Public Release:  ACS PressPac -- Sept. 17, 2008

American Chemical Society

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Credit: US Drug Enforcement Agency

News Items in This Edition:

  • New hope for tapping vast domestic reserves of oil shale
  • Calorie-free natural sweetener moves one step closer to use in the U. S.
  • Toward a fast, life-saving test for identifying the purity of heroin
  • Key proteins identified in the quest for male contraceptive
  • Toward more effective drugs, vaccines for fighting HIV

Journalists' Resources:

  • Press releases, chat room sessions, and more from ACS' 236th National Meeting
  • ChemMatters Matters for Journalists
  • ACS Press Releases
  • Chemistry Glossary

Podcasts:

  • Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions, a special ACS podcast
  • Bytesize Science, a podcast for young listeners
  • Science Elements: ACS Science News Podcast


ARTICLE #1 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New hope for tapping vast domestic reserves of oil shale
Energy & Fuels

Researchers in Canada and Turkey report discovery of a new process for economically tapping vast resources of crude oil in the United States, Canada, and other countries now locked away in rocky deposits called oil shale. The process could boost worldwide oil supplies in the future and lead to lower prices for gasoline, diesel, and home heating oil, the researchers suggest. Their study is scheduled for the November 19 issue of ACS' Energy & Fuels, a bi-monthly journal.

In the study, Tayfun Babadagli and colleagues point out that oil trapped in the world's oil shale deposits exceeds the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. An estimated one trillion barrels of oil, for instance, are in the so-called Green River Formation in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. However, existing technology for recovering that oil, termed pyrolysis, is uneconomical because it requires high temperatures (about 900 degrees F.) and large energy inputs, but yields little usable oil.

The scientists describe laboratory scale experiments in which addition of inexpensive iron powder to oil shale, combined with heating with electric heating coils, substantially increased oil production -- by more than 100 percent for some shales. "The experimental and numerical results show that field-scale oil recovery from oil shales by electrical heating could be technically and economically viable," the report concludes. -- MTS

ARTICLE #1 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Experimental and Numerical Simulation of Oil Recovery from Oil Shales by Electrical Heating"

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE
http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ef800389v

CONTACT:

Tayfun Babadagli, Ph.D.
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada
Phone: 1-780-492-9626
Fax: 1-780-492-0249
Email: tayfun@ualberta.ca


ARTICLE #2 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Calorie-free natural sweetener moves one step closer to use in the U. S.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Researchers in Georgia are reporting an advance toward the possible use of a new natural non-caloric sweetener in soft drinks and other food products in the United States. Stevia, which is 300 times more potent than sugar but calorie-free, is already used in some countries as a food and beverage additive to help fight obesity and diabetes. Their study is scheduled for the October 8 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

Indra Prakash, John F. Clos, and Grant E. DuBois note that so-called stevia sweeteners, derived from a South American plant, have been popular for years as a food and beverage additive in Latin America and Asia. But several factors have prevented its use as a sweetener in Europe and the United States. Those include concerns about safety and hints that exposure to sunlight degrades one of the key components of stevia.

In research that eases concerns about stevia's stability, the scientists studied clear glass containers of cola and lemon-lime sodas containing the two major naturally sweet components in stevia. After exposing the beverages to sunlight for one week, they found no significant degradation in either component of the natural sweetener. -- MTS

ARTICLE #2 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Photostability of Rebaudioside A and Stevioside in Beverages"

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE
http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf801343e

CONTACT:

Indra Prakash, Ph.D.
The Coca-Cola Company
Atlanta, Georgia 30313
Phone: 404-676-3007
Fax: 404-598-3007
Email: iprakash@na.ko.com


ARTICLE #3 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Toward a fast, life-saving test for identifying the purity of heroin
Analytical Chemistry

Scientists in Spain are reporting an advance toward a new method for determining the purity of heroin that could save lives by allowing investigators to quickly identify impure and more toxic forms of the drug being sold on the street. Unlike conventional tests, it does not destroy the original drug sample, according to their report. It is scheduled for the Oct. 1 issue of ACS' Analytical Chemistry, a semi-monthly journal.

In the new study, Salvador Garrigues and colleagues point out that the purity of heroin can vary widely, since pushers often mix it with chalk, flour, or other "cutting agents." Because heroin users do not know the exact purity of the drug, they are more at risk for overdose and even death. Conventional tests for determining the purity of street heroin involve destructive and time-consuming sample preparation, the scientists say.

They studied 31 illicit drug samples from Spain that contained six to 34 percent heroin. The scientists tested the samples using the new analytical method, called Diffuse Reflectance Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (DR-NIR). It involves shooting a beam of infrared light into a sample to determine its chemical composition based on the wavelength of light emitted. The method quickly and accurately determined the chemical content of the samples without any prior sample preparation, the scientists say. ­ -- MTS

ARTICLE #3 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

"Nondestructive Direct Determination of Heroin in Seized Illicit Street Drugs by Diffuse Reflectance near-Infrared Spectroscopy"

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE
http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ac800781c

CONTACT:

Salvador Garrigues, Ph.D.
Universitat de Valencia
Valencia, Spain
Phone: 34-96-354-3158
Email: Salvador.garrigues@uv.es


ARTICLE #4 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Key proteins identified in the quest for male contraceptive
Journal of Proteome Research

In an advance toward a long-sought new male contraceptive, researchers in China have identified key proteins in men that suppress production of sperm and could become new targets for a future male birth control pill. Their study is scheduled for the October 3 issue of ACS' monthly Journal of Proteome Research.

