Newsletter Scientifique #20 - October 2013



This month, we would like to welcome the new Deputy Scientific Attache in Chicago: Simon Ritz. Coming from a technical agricultural training in Agricultural Equipment Engineering, he continued his academic career by integrating Agrocampus Ouest (Rennes), agronomist school where he graduated. In the meantime, he followed a course within the Institute of Management of Rennes, where he graduated with a Master in Business Administration - International Project Development. After a first experience in the management of international agricultural project, he joined the staff of the Office of Science and Technology in Chicago, replacing Ms. Cecile Camerlynck in early October 2013. We invite our readers in direct contact with Ms. Camerlynck to carry their confidence forward to Mr. Simon Ritz, who is available to meet any need related this newsletter.

In our newsletter, three highlights this month: a partnership between the French Minister for Agrofood Industries and New York City’s Department of Education on "SchoolFood" Program, the impact of the federal government shutdown on U.S. agriculture, and the new step of development of French Competitiveness clusters in the food industry.

Find also the latest news in agriculture with a focus on new technologies and sustainable practices, Food Science and Biofuel technologies and developments.

Enjoy your read!

Marc Rousset, Scientific attaché
Simon Ritz, Deputy Scientific attaché

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Table of contents



French Minister for Agrofood Industries Sign Partnership With New York City’s Department of Education on "SchoolFood" Program - Oct. 15th

On September 27th and 28th, the French Minister for Agrofood Industries, Guillaume Garot, was in New York City where he opened the Taste of France exhibition with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius. He also signed a partnership with New York City Department of Education’s "SchoolFood" program, with the main focus of sharing food policy initiatives aimed at preventing childhood obesity and educating children about food. Read more


How The U.S. Government Shutdown will Impact Agriculture - Oct. 8th

As the U.S. federal government shutdown enters its second week, there are a number of programs and federal government functions that are being affected by the political stalemate between Congress and the Administration, some of which will have international impacts. Below are updates on key programs and operations that may impact the produce industry. Read more


Research & Development in the food industry : French competitiveness clusters enter in a new step of development - Sept. 13th

After eight years of existence French competitiveness clusters are entering a new phase in which they will have to strengthen their link abroad, to foster education and to focus on projects that could be industrialized. This new step is the occasion for a short appraisal on these innovative clusters across the Atlantic. Read more

Science & Technology in the US

National News


The Root of the Matter: The Role of Nitric Oxide in Root Branching - Oct. 7th

The structure and plasticity of root systems play an important role in determining the growth and yield of crop plants, and understanding how environmental and biological factors affect root structure is of key importance for plant scientists — particularly agricultural scientists.
Lateral roots, as the name implies, are secondary roots that grow laterally out of a plant’s main root, much like branches grow out of the trunk of a tree. The arrangement of roots is determined by a complicated combination of environmental signals based on the availability of nutrients and water in the surrounding environment, hormonal signals, and external stimuli. The presence and strength of each of these signals act as a cue to the plant, which can then make a ’decision’ about when and where to form a lateral root. Read more

Legislation may cause data deficit for researchers, small businesses - Oct. 7th

Small farms and businesses may be the unintended victims of legislation aimed at cutting the federal budget by eliminating certain sets of local and county-based economic data, according to a group of economists. "This local data is really what we use in our lab," said Stephan Goetz, professor of agricultural economics and regional economics, Penn State, and director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development. "And, at the end of the day, we’re using this information to try to understand how our world is changing." Read more


40 years of federal nutrition research fatally flawed - Oct. 9th

University of South Carolina study shows flaws in NHANES data. Four decades of nutrition research funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be invalid because the method used to collect the data was seriously flawed, according to a new study by the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. Read more


Unregulated, agricultural ammonia threatens national parks’ ecology - Oct. 11th

Thirty-eight U.S. national parks are experiencing "accidental fertilization" at or above a critical threshold for ecological damage, according to a study published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physicsand led by Harvard University researchers. Unless significant controls on ammonia emissions are introduced at a national level, they say, little improvement is likely between now and 2050. Read more

