study appears  in the ACS' monthly journal Bioconjugate Chemistry. The new  study describes an advance toward using luciferase in medical imaging. The  scientists combined a protein obtained from firefly luciferase with a special  dye that allows the protein to emit near-infrared light. In laboratory  experiments, the new material successfully detected minute amounts of a specific  blood protein, called factor Xa, which is used to monitor the effectiveness of  heparin treatment. It offers promise for improved monitoring of heparin therapy,  the article suggests.

Taken from R&D Magazine
"Shoo, fly! Catnip oil repels bloodsucking  flies"



Catnip, the plant that attracts domestic cats like an  irresistible force, has proven 99 percent effective in repelling the  blood-sucking flies that attack horses and cows, causing $2 billion in annual  loses to the cattle industry. That's the word from a report published in ACS'  biweekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Junwei Zhu  and colleagues note that stable flies not only inflict painful bites, but also  transmit multiple diseases. Cattle harried by these bloodsuckers may produce  less meat and milk, have trouble reproducing, and develop diseases that can be  fatal. All traditional methods for controlling stable flies - even heavy  applications of powerful insecticides - have proven less than effective. The  scientists thus turned to catnip oil, already known to repel more than a dozen  families of insects, including house flies, mosquitoes and cockroaches. They  made pellets of catnip oil, soy, and paraffin wax, and spread them in a cattle  feedlot. Within minutes, the pellets shooed the flies away, with the repellent  action lasting for about three hours. Pellets without catnip oil, in contrast,  had no effect.

Taken from the Times of India
"Pill not the reason for oestrogen in  water"



The popular misconception that oral contraceptives are the  main reason behind the oestrogen content in drinking water supplies has been  disproved in a new study. Scientists have found that the pill accounts for less  than 1 per cent of the oestrogens found in drinking water. The report suggests  that most of the sex hormone — source of concern as an endocrine disruptor with  possible adverse effects on people and wildlife — enters drinking water supplies  from other sources. Analysis by Amber Wise, Kacie O'Brien and Tracey Woodruff  found that 17 alpha-ethinylestradiol (EE2) has a lower predicted concentration  in U.S. drinking water than natural oestrogens from soy and dairy products and  animal waste used untreated as a farm fertilizer. The report appears in ACS'  biweekly journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Taken from the Huffington Post
"The Wrinkle in No-Iron  Shirts"

How do they get those no-iron shirts to stay so  crisp looking? There was a time back in the day when I presented a rather  wrinkled persona. I took my shirts right out of the dryer and wore them rumpled,  proud of it. Alas, times have changed, and now for me and I suspect many of the  Flower Generation, the wrinkled look is not so cool... The no-iron shirt  companies agree that formaldehyde is a dangerous chemical, but they claim the  amount of formaldehyde we no-iron-shirt wearers are exposed to each day is too  small to matter. With the development of lower formaldehyde resins in the 1980s  overall exposure has been dropping. The GAO report identifies the main adverse  health concerns from clothing treated with formaldehyde as a variety of  irritative, allergenic and sensitization reactions on skin -- some of which can  engage the immune system. So while some people end up having an allergic  reaction to the material, the vast majority of us, myself included apparently,  can wear this apparel sans worry, sans any ill effects, or at least that's what  they say. Phillip Wakelyn, a fabric consultant in Washington, D.C., who worked  for many years in the apparel and cotton industry, told Chemical and  Engineering News: "Basically, this [allergic contact dermatitis] has  not been a problem for years."

Taken from the Chico Enterprise-Record
"Electric car technology needs huge leap, Chico State  professor says"


The fanciful title of a talk given on electric cars last  week may have summed up the vehicles' status pretty well. "Electric Car: Murder  Victim, Suicide or Still a Gleam in its Parents' Eyes?" was how Jim Postma  titled the talk he gave to a group of chemists. His conclusion: An electric car  that will meet public expectations is still a gleam in the eyes of those who  want to create one. Postma, a professor of chemistry at Chico State University,  said his talk's title had a connection to a documentary made about an electric  car, the EV-1, which General Motors put out in the 1990s. Postma gave his talk  at Chico State at a meeting of the Northern California Subsection of the  American Chemical Society, a professional organization for  chemists.

