ACS News Service October 27 PressPacdoc - ACS News Service

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ACS News Service October 27 PressPacdoc - ACS News Service

    ACS News Service

    Weekly Press Package

    October 27, 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:

    ; Cone of poison: The secret behind the cone snail’s venom pump

    ; Tobacco and its evil cousin, nicotine? They’re good ― as a pesticide!

    ; Small particles show big promise in beating unpleasant odors

    ; Questioning the safety of certain “healthful” plant-based antioxidants

    ; Probing the mysterious second-wave of damage in head injury patients

Journalists‘ Resources:

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

    ; Must-reads from C&EN: A “fingerprint” for cigarette smoke

    ; ACS pressroom blog

    ; Bytesize Science blog

    ; ACS satellite pressroom: Daily news blasts on Twitter

    ; C&EN on Twitter

    ; ACS Press Releases

    ; Chemistry Glossary

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

    ; Science Connections from CAS

    ; The Laser’s 50th


    ; Are We All From Mars?

    ; 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


Cone of poison: The secret behind the cone snail’s venom pump

    Journal of Proteome Research

    Scientists have discovered the secret of how an amazing sea snail injects its venom after shooting a harpoon-like tooth into its prey ? or some unlucky swimmer ? at jetliner speeds. The creatures, called cone snails, use a highly specialized structure that instantly pumps the paralyzing venom through the tooth and into its target. Their study appears in ACS‘ monthly Journal of Proteome Research.

    Helena Safavi-Hemami, Anthony Purcell and colleagues note that cone snails live mainly in the shallows of the world‘s tropical oceans. Prized by sea-shell collectors for their

    beautiful shells, the snails are up to 9 inches long. Their mouths have a blow-gun-like structure that shoots a barbed dart-like ―tooth‖ at about 400 miles per hour. The tooth

    injects venom into fish, worms, or other prey. The snails occasionally sting swimmers, causing pain and sometimes death. They can reload the shooter with additional harpoons. The venom is produced in the venom duct, a long tube attached to the harpoon on one end and to the venom bulb in the snail‘s mouth.

    The scientists‘ analysis of proteins in venom bulbs found high concentrations of arginine kinase, a protein that enables squid and scallops to swim away from danger with extreme speed. Its abundance in the bulb suggests that arginine kinase enables the venom bulb to undergo rapid, repeated contractions to quickly force the venom through the venom duct to the harpoon and into the prey, the scientists say. The scientists also identified specialized muscles in the venom bulb that appear to aid in this process.


    ―Proteomic interrogation of venom delivery in marine cone snails – Novel insights into

    the role of the venom bulb‖



    Anthony Wayne Purcell, Ph.D.

    Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    University of Melbourne

    Victoria, Australia

    Phone: (+61 3) 8344 2288



Tobacco and its evil cousin, nicotine? They’re good ― as a pesticide!

    Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research

    Tobacco, used on a small scale as a natural organic pesticide for hundreds of years, is getting new scientific attention as a potential mass-produced alternative to traditional commercial pesticides. That‘s the topic of a report in ACS‘ bi-weekly journal Industrial

    & Engineering Chemistry Research.

    Cedric Briens and colleagues note that concerns about the health risks of tobacco have reduced demand and hurt tobacco farmers in some parts of the world. Scientists are looking for new uses for tobacco. One potential use is as a natural pesticide, due to tobacco‘s content of toxic nicotine. For centuries, gardeners have used home-made

    mixtures of tobacco and water as a natural pesticide to kill insect pests. A ―green‖

    pesticide industry based on tobacco could provide additional income for farmers, and as well as a new eco-friendly pest-control agent, the scientists say.

    They describe a promising way to convert tobacco leaves into pesticides with pyrolysis. That process involves heating tobacco leaves to about 900 degrees Fahrenheit in a vacuum, to produce an unrefined substance called bio-oil. The scientists tested tobacco bio-oil against a wide variety of insect pests, including 11 different fungi, four bacteria, and the Colorado potato beetle, a major agricultural pest that is increasingly resistant to current insecticides. The oil killed all of the beetles and blocked the growth of two types of bacteria and one fungus. Even after removal of the nicotine, the oil remained a very effective pesticide. Its ability of the oil to block some but not all of the microorganisms suggests that tobacco bio-oil may have additional value as a more selective pesticide than those currently in use, the report indicates.


    ―Experimental Investigations into the Insecticidal, Fungicidal, and Bactericidal Properties of Pyrolysis Bio-oil from Tobacco Leaves Using a Fluidized Bed Pilot Plant‖



Cedric Briens, Ph.D.

    Faculty of Engineering

    The University of Western Ontario

    London, Ontario


    Phone: 519-661-2145

    Fax: 519-661-3498



Small particles show big promise in beating unpleasant odors


    Scientists are reporting development of a new approach for dealing with offensive household and other odors ? one that doesn‘t simply mask odors like today‘s room fresheners, but eliminates them at the source. Their research found that a deodorant made from nanoparticles ? hundreds of times smaller than peach fuzz ? eliminates odors up to twice as effectively as today‘s gold standard. A report on these next-generation odor-

    fighters appears in ACS‘ Langmuir, a bi-weekly journal.

    Brij Moudgil and colleagues note that consumers use a wide range of materials to battle undesirable odors in clothing, on pets, in rooms, and elsewhere. Most common household air fresheners, for instance, mask odors with pleasing fragrances but do not eliminate the odors from the environment. People also apply deodorizing substances that absorb smells. These materials include activated carbon and baking soda. However, these substances tend to have only a weak ability to absorb the chemicals responsible for the odor.

The scientists describe development of a new material consisting of nanoparticles of thsilica (the main ingredient in beach sand) each 1/50,000 the width of a human hair

    coated with copper. That metal has well-established antibacterial and anti-odor properties, and the nanoparticles gave copper a greater surface area to exert its effects. Tests of the particles against ethyl mercaptan, the stuff that gives natural gas its unpleasant odor, showed that nanoparticles were up to twice as effective as the gold standard ? activated carbon ? at removing the material‘s foul-smelling odor. In addition to fighting odors, the

    particles also show promise for removing sulfur contaminants found in crude oil and for fighting harmful bacteria, they add.


    ―Copper Coated Silica Nanoparticles for Odor Removal‖



    Brij Moudgil, Ph.D.

    Particle Engineering Research Center

University of Florida

    Gainesville, Fla. 32611

    Phone: 352-846-1194

    Fax: 352-846-1196