Midwest news


Solar Powers Iowa Farm, Highlights Potential for Clean Energy - Oct. 10th

ELPC recently highlighted a successful REAP solar project on a September 2013 solar tour through northeast Iowa. Chuck Bushman installed solar panels on his farm, which began operating early in 2013.
The solar array has 360 panels, generating 86 kw total on the roof of his poultry barn. Solar reduced the farm’s utility bills from an average of $1,700 per month to $170 per month – a 90% reduction. Read more

Update on Palmer amaranth distribution in Illinois - Oct. 7th

URBANA, Ill. – With growers wondering if Palmer amaranth populations will be able to adapt to the landscape and growing conditions of Illinois, results from a recent University of Illinois study suggest that it is a question of when and where, not “if” the pigweed will become established in the state. Read more

Picking the perfect pumpkin - Sept. 30th

URBANA, Ill. – When you think of Halloween, what pops into your head? Trick or treating, candy, fall, and maybe pumpkins! Pumpkins and Halloween go together, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. “Illinois is the number one pumpkin-producing state in the United States,” said Ron Wolford. “In 2012, Illinois pumpkin farmers produced an estimated 623 million pounds of pumpkins.” Read more


Device speeds concentration step in food-pathogen detection - Oct. 14th

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Researchers have developed a system that concentrates foodborne salmonella and other pathogens faster than conventional methods by using hollow thread-like fibers that filter out the cells, representing a potential new tool for speedier detection. The machine, called a continuous cell concentration device, could make it possible to routinely analyze food or water samples to screen for pathogens within a single work shift at food processing plants. Read more

School debit accounts lead to less healthy food choices and higher calorie meals - Oct. 8th

Many school cafeterias adopt debit account payment systems as quick, convenient ways to keep lunch lines moving, but according to this study conducted by Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab researchers, putting it on the debit account may impact the health of kids’ meals. Schools use debit systems without the option of paying with cash, students’ lunches contained fewer fruits and vegetables, more unhealthy items, and more calories overall. Read more


Team uses a cellulosic biofuels byproduct to increase ethanol yield - Oct. 8th

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Scientists report in Nature Communications that they have engineered yeast to consume acetic acid, a previously unwanted byproduct of the process of converting plant leaves, stems and other tissues into biofuels. The innovation increases ethanol yield from lignocellulosic sources by about 10 percent. Lignocellulose is the fibrous material that makes up the structural tissues of plants. It is one of the most abundant raw materials on the planet and, because it is rich in carbon it is an attractive source of renewable biomass for biofuels production. Read more

Numerical method trumps descriptive approach to classifying pollen grains - Oct. 7th

Researchers have developed a new quantitative – rather than qualitative – method of identifying pollen grains that is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Since the invention of the earliest light microscopes, the classification and identification of pollen and spores has been a highly subjective venture for those who use these tiny particles to study vegetation in their field, palynology. However, according to the lead author of the study, Luke Mander, a former postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Illinois professor of plant biology Surangi Punyasena, the limitations imposed by these descriptive rather than numerical methods have kept researchers from classifying pollen and spores beyond a general level. Read more

First look at complete sorghum genome may usher in new uses for food and fuel - Sept 23rd

Although sorghum lines underwent adaptation to be grown in temperate climates decades ago, a University of Illinois researcher said he and his team have completed the first comprehensive genomic analysis of the molecular changes behind that adaptation. Patrick Brown, an assistant professor in plant breeding and genetics, said having a complete characterization of the locations (loci) affecting specific traits will speed up the adaptation of sorghum and other related grasses to new production systems for both food and fuel. Read more

Other states’ news


Multiple Studies Pay Off for Maine Potato Producers - Sept 23rd

Maine potato farmers have new cost-efficient options for increasing yields and improving production sustainability, thanks to research by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists. Over several years, the scientists evaluated how cover crops, rotation schedules, soil amendments, and irrigation affect crop production and yield. As part of these studies, they also monitored how soil microbial communities and disease pathogens were affected by the different cropping systems. Read more

