Newsletter Scientifique #15 - April 2013



This month, our newsletter begins with the INRA proposal to recruit doctoral candidates on Young Scientist Contracts for 3 years, as well as financial news that the new budget proposal for 2014 released by all US Departments and that new funding for the next five years has been approved for bioenergy centers.

In the agriculture field, research continues to yield production, while in the food sector, institutions are trying to find a way to fight food-borne illnesses.

Enjoy your read!

Adèle Martial, Scientific attaché
Cécile Camerlynck, Deputy Scientific attaché

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Table of contents



INRA is recruiting doctoral candidates on Young Scientist Contracts

Each year, INRA recruits doctoral candidates on Young Scientist Contracts offering attractive conditions both in terms of duration and remuneration. In 2013, INRA is proposing eight Young Scientist Contracts. Seven contracts associate INRA with Doctoral Schools and one contract is in partnership with the research organisation INRIA. The specificity of the Young Scientist Contract lies in that involves a partnership between INRA and a graduate school or a research institute. The Young Scientist Contract initial duration is three years. Two extra periods of three months maximum may be granted exceptionally in order to finish the thesis. Once the young scientist has successfully obtained his/her thesis, the contract can be renewed for a duration of 2 years on condition that he/she spends time abroad. Deadline for applications : May 2013. Read more

Science & Technology in the US

National News


Budget for 2014 - April 10th

This Budget Summary and Annual Performance Plan describes the fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). All references to years refer to fiscal year, except where specifically noted. The funding estimates presented for FY 2013 are based on amounts provided by the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013, P.L. 112-175. Therefore, the FY 2013 numbers do not reflect the enacted funding levels for the fiscal year that include the across-the-board reductions for most programs required by sequestration as well as two separate rescissions. Throughout the Summary, “2008 Farm Bill” and “The Farm Bill” are used to refer to the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. In addition, “Recovery Act” is used to refer to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Read more

National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility - February 2013

The United States’ food and animal agriculture supply is a highly integrated, open, global, and complex infrastructure. Increased imports of agricultural products and growing numbers of international travelers to and from the United States have had positive effects, but have also opened our food and agricultural supply to possible foreign animal disease outbreaks. Current and previous Administrations have affirmed these threats and the need to prepare and respond through Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9: Defense of United States Agriculture and Food (January 2004) and the National Security Strategy for Countering Biological Threats (November 2009). The Department is leading these efforts through the construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas. Read more


Peach Genome Offers Insights Into Breeding Strategies for Biofuels Crops - March 14th

Rapidly growing trees like poplars and willows are candidate "biofuel crops" from which it is expected that cellulosic ethanol and higher energy content fuels can be efficiently extracted. Domesticating these as crops requires a deep understanding of the physiology and genetics of trees, and scientists are turning to long-domesticated fruit trees for hints. The relationship between a peach and a poplar may not be obvious at first glance, but to botanists both trees are part of the rosid superfamily, which includes not only fruit crops like apples, strawberries, and almonds, but many other plants as well, including rose that gives the superfamily its name. For bioenergy researchers, the size of the peach genome makes it ideal to serve as a plant model for studying genes found in related genomes, such as poplar, one of the DOE JGI’s Plant Flagship Genomes (, and develop methods for improving plant biomass yield for biofuels. Read more

US DOE announces 5-year funding renewal for bioenergy centers - April 4th

The U.S. DOE announced it would fund its three Bioenergy Research Centers for an additional five-year period, subject to continued congressional appropriations. The three centers—including the BioEnergy Research Center led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in partnership with Michigan State University, and the Joint BioEnergy Institute led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory—were established by the department’s office of science in 2007 as an innovative program to accelerate fundamental research breakthroughs toward the development of advanced, next-generation biofuels. Read more