Jiahao Sha and colleagues point out that scientists do not understand one effect of the male sex hormone, testosterone -- how injections of the hormone suppress production of sperm. Building on a previous study showing almost total sperm suppression with an injectable testosterone combined with a synthetic hormone called levonorgestrel (LNG), the researchers sought new insights into how hormones affect sperm-producing cells in the testicles.

In a new study on men, they found that testosterone combined with LNG changed the body's production of 31 proteins compared to only 13 proteins for men given only testosterone. The scientists identified proteins that could serve as both targets for new male contraceptives as well as medications for treating infertility. -- JS

ARTICLE #4 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

"Proteomic Analysis of Testis Biopsies in Men Treated with Injectable Testosterone Undecanoate Alone or in Combination with Oral Levonorgestrel as Potential Male Contraceptive"

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE
http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/pr800259t

CONTACT:

Jiahao Sha, Ph.D.
Nanjing Medical University
Jiangsu Province, People's Republic of China, 210029
Phone: 86-25-86862908
Fax: 86-25-86862908
Email: shajh@njmu.edu.cn


ARTICLE #5 EMBARGOED FOR 9 A.M., EASTERN TIME, Sept. 22, 2008

Toward more effective drugs, vaccines for fighting HIV
Chemical & Engineering News

Researchers are reporting progress toward a wave of new drugs and vaccines that could significantly improve the health and lifespan of millions infected with or at risk for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to an article (http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/86/8638cover.html) scheduled for the Sept. 22 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine. The findings offer hope for the estimated 33 million people worldwide who are currently infected with the virus.

In the C&EN cover story, Senior Correspondent Ann Thayer notes that when HIV was first identified almost 25 years ago, the life expectancy of an infected person was only about one year. Today, with more than 20 so-called antiretroviral drugs now available to treat the disease, an infected person can expect to live many years, at least in developed countries. With new insights into how the virus works in the body, pharmaceutical companies are now attempting to develop even more effective drugs that are safer and easier to use.

While there's still no cure for the disease, Thayer notes in a companion article in C&EN, researchers are working hard to develop an effective HIV vaccine, considered the ultimate way to prevent infection. But there's still a lot to learn about the virus itself and the human body's response, as setbacks in recent clinical trials have shown, according to the article. "Failure is the norm in product development, particularly for something as difficult as HIV," notes one researcher.

ARTICLE #5 EMBARGOED FOR 9 A.M., EASTERN TIME, Sept. 22, 2008
"New Antiretrovirals Change HIV Treatment"

This story will be available on Sept. 22 at
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/86/8638cover.html

FOR ADVANCE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Michael Bernstein
ACS News Service
Phone: 202-872-6042
Fax: 202-872-4370
Email: m_bernstein@acs.org


Journalists' Resources
Press releases, chat room sessions, and more from ACS' 236th National Meeting

It's never too late to explore a treasure trove of news sources, background material and story ideas available from the ACS' latest National Meeting, which was held in Philadelphia in August. Reporters can view press releases, search an archive with abstracts of more than 9,000 scientific presentations and hundreds of non-technical summaries of those presentations, and access other resources at: www.eurekalert.org/acsmeet.php.

The ACS Office of Public Affairs also offers recorded video versions of its national meeting "chat room" briefings and accompanying chat transcripts by going to http://www.ustream.tv/channel/acslive. To use this site, you must first register with Ustream.tv by going to http://ustream.tv/sign-up-step-1. It's free and only takes a minute or two to sign up. To view the archived chat room sessions, proceed by clicking the "Login" button at the top right of the Ustream window and then selecting "Past Clips." Please note that Ustream requires the latest version of Adobe Flash, which can be downloaded without charge at http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer.

ACS Press Releases

General science press releases on a variety of chemistry-related topics.
http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=222&content_id=CTP_006740&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1

General Chemistry Glossary

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

Podcasts

Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions

Don't miss this special series of ACS podcasts on some of the 21st Century's most daunting challenges, and how cutting-edge research in chemistry matters in the quest for solutions. This sweeping panorama of challenges includes topics such as providing a hungry, thirsty world with ample supplies of safe food and clean water; developing alternatives to petroleum to fuel the global economy; preserving the environment and assuring a sustainable future for our children; and improving human health. An ongoing saga of chemistry for life -- chemistry that truly matters-- Global Challenges debuted June 25 and 6 episodes now are available. New episodes will appear through December. Subscribe at iTunes [itpc://feeds.feedburner.com/GlobalChallenges] or listen and access other resources at the ACS web site www.acs.org/GlobalChallenges.

Bytesize Science, a new podcast for young listeners

Bytesize Science is a science podcast for kids of all ages that aims to entertain as much as it educates.

Subscribe to Bytesize Science using iTunes [http://ax.phobos.apple.com.edgesuite.net/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/browserRedirect?url=itms%253A%252F%252Fax.phobos.apple.com.edgesuite.net%252FWebObjects%252FMZStore.woa%252Fwa%252FviewPodcast%253Fid%253D266670954]

No iTunes? No problem. Listen to the latest episodes of Bytesize Science
[http://feeds.feedburner.com/BytesizeScience] in your web browser.

Science Elements: ACS Science News Podcast

http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_SUPERARTICLE&node_id=1355&use_sec=false&sec_url_var=region1

The ACS Office of Communications is podcasting PressPac contents in order to make cutting-edge scientific discoveries from ACS journals available to a broad public audience at no charge.

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Please credit the individual journal or the American Chemical Society as the source for this information.

ALL CONTENT IS FOR IMMEDIATE USE EXCEPT ARTICLE #5, which is embargoed for 9 a. m., Eastern Time, September 22, 2008.

Science Inquiries: Michael Woods, editor
m_woods@acs.org

General Inquiries: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
202-872-4400

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