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



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

    Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

    Scientists are calling for more research on the possibility that some supposedly healthful plant-based antioxidants including those renowned for their apparent ability to prevent cancer may actually aggravate or even cause cancer in some individuals. Their recommendation follows a study in which two such antioxidants quercetin and ferulic

    acid appeared to aggravate kidney cancer in severely diabetic laboratory rats. The study appears in ACS‘ bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

    Kuan-Chou Chen, Robert Peng, and colleagues note that vegetables, fruits, and other plant-based foods are rich in antioxidants that appear to fight cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other disorders. Among those antioxidants is quercetin, especially abundant in onions and black tea, and ferulic acid, found in corn, tomatoes, and rice bran. Both also are ingredients in certain herbal remedies and dietary supplements. But questions remain about the safety and effectiveness of some antioxidants, with research suggesting that quercetin could contribute to the development of cancer, the scientists note.

    They found that diabetic laboratory rats fed either quercetin or ferulic acid developed more advanced forms of kidney cancer, and concluded the two antioxidants appear to aggravate or possibly cause kidney cancer. ―Some researchers believe that quercetin should not be used by healthy people for prevention until it can be shown that quercetin does not itself cause cancer,‖ the report states. ―In this study we report that quercetin aggravated, at least, if not directly caused, kidney cancer in rats,‖ it adds, suggesting that health agencies like the U. S. Food and Drug Administration should reevaluate the safety of plant-based antioxidants.


    ―Quercetin and Ferulic Acid Aggravate Renal Carcinoma in Long-Term Diabetic




    Kuan-Chou Chen, Ph.D.

    Taipei Medical University Shuan-Ho Hospital

    Taipei, Taiwan

Phone: 886-2-27299723



Robert Peng, Ph.D.

    Hungkuang University

    Taichung Hsien, Taiwan 43302

    Phone: 886-2-27585767

    Cell: 886-953-002-092



    Probing the mysterious second-wave of damage in head injury patients Chemical & Engineering News

    Why do some of the one million people who sustain head injuries annually in United States experience a mysterious second wave of brain damage days after the initial injury just when they appear to be recovering? Limited clinical trials using an innovative new device to monitor brain chemistry on a second-by-second basis are underway to answer that life-and-death question, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS‘ weekly newsmagazine. Brain injury is the

    leading cause of death and disability worldwide.

    C&EN Senior Editor Celia Henry Arnaud describes a phenomenon called depolarization, in which brain activity decreases in patients following initial trauma. The condition involves a wave of chemical changes that spread from the site of injury and inactivate nerve cells. Since reactivation of these cells requires large amounts of glucose, monitoring glucose levels in a patient‘s brain can help doctors tell whether or not a patient is taking a turn for the worse. The article points out that a promising new device could provide a faster and more useful way to monitor brain glucose than current methods, which are inefficient.

Now in development at Imperial College London, the new so-called ―microfluidic

    method‖ measures glucose quickly and continuously — in fractions of a second instead

    of hourly. The device is currently being tested in patients who have suffered trauma, stroke, or aneurysm (a balloon-like enlargement of a brain artery). In the future, the device could be used in patients with milder forms of brain injury and used in a way that is less invasive, the article notes.


    ―Brain Glucose, Drop By Drop‖

This story is available at

Journalists’ Resources

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

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

    From the thousands of chemicals in cigarette smoke, scientists finally have identified one that can serve as the ―smoking gun‖ for positively identifying people exposed to cigarette smoke. This ―marker molecule‖ could be useful to evaluate workplace safety, quantify cancer risks, or help insurance companies certify that someone is smoke-free. For the full story, contact

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.

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

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


Are We All From Mars?

    The first episode in the American Chemical Society‘s new video series, Prized Science:

    How the Science Behind ACS Awards Impacts Your Life, explores that possibility. It is

    available without charge at the Prized Science website, YouTube, iTunes and on DVD.

    The launch episode features research of Richard Zare, Ph.D., winner of the ACS 2010 Priestley Medal, including Zare‘s work on the possibility that life existed on Mars, seeding the emergence of life on Earth.

The Chemistry of Sourdough Bread

The Chemistry of Fireworks

The Chemistry of Grilling and Barbecuing


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

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

    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.

     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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