Midwest news


Understanding the continuous corn yield penalty - March 21st

As escalating corn prices have encouraged many farmers to switch to growing corn continuously, they wonder why they have been seeing unusually high yield reductions over the past several years. The University of Illinois conducted a six-year study that identified three key factors affecting yield in continuous corn (CC) systems. “Prior to this study, the most common management recommendations for continuous corn production were to apply an additional 45 pounds of nitrogen per acre and reserve your best crop land for it,” said U of I soil scientist and lead author Laura Gentry. “Very little was known about the agents or mechanisms causing reduced yields in continuous corn systems.” Read more

New Discovery Makes Detecting Johne’s Disease Easier - April 1st

Johne’s disease—also known as “paratuberculosis”—is a costly, contagious disease that causes diarrhea, reduced feed intake, weight loss, and sometimes death. Annual estimated losses to cattle producers range from $40 to $227 per infected animal. For the U.S. dairy industry alone, losses exceed $220 million each year. Microbiologist John Bannantine and his colleagues at NADC have found an antibody that’s 100 percent specific in detecting Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP)—the cause of Johne’s disease. Read more

Feeding corn germ to pigs does not affect growth performance - April 1st

Inclusion of corn germ in swine diets can reduce diet costs, depending on the local cost of corn germ and other ingredients. Recent research conducted at the University of Illinois indicates that corn germ can be included at up to 30 percent in diets fed to growing pigs. The team tested diets containing 0 percent, 10 percent, 20 percent, and 30 percent corn germ. They tested each inclusion level of corn germ in diets containing 30 percent distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) as well as in diets containing no DDGS. They found no difference in growth performance, carcass composition, muscle quality, or backfat quality as increasing amounts of corn germ were added to the diets, regardless of the inclusion level of DDGS.. Read more

Nitrogen key to uptake of other corn nutrients, study shows - April 15th

A historical analysis of corn research shows that new hybrids are taking up more nitrogen than older plant varieties after the crucial flowering stage, a clue as to how plant scientists will need to adapt plants to increase yields. Tony Vyn, a professor of agronomy, and Ignacio Ciampitti, a postdoctoral research associate, are studying the timing of nutrient uptake in corn and how that process affects yield. They found that modern hybrids (post-1990) took up 27 percent more total nitrogen from the soil after flowering than pre-1990 corn plants. In fact, nitrogen uptake after flowering in post-1990 hybrids averaged 56 percent of the total grain nitrogen at the end of the season. Read more

Other states’ news


Gene discovery may yield lettuce that will sprout in hot weather - March 28th

A team of researchers, led by a University of California, Davis, plant scientist, has identified a lettuce gene and related enzyme that put the brakes on germination during hot weather — a discovery that could lead to lettuces that can sprout year-round, even at high temperatures. The finding is particularly important to the nearly $2 billion lettuce industries of California and Arizona, which together produce more than 90 percent of the nation’s lettuce. The study results appear online in the journal The Plant Cell. Read more

Irrigation Wastewater Can Help Salvage Damaged Soils - April 4th

Studies at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that examined the long-term sustainability of degraded water reuse have demonstrated that irrigation wastewater can be used to revive non-productive saline and sodic soils in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The researchers installed tile drains for channeling subsurface leachate from the field and then began irrigating with the wastewater, which typically contains elevated levels of selenium, salt, and traces of arsenic, boron, and molybdenum. Read more

New Technologies for Studying Crops and Crop Diseases - April 11th

Agricultural Research Service scientists in New York and California have developed very different technologies that share a common thread. They offer scientists new, innovative ways to probe what happens when a crop is threatened by drought or disease. They have found a way to map the structure of an elusive protein that gives certain plant viruses the ability to travel from plants to insects, through the insects, and back into plants. Read more


Fighting listeria and other food-borne illnesses with nanobiotechnology - April 2nd

Engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to kill deadly pathogenic bacteria, including listeria, in food handling and packaging. This innovation represents an alternative to the use of antibiotics or chemical decontamination in food supply systems. This new method is modular, and by using different lytic enzymes, could be engineered to create surfaces that selectively target other deadly bacteria such as anthrax, said Jonathan Dordick, vice president for research and the Howard P. Isermann Professor at Rensselaer, who helped lead the study. Read more

