Newsletter scientifique #5 - April 2012



Looking back at March, we would like to highlight scientific developments in France and the U.S., beginning with a new signed Memorandum of Understanding between our two nations concerning safety and health in the workplace.

Continuing under the "Highlights" section, we also provide information on AgreenSkills : an international and open incoming-outgoing mobility programme for young researchers (post-doctorates) co-funded by the European Commission and coordinated by INRA. You will also find a link for an International Master’s & PhD Program in immunology proposed by the Centre d’Immunology de Marseille Luminy.

Enjoy your read!

Adèle Martial, Scientific attaché
Cécile Camerlynck, Deputy scientific attaché

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Table of contents



ANSES and NIOSH sign a MOU - Apr 6th

ANSES (French Agency for Food, Environemental and Occupational Heealth and Safety) and NIOSH (National institute of Occupational Safety and Health), signed on March 19, 2012, a Memorandum of Understanding provides a framework for cooperation in the field of multiple assessment of health risks in the workplace. Two priority areas of cooperation have already been identified: Maximum Exposure Limits (MEL) and nanomaterials. To see more information:


INRA is recruiting PhD students

Nearly 70 PhD subjects are proposed in INRA’s research units: 55 PhD contracts cofinanced with French regions, Europe or research organisations, 8 Young Scientist Contracts, as well as 3 doctoral offers cofinanced by INRA or hosted by INRA as part of a Cifre contract. To see more information:


AgreenSkills: a new international mobility programme for researchers

AgreenSkills is an open programme of international mobility. It supports inventive, talented and experienced young researchers, from all disciplines and from all over the world, to develop challenging basic or targeted research projects in the fields of agriculture, environment, food and nutrition, and animal health.
AgreenSkills offers attractive conditions in terms of salary, optimal research conditions, training, networking opportunities as well as personalized support for career development plan.
This announcement regards only incoming mobility towards laboratories within the Agreenium members .
AgreenSkills is based on flexibility and openness with a continuous open call over the period 2012-2015, broad range of topics and assistance in finding the most suitable receiving laboratory.
AgreenSkills is an international mobility programme co-funded by the European Commission in the frame of the COFUND - FP7 People Programme coordinated by INRA in cooperation with Agreenium.
To get to the AgreenSkills programme website and to download AgreenSkills Abstract


International Master’s & PhD Program in immunology

Each year, nearly 50 master and doctoral students work in research teams of the CIML and 10 of them defend their theses at the CIML.

Master in Developpement & Immunology

The Master in Development and Integrated Immunology is part of the training prowithin the undergraduate and Master’s program of Aix-Marseille University. This two year program may be started in the first or second year. Involving teachers in immunology from the CIML, it provides a solid background in immunology including numerous practical exercises. It leads to the preparation of a PhD (Research Master) or integration into professional life (Professional Master).You can submit your application until May 21, 2012 by completing the application form online registration.
For more information visit Master in Development and Immunology.

PhD in Immunology from the School of Life Sciences & Health

Combining specialized training and tutorials in immunology, this 3-year program is designed for students of all nationalities enrolled in the School of Life Sciences and Health of Aix-Marseille University. You can submit your application for the spring session until May 21, 2012 by completing the application form online registration.

Science & Technology in the US

National News


Protein Biomarkers Identify Disease-Carrying Aphids - April 2nd

In work that could cut back on insecticide use, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have found a way to distinguish aphids that spread plant viruses from those that do not. The researchers used protein biomarkers to differentiate between virus-spreading and virus-free aphids. The findings mark the first time that protein biomarkers have been linked to an insect’s ability to transmit viruses. Aphid-transmitted viruses decrease crop yields and reduce the quality and quantity of fresh foods. Spraying insecticides can control aphids and reduce the incidence of some viruses, but not all aphids transmit viruses, and spraying is expensive and can harm the environment, people and animals. To see more information:

FDA introduces strategy to reduce overuse of antibiotics in animals grown for food - Apr 13th

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a strategy to phase out production uses of medically important antimicrobials and provide that they be used only for targeted, FDA-approved animal health purposes under the supervision of a veterinarian. Many animal producers already work this way, and according to Mike Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the FDA, the agency hopes this strategy will make judicious use of antimicrobials standard practice throughout the industry. In developing the strategy, FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has consulted extensively with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, the agricultural and veterinary communities, the animal drug and feed industries, and with public health and consumer advocates. And, as a result of that work, the FDA has released three documents that outline a collaborative approach to keeping antimicrobials effective by limiting their food animal use to specific medical needs. To see more information:

Nanotech Cotton Opens Up New Possibilities for the Fiber—and its Fans - Apr 13th

Cotton is going high-tech in New Orleans, La., where a team of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists is continuing a long tradition of innovative research on the prized natural fiber. Starting in the 1950s, chemist Ruth Benerito and her colleagues at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans conducted groundbreaking studies that gave rise to easy-care, permanent-press clothing and other consumer-friendly improvements that helped cotton better compete with synthetic fibers, like polyester. Today, under the leadership of Brian Condon, the ARS cotton researchers in New Orleans are leveraging the latest developments in nanotechnology to bring cotton fully into the 21st century. To see more information:


Monitoring Food-Supply Nutrients - The Second Step - Conservators of the National Nutrient Database - March 14th

For more than 115 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided data on the nutrient composition of foods in the American diet. Over time, a series of USDA institutions responsible for providing this data evolved, and today the data comes from the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), part of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. To see more information:

Foodborne disease from imported foods on the rise - March 16th

Foodborne disease outbreaks caused by imported food appeared to rise in 2009 and 2010 in the Unites States, and nearly half of the outbreaks implicated foods imported from areas which previously had not been associated with outbreaks, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC experts reviewed outbreaks reported to CDC’s Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System from 2005–2010 for implicated foods that were imported into the U.S. During that five-year period, 39 outbreaks and 2,348 illnesses were linked to imported food from 15 countries. Of those outbreaks, nearly half (17) occurred in 2009 and 2010. To see more information:

USDA to streamline & enhance National School Lunch Program - March 19th

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (USDA/FNS) has announced that it is collaborating with six states on new demonstration projects to connect eligible low-income children with free school meals automatically based on information received from Medicaid. The new process will allow for administrative efficiencies, reduce improper payments, and streamline efforts to provide access to critical nutrition for kids across the nation. Alaska, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, and Pennsylvania will begin their respective projects on July 1 for school year 2012–2013. Kentucky and Pennsylvania plan to conduct statewide projects while the others will do so in select locations. USDA, in coordination with states and program operators in over 100,000 schools, is pursuing alternative business processes, such as direct certification for school meals based on participation in other means-tested programs. To see more information:

Agilent Technologies and FDA Collaborate to Improve Testing for Salmonella - March 20th

Agilent Technologies Inc. announced that it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to develop new tools to detect and analyze pathogens in food. The goal of the first part of the project is to develop a novel assay panel to identify subtypes of salmonella in food. When outbreaks occur, knowing the subtype can help officials quickly identify the source of the pathogen and hopefully limit the number of victims. The research will focus on using mass spectrometry-based genotyping to quickly identify salmonella subtypes. To see more information:

Better Analysis Methods for Vitamin D - March 26th

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers with the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Md., design, develop and improve analytical methods for measuring nutritional components in the food supply. The Beltsville center is part of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency. The Beltsville center’s Food Composition and Methods Development Laboratory is using new spectrometry methods to discover compounds in foods that have never before been documented. To see more information:

Social media turn up heat on food industry - March 28th

This week, Beef Products Inc. announced the temporary shutdown of three of its four plants that produce an inexpensive, chemically treated recovered beef product the government calls "lean finely textured beef" but opponents have dubbed"pink slime."The company’s decision came after McDonald’s, the National School Lunch Program,Kroger Co.,Safeway Inc.and others made public their reduction or elimination of the product from their outlets in recent weeks. To see more information:

FDA rejects call to ban bisphenol A but continues safety research - Apr 2nd

US federal authorities said they dismissed a call from the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) Friday to ban bisphenol A (BPA) in food packaging because the petition failed to provide concrete scientific evidence the chemical posed a health risk. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared that the announcement was “not a final safety determination” on the substance and that it “continues to support research examining the safety of BPA”. A further assessment on BPA safety is scheduled for completion later this year. To see more information:


New Funding For Biomass Research & Development - March 23rd

Yesterday in conjunction with Presidenta Obama’s visit to Ohio State University to discuss the administration’s strategy for American energy, he announced $35 million in new federal funding over the next three years for biomass research and development. The project is funded by the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) and will focus on the development of advanced biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products. The effort, aimed at reducing America’s use of oil while at the same time embracing a more environmental friendly fuel source, is joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Energy Department (DOE). To see more information:

EPA approves E15 ethanol blend registrations - Apr 3rd

In response to a request by Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted two partial waivers that taken together allow but do not require the introduction into commerce of gasoline that contains greater than 10 volume percent (vol%) ethanol and up to 15 vol% ethanol (E15) for use in model year (MY) 2001 and newer light-duty motor vehicles, subject to certain conditions. On October 13, 2010, EPA granted the first partial waiver for E15 for use in MY2007 and newer light-duty motor vehicles (i.e., cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles). On January 21, 2011, EPA granted the second partial waiver for E15 for use in MY2001-2006 light-duty motor vehicles. These decisions were based on test results provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other test data and information regarding the potential effect of E15 on vehicle emissions. To see more information:

Elsevier Launches New Journal Algal Research - Apr 12th

Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announces the launch of the new journal Algal Research. In recent years there has been a resurgence of research in algae for applications to biofuels and coproduct development. This resurgence can be seen through the increase in publications in peer-reviewed journals and a plethora of news releases, funding opportunities, private investments, and conferences in this area. Algal Research offers international academic researchers in this field a new publication resource for their publishing their work. To see more information:

Midwest news


A new tool to reveal structure of proteins - March 19th

A new method to reveal the structure of proteins could help researchers understand biological molecules – both those involved in causing disease and those performing critical functions in healthy cells. Christopher Jaroniec, associate professor of chemistry at Ohio State University, and his colleagues describe a new solid state NMR method that uses paramagnetic tags to help visualize the shape of protein molecules. To see more information:


Growth regulator herbicides for burndown applications - Apr 5th

Weeds can be controlled prior to planting corn or soybean by using preplant tillage, herbicides, or both, according to Aaron Hager, associate professor of weed science at the University of Illinois. Weed control may be improved when more than one active herbicide ingredient is included in the burndown application. Burndown applications often include growth-regulator herbicides, such as 2,4-D. Both amine and ester formulations of 2,4-D are labeled for preplanting burndown applications, but the ester formulation is usually preferred over the amine formulation. To see more information:


New Antibiotic Could Make Food Safer and Cows Healthier - March 19th

Food-borne diseases might soon have another warrior to contend with, thanks to a new molecule discovered by chemists at the University of Illinois. The new antibiotic, an analog of the widely used food preservative nisin, also has potential to be a boon to the dairy industry as a treatment for bovine mastitis. The antibiotic nisin occurs naturally in milk, a product of bacteria resident in the cow’s udder. It helps keep milk from spoiling and kills a broad spectrum of bacteria that cause food-borne illness, most notably listeria and clostridium. It was approved as a food additive in 1969, and since then has become prevalent in the food industry in more than 50 countries. To see more information:

Pass the lycopene: Scientist can protect supplements inside food - March 26th

A Purdue University food scientist has developed a way to encase nutritional supplements in food-based products so that one day consumers might be able to sprinkle vitamins, antioxidants and other beneficial compounds right onto their meals. Srinivas Janaswamy, a research assistant professor of food science, said many of the nutraceuticals, or nutritional supplements, added to foods today are not structurally stable. Heat, light, oxygen and other external factors could degrade the supplements, rendering them ineffective. To see more information:

Other states’ news


Seed size is controlled by maternally produced small RNAs - Apr 11th

Seed size is controlled by small RNA molecules inherited from a plant’s mother, a discovery from scientists at The University of Texas at Austin that has implications for agriculture and understanding plant evolution. "Crop seeds provide nearly 70 to 80 percent of calories and 60 to 70 percent of all proteins consumed by the human population," said Z. Jeff Chen, the D.J. Sibley Centennial Professor in Plant Molecular Genetics at The University of Texas at Austin. "Seed production is obviously very important for agriculture and plant evolution." Chen and his colleagues, including David Baulcombe at the University of Cambridge, provide the first genetic evidence that seed development is controlled by maternally inherited "small interfering RNAs," or siRNAs. To see more information:


White Rice Increases Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Study Claims - March 15th

The authors from the Harvard School of Public Health look at previous studies and evidence of the association between eating white rice and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Their study seeks to determine whether this risk is dependent on the amount of rice consumed and if the association is stronger for the Asian population, who tend to eat more white rice than the Western world. To see more information:

Resistant starch may benefit insulin sensitivity - March 19th

Resistant starch was shown to improve insulin sensitivity at lower doses and to contribute to the day-long glycemic benefits of whole grain foods, according to recent studies publicized by National Starch Food Innovation, part of Corn Products International. A recent clinical trial, which will be published in the April 2012 Journal of Nutrition, found more than a 50% improvement in insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese men after consuming three tablespoons of Hi-maize resistant corn starch as a supplement in their diet. To see more information:

Gold nanoparticles offer quick and easy Salmonella detection - developer - March 30th

US researchers have developed the ‘El Dorado’ of foodborne Salmonella detection and outbreak prevention - using antibody-coated gold nanoparticles. Researchers at Jackson State University have been working to develop the technology which uses antibody-covered gold nanoparticles to detect the presence of Salmonella microbes on the surface of food. The same technology can then be used to kill the pathogen. The Mississippi-based researchers were able to attach Salmonella antibody molecules to the gold nanoparticles, which attach to the outer surface of Salmonella microbes when they encounter the pathogen. To see more information:

Savory yogurt may provide daily omega-3 dose: Virginia Tech study - Apr 3rd

Results of a consumer acceptability study published in the Journal of Dairy Science indicated that yogurt containing fish oil and flavored with chili-lime flavor ranked just as highly as flavored yogurt formulated with butter. “Delivering sufficient heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids to achieve the suggested daily intake (145 mg of EPA + DHA) may be accomplished in a single serving (170 g) of savory-flavored yogurt, providing an alternative and easily incorporated dietary source for these valuable fatty acids,” wrote researchers from Virginia Tech’s Department of Food Science and Technology. To see more information:

Fish protein could provide basis for new wave of functional foods, suggest researchers - Apr 12th

There is great potential to develop novel, marketable, omega-3 rich functional food products from inexpensive sources such as fish protein isolate, according to new research. The study – published in LWT - Food Science and Technology – reports that fish protein isolated from inexpensive fish could provide a new basis for the incorporation of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids into functional foods. The researchers, led by Jacek Jaczynski, an associate professor at West Virginia University, USA, demonstrated that is feasible "to develop functional food products made from muscle protein isolate recovered frrom whole gutted fish." To see more information:


Algae biofuels: the wave of the future - April 3rd

Researchers at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute have assembled the draft genome of a marine algae sequence to aid scientists across the US in a project that aims to discover the best algae species for producing biodiesel fuel. The results have been published in Nature Communications. The necessity of developing alternative, renewable fuel sources to prevent a potential energy crisis and alleviate greenhouse gas production has long been recognized. Various sources have been tried — corn for ethanol and soybeans for biodiesel, for example. But to truly meet the world’s fuel needs, researchers must come up with a way to produce as much biofuel as possible in the smallest amount of space using the least amount of resources. To see more information:

Science & Technology in France

At the National level


Health of honeybee colonies: ANSES examines the results of a study on the effect of a phytopharmaceutic active substance on the behavior of foragers - March 30th

A new study has just been published on the potential effect of an insecticidal substance, thiametoxam, the health of bee colonies via its action on the behavior of foragers. As part of the permanent monitoring, and at the request by the Ministry of Agriculture, ANSES will immediately review the new study, and all other potentially available new studies in order to possible recommendations to the French authorities. She moves closer, if necessary, its European counterparts, to integrate the teachings of this work in the evaluation process of such substances. To see more information: (French article)

Institutions / Universities


PhénoArch - March 22nd

Film shot at INRA Montpellier where scientists have a unique experimental platform at their disposal. It enables a simultaneous quantitative analysis of the behaviour of 1650 plants, cultivated in a greenhouse, that can highlight the most interesting traits to enable the selection and improvement of species of agronomic interest. This operation has been made possible thanks to exceptional funding from INRA and the support of the Languedoc-Roussillon Regional Council and other partners (CNRS, CIRAD, Université Montpellier 2 and Montpellier SupAgro). To see more information:

Companies and Research Cluster


New Innovation Platform Created to Harness Potential of Vegetable Proteins - Apr 3rd

Global consumption of concentrated proteins is increasing rapidly and set to double over the next ten years. Protein of plant origin, which currently accounts for just 44% of this total, represents an alternative to animal protein, which requires eight times more fossil fuel to produce. The vast majority of European agricultural crops, which account for a total of some 28 million tonnes of protein, are not used to their full potential. In Europe, industrial innovation in this field is stagnating, and the research effort is not sufficient to meet the growing demand from the new markets in human and animal nutrition, biomaterials, cosmetics and chemicals. Taking these factors into account, Tereos Syral launched a project during 2011 to exploit the full potential of these proteins through future-oriented investments. To see more information:

GreenStars, Towards a New Generation of Biofuels and Products with Micro-Algae - March 9th

GreenStars, laureate of the French call for projects known as the “French Stimulus Initiative” Institute of Excellence on Carbon-Free Energies, federates a network of collaborative platforms bringing together all the players in the development of micro-algae in France. The primary goal by 2020 is to develop compounds of interest such as efficient biofuels and high added value substances with micro-algae feeding on industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and nutrients contained in waste. Led by INRA in collaboration with 45 partners (public research, SMEs, multinationals, local authorities, competitiveness clusters), GreenStars aims at becoming, within five to ten years, one of the top Institutes of Excellence worldwide in the field of micro-algae bio-refinery. A budget of €160 million for 10 years has been estimated, of which 20% come from public grants. To see more information:

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

For the United States information

Federal agencies

JPEG : This month, the department of Energy provides a rapport of the 50 breakthroughs that science has done for you.

JPEG : The Environmental Protection Agency gives you the informations about Earth Day on April 22nd (protect the environement, Go Green, ...).


JPEG : This month, you can find some articles about the food safety during the summer festival, the benefices of the berries or the black rice, and other articles.

News articles

JPEG : News from United States about science and technology advanced in the country (French articles).

For France information

Research centers

JPEG : The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety gives you some information about it collaboration with other agencies in the U.S. or in France in order to improve food safety or healthy risk.

JPEG : The French National Institute for Agricultural Research released articles about bacteria that live within us or algae biofuel.

Information centers

JPEG : News from France about science and technology advanced in the country (French articles).

JPEG : Art de vivre, GMO, food safety, ... you will find some news about these topics this month.

European informations

JPEG : The European Food Safety Authority published an article about the controverse of GMO MON810 this month.

Coming events

Experimental Biology 2012 San Diego Convention Center San Diego, California April 21-25, 2012 http://exper...
Fourth Annual EBI Biofuels Law and Regulation Conference, "Focusing in on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2)" University of Illinois
Champaign, Illinois April 25, 2012 http://www.biofuel...
All Florida Ag Show Highlands County Fair Convention Center Sebring, Florida April 25-26, 2012 http://www.allflo...
The World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
6000 W Osceloa Parkway
Kissimmee, Florida 34746 April 29- May 2
Weight of the Nation Omni Shoreham Hotel Washington, D.C May 7-9, 2012 http://www.weight...
USP–IFT Workshop on Identity and Characterization of a Probiotic Microorganism used as a Food Ingredient: Importance to Safety and Efficacy USP Headquarters, Meetings Center Rockville, Maryland May 9-10, 2012 http://www.usp...
19th European Congress on Obesity (ECO2012) Cité Internationale, Centre De Congrès
50, quai Charles de Gaulle
69463 Lyon Cedex 06, France May 9-12, 2012
11th International Hydrocolloids Conference The Stewart Center Purdue University, Indiana May 14-18, 2012 http://www.inter...
Whole Grains Summit 2012 Hilton Minneapolis
1001 Marquette Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota May 20-22, 2012 http://register...
Grid ComForum East Raleigh, North Carolina May 22-24, 2012 http://www.grid...
30th West Coast Energy Management Congress 2012 Washington State Convention & Trade Center - Hall 4 DEF Seattle, Washington May 23rd - May 24th, 2012
International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting Austin Convention Center and the Four Seasons Hotel Austin, Texas May 23-26, 2012 http://www.regon...


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 17/04/2012

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