Taken from R&D Magazine
"Dueling dipoles"




Photosynthesis, the formation of energy-rich chemical  compounds with the aid of sunlight, is fundamental to life on Earth. In plants,  sunlight is collected by so-called antennal complexes, consisting of proteins  bound to the green pigment chlorophyll. The chlorophyll captures the light  energy and relays it, virtually without loss, via several intermediate  molecules, to the reaction centers, where it is converted into stable forms of  chemical energy. The intermolecular transfer process is described by Förster  theory. This postulates that pigments act as oscillating dipoles to electrically  excite adjacent molecules, in much the same way as the elements of a dipole  antenna pick up and feed radio signals to a receiver. Measurements carried out  in the laboratory of LMU chemist Professor Heinz Langhals, in collaboration with  the Department of Physics at LMU Munich, have now refuted this model. This may  well have repercussions for the development of optical computers and might help  to enhance the performance of solar cells. (Journal of the American  Chemical Society)

Taken from Science Daily
"Drugs Can Pass Through Human Body Almost Intact: New  Concerns for Antibiotic Resistance, Pollution Identified"




When an antibiotic is consumed, researchers have learned  that up to 90 percent passes through a body without metabolizing. This means the  drugs can leave the body almost intact through normal bodily functions.  Consequently, these discharges become "potential sources of antibiotic  resistance genes," says Amy Pruden, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award  recipient, and an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at  Virginia Tech. "The presence of antibiotics, even at sub-inhibitory  concentrations, can stimulate bacterial metabolism and thus contribute to the  selection and maintenance of antibiotic resistance genes," Pruden explains.  "Once they are present in rivers, antibiotic resistance genes are capable of  being transferred among bacteria, including pathogens, through horizontal gene  transfer." The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control  recognize antibiotic resistance "as a critical health challenge of our time,"  Pruden writes in a paper published in a 2010 issue of Environmental  Science and Technology.

Taken from Technology Review
"An Energy Boost for  Ultracapacitors"



Ultracapacitors, energy-storage devices that absorb  and release charge in minutes, could be a rapid-charging, cheaper, and safer  alternative to batteries for electric cars. But commercial ultracapacitors can  hold just 5 percent of the energy of lithium-ion batteries, providing short  power bursts that limit them to uses such as acceleration in hybrid buses.  Researchers at Nanotek Instruments in Dayton, Ohio, have now made graphene  electrodes that could lead to ultracapacitors with more than five times the  energy density of commercial devices. By using graphene--atom-thick sheets of  carbon--Nanotek increases the surface area of the electrodes in the  ultracapacitors, boosting the amount of charge that they can store. "We are  trying to bridge the performance gap between an ultracapacitor and a lithium-ion  battery," says Nanotek's Bor Jang, the lead author of a paper published in the  online version of the journal Nano Letters. The company's tests  of a coin-sized ultracapacitor cell show that the graphene electrodes could  store 85.6 watt-hours of energy per kilogram. Since an electrode typically  weighs about one-third of a full-size ultracapacitor, a practical device would  have an energy density of around 28 watt-hours per kilogram, Jang says.

Taken from Reuters
"Study Charts How Underground CO2 Can Leach Metals  into Water"




It’s not common for a solution to carbon emissions to also  pose a contamination danger for drinking water supplies, but new research  indicates that if CO2 stored deep underground were to leak in even small  amounts, it could cause metals to be released in shallow groundwater aquifers at  concentrations that would pose a health risk. In a study published in  Environmental Science & Technology, authors Mark Little and  Robert B. Jackson studied samples of sand and rock taken from four freshwater  aquifers located around the country that overlie potential carbon capture and  sequestration (CCS) sites. The scientists found that tiny amounts of CO2 drove  up levels of metals including manganese, cobalt, nickel, and iron in the water  tenfold or more in some places. Some of these metals moved into the water  quickly, within one week or two. They also observed potentially dangerous  uranium and barium steadily moving into the water over the entire year-long  experiment.