Researchers find Salmonella to be more resilient than originally thought - April 10th

Virginia Tech scientists have provided new evidence that biofilms — bacteria that adhere to surfaces and build protective coatings — are at work in the survival of the human pathogen Salmonella. Researchers affiliated with the Fralin Life Science Institute discovered that in addition to protecting Salmonella from heat-processing and sanitizers such as bleach, biofilms preserve the bacteria in extremely dry conditions, and again when the bacteria are subjected to normal digestive processes. The study is now online in the International Journal of Food Microbiology and will appear in the April issue. Read more

Compounds in Whole-Grain Rice Varieties - April 15th

Whole-grain brown rice contains 15 vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and iron—all nutrients the body needs to grow and develop normally. In addition to these essential nutrients, there are bioactive phytochemicals in rice, as well as in other whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds. Although the role of these plant chemicals in terms of human health has not been proven, a body of evidence suggests that some phytochemicals could be nutritionally beneficial. Now, studies headed by chemist Ming-Hsuan Chen, who is with the Agricultural Research Service’s Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center in Stuttgart, Arkansas, have provided knowledge about the chemical composition and potential bioavailability of compounds in a representative group of rice varieties. Read more


Making do with more: Joint BioEnergy Institute researchers engineer plant cell walls to boost sugar yields for biofuels - March 29th

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) is a scientific partnership led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) whose mission is to advance the development of next generation biofuels that can provide the nation with clean, green and renewable transportation energy that will create jobs and boost the economy. Loque and his research group have focused on reducing the natural recalcitrance of plant cell walls to give up their sugars. Unlike the simple starch-based sugars in corn and other grains, the complex polysaccharide sugars in plant cell walls are locked within a robust aromatic polymer called lignin. Setting these sugars free from their lignin cage has required the use of expensive and environmentally harsh chemicals at high temperatures, a process that helps drive production costs of advance biofuels prohibitively high. Read more

Breakthrough in Hydrogen Fuel Production Could Revolutionize Alternative Energy Market - Apr 3rd

A team of Virginia Tech researchers has discovered a way to extract large quantities of hydrogen from any plant, a breakthrough that has the potential to bring a low-cost, environmentally friendly fuel source to the world. Zhang and his team have succeeded in using xylose, the most abundant simple plant sugar, to produce a large quantity of hydrogen that previously was attainable only in theory. Zhang’s method can be performed using any source of biomass. The discovery is a featured editor’s choice in an online version of the chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie, International Edition. Read more

Microalgae Produce More Oil Faster for Energy, Food or Products - April 7th

Scientists have described technology that accelerates microalgae’s ability to produce many different types of renewable oils for fuels, chemicals, foods and personal-care products within days using standard industrial fermentation. Walter Rakitsky, Ph.D, explained that microalgae are the original oil producers on earth, and that all of the oil-producing machinery present in higher plants resides within these single-cell organisms. Read more

Enzymes from horse feces could hold secrets to streamlining biofuel production - April 11th

Stepping into unexplored territory in efforts to use corn stalks, grass and other non-food plants to make biofuels, scientists today described the discovery of a potential treasure-trove of candidate enzymes in fungi thriving in the feces and intestinal tracts of horses. "Nature has made it very difficult and expensive to access the cellulose in plants. Additionally, we need to find the best enzyme mixture to convert that cellulose into sugar," O’Malley said. "We have discovered a fungus from the digestive tract of a horse that addresses both issues — it thrives on lignin-rich plants and converts these materials into sugars for the animal. It is a potential treasure trove of enzymes for solving this problem and reducing the cost of biofuels." Read more

