Newsletter scientifique #8 - July 2012

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Foreword

This month, we would like to highlight the new partnership between US Department Of Energy and French Commission on Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies to work together on energy efficiency and cost-competitiveness throughout the global energy sector.

Furthermore, we would like to inform you that we will not be releasing a scientific newsletter in August. The next one will be published in September. Have a great summer !

Enjoy your read!

Adèle Martial, Scientific attaché
Cécile Camerlynck, Deputy Scientific attaché

If you would like to subscribe to our newsletter, please fill out the form here.

Table of contents

Highlights

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Energy Department and French Commission on Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Sign New Research and Development Agreement - June 28th

On June 19, 2012, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Dr. Bernard Bigot, Chairman of France’s Commission on Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA), signed an agreement to help facilitate research and development (R&D) cooperation. The Agreement on Cooperation in Low-Carbon Energy Technologies will focus on a spectrum of advanced technologies in the fields of civil-nuclear energy, basic science, environmental management, renewable energy and energy management systems. "This agreement comes at a key time for the United States, France and the world," said Secretary Chu. "It reflects our shared commitment to working together on civil nuclear and renewable energy technologies as key drivers in the global clean energy economy.” Read more

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Ecole Polytechnique - International Admissions 2013 - “Ingénieur Polytechnicien”

The procedure for international admissions to the “Ingénieur Polytechnicien” curriculum at Ecole Polytechnique (year 2013) begins now. It is aimed at international candidates having achieved two to three years of undergraduate studies in Science or in Engineering, with outstanding results in Mathematics and/or in Physics.
You will find at the end of this message links to a poster and a short brochure describing this program and the international admission process.
Additional information can be obtained from our web site at
http://www.polytechnique.edu
or by e-mail at international-v2@polytechnique.fr.
On-line applications are now open and available at: http://www.admission.polytechnique.edu/home/ingenieur-polytechnicien-program/how-to-apply/.
The DEADLINE for on-line applications is on OCTOBER 1st, 2012.

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INRA is recruiting 53 experienced researchers in 2012

As from June 29th, INRA is recruiting 53 researchers with experience in defining and implementing research projects focus on food and nutrition, agriculture, agronomy, environment, ... Applications are open until September 3rd, 2012. Read more

Science & Technology in the US

National News

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CRN assesses current state of scientific research for nutritional supplements - June 20th

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the dietary supplement industry’s leading trade association, today released its comprehensive report, The Benefits of Nutritional Supplements (4th Edition). The updated book, which assesses the current state of the science on the health benefits associated with select nutritional supplements, finds consistent and adequate use of these products contributes to overall health and wellness throughout all age groups, lifestyles, and life stages. Specifically, the report addresses the current state of the science regarding multivitamins and other supplements, including antioxidants (vitamins C and E), calcium, long chain omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils), vitamin D, vitamins B-6 and B-12, fiber and folic acid. It includes studies that demonstrate benefit as well as studies with null results and also addresses studies that purport to have found harm. It discusses who needs dietary supplements (nearly everyone), who takes dietary supplements (most everyone), and who recommends dietary supplements—the majority of many physician specialists (primary care physicians, OB/GYNs, cardiologists, dermatologists, and orthopedists), as well as other health professionals (nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and registered dietitians). Read more

Nutritional content of children’s cereals shows some improvement - June 25th

Cereal companies have improved the nutritional quality of most cereals marketed directly to children, but increased advertising to children for many of their least nutritious products, according to a three-year update on the Rudd Center’s Cereal FACTS Report. Cereal FACTS was originally launched in 2009 and found that the least healthy breakfast cereals were those most frequently and aggressively marketed directly to children as young as age 2. Major companies such as General Mills, Kellogg, and Post belong to the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), sponsored by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, and have promised to improve the nutritional quality of their children’s cereals. The CFBAI reports that participating companies also have improved their standards for child-directed advertising. Read more

Obama administration states opposition to FDA budget cut - June 26th

The Obama administration has stated its opposition to a fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget proposal that could see the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suffer a budget cut worth millions of dollars. Earlier this month, FoodQualityNews.com reported that the FDA look set to receive a budget cut of $16.3m under the Agriculture Appropriations Bill,
which was given initial approval by the US House Appropriations Subcommittee. Under the bill, the FDA will receive total funding of $2.5bn in discretionary funding – topped up to $3.8bn through industry user-fee collections. Read more