The fish and the egg: Towards a new strategy for fattening up red drum in Texas - Sept 23rd

It’s not the chicken or the egg, but marine scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have answered a basic question about red drum fish and their eggs that may eventually help save the state of Texas a great deal of money in hatcheries management and make fish farming more environmentally friendly. Read more


An Improved Method To Estimate Calories - Sept 16th

Researchers at the Agricultural Research Service’s Beltsville [Maryland] Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC) studied the caloric accessibility and availability of two different tree nuts, pistachios and almonds. They recognized that reduced fat accessibility could affect the available calories provided by a given food matrix. Read more


Rural land use policies curb wildfire risks — to a point - Oct. 8th

_PULLMAN, Wash.—Using Montana’s fast-growing Flathead County as a template, a Washington State University researcher has found that moderately restrictive land-use policies can significantly curb the potential damage of rural wildfires. However, highly restrictive planning laws will not do much more. Read more

New Real-World Study Adds Meat To Algae Biofuel Muscle - Sept 23rd

Algae biofuel still has some catching up to do in the profitability department, but a first-of-its-kind study of a large scale algae biofuel operation puts it very close to petroleum in a key indicator of efficient energy production. Read more

Science & Technology in France

At the National level


Surveillance of bovine tuberculosis in livestock: the experimental deployed throughout France - Oct 11th

As part of the recognition of IFG tests by the European Commission, France would propose the substitution of comparative intradermal tuberculination (IDC) to 6 weeks by IFG test 3 days for farms with suspicion by intradermal tuberculination (IDT) and subject to retesting. This change in European regulations would reduce the blocking time for farms concerned. Read more

36 effective cropping systems with low crop inputs identified within the FARM 2010 network - Oct. 7th

They are as follows: 30 crops & mixed farming systems and 6 wine systems. Synthetic presentation of each system is made in the form of a document 6 pages in a logical to meet the expectations of advisors and farmers. This summary presentation of efficient and effective system culture aims to be a useful resource for action for advisers and farmers mobilized in the implementation of pesticides efficient and low use. Read more


Google Street View stalking pine processionary caterpillar - Oct 14th

Google Street View allows you to view the city streets, but also roads. More and more scientists are using this free database for their research. The INRA is using this tool to study the pine processionary caterpillars, so dangerous to trees and men. Read more

Institutions / Universities


The ISARA-Lyon won the gold medal at ECOTROPHELIA contest - Oct. 10th

Students ISARA-Lyon were awarded first prize in the European ECOTROPHELIA competition on 07 October 2013, during the International Food Fair (Anuga) in Cologne, with Here and There, their eco-innovative range of burgers French from frozen AOP lentils, rich in protein, allergen-free. The recipe was developed by students in the laboratories of AGIS in Avignon. The team of nine engineering students in the fifth year receives a grant of € 8,000. 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 a lot of information about energy, regulations, programs, … in the United States.

JPEG : The United States Department of Agriculture gives you information about agriculture and nutrition actions, regulations, studies, …

JPEG : The Environmental Protection Agency provides you lot of information about environment and sustainable actions.

JPEG The US Food and Drug Administration protect and promote your health.


JPEG : American Dietetic Association website is for professional and non-professional person. This month, you can read an article about possible healthier diets in low-income, rural communities in America.

JPEG : All information about nutrition, food, nutriments and healthy eating. This month : Benefits and Risks of Taking Dietary Supplements.

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. This month, you can find a study on risky consumption patterns of energy drinks.

JPEG : This month, you will find the INRA’s Annual Report for 2012.

Information centers

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

JPEG : Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fishing, Rural Affairs and the Planning poses news and information about these fields.

European informations

JPEG : This month, you fill find the result of EFSA’s Conference on Transparency in Risk Assessment.

Coming events
Precision agriculture for small scale farming systems American Society of Agronomy Madison, WI November 6, 2013
Bee health: state of knowledge and perspectives for research Maison-Alfort, France November 21,2013


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 15/10/2013

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