Science & Technology in France

At the National level


Antibiotic Resistance: Recap of French Plan - Jan 15th

The Ecoantibio 2017 plan aims to achieve a 25% reduction in antibiotic use in veterinary medicine over five years by developing alternatives that are capable of protecting animal health and that avoid recourse to antibiotics. First of all, this article deals with the five priorities, within the Ecoantibio 2017 plan, outlined by Stéphane Le Foll, French Minister of Agriculture. Then, antibiotic resistance monitoring in France will be explained. Read more

A Comprehensive Program to Sustain French Beekeeping Sector - March 18th

On February 8, Stéphane Le Foll, French Minister for Agriculture, Food Industry, and Forestry, announced the launch of the sustainable development plan for the beekeeping sector. The three-year comprehensive program, which has a budget of 40 million euros, aims to expand the French beekeeping sector and address bees’ health issues. Bees are essential for pollination and play a major role in agriculture and environmental services: 80 percent of crops are pollinated by insects, of which 85 percent are by bees. Read more

France launches a new plan to encourage nitrogen management and develop methanization plants - April 15th

On March 29, 2013, the “Energy Methanization Autonomy Nitrogen” plan was launched with two main objectives.
The first objective is to balance fertilization in France, including a general reduction and the substitution of mineral nitrogen with livestock manure. The second one is the development of renewable energies, which is part of France’s “energy transition.” How to encourage balanced nitrogen fertilization? Methanization: a way to the French “energy transition”. Read more

The fish farming sector in France - April 15th

Around the world, fishing captures are capped to 90 million metric tons (mt) since the 1990s, and most of the fisheries have now reached the limit of sustainable exploitations of the natural resources. Globally, fish consumption has doubled between 1973 and 2003. In France, the annual consumption of aquatic products per person has grown from 51 pounds in 1990 to 77 pounds in 2005. Fish farming is providing a new source of fish to address this consumption raise while preserving the fish species. Fish farming has a long history in France. In the Middle Ages, French monks were breeding fishes in lakes and ponds. When artificial reproduction for salmon trout was established at the end of the 19th century, French salmon aquaculture soared. Read more

Companies and Research Cluster


CNRS/Sagascience issues a report on nuclear energy - April 12th

Henri Becquerel’s discovery of natural radioactivity in 1896 made it possible to produce nuclear energy from the 1940s.
The way forward for some, an unacceptable risk for others… This report provides an overview of nuclear technology today (radioactivity; nuclear energy; social aspects; new production, reprocessing and storage technologies). Read more


Feedipedia, an online encyclopaedia of livestock feeds - Feb 22nd

Efficient use of animal feed resources is a high-stakes priority for sustainable livestock farming, especially in emerging markets where meat consumption is rapidly increasing. Warm regions boast a wide variety of plants, starchy tubers and fruits, protein-rich plants, grasses and pulses that can all be used in animal feed. To make optimal use of these local resources, livestock farmers need precise information about their nutritional value to develop balanced rations. While national feed tables have existed for many years and are regularly updated in temperate countries, tables aimed at tropical and subtropical countries are hard to find. These countries must often rely on data collected in temperate countries or use unreliable, out-of-date sources. This is why INRA, CIRAD and the Association Française de Zootechnie (AFZ) have developed the joint project Feedipedia, the first online encyclopaedia that brings worldwide data on the subject together in one place. Read more

Research for the future of the CAP - March 5th

Since 1957 when the Treaty of Rome was signed, Europe has supported agriculture in Member States through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Fifty years on, the European Union has grown considerably and the political and economic context is profoundly different. What is the future of the CAP in the 2014-2020 EU Budget? How much will be earmarked for agriculture? INRA economists have been invited to participate in public consultations. Read more