BPA effects can last for four generations, says study - June 27th

Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) during gestation led to mixed effects on the development of the brain linked to social behaviour patterns in mice spanning four generations, according to a study. The study, accepted for publication in the journal Endocrinology, found low doses of BPA, which is a endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC), had immediate and long-lasting trans-generational effects on the brain and social behaviours of 250 mice over a period of two years. The changes in genes were most dramatic in the first generation (the offspring of the mice that were exposed to BPA in utero), but some of these gene changes persisted into the fourth generation. Read more

FDA, UC Davis, Agilent Technologies and CDC to create publicly available food pathogen genome database - July 12th

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the University of California, Davis,Agilent Technologies Inc., and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today a collaboration to create a public database of 100,000 foodborne pathogen genomes to help speed identification of bacteria responsible for foodborne outbreaks. The database will provide a roadmap for development of tests to identify pathogens and provide information about the origin of the pathogen. The tests have the potential to significantly reduce the typical public health response time in outbreaks of foodborne illness to days instead of weeks. Open access to the database will allow researchers to develop tests that can identify the type of bacteria present in a sample within a matter of days or hours, significantly faster than the approximately one week it now takes between diagnosis and genetic analysis. Read more

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EPA clears final regulatory hurdle for E15 ethanol blends in US - June 17th

In Washington, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave the final approval to move forward with the sale of E15 ethanol blends. The announcement knocks down the lone, significant regulatory hurdle standing in the way of getting E15 into the marketplace for passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. With guidance on that issue from the EPA, fuel providers and retailers wishing to sell E15 can do so provided they register with EPA and follow approved misfueling mitigation protocols. Specifically, EPA has notified the RFA that its E15 Retail Advisory addresses the agency’s concerns with residual fuel left in gas pumps with just a single hose. The advisory is now incorporated into the RFA’s E15 Retailer Handbook. The E15 Retailer Handbook is referenced by RFA’s EPA-approved misfueling mitigation plan – a strategy required by EPA to ensure E15 is being appropriately and legally offered to consumers. To help with compliance, the RFA is also offering the approved and required E15 pump labels free of charge to retailers. Read more

Biofuels Defense Investments Announced - July 2nd

As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to deploying every available source of American energy and reducing our reliance on imported oil, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced new funding available to pursue new innovations in biofuels technologies, increase production of U.S. biofuels, and strengthen American energy security. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Navy and Department of Energy are announcing $30 million in federal funding to match private investments in commercial-scale advanced drop-in biofuels. The Energy Department is also announcing a total of $32 million in new investments for earlier stage research that will continue to drive technological breakthroughs and additional cost reductions in the industry. Read more

Midwest news

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NuMat wins another big competition for clean energy technologies - June 19th

Northwestern University’s NuMat Technologies has won the first-ever U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. This is the fifth business plan competition the super-hot start-up company has won since March. The Northwestern team bested five other clean energy technology teams from universities across the country at the national competition held June 13 in Washington, D.C. All six teams had won regional business plan competitions to advance to the final. The title carries with it a $100,000 cash prize and $80,000 worth of in-kind services, including technical, design and legal assistance. Part of the Obama administration’s Startup America Initiative, the competition promotes entrepreneurship in clean energy technologies. It is designed to find companies that will lay the groundwork for future economic opportunities that will ensure America remains competitive in the global clean energy race. Read more

Tevatron scientists announce their final results on the Higgs particle - July 2nd

After more than 10 years of gathering and analyzing data produced by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Tevatron collider, scientists from the CDF and DZero collaborations have found their strongest indication to date for the long-sought Higgs particle. Squeezing the last bit of information out of 500 trillion collisions produced by the Tevatron for each experiment since March 2001, the final analysis of the data does not settle the question of whether the Higgs particle exists, but gets closer to an answer. The Tevatron scientists unveiled their latest results on July 2, two days before the highly anticipated announcement of the latest Higgs-search results from the Large Hadron Collider in Europe. "The Tevatron experiments accomplished the goals that we had set with this data sample," said Fermilab’s Rob Roser, cospokesperson for the CDF experiment at DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. "Our data strongly point toward the existence of the Higgs boson, but it will take results from the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe to establish a discovery." Read more

