Newsletter Scientifique #18 - July 2013



I would like to announce that I will be leaving my post at the Office of Science and Technology at the end of August, at which point my successor will take over. I am very thankful to all of our readers who have been able to create a network between French and American scientific institutions through this medium. Once in France, I will continue to work in international relations at the University of Lyon, specially dealing with the United States and Canada.
I appreciate all of the support that you have given us over the years during events or projects and I hope that the level of scientific cooperation between the US and France will continue for many years to come.

We would like to highlight that INRA is recruiting 51 researchers with experience in defining and implementing research project. You will find more information in the highlight section.

The next newsletter will be published in September.

Have a great summer!

Enjoy your read!

Adèle Martial, Scientific attaché
Cécile Camerlynck, Deputy Scientific attaché

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Table of contents



INRA is recruiting 51 experienced researchers in 2013

As from 28 June, INRA is recruiting 51 researchers with experience in defining and implementing research projects. Applications are open until September 2nd, 2013. They are looking for 6 Experienced Research Scientists (CR1) on the basis of a project, and 45 Research Directors (DR2) on the basis of a project. Read more

Science & Technology in the US

National News


Corn yield prediction model uses simple measurements at a specific growth stage -

The ability to predict corn yields would benefit farmers as they plan the sale of their crops and biofuel industries as they plan their operations. A new study published in the Agronomy Journal describes a robust model that uses easily obtained measurements, such as plant morphology and precipitation, collected specifically at the silking growth stage of the plant. The new model could help both growers and industry maximize their profits and efficiency. Read more


CDC unveils pathogens and foods linked to foodborne illness - July 3rd

Listeria in poultry led to 16 deaths during a 10 year period, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC). CDC found that the pathogen-commodity pair of listeria and poultry was followed by Salmonella and fruits/nuts (14 deaths), and shiga toxin–producing E.coli (STEC) and leafy vegetables (seven). However, outbreaks associated with Salmonella caused the most deaths (60 deaths), followed by Listeria (48), and STEC (22). Read more


Novel enzyme from tiny gribble could prove a boon for biofuels research - June 18th

Researchers from the United Kingdom, the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the University of Kentucky have recently published a paper describing a novel cellulose-degrading enzyme from a marine wood borer Limnoria quadripunctata, commonly known as the gribble. Gribbles are biologically intriguing because they exhibit a relatively unique ability to produce their own enzymes instead of using symbiotic microbes to break down the biomass they eat. New biomass-degrading enzymes from novel sources such as the gribble may prove beneficial to the biofuels industry. Read more

Midwest news


Bio-nanocomposites need improvement to match conventional packaging, says research - June 27th

Bio-nanocomposite packaging materials have a bright future but are not yet at the level of petroleum-based plastics, according to a review article. Bio-nanocomposite materials with added functional properties have potential for the development of technologies such as active and intelligent packaging, high barrier packaging, nanosensors, freshness indicator, self-cleaning, and nanocoating. However, the present level of improvements is not enough to compete with petroleum-based plastics, the authors noted in the Progress in Polymer Science journal. Read more

Diet drinks are not the sweet solution to fight obesity, health problems - July 11th

Diet beverages and other non-caloric, artificially sweetened foods and drinks may not be the healthy choice to manage weight that they appear, according to a Purdue University expert’s review of recent scientific studies. Swithers, who studies ingestive behavior and body weight -specifically the roles that artificial sweeteners and other food substitutes play in weight management and eating - reviewed and evaluated the most recent research on whether consuming high-intensity sweeteners, despite their zero or low calories, may result in overeating, weight gain or other health problems. Read more


Black locust showing promise for biomass potential - June 12th

8 Researchers from the Energy Biosciences Institute at the University of Illinois, evaluating the biomass potential of woody crops, are taking a closer look at the black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), which showed a higher yield and a faster harvest time than other woody plant species that they evaluated. Read more

Strong opportunity for Midwest aviation biofuels industry - June 27th

The commercial aviation industry has a clear path toward cleaner, more economical and more secure energy alternatives through the increased use of advanced biofuels developed in the Midwest, according to a report issued June 27 by the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative. MASBI produced the report following a yearlong analysis of the benefits that could be delivered from a robust sustainable aviation biofuels industry in the Midwest. Read more

