Newsletter Scientifique #21 - November 2013



The last months of each year, before Christmas and New Year’s break, are always busy times. They are also in the fields of research in agronomy, livestock, and food sciences in America or in France as well.
Two highlights this month which may be of your interest:
-  Launching of applications for the Chateaubriand fellowship: this program aims at initiating and reinforcing collaborations between American and French universities, through supporting PhD students who wish to conduct part of their research in a French laboratory;
-  Announcement of availability of funding to develop advanced Biofuels projects by the USDA: $181 million are available to develop commercial-scale biorefineries or retrofit existing facilities with appropriate technology to develop advanced biofuels.

We will also take advantage of the coming year 2014 to launch in the coming days a quick satisfaction survey about this newsletter. Anticipating this, we are already looking forward to receive your feedbacks, and we will be really grateful to all of our readers who will contribute to make this newsletter an accurate reflect of your expectations.

In the meantime, enjoy your reading!

Marc Rousset, Scientific attaché
Simon Ritz, Deputy Scientific attaché

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Table of contents



Chateaubriand Fellowship - Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM)

The Chateaubriand Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM), offered by the Embassy of France in the United States, Office for Science and Technology (OST), aims at initiating or reinforcing collaborations, partnerships or joint projects by encouraging exchange at the doctoral level. To that end, the Chateaubriand Fellowship supports PhD students registered in an American university who wish to conduct part of their doctoral research in a French laboratory. STEM Chateaubriand Fellows are selected through a merit-based competition and priority is given to candidates working toward a dual PhD degree (cotutelle) with their French host institution. The application deadline is January 31, 2014 for fellowships starting between September 1, 2014 and April 1, 2015. Read more


USDA Announces Availability of Funding to Develop Advanced Biofuels Projects

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of $181 million to develop commercial-scale biorefineries or retrofit existing facilities with appropriate technology to develop advanced biofuels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy. Read more

Science & Technology in the US

National News


U.S. Agriculture: Reduced Impact on Climate Change - Oct. 24

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 24, 2013) — When it comes to producing greenhouse gases, it turns out agriculture is not the bad guy some think it is. Greenhouse gases derive from a number of sources, with the top three being electricity production, transportation and industry. Food production has not been found to be a leading source of greenhouse gases in this country. Since 1990, agricultural emissions have stayed flat, while production has increased significantly. And it’s that increase in production that may have resulted in the sector’s reduced impact on climate change, according to Paul Vincelli, plant pathologist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Read more

Is agriculture aging too quickly? - Oct. 23

It’s fall. Harvest is underway, and the weather is changing. Both are sure to add a little ache to the knees and creak to the gait when you awake to chilly mornings and find yourself running around more than usual. Those aches and creaks may also be signs of age. A lot of conjecture in recent years centers around the idea that while we’re all aging, that natural process may have damaging implications for the agriculture industry in general. In other words, farmers are getting older, and there may not be enough younger farmers to adequately take over the business when that time comes. Read more

Patented New Trap Irresistible to Insect Pests - Oct. 21

Better control of red flour beetles and other costly, stored-product insect pests could be on hand, thanks to a new pitfall trap designed by Agricultural Research Service scientists. Commercial traps now used are typically dome-shaped devices baited with pheromones or other attractants that lure the beetles into pits or onto glue strips. The new design, dubbed the “Terrestrial Arthropod Trap” and patented in October 2012 by ARS on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, takes this “fatal attraction” to a new level. Read more


FDA takes step to further reduce trans fats in processed foods - Nov. 7

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not “generally recognized as safe” for use in food. The FDA’s preliminary determination is based on available scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels. Read more

Frying temperatures key for flaxseed wheat chips: Study - Oct. 30

Wheat chips can be fortified with flaxseed but frying temperatures must be high to counteract textural and taste impacts, research shows. The study published in the Journal of Food Chemistry investigated fortifying wheat chips at a formulation stage with flaxseed flour which is high in dietary fiber and omega-3s. It then looked at how this impacted the chemical and physical properties of the chips as well as texture, taste and color. Read more