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Treating Mastitis in Dairy Cattle with Vitamin D - June 18th

A natural remedy that delays and reduces the severity of mastitis infection in dairy cattle is being investigated by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Mastitis, a common and costly disease, affects the mammary gland or udder of dairy cattle, resulting in a decrease in milk production and quality. In some cases, infected cows have to be removed from the herd. Economic losses are estimated at $2 billion a year. Scientists at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) National Animal Disease Center (NADC) in Ames, Iowa, have discovered that vitamin D may offer an alternative treatment for mastitis instead of antibiotics. Read more

Large weeds might require alternative control methods - June 21st

Summer annual weeds in many soybean fields are almost 3 feet tall according to University of Illinois associate professor of weed science Aaron Hager.
1) The most common weeds include horseweed/marestail, common lambsquarters, and waterhemp. Hager said they may have escaped preplant tillage operations, preplant burndown herbicide applications, or
2) emerged following the last preplant tillage operation and before planting.
"Plants that have escaped preplant tillage operations often have contorted, ’C-shaped’ stems as a result of being damaged by the field cultivator," Hager said. "These plants can be very difficult to control with postemergence soybean herbicides." Read more

Research results focus on local food systems, grassland health - June 22nd

Summaries of eight recently completed projects are now available on the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture website, covering topics that range from local food networks to invasive species to cattle grazing. All five projects in the Marketing and Food Systems Initiative dealt with aspects of local food systems. Project investigators created new regional networks, offered food safety training, and studied how to help refugees and immigrants start farm enterprises. One Ecology Initiative project designed a prototype rainwater catchment system for a high tunnel. A video and seven-page fact sheet about the project can be found on the Leopold Center website. Two other projects studied the spread of eastern red cedar in southern Iowa grasslands and examined the factors that influence how cattle congregate around pasture streams. Read more

Fungicide Used On Farm Crops Linked to Insulin Resistance - June 25th

A fungicide used on farm crops can induce insulin resistance, a new tissue-culture study finds, providing another piece of evidence linking environmental pollutants to diabetes. The results were presented June 23 at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston. "For the first time, we’ve ascribed a molecular mechanism by which an environmental pollutant can induce insulin resistance, lending credence to the hypothesis that some synthetic chemicals might be contributors to the diabetes epidemic," said investigator Robert Sargis, M.D., Ph.D., instructor in the endocrinology division at the University of Chicago. Read more

Eating garbage: Bacteria for bioremediation - June 25th

A 150-foot-high garbage dump in Colombia, South America, may have new life as a public park. Researchers at the University of Illinois have demonstrated that bacteria found in the dump can be used to neutralize the contaminants in the soil. Jerry Sims, a U of I associate professor of crop sciences and USDA-Agricultural Research Service research leader and Andres Gomez, a graduate student from Medellín, Colombia, have been working on a landfill called "El Morro" in the Moravia Hill neighborhood of Medellín, which served as the city dump from 1972 to 1984. In that period, thousands of people came to the city from the rural areas to escape diverse social problems. There was no housing or employment for them, so they made a living picking up trash from this dump and built their homes upon it. Read more

A new source of maize hybrid vigor - June 28th

Steve Moose, an associate professor of maize functional genomics at the University of Illinois and his graduate student Wes Barber think they may have discovered a new source of heterosis, or hybrid vigor, in maize. They have been looking at small RNAs (sRNAs), a class of double-stranded RNA molecules that are 20 to 25 nucleotides in length. "Hybrid vigor" refers to the increased vigor or general health, resistance to disease, and other superior qualities arising from the crossbreeding of genetically different plants. "We’ve always known that there’s a genetic basis for this heterosis," said Moose. "Charles Darwin noticed it and commented that corn was particularly dramatic." Read more

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No-fat, low-fat dressings don’t get most nutrients out of salads - June 19th

The vegetables in salads are chock-full of important vitamins and nutrients, but you won’t get much benefit without the right type and amount of salad dressing, a Purdue University study shows. In a human trial, researchers fed subjects salads topped off with saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat-based dressings and tested their blood for absorption of fat-soluble carotenoids – compounds such as lutein, lycopene, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. Those carotenoids are associated with reduced risk of several chronic and degenerative diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration. The study, published early online in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, found that monounsaturated fat-rich dressings required the least amount of fat to get the most carotenoid absorption, while saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat dressings required higher amounts of fat to get the same benefit. Read more

