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

    Federal Institute for Risk Assessment

    Berlin, Germany

    Phone: 49 (0) 3084122355

    Fax: 49 (0) 30184123457



Small materials poised for big impact in construction

    ACS Nano

Bricks, blocks, and steel I-beams step aside. A new genre of construction materials,

    made from stuff barely 1/50,000th the width of a human hair, is about to debut in the building of homes, offices, bridges, and other structures. And a new report is highlighting both the potential benefits of these nanomaterials in improving construction materials and the need for guidelines to regulate their use and disposal. The report appears in the monthly journal ACS Nano.

    Pedro Alvarez and colleagues note that nanomaterials likely will have a greater impact on the construction industry than any other sector of the economy, except biomedical and electronics applications. Certain nanomaterials can improve the strength of concrete, serve as self-cleaning and self-sanitizing coatings, and provide many other construction benefits. Concerns exist, however, about the potential adverse health and environmental effects of construction nanomaterials.

    The scientists analyzed more than 140 studies on the benefits and risks of nanomaterials. They found that the materials can provide a wide variety of benefits for the construction industry, ranging from greater strength and durability to improved energy efficiency. The report also identified potential adverse health and environmental effects, and cites the importance of developing guidelines to regulate the use and disposal of construction nanomaterials.

The authors acknowledged funding from the Center for Biological and Environmental

    Nanotechnology at Rice University (National Science Foundation Award EEC-0647452).


    “Nanomaterials in the Construction Industry: A Review of Their Applications and Environmental Health and Safety Considerations”



    Pedro Alvarez, Ph.D.

    Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

    Rice University

    Houston, Texas 77005

    Phone: (713) 348-5903

    Fax: (713) 348-5203



Video-game technology may speed development of new drugs

    Chemical & Engineering News

    Parents may frown upon video games, but the technology used in the wildly popular games is quietly fostering a revolution in speeding the development of new products and potentially life-saving drugs. That‟s the topic of an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS‟ weekly newsmagazine.

    C&EN Associate Editor Lauren K. Wolf notes that consumer demand for life-like avatars and interactive scenery has pushed computer firms to develop inexpensive yet sophisticated graphics hardware called graphics processing units, or GPUs. The graphical units work in conjunction with traditional central processing units (CPUs) the “brains”

    of desktop and laptop computers and accelerate the rendering of three-dimensional

    images in games such as Prince of Persia and Guitar Hero. Unlike the traditional

    general-purpose CPUs, GPUs are customized for graphics operations and have many more transistors.

    The article notes that manufacturers have developed GPUs that are having a big impact on chemistry, breezing through computations that once would have required all the processing power of a supercomputer. Chemists have embraced the technology to simulate the movement of molecules in the quest to develop new drugs and materials for solar cells and other products. The big edge GPUs have over CPUs is in speed, reducing processing times from years to months and months to weeks.


“The GPU Revolution”

This story is available at

Journalists’ Resources

     thPress releases, briefings, and more from ACS’ 240 National Meeting

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

    There may finally be light at the end of the tunnel for U.S. chemists looking for jobs as a

    slowly improving economy increases demand for chemistry-related products and services. That‟s the message from a survey of recruiters, university placement officers, and

    companies. For the full cover story, go to career opportunities.

ACS pressroom blog

    The ACS Office of Public Affairs (OPA) pressroom blog highlights research from ACS‟

    38 peer-reviewed journals and National Meetings.

Bytesize Science blog

    Educators and kids, put on your thinking caps: The American Chemical Society has a blog for Bytesize Science, a science podcast for kids of all ages.

ACS satellite pressroom: Daily news blasts on Twitter

    The satellite press room has become one of the most popular science news sites on Twitter. To get our news blasts and updates, create a free account at Then visit and click the

    „join‟ button beneath the press room logo.

C&EN on Twitter

    Follow @cenmag <> for the latest news in chemistry and

    dispatches from our blog, C&ENtral Science <>.

ACS Press Releases

    Press releases on a variety of chemistry-related topics.

ACS Videos

    Prized Science video focuses on “green gasoline”

    The latest episode in the American Chemical Society‟s new video series, Prized Science:

    How the Science Behind ACS Awards Impacts Your Life, is on “green gasoline.” That‟s

    gas made from corn, cornstalks, sugarcane, and other crops. It also is fuel made in more environmentally friendly ways. The previous episode focused on the possibility that life on Mars seeded life on Earth. Both are available without charge at the Prized Science

    website, YouTube, iTunes and on DVD. Green Gasoline features research of Vincent

    D‟Amico, Emiel van Broekhoven, Ph.D., and Juha Jakkula, winners of the 2010 ACS Award for Affordable Green Chemistry. They developed a process to make gasoline in a

    more environmentally-friendly way. ACS encourages educators, schools, museums,

    science centers, news organizations, and others to embed links to Prized Science on their


The Chemistry of Sourdough Bread

The Chemistry of Fireworks

The Chemistry of Grilling and Barbecuing

ACS Podcasts

    Bytesize Science, a new podcast for young listeners

    Bytesize Science is a science podcast for kids of all ages that entertains and educates, with new high-definition video podcasts and some episodes in Spanish. Subscribe to Bytesize Science using

    iTunes No iTunes? No problem. Listen to the latest episodes of Bytesize Science in your web browser.

Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions

    This special series of ACS podcasts focuses on some of the 21st Century‟s most daunting challenges, and how chemists and other scientists are finding solutions. Subscribe at iTunes or

    listen and access other resources at the ACS web site

Science Elements: ACS Science News Podcast


    Science Elements is a podcast of PressPac contents that makes cutting-edge scientific discoveries from ACS journals available to a broader public audience. Subscribe to Science Elements using

    iTunes. Listen to the latest episodes of Science Elements in your web browser. Science Elements is on Facebook check out the

    latest updates and information.

     ?SciFinder Podcasts

Interested in healthful plant phytochemicals, nanotechnology, or

    green chemistry? Check out the SciFinder series of podcasts, which

    explore a vast array of current interest topics and new discoveries in the 21st century. The SciFinder podcasts are available in English,

    Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese.

     General Chemistry Glossary

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Web site on everyday chemicals

    Whether you want to learn more about caffeine, benzoyl

    peroxide (acne treatment), sodium chloride (table salt), or

    some other familiar chemical, CAS Common Chemistry can

     help. The new Web site provides non-chemists and others

    with useful information about everyday chemicals by searching either a chemical name or a corresponding CAS Registry Number. The site includes about 7,800 chemicals of general interest as well as all 118 elements from the Periodic Table, providing alternative names, molecular structures, a Wikipedia link, and other information.

Science Connections from CAS

    CAS - Science Connections is a series of articles that showcases the value of CAS

    databases in light of important general-interest science and technology news. Topics range from fruit flies to Nobel Prize winners, with the CAS - Science Connections series pointing to CAS databases for a more complete understanding of the latest news.

The Laser’s 50th

    From DVD players to eye surgery, the laser stands as one of the greatest inventions of

     one that truly revolutionized everyday life. Laserfest is a yearlong modern times

    celebration of the 50th anniversary of the laser, which was first demonstrated in 1960.

    PressPac information is intended for your personal use in news gathering and reporting and should not be distributed to others. Anyone using advance PressPac information for stocks or securities dealing may be guilty of insider trading under the federal Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

    The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world‟s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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