Why red algae never colonized dry land - March 11th

The first red alga genome has just been sequenced by an international team coordinated by CNRS and UPMC at the Station Biologique de Roscoff (Brittany), notably involving researchers from CEA-Genoscope1, the universities of Lille 1 and Rennes 1 and the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle2. The genome of Chondrus crispus, also known by the Breton name ’pioka’, turns out to be small and compact for a multicellular organism. It has fewer genes than several other species of unicellular algae, which raises a number of questions about the evolution of red algae. This low number of genes could explain why these organisms never colonized dry land, unlike their green counterparts—from which all terrestrial plants are descended. These findings open up new perspectives on the natural history of algae and of terrestrial plants. They are published online in the journal PNAS on March 11th 2013. Read more*

Nanotechnology in veterinary medicine - March 19th

The French Veterinary Academy held the first conference on nanotechnology in veterinary medicine on 7 March 2013. The conference, organised by Bernard Charley at the INRA centre in Jouy-en-Josas, was an opportunity to present groundbreaking research on the subject, identify promising areas to pursue and discuss the foreseeable impact on veterinarian pharmacology and diagnostic capabilities. Nanotechnologies, or sciences and technologies at the nanoscale (i.e. one millionth of a millimetre), make use of various disciplines and are of particular interest to biologists due to their unique applications on a very small dimension. While nanotechnology is already being used in many areas, such as in micro-electronics, computers and optics, its application in biology and medicine – veterinary sciences in particular – is still very recent. Read more


The World’s Challenge, Feeding 9 Billion People - Feb 15th

If a global population of 9 billion by 2050 is to be fed adequately, more food must be produced, and this in keeping with increasingly stringent standards of quality and with respect for the environment. Not to mention the land that must be set aside for the production of energy resources, industrial goods, carbon storage and the protection of biodiversity. Marion Guillou, President of INRA from 2004 to 2012, and Gérard Matheron, President of the International Cooperative Centre for Agronomical Research for Development (CIRAD), have published The World’s Challenge, Feeding 9 Billion People. Read more

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 this month

For the United States information

Federal agencies

JPEG : The department of Energy releases the budget proposal for 2014, and the new investments or projects started in the U.S.

JPEG : You will find the Fiscal Year 2014 budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Also, the USDA publishes the agricultural exports since 2009, a new agreement to promote Renewable Fuels in the aviation industry, ...

JPEG : The Environmental Protection Agency Releases proposed FY 2014 Budget, and the speech of the EPA Senior Agricultural Counselor on Agriculture, Environmental Issues.

JPEGhttp:// The Fermilab informs you about the current research (particle physics, Cryogenic Dark Matter Search experiment, NOvA, ...).

News articles

JPEG : News from the United States covering advancements in science and technology (French articles).

For France information

Research centers

JPEG : The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety give you some information about Bisphenol A and the lunch in school.

JPEG : The French National Center for Scientific Research presents you the April issue of the CNRS International Magazine.

JPEG : The French National Institute for Agricultural Research has released scientific contracts offers, agriculture forecast, new reports and advanced in the agriculture field.

Information centers

JPEG : News from France on advancements in science and technology (French articles).

JPEG : This site published articles about the beekeeping sector, the antibiotic in agriculture, the fish sector, and the food features in France.

JPEG : You will find the latest news about climate change, energy, and environment.

European informations

JPEG : The European Food Safety Authority invite you to join EFSA’s Scientific Panels in order to improve the European Food Safety.

Coming events
Understanding and Addressing the Anti-GE Critique University of Illinois
Illini Union Room 314A
Urbana, Illinois April 25, 2013
Pre- & Probiotics – Market, Science, Regulations and Applications Jacob Javits Center New York, New York April 30 & May 1, 2013
International Workshop on Wheat Genomic Selection Amphi recherche pôle physique - Campus des Cézeaux Clermont-Ferrand (France) May 16-17, 2013
International Symposium on Salmonella and Salmonellosis Palais du Grand Large – Quai Duguay Trouin Saint Malo (France) May 27-29, 2013


French Office for Science and Technology at the Embassy of France in Washington, DC - website:
Consulate General of France in Chicago - website:


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Last modified on 23/04/2013

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