Monounsaturated dressings are best for salad nutrient absorption, says study - June 22nd

The type of fat used in dressings has a major impact on how well nutrients are absorbed from salads, according to new research. The study – published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research – investigated how the fat used in a salad dressing impacts the absorption of nutrients from salads. The US-based researchers reported that monounsaturated fat-rich dressings required the least amount of fat to get the most carotenoid absorption, while saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat dressings required higher amounts of fat to get the same benefit. Led by Mario Ferruzzi of Purdue University, USA,
the researchers noted that fruit and vegetables in salads are full of fat soluble vitamins and nutrients which are unable to be absorbed unless the right kind of salad dressing is used. Read more

Soybean fundamentals remain strong - June 25th

According to University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good, U.S. soybean market fundamentals have been strong for an extended period of time. "The strong fundamental factors have included record large exports in 2009-10 and 2010-11 as Chinese demand expanded, a reduction in U.S. soybean acreage in 2011, a relatively low U.S. average yield in 2011, intentions to reduce U.S. acreage again in 2012, and a very small soybean harvest in South America this year," Good said. "These strong market fundamentals continue in the form of a rapid pace of consumption and concerns about the size of the 2012 U.S. crop." Good reported that soybean prices began moving higher in July 2010, starting from about $9.50. July 2012 soybean futures reached a high of about $14.70 in late August 2011, declined to a low near $11.25 in mid-December 2011, and reached a high of $15.12 in early May 2012. Read more

Student teams find winning recipe in national food competitions - June 25th

The UW-Madison food science club has three new awards to add to its trophy case after spending this past week at the Institute for Food Technologists’ annual meeting in Las Vegas. The club fielded two teams in a Disney-sponsored collegiate food product development competition, and won first and second place for their innovative, healthy, kid-friendly products. The top prize went to a five-person team led by Kristen Doster that developed Peanut Butter Jamsicles, a popsicle version of the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The other UW-Madison team in the contest, led by Teresa Tierney, took second place for Pit Stop, a Cars movie-themed smoothie composed of a purple layer of fruit and vegetable juices and a white layer of Greek yogurt that kids can shake up themselves. Read more

Stealthy Microscopy Method Visualizes E. Coli Sub-Cellular Structure in 3-D - June 29th

A sub-cellular world has been opened up for scientists to study E. coli and other tissues in new ways, thanks to a microscopy method that stealthily provides three-dimensional, high-quality images of the internal structure of cells without disturbing the specimen. By combining a novel algorithm with a recently-developed add-on technique for commercial microscopes, researchers at the University of Illinois have created a fast, non-invasive 3D method for visualizing, quantifying, and studying cells without the use of fluorescence or contrast agents. In a paper published online June 29 in the journal PLoS ONE, the researchers who developed the technique reported that they were able to use it to visualize the E. coli bacteria with a combination of speed, scale, and resolution unparalleled for a label-free method. Read more

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Modeling Biofuel Fitness for the Sea - June 19th

With the help of a $2 million grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research, mechanical engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will develop a tool to characterize the performance of a new class of alternative fuels that could be used in maritime vehicles such as submarines and aircraft carriers. With fossil fuels a limited resource largely controlled by other nations, the U.S. Navy—the largest user of diesel fuel in the country—understandably is interested in alternative fuels that can be produced in the United States. Read more

Sorghum Should Be in the Biofuel Crop Mix, Experts Say - June 20th

Sweet and biomass sorghum would meet the need for next-generation biofuels to be environmentally sustainable, easily adopted by producers and take advantage of existing agricultural infrastructure, a group of researchers led by Purdue University scientists believes. The scientists from Purdue, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Illinois and Cornell University believe sorghum, a grain crop similar to corn, could benefit from the rail system, grain elevators and corn ethanol processing facilities already in place. Their perspective article is published early online in the journal Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining. Read more

Bringing down the cost of fuel cells - June 23rd

Engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) have identified a catalyst that provides the same level of efficiency in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) as the currently used platinum catalyst, but at 5% of the cost. Since more than 60% of the investment in making microbial fuel cells is the cost of platinum, the discovery may lead to much more affordable energy conversion and storage devices. The material — nitrogen-enriched iron-carbon nanorods — also has the potential to replace the platinum catalyst used in hydrogen-producing microbial electrolysis cells (MECs), which use organic matter to generate a possible alternative to fossil fuels. Read more