Taken from R&D Magazine
"Brookhaven Lab's Suresh Srivastava Honored with  Lifetime Achievement Award"


Suresh Srivastava, a senior medical scientist at the U.S.  Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, has won a Society of  Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award. Srivastava received the  award at the International Symposium on Technetium and Other Radiometals in  Chemistry and Medicine, held September 8-11, 2010, in Bressanone, Italy. At the  same time, Srivastava was also honored with the University of Padova’s Gold  Medal in recognition of his continued role in the advancement of basic sciences  in nuclear medicine... Srivastava’s honors include many awards. These include  the 1986 Industrial Research-100 (now R&D) magazine award; the Federal  Laboratory Consortium Award in 1988; Srivastava is an active member of more than  a dozen national and international associations, including the U.S. Society of  Nuclear Medicine and the American Chemical Society, in both of  which he has held several offices.

Taken from Discovery News
"Bioplastics Not So Green"




Plant-based plastics appeal to green-minded consumers thanks  to their renewable origins, but their production carries environmental costs  that make them less green than they may seem, research says. "The main concern  for us is that these plant-derived products have a green stamp on them just  because they're derived from biomass," said study author Amy Landis of the  University of Pittsburgh. "It's not true that they should be considered  sustainable. Just because they're plants doesn't mean they're green." The work,  by Landis and others and published in Environmental Science &  Technology, traces the full impact of plastic production all the way  back to its source for several types of plastics. The technique considered each  process's footprint for 10 different types of environmental impacts, from global  warming potential to release of human carcinogens to smog to algae-choked lakes  or eutrophication. For bioplastics, the tracing incorporates, among other  things, the environmental consequences of the chemicals and the energy required  to grow the corn, soybeans or sugarcane that often comprise the plastics. For  standard, petroleum-based plastics, the analysis includes the environmental  impacts of extracting and refining the oil.

Taken from

"Ginger, Garlic, and Chili Pepper in a warming winter  soup"


For me, in the deepening dark and solid clear cold of  December, I want to be warm. I want warmth coming from the inside of my belly as  well as from sweaters on the outside of my belly. Ginger, garlic, and chili  peppers accomplish just that... Ginger has been “used as a medicine in Asian,  Indian, and Arabic herbal traditions since ancient times,” according to the  University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine. Garlic contains allicin,  a sulfur containing substance that is released when garlic is crushed or  chopped. Allicin exhibits antibacterial and anti-fungal properties in lab  studies according to the Journal of the American Chemical  Society. Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a phytochemical that behaves  as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and metabolic enhancer. If you have  shingles or minor pain from muscle sprains, your doctor can proscribe for you a  Capsaicin cream, though the Mayo Clinic site quickly points out that, “this  medicine will not cure any of these conditions.”

Taken from the Illinois Daily Herald
"Fighting the Fat This Winter -- and  Beyond"



When the cold weather sets in, it's natural to want to avoid  the chill by staying huddled inside the house. While lounging by the fireplace  may be cozy, staying cooped up in the house can lead to inactivity, overeating  and indulging in unhealthy comfort foods. To make matters worse, the holiday  season is notorious for parties featuring indulgent dishes that can cause you to  pack on the pounds. According to a study published in the New England Journal of  Medicine, Americans typically gain a minimal amount of weight during the holiday  season, but that extra weight often stays on, accumulating through the years  with the potential to become a major contributor to obesity later in life...  Stay Hydrated. Water should be your go-to beverage because it hydrates, and  drinking more water can lead to weight loss, according to a study presented at  the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. To  help you and your family get the daily recommended water intake, use a  quick-filling pitcher like the Filtrete water pitcher, which filters and fills  five times faster than traditional filtering water pitchers. The pitcher helps  reduce sediment, chlorine taste and odor from tap water and easily fits on the  refrigerator shelf or in the door for easy access by the whole family.

Taken from Thaindian News
"New high-performance fiber promises better  bulletproof vests, airplanes"



Northwestern University researchers have created a new kind of fibre  that could be tougher than Kevlar. Working in a multidisciplinary team, the  group has created a high performance fibre from carbon nanotubes and a polymer  that is remarkably tough, strong, and resistant to failure. Using  state-of-the-art in-situ electron microscopy testing methods, the group was able  to test and examine the fibers at many different scales - from the nano scale up  to the macro scale - which helped them understand just exactly how tiny  interactions affect the material’s performance. Their results were published in  the journal ACS Nano.

