Public Release:  ACS News Service Weekly PressPac -- April 4, 2007

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Here is the latest American Chemical Society (ACS) News Service Weekly press package (PressPac) with reports selected from 35 major peer-reviewed journals and Chemical & Engineering News. With more than 160,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society.


ACS NEWS SERVICE -- April 4, 2007
Weekly PressPac -- ALL CONTENT IS FOR IMMEDIATE USE EXCEPT ARTICLE #5 (EMBARGOED FOR 9 A.M., EASTERN TIME, April 9, 2007)


PressPac Archive: http://www.chemistry.org/news/presspac.html

Contact: Michael Woods
202-872-4400
m_woods@acs.org

In This Edition:

  • Verifying the authenticity of organic foods
  • New NO-releasing polymers with potential medical uses
  • Key Stardust spacecraft discovery may have been contamination
  • New car "aroma:" No sign of toxicity
  • Building up nanotech research

Journalists' Resources:

  • "Huh, a what?" Find out "what" in a Chemistry Glossary
  • Science Elements: ACS Audio Clips
  • News, features, background, sources from ACS National Meeting, March 25-29, Chicago
  • Earth Day -- April 22
  • Research in one hot field: ACS Chemical Biology
  • Mark Your Calendars: ACS Regional Meeting, May 16-19, Philadelphia


ARTICLE #1 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Verifying the authenticity of organic foods
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

The supermarket sign in the produce aisle says "organic" and the higher price lends credence. But is that organically grown fruit or vegetable authentic or a mislabeled version of some conventionally grown crop?

In a report scheduled for the April 4 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly journal, scientists in the United Kingdom are reporting development of a test that could help answer that question. Simon D. Kelly and colleagues point out that authentication of organic food products currently is based on enforcement of production standards through certification and inspection -- a paper trail from farm to fork.

The new test, in contrast, checks for the amount of a certain isotope, or formof nitrogen in the food. Researchers found differences in the nitrogen isotope composition of tomatoes, lettuces and carrots grown organically and conventionally -- an indication of whether the crop was grown with synthetic nitrogen fertilizer. That fertilizer, widely used in conventional agriculture, is forbidden in organic farming, the report notes.

Researchers indicate that such a test could be important in providing evidence on authenticity, helping to protect both consumers and honest organic growers. However, they emphasize that the test is not unequivocal, but may be used to provide supplementary 'intelligence' in an enforcement situation. Consequently, the authors also stress the importance of the existing organic certification and inspection programs.

ARTICLE #1 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Nitrogen Isotope Composition of Organically and Conventionally Grown Crops"

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http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sample.cgi/jafcau/asap/pdf/jf0627726.pdf

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CONTACT:
Simon D. Kelly, Ph.D.
Institute of Food Research
Norwich Research Park
NR4 7UA, UK
Phone: +44 (0)1603 251421 or 255000
Fax: +44 (0)1603 507723
Email: simon.kelly@bbsrc.ac.uk


ARTICLE #2FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New NO-releasing polymers with potential medical uses
Journal of the American Chemical Society

A newly developed group of plastics that release nitric oxide (NO) -- a molecule that influences body functions ranging from sexual function to communication among nerves -- may have broad uses in medicine, scientists are reporting in an article scheduled for the April 4 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a weekly publication.

Joseph A. Hrabie, of the National Cancer Institute at Frederick, and colleagues at Northwestern University report synthesis of NO-releasing forms of the most commercially important polyacrylonitrile (PAN) polymers. The new polymers include a textile, a plastic and a rubber. Some of the materials continuously release small amounts of NO for months. NO dilates blood vessels and has other actions suggesting that it could reduce undesirable effects such as blood vessel scaring and narrowing that tend to occur after coronary angioplasty and bypass surgery.

In experiments with laboratory rats, the researchers showed that a NO-releasing variant of PAN powder, applied after balloon angioplasty, reduced formation of scar tissue in the artery. "Many applications of this chemistry in vascular surgery and other medical procedures can be envisioned," the report states. "Possible applications of these polymers include arterial stenting, bypass grafting and surgical endarterectomy."