New Biofuel Process Dramatically Improves Energy Recovery, and Uses Agricultural Waste - July 10th

A new biofuel production process created by Michigan State University researchers produces energy more than 20 times higher than existing methods. The results, published in the current issue of Environmental Science and Technology, showcase a novel way to use microbes to produce biofuel and hydrogen, all while consuming agricultural wastes. Gemma Reguera, MSU microbiologist, has developed bioelectrochemical systems known as microbial electrolysis cells, or MECs, using bacteria to breakdown and ferment agricultural waste into ethanol. Reguera’s platform is unique because it employs a second bacterium, which, when added to the mix, removes all the waste fermentation byproducts or nonethanol materials while generating electricity. Read more

White rot fungus boosts ethanol production from corn stalks, cobs and leaves - July 11th

Scientists are reporting new evidence that a white rot fungus shows promise in the search for a way to use waste corn stalks, cobs and leaves – rather than corn itself – to produce ethanol to extend supplies of gasoline. Their study on using the fungus to break down the tough cellulose and related material in this so-called “corn stover” to free up sugars for ethanol fermentation appears in the ACS’ journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. Yebo Li and colleagues explain that corn ethanol supplies are facing a crunch because corn is critical for animal feed and food. They note that the need for new sources of ethanol has shifted attention to using stover, which is the most abundant agricultural residue in the U.S., estimated at 170-256 million tons per year. The challenge is to find a way to break down tough cellulose material in cobs, stalks and leaves – so that sugars inside can be fermented to ethanol. Previous studies indicated that the microbe Ceriporiopsis subvermispora, known as a white rot fungus, showed promise for breaking down the tough plant material prior to treatment with enzymes to release the sugars. Read more

Other states’ news

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Alternatives to Antibiotics in Animal Health - June 25th

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have developed a new method to create antimicrobials that kill disease-causing pathogens. These antimicrobials can be used as an alternative to antibiotics. Growing concerns about antibiotic resistance to certain strains of bacteria and increasing restrictions on the use of antibiotics in animals has accelerated the need to find alternatives. Scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the chief intramural scientific agency of USDA, are working to provide new strategies for enhancing production and improving overall animal health. This research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security. The patented technology for designing pathogen-targeted antimicrobials is the work of molecular biologist David Donovan at the ARS Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Beltsville, Md. Donovan works in the center’s Animal Biosciences and Biotechnology Laboratory. Read more

Discovery may lead to new tomato varieties with vintage flavor and quality - June 28th

A new discovery could make more tomatoes taste like heirlooms, reports an international research team headed by a University of California, Davis, plant scientist. The finding, which will be reported in the June 29 issue of the journal Science, has significant implications for the U.S. tomato industry, which annually harvests more than 15 million tons of the fruit for processing and fresh-market sales. “This information about the gene responsible for the trait in wild and traditional varieties provides a strategy to recapture quality characteristics that had been unknowingly bred out of modern cultivated tomatoes,” said Ann Powell, a biochemist in UC Davis’ Department of Plant Sciences and one of the lead authors of the study. Read more

Cracking Down on Poultry Disease with Egg Yolk - July 9th

It’s not mother’s milk, but egg yolk may be the closest remedy for boosting the immune system of newly hatched chickens against infectious diseases such as coccidiosis. A major disease of chickens, coccidiosis is caused by intestinal parasites—single-celled protozoans in the genus Eimeria. Disease-affected birds are unable to absorb feed or gain weight, costing the poultry industry more than $600 million annually in the United States and $3 billion worldwide. Scientists at the Agricultural Research Service Henry A. Wallace Beltsville [Maryland] Agricultural Research Center (BARC) and collaborators from different universities and the Mexican company IASA (Investigacíon Aplicada, S.A.) have developed a novel, antibiotic-free method that uses hyperimmune egg yolk antibodies to control intestinal poultry diseases. Read more

Oxygenated Phosphine Fumigation for Pest Control on Harvested Fruits and Vegetables - July 11th