Taken from Science News
"Heavier crudes, heavier  footprints"




Relying on heavy oils and tar sands as the feedstock for  liquid fuels will exaggerate the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with  fossil-fuel use, a new study finds. Light crudes are the easiest to work with.  But as their biggest and most accessible reservoirs have been tapped — and often  tapped out — the oil industry has increasingly been turning to what has been  termed “unconventional” stocks. These are viscous, if not tarry, forms of  petroleum. And as the upper graph below shows, the average “gravity” — viscosity  of crude — has fallen into the heavy range (below an average of about 31 degrees  on the American Petroleum Institute scale) beginning in 2000. At least for oil  processed by U.S. refineries. The higher energy intensity inherent in processing  sour, heavy crudes has been known for a long time, observes Greg Karras of the  Oakland, Calif.-based Communities for a Better Environment... The evolution  toward more sour and viscous petroleum sources “drove a 39 percent increase in  emissions across regions and years,” Karras reports in a paper posted early  online in Environmental Science & Technology. Fossil-fuel  use increased 61 megajoules for each kilogram of sulfur in a cubic meter of oil  and increased 44 megajoules for each kilogram per cubic meter of oil  density.

Taken fron the Sacramento Bee
"Keck Graduate Institute Unveils Science Heritage  Center"




Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) announced today the  establishment of the new Science Heritage Center which showcases inventors  Arnold Beckman and Wallace Coulter, whose pioneering analytical instruments  revolutionized the bioscience and diagnostic industries. "We want this exhibit  to showcase analytical inventions and systems that changed the life science  landscape," said Jim Osborne, PhD, KGI's Robert E. Finnigan professor, who was  instrumental in bringing the exhibit to KGI for the public as well as students  to enjoy and learn from. Consisting of more than 50 pieces of equipment on  display across two corridors, the exhibit covers 70 years of scientific history.  It is arranged in chronological order and begins with the pH Meter invented by  Beckman in 1935 to determine the pH level of lemon juice. His colleague, a  chemist for the California Fruit Growers Exchange, wanted to make concentrated  lemon juice and needed an accurate and rapid method of measuring the acidity of  the juice. The Beckman pH meter, which sparked a chemical revolution, was  designated a National Historical Chemical Landmark by the  American Chemical Society in 2004.

Taken from Reuters
"Internationally Known Scientist, Doug Schoon  Challenges Oregon OSHA's Misleading Claims that "Methylene Glycol" is a Synonym  for "Formaldehyde""



Research scientist Doug Schoon, is denouncing Oregon OSHA’s  claim to measure "Formaldehyde" in water-based cosmetics such as lotion or  creams and certain nail products or hair products, such as shampoos,  conditioners and hair straightening products, when in fact they are measuring  and reporting concentrations of a completely different substance called  "Methylene Glycol." “This is both misleading and causing confusion in many areas  including medical and environmental research,” said Schoon, a leading authority  in the cosmetic, beauty and personal care industry. “OSHA should lead the way  and clear up this long standing confusion, not continue to propagate myths which  started in the early 1900’s when manufacturers mistakenly believed that  Formaldehyde simply dissolved when added to water.”... In 1972, both Methylene  Glycol and Formaldehyde were assigned different CAS registry numbers indicating  the American Chemical Society also believes these are different  and unique chemical substances. “It is unfortunate that this world-wide  misunderstanding continues to propagate confusion and mislead medical,  environmental and other scientific researchers around the world,” said Schoon.

Taken from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"An international bid to name the proteins in  cancer"



Writing in the Journal of Proteome  Research, scientists have proposed launching an international effort to  identify all of the proteins in cancer cells. The project would be similar in  scale to the Human Genome Project which sequenced DNA to produce the first full  blueprint of a human being. Cristobal Belda-Iniesta, a doctor at University  Hospital La Paz in Madrid and one of the authors of the new paper, said doctors  already use biopsies and medical imaging in order to tailor treatments to  specific patients,a trend that the cancer project would accelerate. By analyzing  the protein markers in cancer patients, doctors could learn how a particular  cancer should respond to a particular drug. The proposed project would combine  the efforts of hospitals, research centers and governments around the globe.

