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American Chemical Society's weekly PressPac -- Jan. 23, 2008

Here is the latest American Chemical Society (ACS) News Service Weekly PressPac with news from ACS 36 peer-reviewed journals and Chemical & Engineering News. 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, Jan. 28, 2008.


Genetic telepathy? A bizarre new property of DNA
Journal of Physical Chemistry B

Scientists are reporting evidence that intact, double-stranded DNA has the amazing ability to recognize similarities in other DNA strands from a distance. And then like friends with similar interests, the bits of genetic material hangout or congregate together. The recognition of similar sequences in DNAs chemical subunits occurs in a way once regarded as impossible, the researchers suggest in a study scheduled for the Jan. 31 issue of ACS Journal of Physical Chemistry B.

Geoff S. Baldwin, Sergey Leikin, John M. Seddon, and Alexei A. Kornyshev and colleagues say the homology recognition between sequences of several hundred nucleotides occurs without physical contact or presence of proteins, factors once regarded as essential for the phenomenon. This recognition may help increase the accuracy and efficiency of the homologous recombination of genes a process responsible for DNA repair, evolution, and genetic diversity. The new findings thus may shed light on ways to avoid recombination errors, which underpin cancer, aging, and other health problems.

In the study, scientists observed the behavior of fluorescently tagged DNA strands placed in water that contained no proteins or other material that could interfere with the experiment. Strands with identical nucleotide sequences were about twice as likely to gather together as DNA strands with different sequences. Amazingly, the forces responsible for the">

General Inquiries: Michael Bernstein

sequence recognition can reach across more than one nanometer of water separating the surfaces of the nearest neighbor DNA, said the authors. AD

ARTICLE #1 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DNA Double Helices Recognize Mutual Sequence Homology in a Protein Free Environment


CONTACT: Geoff S. Baldwin, Ph.D.
Imperial College of London
London, U.K.

Sergey Leikin, Ph.D.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
Phone: 301-594-8314 (office), 301-402-4699 (lab)
Fax: 301-402-0292


Secret of the carnivorous pitcher plant's slurp solved at last
Journal of Proteome Research

Splash! Ooch! Yum! And so another unsuspecting insect victim of Nepenthes alata (N. alata), commonly known as the carnivorous pitcher plant, falls victim to the digestive fluids at the bottom of the plant's famous cup-shaped leaf. For almost a century, scientists have sought the full chemical recipe for the pitcher plant's fluid. Japanese scientists now report completely deciphering this complex cocktail of digestive and antibacterial enzymes. Their study is scheduled for the February issue of ACS Journal of Proteome Research, a monthly publication.

Unlike other plants that absorb nutrients from the soil, carnivorous plants growing in nutrient-poor soils have special organs to capture insects, digest them and absorb the nitrogen and phosphorous their environment sorely lacks. The identity of all the myriad proteins involved in this evolutionary marvel some of which could have beneficial applications in medicine and agriculture has been a mystery until now.

Tatsuro Hamada and Naoya Hatano used cutting-edge proteomic analysis to identify all of the components. They isolated and sequenced the proteins, then compared each with existing proteins to find structural matches. Hamada and Hatano detected seven proteins that exist mainly in the pitcher fluid of N. alata three of which can only be found in this species including useful enzymes that may inhibit bacterial growth and rotting as the plant slowly digests its prey. AD

ARTICLE #2 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Proteome Analysis of Pitcher Fluid of the Carnivorous Plant Nepenthes alata


CONTACT: Tatsuro Hamada, Ph.D.
Ishikawa Prefectural University
Ishikawa, Japan
Phone: 81-76-227-7507
Fax: 81-76-227-7557


Toward a cleaner, more effective method for destroying hormone-like pollutants in wastewater
Environmental Science & Technology

Researchers report effectiveness of a powerful, environmentally-friendly catalyst in destruction of various estrogens that currently escape complete removal in our wastewater treatment plants. Their study is scheduled for the Feb. 15 issue of ACS Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

In the new study, Nancy Shappell and colleagues explain that endocrine disruptors, both natural hormones and hormone-like compounds, have been detected in the surface waters. Many of these endocrine disruptors have estrogenic activity. Ethinylestradiol, for instance, is an active ingredient in both the birth control pill and the newly-introduced no period pill. It is a major source of environmental estrogenic activity.

To address this problem, the researchers tested a new catalyst called Fe-TAML or Fe-B*. In the presence of hydrogen peroxide, the catalyst quickly and effectively destroyed various forms of estrogens typically found in post-treatment wastewater, removing 95 percent of the chemicals including Ethinylestradiol in 15 minutes. Estrogenic activity was also diminished to a similar extent. Further research will evaluate Fe-B*s efficacy on actual wastewater, in addition to more extensive evaluation of byproduct toxicities. Usefulness in wastewater treatment could be doubly beneficial, as Fe-B* has been reported to destroy harmful bacterial spores. MTS

ARTICLE #3 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Destruction of estrogens using Fe-TAML/peroxide catalysis


CONTACT: Nancy Shappell, Ph.D.
USDA-Agricultural Research Service
Fargo, North Dakota 58105
Phone: 1-701-239-1233
Fax: 1-701-239-1430


Wiping out the coffee-ring effect advances inkjet printing of electronic circuits

Researchers in California report a key advance in efforts to use inkjet printing technology in the manufacture of a new generation of low cost, high-performance electronic circuits for flexible video displays and other products. Their study, which describes development of a new method for producing straighter, uniform circuits using inkjet-printing, is scheduled for the March 4 issue of ACS Langmuir, a bi-weekly publication.