Shipments of U.S. fresh fruits and vegetables can face obstacles in export to overseas markets if they harbor unwanted pests. There are few workable options to kill the pests, and methyl bromide fumigation is the most common one. But methyl bromide destroys atmospheric ozone, and its production is being phased out globally. Therefore, methyl bromide fumigation is unsustainable—as well as expensive. In addition, methyl bromide fumigation injures some fresh produce, such as lettuce. Scientists are searching for alternative ways to solve postharvest pest problems on exported fresh products.
Entomologist Yong-Biao Liu, at the U.S. Agricultural Research Station in Salinas, California, is working on low-temperature fumigation with phosphine as an alternative to methyl bromide for control of pests on harvested fresh fruits and vegetables. Read more

The Search for Nematode-Resistant Cotton - July 13th

Agricultural Research Service scientists in Georgia and Mississippi are helping cotton growers deal with the double-barreled threat posed by two nematode species that lurk in their fields. The root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) thrives in the sandy soils throughout much of the southern United States and can cause crop losses of up to 10 percent worldwide. The reniform nematode (Rotylenchulus reniformis) is limited to warmer regions of the Cotton Belt, but its range is expanding. It causes an estimated $130 million in losses each year to the U.S. cotton industry. In some areas, crop losses caused by the reniform nematode are as high as 75 percent, depending on weather conditions. Losses are greatest under drought stress that typically occurs from midsummer to early fall. Read more

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California Almond Shelf Life: Lipid Deterioration During Storage - June 2012

The effects of storage conditions on the lipid deterioration in California almond nuts and sliced were studied. Natural whole almonds with or without polyethylene (PE) packaging and blanched whole almonds and sliced with PE packaging were stored in 10 different storage conditions which were combinations of different temperatures and relative humidity levels. The peroxide values (PVs), iodine values (IVs), and free fatty acids (FFAs) were monitored during the storage. The PVs in the natural samples did not change noticeably whereas the blanched samples changed greatly, indicating that skins may have played a significant role. The IVs decreased slightly in the 1st 150 d of storage and then leveled off. The slightly faster changes in IVs in the blanched samples coincided with the greater changes in PVs in the blanched samples. The natural samples exhibited much higher FFA levels than the blanched samples after storage. In general, FFA increased with increasing storage time, temperature, and humidity. Highest levels of FFA were observed in the samples stored at high temperature and high humidity. Read more

Food for thought? Soy protein may not benefit brain functions - June 8th

Soy proteins may not help in the maintenance of cognitive function in
older women as previously suggested, warns new research. Contrary to previous scientific evidence, the new data – a clinical trial published in the journal Neurology – reports that long term consumption soy isoflavones has no effect on global cognitive functions, but may improve memory related to facial recognition. "Our study provides strong evidence that soy supplements should not be used by postmenopausal women with the main goal of enhancing overall cognitive ability," said study author Dr Victor Henderson of Stanford University, USA. Read more

Genome Project for Food Pathogens Launched - July 13th

The tiny organisms that cause foodborne illnesses—bacteria, viruses and others—are formidable foes. Despite efforts to reduce outbreaks, bacteria like Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli and Listeria are pervasive in the environment. Like masters of disguise, they evolve into different strains to adapt to changing surroundings. These microorganisms are collectively referred to as food pathogens. And they do a lot of harm. Every year an estimated 48 million Americans get sick from a foodborne disease, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Read more

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Recycling centre to convert food waste into renewable natural gas - June 14th

A US organic waste recycling centre will provide food processors with an alternative to current waste disposal methods by collecting and converting it into renewable gas. The expansion of Clean World Partners and Atlas Disposal Industries organic waste recycling centre will be completed later this year and will initially convert 25 tonnes of food waste per day into renewable gas. The recycling centre will convert the waste into renewable energy, fertilizer and soil enhancements and could eventually divert almost 37,000 tons of waste annually from landfill. Read more

Science & Technology in France

At the National level

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Biotechnology and new plant varieties - Feb 2012

Plant breeding and seed production and growth represent a salient to meet current and future developments in agriculture and wider in the society. Based on information collected in France and Europe, this study provides an overview of the expected selection for the next 30 years. It shows that the process of genetic improvement will use all the available selection tools, including gene sequencing, the marker-assisted selection, transgenics, genomics ... Read more (French article)