Taken from the Washington Post
"New energy efficiency standards for  shipping"



Major shippers will join with retailers and the Carbon War  Room group on Monday to announce that they will apply a universal energy  efficiency index to their fleets. The effort could translate into serious cuts  in greenhouse gas emissions from global shipping by enabling shippers to measure  and compare how dirty some marine vessels are. The Carbon War Room, a group  founded by British entrepreneur Richard Branson and several other business  leaders, has been working over the past couple of years to develop responses to  climate change from the private sector... These shipping emissions pose a  significant public health risk, as well: According to a 2007 study published in  the journal Environmental Science & Technology, exposure to  shipping-related fine particle emissions accounted for 19,000 to 64,000 annual  deaths stemming from heart and lung disease.

Taken from
"Direct Writing of Metal Lines Less Than 5 nm  Wide"



A group of Beckman Institute researchers have discovered a practical  method for direct writing of metal lines less than five nanometers (5 nm) wide,  a big step in creating contacts to and interconnects between nanoscale device  structures like carbon nanotubes and graphene that have potential uses in  electronics applications. The research was led by Beckman faculty members Joe  Lyding, Gregory Girolami and Angus Rockett, with Lyding student Wei Ye as lead  author. Their paper reporting the research is titled Direct Writing of Sub-5 nm  Hafnium Diboride Metallic Nanostructures and appeared in the journal ACS  Nano.

Taken from the Exchange Morning Post
"Measuring the Unmeasurable: Carleton Professor  Succeeds in Testing New Emissions Technique"




Carleton Engineering Prof. Matthew Johnson has conducted the  first-ever quantitative measurement of carbon emissions from gas flares using  the new Sky-LOSA technique. Working in collaboration with the National Research  Council and Natural Resources Canada, development of the technique is continuing  rapidly and has the potential to evolve into a new standard to assess and reduce  carbon emissions. Conducted in Uzbekistan, in a remote area near the Afghan  border, his research found the estimated soot emission rate from a single, large  gas flare was equivalent to 500 buses driving continuously, approximately 275  trillion soot-particles per second. The results of this effort will appear in  the prestigious journal Environmental Science & Technology,  building on a previous publication of lab-based experiments.

Taken from Top News

"‘Perfumery radar’ to bring order to odour  classification"



Perfumes are often described as `floral', `citrus', `woody'  or `oriental' but experts still describe the same smell with different words  that often are arbitrary. Not any more, hopefully. Scientists have announced  development and successful testing of the first perfumery radar (PR) - a  long-awaited new tool for bringing scientific order to the often-arbitrary  process of classifying the hundreds of odours that make up perfumes. According  to Alirio Rodrigues and colleagues, it relies on plots (see graphic), similar to  the displays used to track aircraft. They used the PR to classify the primary  odour families of 14 commercial perfumes and found that the results closely  matched those of experienced perfume makers. With the PR, manufacturers could  speed up the development of new perfumes - namely the so-called preformulation  stage in which they experimentally evaluate the product - thus saving time and  money, the report stated. The study appears in ACS' journal Industrial  & Engineering Chemistry Research.

Taken from R&D Magazine
"Scientists propose new international cancer effort  akin to Human Genome Project"



Scientists are proposing an international effort,  on the scale of the Human Genome Project (HGP), to identify all the proteins  present in cancer cells. HGP was the international scientific research project  that identified and mapped all the genes in humans. Within a decade, they  believe, results of the new effort could provide cancer patients with more  effective treatments customized to their own biology. The perspective appears in  ACS' Journal of Proteome Research. Accomplishing it will  require an international effort to identify these cancer-related proteins with  collaboration among hospitals, research centers, and governments from around the  world. Doctors would collect blood samples from patients with the major forms of  cancer prior to surgery or during drug treatment for cancer in order to profile  the proteins associated with the success or failure of a specific treatment,  with cancer's spread to distant sites in the body, and other factors. The  results in improved treatments could begin to appear within 5 years of  completing the project, they suggest.