ARTICLE #2 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Nitric Oxide-Releasing Fabrics and Other Acrylonitrile-Based Diazeniumdiolates"

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http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sample.cgi/jacsat/asap/pdf/ja0686864.pdf

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CONTACT:
Joseph A. Hrabie, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute at Frederick
Frederick, Maryland 21702
Phone: 301-846-7184
Fax: 301-846-5946
Email: hrabie@ncifcrf.gov


ARTICLE #3 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Key "Stardust" spacecraft discovery may have been contamination
Energy & Fuels

One of the biggest scientific surprises from last year's "Stardust" space mission may have resulted from contamination from the spacecraft's rocket boosters, scientists in Spain are cautioning in a report scheduled for publication in the May 16 issue of ACS' Energy & Fuels, a bi-monthly journal.

Stardust was the first U.S. mission to capture samples of a comet (Comet Wild 2) and return that material, believed to hold clues to the origin of the solar system, to Earth for scientific analysis. In the report, Jesus Martinez-Frias and colleagues point out that scientists were surprised to find that Stardust had collected tiny grains of the mineral osbornite, which chemically is titanium nitride. Osbornite forms only at ultra-hot temperatures of about 3,140 Fahrenheit. Scientists thus concluded that the osbornite could have formed near the sun, and ejected to the outer reaches of the solar system -- an indication that the infant solar system was a much more violent and tumultuous place then previous believed.

Martinez-Frias and colleagues stress the plausibility and significance of such hypothesis, but suggest another possible explanation for osbornite presence, which they say has not yet been considered. They point out that Stardust's rocket thrusters used a propellant of ultra-pure hydrazine, which chemists long have used for the so-called nitration reactions used to make titanium nitride on Earth. The propellant likewise could have reacted in space with titanium from the comet or spacecraft to form titanium nitride, the researchers state. They recommend that laboratory simulation analyses and further studies are needed before reaching a final conclusion on osbornite origin.

ARTICLE #3 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Stardust's Hydrazine (N2H4) Fuel: A Potential Contaminant for the Formation of Titanium Nitride (Osbornite)"

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http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sample.cgi/enfuem/asap/pdf/ef070014r.pdf

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http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sample.cgi/enfuem/asap/html/ef070014r.html

CONTACT:
Jesús Martínez Frías, Ph.D.
Center for Astrobiology CSIC/INTA
Madrid, Spain
Phone: 34-91-5206418
Email: martinezfrias@mncn.csic.es

Delphine Nna-Mvondo, Ph.D.
Center for Astrobiology CSIC/INTA
Madrid, Spain
Phone: +34-91-5206434
Email: nnamvondod@inta.es


ARTICLE #4 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New car aroma: No sign of toxicity
Environmental Science & Technology

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which include components that give new cars a characteristic leathery, plasticky aroma, have no detectable toxicity in laboratory cell cultures, aside from causing a slight aggravation of the immune response that could affect people with allergies. That is the conclusion of a new study done by scientists in Germany and scheduled for publication in the current (April 1) issue of ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

Jeroen T. M. Buters and colleagues point out that occupants of cars inhale VOCs emitted from plastics, synthetic fabrics, upholstery, carpets, adhesives, paints, cleaning materials and other sources. Some regard that scent, as part of VOCs -- especially noticeable in a new vehicle -- as pleasant and seductive, while others regard it as objectionable. The researchers set out to test the health effects of VOCs emitted under worst-case conditions in which the vehicles were parked in hot sunshine that would maximize release of the compounds.

They collected VOCs from the air inside a new vehicle and a 3-year-old vehicle and tested extracts on culture of human and other cells commonly used to assay toxicity. Air from the new vehicle, but not the older model, had an aggravating effect in an immune response model that could be a concern for individuals with allergy, the researchers found. Otherwise they found no indications of toxicity. "Our investigations indicated no apparent health hazard of parked motor vehicle indoor air," the study concluded.

