Newsletter Scientifique #19 - August/September 2013



This month, we would like to welcome the new Scientific Attache in Chicago : Marc Rousset. Marc Rousset was Director of Research at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS, France), headed the BioME Program at the National Research Agency (ANR, France), headed the nationwide group of research on Bioinspired and Biological Processes for Energy (PROBBE) and was in charge of the renewable energies at the Program management office in the Inter-establishment Agency of Research for Development (AIRD, France).

After a Master in Biochemistry and a thesis in Molecular Biology, he joined the CNRS in 1991 as a researcher. With his team, he studied the biological functions of hydrogen metabolism in microorganisms
and the catalytic mechanism of the key enzymes in these processes: hydrogenases. He made important contribution to the understanding on the intramolecular transfer of electron and on gas diffusion in proteins. He is the author of over fifty publications (*) in journals of high impact factor. He was also interested in the potential applications of his research especially in the biofuels sector with the production of biohydrogen.
(*) Available at: pubmed

In our newsletter, two highlights this month : Pr. Richard Morimoto awarded Les Palmes Académiques, and a new cooperation between the U.S. and Europe on Food, Nutrition and Nanotech Standards.

Find also the latest news in Agriculture on gene’s sequence and diseases, in Food Science with focus on sustainability and food safety, and in Biofuel which try to improve the production process.

Enjoy your read!

Marc Rousset, Scientific attaché
Cécile Camerlynck, Deputy Scientific attaché

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Table of contents



Professor Richard Morimoto awarded Les Palmes Académiques - Aug 28th

On August 28, Consul General Graham Paul presented Richard I. Morimoto, the Bill and Gayle Cook Professor of Biology in the department of molecular biosciences at Northwestern University, with the Commandeur de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques for the energy and expertise he has devoted to expanding Franco-American cooperation in the sciences. Read more


EU and US to cooperate on food, nutrition and nanotech standards - July 23rd

The European Union and the United States have agreed to armonise standards for food safety and nutrition and nanotechnology among the first collaborative research priorities to come out of trade and investment talks. The goal is to have compatible standards in the US and EU to remove tariffs and unnecessary regulation, and to facilitate trade. Read more

Science & Technology in the US

National News


One-Pot to Prep Biomass for Biofuels - Aug 14th

The advantages of the "one-stop" shop have long been recognized in the retailing and services industries. Similar advantages would also be realized for the biofuels industry with the development of a "one-pot" processing system in which sugars could be extracted from biomass and turned into fuels in a single vat. A major step forward in this goal has now been achieved by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) who report the first demonstration of a one-pot, wash-free, process for the ionic liquid pretreatment and saccharification of switchgrass, one of the leading potential biofuel feedstocks. Read more

DOE Looks to Better Catalysts for Biomass to Biofuel - Aug 19th

New and better catalysts could be the key to unlocking the potential biofuel locked up in biomass. This article from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory says scientists at the lab’s Institute for Atom-Efficient Chemical Transformations (IACT) for the past four years have been looking at how to improve the efficiency and selectivity of catalysts. Read more

Midwest news


Efforts to brand Milwaukee as water technology hub reach milestone - Sept 7th

Milwaukee’s ambition to become a hub of water research and technology — aiming to lure new jobs and investment to the metro region by harnessing its stable of existing water-tech industries — reaches a milestone Thursday: Cutting the ribbon for a seven-story, $22 million, 100,000-square-foot technology and business incubator. Its name, etched into its glassy entryway, reflects the scale of the region’s dreams: the Global Water Center. Read more


Measuring the Feeding Behavior of Livestock - July 15th

Determining how much time animals spend eating could help animal caretakers identify sick livestock, improve management, and establish genetic differences within a herd. But first, a system is needed to monitor animal feeding behavior. Scientists at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska, have developed a new system to monitor feeding behavior of feedlot cattle and grow-finish swine in a livestock industry setting. Read more

Researchers discover genes resistant to soybean pathogen - July 18th

Purdue University researchers have identified two genes within the soybean genome that are highly resistant to a soilborne pathogen that causes Phytophthora root and stem rot, a disease that costs U.S. soybean growers more than $250 million annually in lost yield. The discovery could lead to the development of soybean cultivars better able to withstand the pathogen Phytophthora sojae. Read more