In the report, Dan Soltman and Vivek Subramanian note that inkjet-printed circuits must be extremely smooth and straight. That difficult feat has been elusive because the drop-by-drop nature of inkjet-printing often leaves uneven printed features on surfaces, especially a circular pattern known as the coffee ring effect, they note.

The scientists describe a new way to optimize printing conditions to eliminate the coffee-ring effect and produce smooth, narrow lines with an even edge. The development demonstrates the feasibility of tuning and optimizing inkjet technology for microelectronic applications, they say. MTS

ARTICLE #4 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Inkjet-Printed Line Morphologies and Temperature Control of the Coffee Ring Effect


CONTACT: Dan Soltman
University of California-Berkeley
Berkeley, Calif. 94720
Phone: 510-643-4232


Converting sewage into drinking water: Wave of the future?
Chemical & Engineering News

Amid growing water shortages in parts of the United States, more communities are considering tapping their sewage treatment plants as a new source of drinking water. The conversion of wastewater into tap water could help meet increased demand for one of lifes most essential resources, according to an article [] scheduled for the Jan. 28 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACSs weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN Associate Editor Jyllian Kemsley notes in the article that some communities have used recycled wastewater for decades to replenish their drinking water supplies and wastewater often finds agricultural use for irrigation. Droughts, environmental concerns, and population growth now are forcing water utilities to consider adapting or expanding the practice, Kemsley explains.

Earlier in January, for instance, California approved operation of the Advanced Water Purification Facility (AWPF), the largest water reclamation plant in the nation. It will yield 70 million gallons per day of drinkable water from sewage. Thats about 10 percent of the districts daily water demand for its 2.3 million residents. Although AWPFs purification process is complex, it produces clean, pure water that meets or exceeds all drinking water standards, the article notes.

ARTICLE #5 EMBARGOED FOR 9 A.M., EASTERN TIME, Jan. 28, 2008 Treating Sewage For Drinking Water

This story will be available on Jan. 28 at

ACS News Service
Phone: 202-872-6042
Fax: 202-872-4370

Journalists Resources

Media registration opens for ACS National Meeting in New Orleans, April 6-10

Mark your calendars for one of the years largest and most important scientific events the 235th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), which will be held April 6-10, 2008, in New Orleans, La.

With more than 160,000 members in the United States and other countries, ACS is the worlds largest scientific society. About 12,000 scientists and others are expected for the event, which will include more than 9,000 reports on new discoveries in chemistry. Those reports span sciences horizons from astronomy to zoology and include a special focus on health, energy, food, environment, and alternative fuels.

In addition to coverage of breaking science news, the meeting provides an opportunity for independent reporting on disaster recovery efforts in the region prior to the June 1 start of the 2008 hurricane season.

Media registration [] and housing reservations are now open for those who plan to attend the meeting. The ACS Press Center will be located in Room 206 of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. It will include a media workroom with staff to assist in arranging interviews, press conferences, wireless Internet access, telephones, computers, photocopy and fax services, and refreshments.

For reporters planning to cover the meeting from their home bases, the ACS Office of Communications will provide an expanded suite of resources, including press releases, non-technical summaries of research presentations, and access to news briefings.

Updates on Fast-Breaking Advances in Nanoscience

The American Chemical Society has launched a new nanoscience and nanotechnology community Website. Called ACS Nanotation [], the site aims to become the premiere destination for nanoscience and nanotechnology news, highlights and community. Features include research highlights from ACS journals, career resources, podcasts and other multimedia resources, and interaction with other scientists. Registration is free.

Highlights, resources from ACS Chocolate Workshop now online

The American Chemical Societys workshop, Cooks with Chemistry The Elements of Chocolate provided reporters with a delectable assortment of new information on the worlds favorite treat. Held Oct. 11, 2007, at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and sponsored by the ACS Office of Communications, the chocolate workshop featured presentations from Harold McGee and Shirley Corriher, award-winning cookbook authors, and Sara Risch, the noted food and flavor chemist. With chocolate consumption nearing an annual peak as the holidays approach, we are providing content from this event to news media unable to attend the workshop. The material includes ACS journal articles about the chemistry of chocolate; advice for cooks who run into trouble with chocolate recipes; tips on how to successfully use new chocolates in old favorite recipes; and a fascinating comparison of the health benefits and flavor components of different kinds of chocolate. For interviews with the chocolate workshop participants or other information, please contact

[Web link: ]

ACS Press Releases

General Chemistry Glossary

For Wired Readers

Bytesize Science, a podcast for young listeners

The American Chemical Society (ACS) Office of Communications has launched Bytesize Science, an educational, entertaining podcast for young listeners. Bytesize Science translates cutting-edge scientific discoveries from ACS 36 peer-reviewed journals into stories for young listeners about science, health, medicine, energy, food, and other topics. New installments of Bytesize Science are posted every Monday and available without charge. Bytesize Science is now listed as a "new and notable" podcast on iTunes. It is also being recommended by "Podcasting in Education," an organization that encourages educators to embrace podcasts as a classroom tool. The archive includes items on environmental threats to killer whales, a scientific explanation for why some people love chocolate, some unlikely new uses for compact discs, and a hairy tale about "hairy roots." The podcaster for Bytesize Science is Adam Dylewski, an ACS science writer and recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in genetics and science communication.

Science Elements: ACS Science News Podcast

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. Science Elements includes selected content from ACS prestigious suite of 36 peer-reviewed scientific journals and Chemical & Engineering News, ACSs weekly news magazine member.

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.

PressPac Archive:

Science Inquiries: Michael Woods, editor

Contact: Michael Woods
American Chemical Society

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