USDA Celebrates National Farm to School Month - Oct. 22

WASHINGTON, October 22, 2013 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted important strides made in offering healthy, local food to millions of school children through USDA’s Farm to School program, and emphasized the program’s role in creating economic opportunity for America’s farmers and ranchers. According to USDA’s first-ever Farm to School Census, in school year 2011-2012, schools participating in farm to school activities purchased and served over $350 million in local food, with more than half of participating schools planning to purchase even more local foods in future school years. Read more


EPA Announces Funding for Students’ Innovative Green Technologies - Oct. 24

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the 2013 recipients of EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Phase I grants. Forty teams of graduate and undergraduate students from across the country are each receiving a $15,000 grant for research proposals that develop solutions to real-world environmental challenges. Read more

Midwest news


Low Levels of Blood Calcium in Dairy Cows May Affect Cow Health, Productivity - Nov. 11

The health of dairy cows after giving birth plays a big factor in the quantity and quality of the milk the cows produce. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that subclinical hypocalcemia, which is the condition of having low levels of calcium in the blood and occurs in many cows after giving birth, is related to higher levels of fat in the liver. John Middleton, a professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, says these higher levels of fat are often precursors to future health problems in cows. Read more

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alums and Friends Honored - Nov. 11

Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences presented awards at the annual Alumni Association Honors and Awards Ceremony on November 8. Read more

Field Drainage Innovations Can Improve Lake Erie Water Quality - Nov. 6

Field drainage installations called blind inlets have been adapted by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists for managing agricultural pollutants in the Lake Erie watershed. These systems, which were developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist Doug Smith and others, are so effective that farmers who install them are eligible for financial assistance through USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program. ARS is USDA’s chief intramural scientific research agency. Read more

Researchers identify unique resistance mechanism waterhemp uses to thwart different herbicides - Oct. 21

URBANA, Ill. – Responding to the first known report of waterhemp showing resistance to HPPD (4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase)-inhibiting herbicides (such as Callisto, Impact, and Laudis), weed science researchers at the University of Illinois have identified two unique mechanisms in the plant that have allowed the weed to “get around” these herbicides. Read more


Schools help kids choose carrots over candy bars - Nov. 14

When schools adopt healthful nutrition policies and practices, kids’ diets improve. According to new research led by Michigan State University and published in the current issue of Childhood Obesity, when schools offered snacks in lunchtime a la carte or vending that were mostly or entirely healthful, students responded with improvements in their diets, said Katherine Alaimo, MSU associate professor of food, science and human nutrition. Read more

New report shows how local food helps Iowa’s economy - Nov. 11

AMES, Iowa - A new report from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture shows that institutional purchases of local food added nearly $9 million to the Iowa economy in 2012. What’s more, the report points out enormous opportunities for local foods in Iowa that could benefit rural communities and farm-based businesses. Investigators measured significant sales from only a small segment of potential markets for local foods among grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, college and school food services and other institutions. Read more


Push for ethanol production carries costs to land - Nov. 12

CORYDON, IA. — The hills of southern Iowa bear the scars of America’s push for green energy: The brown gashes where rain has washed away the soil. The polluted streams that dump fertilizer into the water supply. Even the cemetery that disappeared like an apparition into a cornfield. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today. Read more

Other states’ news


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences awarded conservation innovation grants - Nov. 11

The Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was recently awarded nearly $750,000 in funding by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and test new conservation technologies to improve the health of two of agriculture’s most valuable resources – soil and water. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grants Program is funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and is set up so grantees can work with producers to test and develop new conservation technologies. Read more


Paper bottle will ’change the way people think about wine’ - Nov. 15

A partnership between a winery and packaging creatives has launched a paper-based bottle to quench the thirst of sustainability-minded drinkers. Truett Hurst’s PaperBoy wines build upon the bag-in-box concept by pouring premium libations into a paper-based, bottle-shaped container, with a liner tucked inside holding the liquid. Because the bottle replaces glass with a paper-based container, the packaging offers sustainability and convenience advantages over glass. Read more


Scientists identify key genes for increasing oil content in plant leaves - Oct. 18