Copper Nanoparticles Could Protect Food from Bacteria - July 24th

Michigan Technological University scientist Jaroslaw Drelich has found an innovation which relies on copper, an element valued for centuries for its antibiotic properties, to kill E. Coli bacteria in food. He has discovered how to embed nanoparticles of the red metal into vermiculite, an inexpensive, inert compound sometimes used in potting soil. Read more


New Possibilities for Efficient Biofuel Production - Aug 15th

An international collaboration of plant scientists from VIB and Ghent University (Belgium), the University of Dundee (UK), The James Hutton Institute (UK) and the University of Wisconsin (USA) identified a new gene in the biosynthetic pathway of lignin, a major component of plant secondary cell walls that limits the conversion of biomass to energy. These findings published online in this week’s issue of Science Express pave the way for new initiatives supporting a bio-based economy. Read more

Microbial Team Turns Corn Stalks and Leaves Into Better Biofuel - Aug 19th

A fungus and E. coli bacteria have joined forces to turn tough, waste plant material into isobutanol, a biofuel that matches gasoline’s properties better than ethanol. Gallon for gallon, isobutanol gives off 82 percent of the heat energy gasoline provides when burned, compared to ethanol’s 67 percent. Ethanol also has a tendency to absorb water, corroding pipelines and damaging engines, but isobutanol doesn’t mix easily with water. Read more

Blue-Green Algae a Five-Tool Player in Converting Waste to Fuel - Sept 5th

The species of blue-green algae can, through its powers of photosynthesis and carbon dioxide fixation, or uptake, produce (count ’em) ethanol, hydrogen, butanol, isobutanol and potentially biodiesel. Fuzhong Zhang, PhD, assistant professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, works with Synechocystis 6803 — as well as other microbes and systems — in the areas of synthetic biology, protein engineering and metabolic engineering, with special focus on synthetic control systems to make the organism reach its untapped prowess. Read more

Professor and Student Develop Device to Detect Biodiesel Contamination- Sept 5th

In 2010, a Cathay Pacific Airways plane was arriving in Hong Kong when the engine control thrusts seized up and it was forced to make a hard landing—injuring dozens. The potential culprit? Contaminated fuel. A professor and student team at UT has developed a quick and easy-to-use sensor that can detect trace amounts of biodiesel contamination in diesel. Read more

Other states’ news


100K Genome Project unveils 20 more foodborne pathogen genomes - July 22nd

The 100K Genome Project, led by the University of California, Davis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, and Agilent Technologies, today announced that it has added 20 newly completed genome sequences of foodborne disease-causing microorganisms to its public database at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Read more

Gene sequencing targets witchweed and other destructive parasitic plants - July 31st

An international research team, including a University of California, Davis, plant scientist, is using the molecular magic of gene sequencing and transfer to break the stranglehold of witchweed and other parasitic plants that annually cause billions of dollars in crop losses around the world. Read more

Scientists discover key to easing aquaculture’s reliance on wild-caught fish - Aug 6th

For the first time scientists have been able to develop a completely vegetarian diet that works for marine fish raised in aquaculture, the key to making aquaculture a sustainable industry as the world’s need for protein increases. The team has proven that a completely plant-based food combination can support fast-growing marine carnivores like cobia and gilthead sea bream in reaching maturity just as well as—and sometimes better than—conventional diets of fish meal and fish oil made from wild-caught fish. Read more

Researchers discover protein that helps plants tolerate drought, flooding, other stresses - Aug 20th

In New Hampshire, a team including Dartmouth researchers have uncovered a protein that plays a vital role in how plant roots use water and nutrients, a key step in improving the production and quality of crops and biofuels. Plant roots use their endodermis, or inner skin, as a cellular gatekeeper to control the efficient use and movement of water and nutrients from the soil to the above-ground parts of the plant. Read more

New research provides early indications that recycled sewage water is safe for crop irrigation - Sept 9th