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Evolution of food in France - Janv 2012

To know the evolution of French eating behaviors over a long period, many surveys, polls and sociological studies are available. This paper, which attempts to summarize the main sources available, initially released the major trends: decreasing of the budget spent on food, persistence of inequality food product, development processed food and eating out, etc.. The second part focuses on to emerging trends and potential disruptions, first by observing the development of products under labels (local, organic, fair trade, animal welfare, etc..), then focusing the contradictions that consumers face: joy of cooking versus medicalization of food, differences between generations, risk of resistance possible against nutritional or environmental requirements, etc.. Read more (French article)

Institutions / Universities

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Robots, cameras, plants and ... sustainable agriculture - June 29th

It’s like a science fiction movie! Imagine a kind of large building, including greenhouses containing modular air conditionning rooms in confinement within the aerial and roots parts of thousands of plants, some conveyed from cultivation sites by robots, are filmed by cameras with different wavelengths! Welcome to the inside of the phenotyping platform Broadband (PPHD) from Dijon, which will be inaugurated on July 6th. Unique, it will allow researchers to the Joint Research Unit Agroecology (INRA / CNRS / Université de Bourgogne / Dijon AgroSup), and more broadly to the national and international scientific community to have equipment "high tech "to produce, in closely controlled conditions, and characterize, using non-destructive means, the plant material. Read more (French article)

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ANSES 2011 Activity Report - June 2012

In its first full year of activity, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) was present on several fronts: it responded with exemplary speed to the most serious episode of food poisoning in Europe for decades, which was eventually traced to sprouted seeds contaminated by a new strain of E. coli bacteria that is particularly dangerous to humans. The Agency was also lauded, in France and abroad, for its report on the health effects of bisphenol A, which is strongly suspected of being an endocrine disruptor at low doses. The Agency’s teams investigated issues affecting the health of agricultural workers, and the Plant Protection Laboratory was incorporated into ANSES at the start of the year. Lastly, we should not forget the swift response of our teams to the emergence at the end of the year of the new Schmallenberg virus, which affects farm ruminants and is spreading rapidly throughout Europe. Read more

High-intensity sweeteners: Today the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) issues a preliminary review of their nutritional risks and benefits during pregnancy - June 18th

Following an initial Opinion published in March 2011 based on two studies of the health effects of high-intensity sweeteners, ANSES made an internal request for assessment of the nutritional risks and benefits of these additives. The assessment is currently under way and a preliminary progress report was published today which deals specifically with the effects of consumption of these sweeteners by pregnant women. However, due to an insufficient number of studies on pregnant women, no conclusions as to any potential risk can be put forward. As for the possible benefits, no nutritional advantage to consuming high-intensity sweeteners during pregnancy has been demonstrated. Read more

Vitamin D: Increase the dose, The Academy of Medecine recommends - June 22nd

The French Academy of Medicine proposes new standards for vitamin D. The latter is mainly synthesized by the body under the action of ultraviolet rays on the skin. The food would contribute to about a quarter of the contribution. It should for instance consume 400 g of salmon a day to get enough (other food, milk and eggs should be consumed in excessive amounts). Vitamin D not only plays an essential role in intestinal calcium absorption and calcium fixation in bones but also helps prevent certain infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus), or metabolic disorders (metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes) and certain cancers. Read more

Bisphenol A: ANSES publishes the results of its public consultation - June 28th

As part of its expertise on endocrine disruptors, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) published in September 2011 two reports on bisphenol A. The one is on the health effects of bisphenol A, the other one is about uses. Based on this work, ANSES found that there was sufficient scientific evidence to identify as a priority the prevention of exposure for populations that are most sensitive infants, young children and pregnant. This entails the reduction of exposures to bisphenol A, including its substitution in materials in contact with food, which could constitute the main source of exposure for the most sensitive. Read more (French article)

The effect of ’appetite suppressant’ by proteins elucidated - July 5th

Frequently recommended in diets, dietary protein have demonstrated their effectiveness through their effects "appetite suppressant". The team Mithieux Gilles, Director of Inserm Unit 855 "Nutrition and the Brain" in Lyon, was able to explain the biological mechanisms responsible for this property. The researchers describe in detail the chain reactions caused by the digestion of proteins that enable the brain to deliver a message of satiety, long time after the meal. These findings, published on July 5th in the journal Cell, offer scope for better management of obese or overweight. Read more (French article)