UPTON, NY — Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have identified the key genes required for oil production and accumulation in plant leaves and other vegetative plant tissues. Enhancing expression of these genes resulted in vastly increased oil content in leaves, the most abundant sources of plant biomass-a finding that could have important implications for increasing the energy content of plant-based foods and renewable biofuel feedstocks. The research is described in two new publications in The Plant Journal and Plant Cell. Read more

Science & Technology in France

At the National level


Stéphane Le Foll presents the law for the future of agriculture, food and forestry - Nov. 13

The French agriculture and food and forestry sectors face the challenge of competitiveness to maintain a leading position internationally and contribute to the productive development of France. They must continue to ensure food production of high quality and sufficient in the face of increasing global population quantity. This quest for competitiveness can not ignore the challenge of ecological transition; the agro-ecological project for France aims to place both economic and environmental performance at the heart of innovative agricultural practices. Read more (in French)

Stéphane Le Foll announced the establishment of a roadmap for the development of agro-ecology - Oct.18

Stéphane Le Foll, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, participated Thursday, October 17th in the conference organized by INRA entitled "Do you know Agro-ecology? ". He first wanted to thank INRA and its CEO François HOULLIER for organizing this important conference to put research at the heart of the agro-ecological project and contribute to provide a sound scientific basis for allow dissemination practices reconciling economic and environmental performance. Read more (in French)


Divide by two the concentration of sulfites in wine: it is possible! - Oct. 15

Scientific investigations carried out over the period 2009-2012 showed that in experimental conditions, the objective of reducing by 50% the sulfites in wine has been reached or approached in most cases. In the end, the amount of total sulfites is between 60 and 80 mg / l for white and rosé, and around 50 mg / l for red and sparkling, says Frédéric Charrier. Read more (in French)


Stéphane Le Foll and Arnaud Montebourg present the National Action Plan for the future of wood processing industries - Oct. 18

Stéphane Le Foll, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, attended the Superior Council of the forest, forest products and wood processing in the presence of Arnaud Montebourg, Minister of Productive Recovery on Thursday October 17. This council brings together stakeholders of the forest and timber industry. This meeting has:
- Obtain the opinion of the Council on the "forest" part of the bill for the future of agriculture, food and forestry, which will be tabled in Parliament in November;
- Present the national action plan for the future of wood processing industries developed by the Ministries of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, of the Productive Recovery and of Equal Territories and Housing. Read more (in French)

Companies and Research Cluster


An innovative system uses bamboo to treat wastewater - Oct. 17

The water quality is a global concern. A competent and responsible management of water resources and, in particular, the treatment of wastewater is now more necessary than ever to reduce the impact of human activities on the environment and provide future generations with a plentiful supply of clean water . The Briter-WATER project ("Market replication of bamboo remediation of food industry effluent gray water for re-use"), funded by the EU, has studied the development and demonstration of an innovative system for wastewater treatment using bamboo. Read more (in French)

Get in touch with science

Website to see this month

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:

For the United States information

Federal agencies

JPEG : read about Energy Department investment of over $7 million to deploy tribal clean energy projects.

JPEG : learn how Secretary Vilsack continues to push for a new Farm Bill.

JPEG : discover America’s recycle day.


JPEG : find some tips to increase the fiber in your diet.

News articles

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

For France information

Research centers

JPEG : see an interview of Pr. Margaret Buckingham, CNRS 2013 Gold medal.

JPEG : discover why wine has a thirst for research.

Information centers

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

JPEG : read the report about fishing sector in France.

European informations

JPEG : discover how data collection support consumer health.

Coming events

Biopolymer Assemblies for Material Design INRA Nantes, France 4-6 Dec. 2013
National Young Farmers Conference: Reviving the Culture of Agriculture Stone Barns Center Pocantico Hills, NY 4-6 Dec. 2013
Illinois Ag Masters Conference iHotel and Conference Center Champaign, IL 5-6 Dec. 2013
Frontiers in Agricultural Sustainability: Studying the Protein Supply Chain to Improve Dietary Quality The New York Academy of Sciences New York 12 Dec. 2013
Towards building a multi-level transnational network, in Mediterranean forestry research The New York Academy of Sciences Marseille, France 12-13 Dec. 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 20/11/2013

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