The first study under realistic field conditions has found reassuringly low levels of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in crops irrigated with recycled sewage water, scientists reported here today at the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society. Gan and colleagues at the University of California-Riverside launched the study because drought and water shortages in the American southwest and in other arid parts of the world are using water recycled from municipal sewage treatment plants to irrigate food crops as the only option. Read more


JBEI makes breakthrough on thermophilic microbes - July 25th

In California, researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified individual microbial species whose enzymes were the most active in deconstructing the switchgrass biomass. Thermophilic microbes are believed to be a rich source of cellulase and hemicellulase enzymes for lignocellulosic biomass deconstruction that are active at elevated temperatures and in the presence of pretreatment chemicals such as ionic liquids. Read more

Turning Trees Into Fuels - August 1st

In western U.S. rangelands, native juniper and pinyon pine trees are spreading beyond their historical ecological niches and disrupting the environmental balance of their expanded range. Meanwhile, Agricultural Research Service scientists are teaming with university and industry colleagues to turn this problem into a source of fuel. Read more

Science & Technology in France

Companies and Research Cluster


Food System Sustainability - Aug 8th

As western-style food systems extend further around the world, food sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue. Such systems are not sustainable in terms of their consumption of resources, their impact on ecosystems or their effect on health and social inequality. From 2009 to 2011, the duALIne project, led by INRA and CIRAD, assembled a large team of experts to investigate food systems downstream of the farm, from the farm gate to consumption. The main drivers of evolution were identified and the main questions for research selected. Read more

Rich or poor in gut bacteria: we are not all equal facing obesity associated diseases - Sept 3rd

Carried out by INRA in France jointly with French and international partners*, two studies showed for the first time that 2 groups of individuals can be distinguished in the population, according to differences in the richness of their gut bacteria (microbiota). Scientists observed that individuals lacking gut bacteria (diversity depletion) are at greater risk to develop diseases associated with obesity. Parallel to this, they succeeded in improving the microbiota composition thanks to a specific diet. It would therefore be possible to develop a simple identification test for these people at risk and offer them a dedicated preventive solution. Read more

The secrets of astringency revealed through UV radiation - Sept 5th

When you eat a sour red currant or drink a cup of tea or wine, you may feel as if your mouth were suddenly dry – this is astringency. For the first time, the molecular interactions responsible for this sensation have been identified by researchers from INRA, the Université Paris-Sud and the CNRS, in collaboration with teams from the French national synchrotron facility SOLEIL(1), using a new method of UV radiation analysis. Their research has been published on the Angewandte Chemie journal’s website. 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 information on reneweble energies and the supercomputer used in the National Labs.

JPEG : The United States Department of Agriculture is working on the new crop forecast. Find more on their website.

JPEG : Check out the EPA Connect, the official blog of EPA’s Leadership, and the latest news on the climate change.

JPEG The US Food and Drug Administration have defined a new "Gluten-Free" for Food Labeling.

JPEGhttp:// Learn more about the Higgs Boson, the dark energy and the update on the construction at the Fermilab.


JPEG : Beans, Nutrition for Older Men and Breakfast are the hightlights of this month.

News articles

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

For France information

Research centers

JPEG : The French National Center for Scientific Research presents you the news issue of the CNRS International Magazine which reviews this month the various solutions developed by researchers to store energy.

JPEG : The French National Institute for Agricultural Research released this month information on Food System, Obesity and Insects.

Information centers

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

JPEG : This month, you will find information about the exportation of French Agriculture and Agro-food, the French Agricultural diversity, and the cities of gastronomy in France.

JPEG : You will find information on climate change, energies and biodiversity.

European informations

JPEG : The European Food Safety Authority talks about the studies in Food and Nutrition for the next years.

Coming events
Algae Biomass Submit Hilton Orlando Orlando, Florida September 30-October 3, 2013
Fête de la Science France October 9-13, 2013
Sino-French training course on soils - AIR ECOSOLS 2013 Nancy, France October 14-18, 2013
Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo Georges R. Brown Convention Center Houston, Texas October 19-22, 2013
2013 Doane Outlook Conference Embassy Suites - Downtown St Louis, Missouri October 21-22, 2013
5th AESOP Sustainable Food Planning Conference - Innovations in urban food systems Montpellier, France October 28-29, 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 23/09/2013

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