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ACS in the News - January 28, 2010

ACS in the News - January 28, 2010

'ACS in the News' publishes daily articles from newspapers, blogs and magazines about the American Chemical Society and its 38 peer-reviewed journals. Click on the links below to view the published article. The full-text article can also be found in the attached document at the bottom of the page.

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

“Ginkgo herbal may increase the risk of seizures”

January 28, 2010

Ginkgo may increase the risk of seizures in people with epilepsy and could reduce the effectiveness of anti-seizure drugs, a new report concludes. The article, which appears in ACS' monthly Journal of Natural Products, thereby advices that restrictions should be placed on the use of Ginkgo biloba (G. biloba), a top-selling herbal remedy. The research also suggests that Ginkgo may have harmful effects in other people after eating raw or roasted Ginkgo seed or drinking tea prepared from Ginkgo leaves. Researchers Eckhard Leistner and Christel Drewke note that consumers use pills, teas, and other products prepared from leaves of the Ginkgo tree to treat a wide array of health problems. Those include Alzheimer''s disease and other memory loss, clinical depression, headache, irritable bladder, alcohol abuse, blockages in blood vessels, poor concentration, and dizziness. Scientific concern focuses mainly on one chemical compound in the herb. It is a potentially toxic material known as ginkgotoxin. They reviewed scientific research on Ginkgo, and found 10 reports indicating that patients with epilepsy who take Ginkgo products face an increased risk of seizures. They note that laboratory studies explain how Ginkgo could have that unwanted effect.

Discovery News (Silver Spring, Md.: 1.5 million monthly unique users)

“Grass-Fed Beef Has Bigger Carbon Footprint”

January 27, 2010

Red meat has a bad reputation among the green-minded for its emissions of heat-trapping gases that exacerbate climate change. Fertilizer derived from fossil fuels is required for growing grain to feed cattle, and cows' digestion produces large amounts of the potent greenhouse gas methane, which is 25 times more heating than carbon dioxide. But a new study of the Australian livestock industry finds that the seemingly greener alternative to grain-fed beef -- beef from cows grazed on grass -- produces more greenhouse gases per pound than beef from feedlots. "The reason for that is that, on the one hand, the grain-based diet can be digested better by the animals, so that reduces the enteric methane production by the animals," said study lead author Matthias Schulz of the University of New South Wales Water Research Center in Australia. Grain-finished beef produced 38 percent less methane, the researchers found, though other studies have reported as much as 70 percent less. Emissions from grass-fed cows were about 20 percent higher than grain fed, according to the study, which was published in Environmental Science and Technology, and funded by Meat and Livestock Australia.

U.S. News & World Report (Washington D.C.: monthly circulation 1.5 million)

“Algae as Biofuel Still Rough Around the Edges”

January 27, 2010

Algae have emerged as a rising star among renewable fuels. But like any celebrity, the microorganisms still need the essentials to survive. The environmental footprint of providing algae with nutrients and water must be considered in judging whether algae will be competitive with other plant-based fuels, researchers report online January 19 in Environmental Science & Technology… “The energy problem is the most fundamental, most difficult challenge we have faced for a long time,” John Sheehan says, and the new work underscores the complexity of transitioning from fossil to renewable fuels. “After 150 years of punching a hole in the ground and getting fuel to come out as a liquid, it is not going to easy.”

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

“Clean and green: Supermarket shelves awash in eco-friendly laundry detergents”

January 27, 2010

Laundry detergent manufacturers are rolling out a new generation of products aimed at making cleaning more efficient and environmentally friendly, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine. C&EN Assistant Managing Editor Michael McCoy points out in the cover story that this trend in innovative fabric cleaning products is occurring despite a rocky economy in 2009, which led to sales declines for premium laundry products such as Tide. Overall, however, the liquid detergent market managed to rack up $3.1 billion in U.S. sales in 2009, according to the article. Products include new detergents and other laundry aids that contain natural, sustainable ingredients that are less likely to harm the environment than conventional cleaners. Manufacturers are also marketing specialty cleaners that help reduce energy or water consumption. Other new products aim to make cleaning more efficient, including at least one new cleaner that combines detergent, fabric softener, and static reducer into one sheet-like product.

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

“Energy-Harvesting Rubber Chips Could Power Pacemakers, Cell Phones”

January 28, 2010

Power-generating rubber films developed by Princeton University engineers could harness natural body movements such as breathing and walking to power pacemakers, mobile phones and other electronic devices. The material, composed of ceramic nanoribbons embedded onto silicone rubber sheets, generates electricity when flexed and is highly efficient at converting mechanical energy to electrical energy. Shoes made of the material may one day harvest the pounding of walking and running to power mobile electrical devices. Placed against the lungs, sheets of the material could use breathing motions to power pacemakers, obviating the current need for surgical replacement of the batteries which power the devices. A paper on the new material was published online Jan. 26, in Nano Letters.

Nanowerk (Honolulu, Hawaii: 70,700 monthly unique users)

“Smart drug delivery capsules that release their contents at a selected temperature”

January 27, 2010

How can an active principle be delivered in a controlled way? Until now, there was no obvious answer to this question. Now however, researchers at the CNRS Paul Pascal Research Center in Bordeaux have designed smart capsules that are able to release their contents on demand, simply by raising the temperature. Described in an article published on 2 February 2010 in the journal Langmuir, this novel system has just been patented. It opens up the way to many applications in a large number of fields such as food, perfumes and agriculture, for instance to deliver pesticides above a specific temperature. In order to deliver an encapsulated substance, such as a therapeutic agent in medicine, silica substrates are often used. Release then takes place via the pores in the silica or by dissolution of the latter, but this occurs in an uncontrolled, or practically uncontrolled, manner. To overcome this major disadvantage, three researchers from the Paul Pascal  Research Center (1), one of CNRS's own units, have developed an ingenious and totally novel method: capsules that can release their contents on demand, under the effect of heating.

… From the Blogs

“From gecko feet, lesson in nanotube transfer”

January 27, 2010

Geckos seem to defy gravity by sticking to a surface no matter how smooth it appears to be—all thanks to the electrical attraction between millions of microscopic hairs on the gecko’s feet and the surface. The same concept is allowing researchers to transfer forests of strongly aligned, single-walled carbon nanotubes from one surface to another in a matter of minutes. The template used to grow the nanotubes, with its catalyst particles still intact, can be used repeatedly to grow more nanotubes, almost like inking a rubber stamp. Researchers from Rice  University offer details of their work in the online version of the journal ACS Nano.


“The New York Section of the American Chemical Society Presents Outstanding Service Award to Queensb...

January 27, 2010

Recognizing his leadership and long-standing involvement in the New York Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) – the world’s largest scientific society– David M. Sarno, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Queensborough Community College, a college of The City University of New York (CUNY), received the New York Section 2009 Outstanding Service Award in January at the 2010 NY-ACS General Meeting and Section-Wide Conference at St. John’s University, in Jamaica, New York. “While I am honored to receive this award, it should be shared by several people who were instrumental in creating exceptional programs and presentations throughout the years,” said Dr. Sarno, who also served as Co-Chair of the prestigious Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting (MARM) of the American Chemical Society with Dr. Paris Svoronos, Professor and Chairperson of Chemistry at Queensborough.