French Agency Determines Optimal Seafood Consumption Levels - July 13th

The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) recently published the findings of a study which considered the risks and benefits associated with seafood consumption and determined the optimum quantity of seafood which should be consumed per week. Seafood provides many nutrients such as fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals which are essential for a healthy diet. However, fish is also a source of contaminants (e.g. methylmercury, arsenic and persistent organic pollutants) which may have a negative effect on health. The goal of this study was to determine the optimum quantity of seafood which should be consumed per week to optimise nutrient intake but limit exposure to contaminants. A condition of this study was that recommended nutritional intakes should be attained and tolerable upper intakes for contaminants and nutrients should not be exceeded. Read more

Companies and Research Cluster

Get in touch with science

Many organizations give you the opportunity to learn and improve your mind about agriculture and food science. Please find below some of website about these:

 

Website to see

For the United States information

Federal agencies

JPEG http://www.doe.gov/ : The department of Energy provides an article on the Higgs Boson this month.

JPEG http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome : The United States Department of Agriculture gives information on investments in biofuel, global food security, and other agricultural industries.

JPEG http://www.epa.gov/ : The Environmental Protection Agency provides information on investments to revitalize urban water systems and on grants for environmental job training.

JPEGhttp://www.fda.gov/: The US Food and Drug Administration releases information concerning the FDA SAfety and Innovation Act.

News articles

JPEG http://www.bulletins-electroniques.com/ : News from the United States covering advancements in science and technology (French articles).

For France information

Research centers

JPEG http://www.cnrs.fr/index.php : The French National Center for Scientific Research focuses this month on Ecological Engineering, a booming discipline that uses ecological concepts to improve environmental management.

JPEG http://www.international.inra.fr/ : The French National Institute for Agricultural Research publishes articles on agroecology, human health, and genetics.

Information centers

JPEG http://www.bulletins-electroniques.com/ : News from France on advancements in science and technology (French articles).

JPEG http://www.frenchfoodintheus.org/ : This site deals with food policy (obesity, eating habits, ...), addressing French efforts in research in this area, and provides summary sheets covering French agriculture and food industries. This month, there is an article about adapting agriculture to modern ways of life.

European informations

JPEG http://www.efsa.europa.eu/ : The European Food Safety Authority release articles about animal welfare and safety.



Coming events

EventPlaceCityDate
3rd Pan American Congress on Plants and Bioenergy I Hotel and Conference Center
1900 S. First St.
St.Champaign, IL, 61820 July 15-18, 2012
ADSA National Meeting Phoenix Convention Center Phoenix, Arizona July 15-19, 2012
Process Optimization Seminar Hilton President Kansas City, Missouri July 17-18, 2012
25th Annual Ethanol Conference Houst Hotel
1001 Cass St.
Omaha, Nebraska August 8-10, 2012
Biopolymers and Biocomposites Workshop Memorial Union
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa August 14, 2012
56th annual Agronomy Day University of Illinois’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Urbana Champaign, Illinois August 16, 2012
2012 Collective Biofuels Conference Temecula Creek Inn
44501 Rainbow Canyon Road
Temecula, California August 17-19, 2012
International Agronomy Day Crop Sciences Research and Education Center
Robert E Dunker, Agronomist & Superintendent
1102 So. Goodwin Ave
Urbana, IL 61801 August 27, 2012
2012 Farm Progress Show 1827 217th St. Boone, Iowa 50036 August 28-30, 2012
Rencontres Internationales de la Culture Scientifique, Technique et Industrielle 2012 (4ème Journées Hubert Curien) “Médiation des sciences : perspectives internationales, enjeux et stratégies” Faculté de Droit de Nancy
13, place Carnot
Nancy, France September 4-7, 2012
International Symposium
Alternatives to Antibiotics: Challenges and Solutions in Animal Production
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)
12 rue de Prony 75017 Paris, France September 25-28, 2012

 

French Office for Science and Technology at the Embassy of France in Washington, DC - website: www.france-science.org
Consulate General of France in Chicago - website: www.consulfrance-chicago.org

 

We value your feedback. Please send us your comments and suggestions at deputy-agro.mst@consulfrance-chicago.org

Dernière modification : 17/07/2012

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