ACS News Service November 3 PressPacdoc - ACS News Service

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ACS News Service November 3 PressPacdoc - ACS News Service

    News Service

    Weekly Press Package

    November 3, 2010

Here is the latest American Chemical Society (ACS) Weekly PressPac from the Office of

    Public Affairs. It has breaking news from ACS‟ 38 peer-reviewed journals and Chemical

    & Engineering News.


Please credit the individual journal or the American Chemical Society as the source

    for this information.

PressPac Archive:

    Science Inquiries: Michael Woods, editor


    General Inquiries: Michael Bernstein


News Items in This Edition:

    ; Organic onions, carrots, and potatoes do not have higher levels of healthful


    ; Built-in timer for improving accuracy of cost saving paper-strip medical tests

    ; Levels of coumarin in cassia cinnamon vary greatly even in bark from the

    same tree

     Small materials poised for big impact in construction ;

    ; Video-game technology may speed development of new drugs

Journalists‟ Resources:

    ; Press releases, briefings, and more from ACS’ 240th National Meeting

    ; Must-reads from C&EN: Hint of hope for chemists seeking jobs

    ; ACS pressroom blog

    ; Bytesize Science blog

    ; ACS satellite pressroom: Daily news blasts on Twitter

    ; C&EN on Twitter

    ; ACS Press Releases


    ; New Prized Science video focuses on “green gasoline”

    ; The Chemistry of Sourdough Bread

    ; The Chemistry of Fireworks

    ; The Chemistry of Grilling and Barbecuing


    ; Bytesize Science: A podcast for young listeners

    ; Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions

    ; Science Elements: From the PressPac ?; SciFinder Podcasts

    ; Chemistry Glossary

    ; Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Web site on everyday chemicals

    ; Science Connections from CAS

    ; The Laser’s 50th


    Organic onions, carrots, and potatoes do not have higher levels of healthful antioxidants

    Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

    With the demand for organically produced food increasing, scientists are reporting new evidence that organically grown onions, carrots, and potatoes generally do not have higher levels of healthful antioxidants and related substances than vegetables grown with traditional fertilizers and pesticides. Their study appears in ACS‟ bi-weekly Journal of

    Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

    In the study, Pia Knuthsen and colleagues point out that there are many reasons to pay a premium for organic food products. The most important reasons for the popularity of organic food products include improved animal welfare, environmental protection, better taste, and possible health benefits. However, the health benefits of organic food consumption are still controversial and not considered scientifically well documented.

    The scientists describe experiments in which they analyzed antioxidants termed polyphenols from onions, carrots and potatoes grown using conventional and organic methods. They found no differences in polyphenol content for organic vs. traditional methods of growth. “On the basis of the present study carried out under well controlled

    conditions, it cannot be concluded that organically grown onions, carrots, and potatoes generally have higher contents of health-promoting secondary metabolites in comparison with the conventionally cultivated ones,” the report states.


    “Effects of Organic and Conventional Growth Systems on the Content of Flavonoids in Onions and Phenolic Acids in Carrots and Potatoes”



    Pia Knuthsen

    National Food Institute

    Technical University of Denmark, Mørkhøj

    Bygade 19, DK-2860 Søborg, Denmark

    Phone: +45 35 88 74 32

    Fax: +45 35 88 74 48



    Built-in timer for improving accuracy of cost saving paper-strip medical tests Analytical Chemistry

    Scientists are reporting the development of a simple, built-in timer intended to improve the accuracy of paper tests and test strips for diagnosing diseases inexpensively at-home and elsewhere. Their study appears in ACS‟ semi-monthly journal Analytical Chemistry.

    Scott Phillips and Hyeran Noh note that so-called point-of-care tests include paper strip tests and others performed at home or bedside instead of in laboratories. They show special promise for improving medical care in developing countries and reducing health care costs elsewhere. When fully developed, these low-cost paper tests may replace more expensive traditional tests for detecting biomarkers in urine, blood, and other body fluids, as well as for detecting pollution in water. Many types of tests that could be used on paper, however, require precise timing using a stopwatch to provide accurate results. The authors cite as an example the CHEMCARD diagnostic test for measuring blood sugar or cholesterol in a drop of blood. It is almost 100 percent accurate when users view test results exactly 3 minutes after placing the drop of blood on the paper. Incorrect timing, however, cuts accuracy nearly in half. Patients (particularly those in the developing world), they indicate, may not have stopwatches or other timing devices, or may not use external timing devices with enough accuracy to obtain meaningful results.

    The scientists describe the development of a built-in timer for paper-based diagnostic tests that eliminates the need for a stopwatch. The timer is made from a dye and the paraffin wax used in some candles. Addition of water, blood, urine or other body fluids starts the timer, and a color change signals when the time is up. The device has been modified to emit a buzz or other sound when the time is up, or even glow, the scientists note. When used with a test similar to the CHEMCARD glucose test, the timer was 97 percent accurate, slightly better than when a stopwatch was used.

The authors acknowledged funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the

    Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, 3M,

    Louis Martarano, and The Pennsylvania State University.


    “Fluidic Timers for Time-Dependent, Point-of-Care Assays on Paper”



    Scott Phillips, Ph.D.

    Department of Chemistry

    The Pennsylvania StateUniversity

    University Park, Penn.16802

    Phone: 814-867-2502

    Fax: 814-865-5235



Levels of coumarin in cassia cinnamon vary greatly even in bark from the same tree

    Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

    A “huge” variation exists in the amounts of coumarin in bark samples of cassia cinnamon from trees growing in Indonesia, scientists are reporting in a new study. That natural ingredient in the spice may carry a theoretical risk of causing liver damage in a small number of sensitive people who consume large amounts of cinnamon. The report appears in ACS‟ bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

    Friederike Woehrlin and colleagues note that cinnamon is the second most popular spice, next to black pepper, in the United States and Europe. Cinnamon, which comes from the bark of trees, is sold as solid sticks and powder with the country of origin rarely declared on the package label. There are two main types: Ceylon cinnamon (also known as “true” cinnamon) and cassia cinnamon. Ceylon grows in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), the Seychelles, and Madagascar. Cassia generally comes from China and Indonesia. Both types can contain coumarin, a natural flavoring found in plants. Studies have linked high coumarin intake to liver damage in a small number of sensitive people.

    The scientists analyzed 91 cinnamon samples purchased from stores in Germany. They found that coumarin levels varied widely among different bark samples of Cassia cinnamon. Therefore they analyzed cassia bark samples of five trees received directly from Indonesia and found a huge variation even among samples collected from a single tree. The study confirmed that cassia cinnamon has the highest levels of coumarin, while Ceylon had the lowest levels. On average, cassia cinnamon powder contained up to 63 times more coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon powder and cassia cinnamon sticks contained 18 times more coumarin than Ceylon sticks. “Further research is necessary to

    identify factors influencing the coumarin levels in cassia cinnamon and to possibly allow the harvesting of cassia cinnamon with low coumarin levels in the future,” the report


    Health officials say it is almost impossible for consumers to distinguish between Ceylon and cassia in cinnamon powder. Cinnamon sticks, however, do look different. Cassia cinnamon sticks consist of a thick layer of rolled bark, while Ceylon cinnamon sticks have thin layers of bark rolled up into a stick.


    “Quantification of Flavoring Constituents in Cinnamon: High Variation of Coumarin in Cassia Bark from the German Retail Market and in Authentic Samples from Indonesia”



    Friederike Woehrlin