ARTICLE #4 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Toxicity of Parked Motor Vehicle Indoor Air"

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http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sample.cgi/esthag/asap/pdf/es0617901.pdf

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http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sample.cgi/esthag/asap/html/es0617901.html

CONTACT:
Jeroen T. M. Buters, Ph.D.
Technical University of Munich
Munich, Germany
Phone: 49-89-41403487
Fax: 49-89-41403453
Email: buters@lrz.tum.de


ARTICLE # 5 EMBARGOED FOR 9 A.M., EASTERN TIME, April 9, 2007

Building up nanotech research
Chemical & Engineering News

'Build it and they will come' seems to sum up the collective philosophy of many in the nanotechnology field. While many of the practical nanotech applications are yet to be realized, the physical and intellectual infrastructure to advance nanotech research is growing by leaps and bounds, fueled by billions of dollars in investments, according to an article scheduled for the April 9 issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

The cover story, written by C&EN senior correspondent Ann M. Thayer, surveys the new and dynamic infrastructure of nanotechnology. Since 2001, U.S. government agencies participating in the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) have funded more than 60 facilities, centers and networks. In addition to conducting basic research, these centers will help train workers, facilitate collaborations between academia and industry, and educate the next generation of researchers, according to the article.

Although nanotech center initiatives are generally less than 15 years old, the numbers have been increasing, with estimates placing the total, including those under NNI, at more than 120. New and established centers at Cornell University, Northwestern University, Rice University and the University of California-Berkeley are among the case studies described in the article. Improvements in medical diagnostics, environmental systems and energy conversion are anticipated to be among the many payoffs emerging from the expanding nanotech pipeline, according to the article.

ARTICLE # 5 EMBARGOED FOR 9 A.M., EASTERN TIME, April 9, 2007
"Building up nanotech research"

This story will be available on April 9 at (to come)

FOR ADVANCE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Michael Bernstein
ACS News Service
Phone: 202-872-6042
Fax: 202-872-4370
Email: m_bernstein@acs.org


Journalists' Resources

General Chemistry Glossary

http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/glossary.shtml

60-Second Science: ACS Audio Clips

http://acswebcontent.acs.org/communications/chicago07/podcasts/index.html

News, features, background, sources from ACS National Meeting, March 25-29, Chicago

http://www.eurekalert.org/acsmeet.php

http://www.acspresscenter.org/


Earth Day, April 22 -- http://chemistry.org/earthday

ACS Video Contest for Students

April 10 is the deadline for entries in the ACS' video contest for college and university students. For information and entry forms on the cash-award competition, which is part of the "Chemists Celebrate Earth Day" observance, visit: http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/acsdisplay.html?DOC=oca%5cearthday%5c07_cced_videocontest.html

ACS Earth Day Poetry Contest

Information on ACS' illustrated haiku contest for students in grades Kindergarten-12: http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/acsdisplay.html?DOC=oca%5cearthday%5c07_cced_haiku_contest.html

ACS Earth Day Fact Sheet

http://www.chemistry.org/portal/resources/ACS/ACSContent/oca/earthday/attachments/2007ccedoverview.pdf

Video Public Service Announcement

http://acswebcontent.acs.org/earthday/air05/alt/ACSearthday.mpg


ACS Chemical Biology

Highlights from the American Chemical Society journal, ACS Chemical Biology, are now available on EurekAlert!, the online science news service for reporters. ACS Chemical Biology is a monthly journal exploring cellular function from both chemical and biological perspectives. In addition to research papers and reviews, the journal also publishes "Spotlight" -- current research in chemical biology from other journals; "Profile" -- experts in the field; and "Points of View" -- comments from leading scientists. The journal web site is updated weekly with new content, and features a WIKI and an "Ask the Expert" section. http://www.eurekalert.org/jrnls/acs/index.php?page=chemicalbiology


Mark Your Calendars

On the Horizon: ACS Regional Meeting, May 16-19, Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Section, American Chemical Society, and Ursinus College will host the 39th ACS Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting. http://www.marmacs.org

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