Cellulose and Enzyme Model Sheds Light on New Strategy for Conversion Process - June 27th

In New Mexico, researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center have determined that cellulose III has a less sticky surface, which means that a smaller quantity of enzymes get stuck to it non-productively. The GLBRC team had found that using one method of pretreatment to convert cellulose into a unique structure known as cellulose III increased sugar yields by as much as five times. Read more

Other states’ news


Improving Crop Yields in a World of Extreme Weather Events - July 1st

8 When plants encounter drought, they naturally produce abscisic acid (ABA), a stress hormone that helps them cope with the drought conditions. Specifically, the hormone turns on receptors in the plants. Botanists have identified an inexpensive synthetic chemical, quinabactin, that mimics ABA. Spraying ABA on plants improves their water use and stress tolerance, but the procedure is expensive. Quinabactin now offers a cheaper solution. Read more


Nanosensor with potential food safety use comes step closer - June 18th

A nanosensor that can detect airborne toxins in the food supply chain is to be further refined in a bid for commercial launch. Nosang Myung, a professor at the University of California Riverside Bourns College of Engineering, is working with Nano Engineered Applications, (NEA), an ieCrowd Company. It is the first time the sensor will be customized for food safety and potency measurements, for detection of airborne substances including pesticides. Depending on the end application it is designed to be incorporated in three platforms: a handheld device, a wearable device and in a smart phone. Read more

Newly developed medium may be useful for human health, biofuel production, more - June 25th

Texas A&M University System scientists from the departments of nutrition and food science and poultry science have developed a new medium for the cultivation of beneficial microorganisms called lactobacilli. A better understanding of lactobacilli metabolism can help improve feed efficiency in animals and combat malnutrition in humans, according to the researchers. Other lactobacilli are used to manufacture fermented food products and to drive the bioconversion of waste streams into value-added products, such as biofuels and prebiotics. Read more

Funding boost to develop microchips for pathogen detection - June 25th

A microfabrication technique to develop three-dimensional microfluidic devices in polymers could help identify unwanted particles in food and water. The research has received a National Science
Foundation award to use the technology and develop new microchips named 3D-πDEP standing for "threedimensional, passivated-electrode, insulator-based dielectrophoresis" for pathogen detection. Microfluidic devices can be used to trap and sort living organisms such as bacteria, viruses, and cells. Read more

Olive powder could combat E.coli on hamburgers - June 26th

Olive powder and other plant compounds are being studied to see if they have the ability to combat foodborne pathogens on hamburgers.
E.coli O157:H7 was one of the pathogens studied by the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, California. Possibly carcinogenic heterocyclic amines, MelQx and PhIP that can be formed during cooking of meats were also studied. High levels of E.coli O157:H7, along with the plant extract, spice, or herb of interest, were added to the ground beef patties, according to the researchers. Read more

New Strawberry Species Found in Oregon - July 12th

A recently discovered wild strawberry species provides new genetic material for plant research and, in the future, might also provide a new class of commercial strawberries. The new strawberry is endemic to the Oregon Cascades, hence its specific name, F. cascadensis. It is perennial, with white flowers and green leaves, and it differs from other strawberry species of the region by having hairs on the upper side of its leaves; a different-shaped middle leaflet; comma-shaped, small brown fruits (called “achenes”) on the strawberry surface; and 10 sets of chromosomes, unlike the 8 sets of chromosomes of the commercial strawberry, according to Hummer. Read more


Algae Shows Promise as Pollution-Fighter, Fuel-Maker - June 27th

A hardy algae species is showing promise in both reducing power plant pollution and making biofuel, based on new research at the University of Delaware. The microscopic algae Heterosigma akashiwo grows rapidly on a gas mixture that has the same carbon dioxide and nitric oxide content as emissions released from a power plant. Read more

Engineered bacteria could produce biobased gasoline - June 28th

By rerouting the metabolic pathway that makes fatty acids in E. coli bacteria, researchers have devised a new way to produce a gasoline-like biofuel. New lines of engineered bacteria can tailor-make key precursors of high-octane biofuels that could one day replace gasoline. Read more

