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Here’s an item from this week’s PressPac that we thought you’d enjoy. The PressPac features summaries of articles appearing in our peer-reviewed journals and Chemical & Engineering News. To get the entire PressPac in your inbox, email us at newsroom@acs.org.


“Sprouted” garlic — old garlic bulbs with bright green shoots emerging from the cloves — is considered to be past its prime and usually ends up in the garbage can. But scientists are reporting in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that this type of garlic has even more heart-healthy antioxidant activity than its fresher counterparts.


Jong-Sang Kim and colleagues note that people have used garlic for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Today, people still celebrate its healthful benefits. Eating garlic or taking garlic supplements is touted as a natural way to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure and heart disease risk. It even may boost the immune system and help fight cancer. But those benefits are for fresh, raw garlic. Sprouted garlic has received much less attention. When seedlings grow into green plants, they make many new compounds, including those that protect the young plant against pathogens. Kim’s group reasoned that the same thing might be happening when green shoots grow from old heads of garlic. Other studies have shown that sprouted beans and grains have increased antioxidant activity, so the team set out to see if the same is true for garlic.


They found that garlic sprouted for five days had higher antioxidant activity than fresher, younger bulbs, and it had different metabolites, suggesting that it also makes different substances. Extracts from this garlic even protected cells in a laboratory dish from certain types of damage. “Therefore, sprouting may be a useful way to improve the antioxidant potential of garlic,” they conclude.


The authors acknowledge funding from the IPET High Value-Added Food Technology Development Program.


“Garlic Sprouting Is Associated with Increased Antioxidant Activity and Concomitant Changes in the Metabolite Profile”


Click here for the abstract.


*Journalists can request a PDF of the journal article by emailing newsroom@acs.org.


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Here’s an item from this week’s PressPac that we thought you’d enjoy. The PressPac features summaries of articles appearing in our peer-reviewed journals and Chemical & Engineering News. To get the entire PressPac in your inbox, email us at newsroom@acs.org.


While taking in the scenery during long road trips, passengers also may be taking in potentially harmful ultrafine particles (UFPs) that come into the car through outdoor air vents. Closing the vents reduces UFPs, but causes exhaled carbon dioxide to build up. Now, scientists report in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology that installing a newly developed high-efficiency cabin air filter (HECA) could reduce UFP exposure by 93 percent and keep carbon dioxide levels low.

 

Yifang Zhu and Eon Lee explain that most modern cars come with cabin air filters, but they only block 40-60 percent of the UFPs when in “outdoor air mode.” These particles are 100 nanometers or less in diameter; about a thousand of them could fit across the width of a human hair. Studies suggest that UFPs, which are found in automotive exhaust, may be linked with health problems. Switching the venting system into “recirculation mode” reduces UFPs by 90 percent, but because the interior is closed off from the outside, exhaled carbon dioxide can potentially build up to levels that could impair decision-making. To address this challenge, Zhu and Lee decided to develop a method that would simultaneously reduce UFPs inside cars, while also allowing carbon dioxide to escape.

 

They developed HECA filters that could reduce UFP levels by an average of 93 percent in 12 commercially available vehicles while driving in outdoor air mode. Compared with the original manufacturer-installed filters, the new one is made of synthetic fibers of much smaller diameters. Carbon dioxide remained at a “reasonable” level, they say.

 

The authors acknowledge funding from the California Air Resources Board and the National Science Foundation.


“Application of a High Efficiency Cabin Air Filter for Simultaneous Mitigation of Ultrafine Particle and Carbon Dioxide Exposures inside Passenger Vehicles”


Click here for the abstract.


*Journalists can request a PDF of the journal article by emailing newsroom@acs.org.


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Here’s an item from this week’s PressPac that we thought you’d enjoy. The PressPac features summaries of articles appearing in our peer-reviewed journals and Chemical & Engineering News. To get the entire PressPac in your inbox, email us at newsroom@acs.org.


Whether lifting weights in a gym or just walking around the block, exercise has many benefits, such as helping people lose weight and build stronger muscles. Some studies suggest that it may reduce the risk of developing cancer and other diseases. Researchers now report in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research that moderate, long-term physical activity appears to improve cardiovascular health in mice by targeting the heart cells’ powerhouses — the mitochondria.


Eduard Sabidó, Francisco Amado and colleagues explain that despite the well-documented benefits of exercise, the exact way that it helps the heart is not well understood. Sure, it helps strengthen the heart muscle so it can pump more blood throughout the body more efficiently. And people who get off the couch and exercise regularly have a reduced risk of developing heart problems and cardiovascular disease. One estimate even claims that 250,000 deaths every year in the U.S. are at least partially due to a lack of exercise. But how this all happens in the body at the molecular level has perplexed researchers — until now.


The team found that laboratory mice (stand-ins for humans) that exercised for 54 weeks on a treadmill-running regimen had higher levels of certain proteins in the mitochondria of their heart cells than mice that did not exercise. Mitochondria produce energy for the body’s cells. In particular, they identified two proteins, kinases called RAF and p38, that “seem to trigger the beneficial cardiovascular effects of lifelong exercise training,” they say.


The authors acknowledge funding from the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, QREN, FEDER and COMPETE.


"Lifelong Exercise Training Modulates Cardiac Mitochondrial Phosphoproteome in Rats"


Click here for the abstract.


*Journalists can request a PDF of the journal article by emailing newsroom@acs.org.


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Here’s an item from this week’s PressPac that we thought you’d enjoy. The PressPac features summaries of articles appearing in our peer-reviewed journals and Chemical & Engineering News. To get the entire PressPac in your inbox, email us at newsroom@acs.org.


Potential side effects of many of today’s therapeutic drugs can be downright frightening — just listen carefully to a drug commercial on TV. These effects often occur when a drug is active throughout the body, not just where and when it is needed. But scientists are reporting progress on a new tailored approach to deliver medicine in a much more targeted way. The study on these new electronically controlled drugs appears in the journal ACS Nano.

 

Xinyan Tracy Cui and colleagues note that in the lab, “smart” medical implants can now release drugs on demand when exposed to various cues, including ultraviolet light and electrical current. These advances are largely thanks to developments in nanomaterials that can be designed to carry drugs and then release them at specific times and dosages. Researchers have also experimented with loading anti-cancer drugs on thin, tiny sheets of graphene oxide (GO), which have a lot of traits that are useful in drug delivery. But current techniques still require tweaking before they’ll be ready for prime time. Cui’s team wanted to work out some of the final kinks.

 

They incorporated GO nanosheets into a polymer thin film that can conduct electricity, loaded it with an anti-inflammatory drug and coated an electrode with it. When they zapped the material with an electric current, they showed that it released the drug consistently in response. They could do this several hundred times. Also, by experimenting with the sizes and thicknesses of the GO sheets, the scientists could change how much drug the nanosheets could carry. Cui said this approach could be useful in treating epilepsy, for example. In that case, medication already lying in wait inside the body could be released at the onset of a seizure.

 

The authors acknowledge funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.


“Electrically Controlled Drug Delivery from Graphene Oxide Nanocomposite Films”


Click here for the abstract.


*Journalists can request a PDF of the journal article by emailing newsroom@acs.org.
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