Taken from Food Navigator
"Study supports stevia stability and  safety in carbonated beverages"

Sweetening carbonated beverages with  stevia, and reb A in particular, does not produce any steviol aglycone, a  potentially toxic compound, says a new study which supports the safety and  stability of the sweetener. According to new data published in the  Journal of  Agricultural and Food Chemistry, both rebaudioside A  (reb A) and stevioside degraded in different soft drink formulations, with up to  70 per cent of the compounds lost under extreme conditions, but at no point was  steviol aglycone detected. The study was welcomed by Mel Jackson, PhD, vice  president science for stevia supplier Sweet Green Fields who explained that it  is already known that steviol glycosides, such as reb A and stevioside, are not  stable under long term storage conditions in acidified conditions typical of  those found in some phosphoric acid based carbonated beverages.

Taken from Nanowerk
"An electric motor made from a  single molecule"

A fast-growing body of  nanotechnology research is dedicated to nanoscale motors and molecular  machinery. For the visionary goals of nanotechnology, functional and perhaps  autonomous molecular motors will play an essential part, just like electric  motors can be found in many appliances today. These nanomachines could perform  functions similar to the biological molecular motors found in living cells,  things like transporting and assembling molecules, or facilitating chemical  reactions by pumping protons through membranes. A team of researchers in The  Netherlands is now proposing a conceptually new design of molecular motor based  on electric field actuation and electric current detection of the rotational  motion of a molecular dipole embedded in a three-terminal single-molecule  device. "We have shown that it is feasible to both drive a motor consisting of a  single molecule and measure its rotation using electric fields" Johannes S.  Seldenthuis tells Nanowerk. "Although motors powered by light or heat are useful  for driving large assemblies of molecules at once, it is very difficult to apply  a force locally to drive a single molecular motor. With an electric field this  becomes much easier. Moreover, the speed of rotation can be controlled very  accurately by varying the frequency of the electric field." The research appears  in ACS Nano.

Taken from Laboratory  Equipment
"Biochemistry Helps Boost Pork  Flavor"

Perhaps you can’t make a silk purse  out of a sow’s ear, but scientists are reporting progress in pulling off the  same trick with the notoriously bland flavor of pork. They are reporting new  insights into the biochemical differences in the meat of an Italian swine  renowned for its good flavor since the ancient Roman Empire and the modern  “Large White” or Yorkshire hog, whose roots  date back barely 125 years. Their study appears in ACS’ Journal of Proteome  Research. Lello Zolla and colleagues from the  Univ. of  Tuscia note that modern  lean pork’s reputation as bland and tasteless — “the other white meat” — has  fostered new interest in heritage breeds. In the new study, the scientists  focused on the mechanism that converts genetic information in DNA into proteins  and the actual proteins present in the longissimus lumborum muscle of Casertana  and Large White pigs. That muscle appears in the supermarket as pork chops, pork  tenderloin, and pork ribs. They identified biochemical mechanisms involved in  the Large White’s ability to produce more meat than fat, and the corresponding  mechanisms that enable the Casertana to produce more fat.

Taken from Mother Nature  Network
"New research shows possible  breakthrough for wine allergies"

Many people enjoy a  glass of wine at the end of the day to unwind. But for others, this mode of  relaxation may just cause one big headache. Or sneeze. Or sniffle. Some experts  estimate that as many as 500 million people worldwide suffer after sipping wine.  But as reports, new research could soon provide much needed relief to  sensitive wine aficionados. When some people drink wine, they suffer skin  rashes, breathing problems, sinus issues and more. As reports, these  issues have long been attributed to sulfites. Sulfites are not only found in  wine and beer, but also in a large variety of processed foods, dried fruit,  baked goods and even condiments. But as researchers from the University of Southern Denmark point out, a sensitivity  to sulfites may not be the problem for some people. In fact, glycoproteins may  be to blame for this allergic reaction to wine. Glycoproteins occur during the  fermentation process and are the same sugar-coated proteins that trigger  allergic reactions to allergens like ragweed and dust mites. And this may be the  reason for so many sneezes after a glass of wine.