Bioengineering fungi for biofuels and chemicals production - July 1st

Among the increasingly valuable roles fungi are playing in the biotechnology industry is their ability to produce enzymes capable of releasing sugars from plants, trees, and other forms of complex biomass, which can then be converted to biofuels and biobased chemicals. In the Overview "Fungi and Industrial Biotechnology – A Special Issue for an Amazing Kingdom," Dr. Baker says, "For more than a century fungi have had an enormous footprint in industrial biotechnology, from the first US biotechnology patent to current research in biofuels and renewable chemicals." Read more

Science & Technology in France

At the National level


Paris Air Show features demo flight with Amyris-Total biojet fuel - June 20th

Amyris Inc. and Total announced June 20th a successful demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show using a breakthrough technology that converts plant sugars into renewable jet fuel. The Airbus A321 aircraft powered by two Snecma CFM56 jet engines flew from Toulouse to Paris with a blend of renewable jet fuel. Read more

Institutions / Universities


French study reinforces evidence that ILUC is inconclusive - June 28th

The European Biodiesel Board welcomes the publication of a study which demonstrates that on the basis of yield improvement estimates by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the indirect land use change (ILUC) factors that are calculated in the models used by the European Commission to justify the proposed EU-wide legislation are inconclusive and can vary considerably depending on assumptions made. Read more

Companies and Research Cluster


Bisphenol A directly absorbed through sublingual exposure - June 27th

For the first time, a team from INRA and the French École Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse has shown that Bisphenol A (BPA) can be directly absorbed through the mouth. This entry route leads to BPA levels in the blood which are about 100 times higher than when the same amount is absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract. If this permeability is confirmed in humans, BPA could enter the body directly through the oral mucosa. This would represent a direct route to the bloodstream that has been used for certain medications to bypass the protective action of the liver. Read more


Cellectis Genetically Engineers Algae for Biofuels - July 1st

French-based genome engineering specialist Cellectis announced it has successfully used engineered nucleases to genetically reprogram diatoms, a major group of algae, to produce biofuels. Cellectis officials say genome sequencing of several diatom species, such as Thalassiosira pseudonana and Phaeodactylum tricornutum, has opened a new era of post‑genomics research and the possibilities for new industrial applications. Read more
Hydrogen technologies : new process uses enzymes as catalysts - June 26th
For the first time, a research team from the CEA1, Collège de France, CNRS and Université Joseph Fourier in Grenoble has developed an efficient process for in vitro activation of an enzyme, hydrogenase, which is found in microorganisms that use hydrogen as a source of energy. This was made possible by combining approaches from biomimetic and protein chemistry. The results will lead to use of the wide variety of hydrogenase enzymes found in nature, and even the possibility of ’invented’ artificial enzymes over the long term, which may potentially serve as catalysts for fuel cells or the production of hydrogen from sources of renewable energy. 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 provides the new climate change and energy report release by Obama’s administration.

JPEG : The United States Department of Agriculture gives you information about the bee research and education at USDA, and the wetland conservation plant

JPEG : The Environmental Protection Agency releases a lot of information about the President’s Climate action plan this month.

JPEGhttp:// You can follow the move of the Muon g-2 coming from New-York to Illinois, and the construction of the NOvA experiment as well.

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 releases the latest report about hygiene in the kitchen, drugs residues in water or food studies.

JPEG : The French National Institute for Agricultural Research gives you its latest report about Environment or ecological system.

Information centers

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

JPEG : You will find the French National Nutritional Vigilance Scheme, the Organic Ambition 2017 Program, and a report on Agroecology.

JPEG : The site gives you the latest news on water, green economy, climate, biodiversity, health & environment, and risk prevention.

European informations

JPEG : The European Food Safety Authority publishes its reports on pesticides and "chemical mixtures".

Coming events
2013 IAFP Annual Meeting Charlotte Convention Center Charlotte, North Carolina July 28-31, 2013
57th annual Agronomy Day University of Illinois
1102 South Goodwin Avenue
Urbana , Illinois August 15, 2013
American Chemical Society National Meeting Indiana Convention Center Indianapolis, Indiana September 8-12, 2013
2nd International Conference on Genomics in the Americas Hyatt Regency Sacramento
1209 L Street
Sacramento, California September 12-13, 2013
Algae Biomass Submit Hilton Orlando Orlando, Florida September 30-October 3, 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 18/07/2013

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