Newsletter scientifique #6 - May 2012



This May we would like to inform you of grant opportunities and present you with innovations in research in agriculture, food sciences, and green technologies.

We would also like to bring attention to the Request for Applications for the U.S. State Department’s new project "The Nexus dialogue on Water Infrastructure Optimization. With this, their Bureau for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs aims to support the creation of a platform to identify, analyze, and disseminate best practices related to dams, water infrastructure, and the surrounding environment.

Furthermore, we would like to highlight the U.S. EPA’s commitment of $20 million in grants to help restore the Great Lakes, one of the largest freshwater resources in the world.

Enjoy your read!

Adèle Martial, Scientific attaché
Cécile Camerlynck, Deputy Scientific attaché

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Applications for a new project – the “Nexus Dialogue on Water Infrastructure Optimization”

The Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State has just posted a Request for Applications for a new project– the “Nexus Dialogue on Water Infrastructure Optimization”.

The Department of State is interested in supporting efforts to catalyze a global dialogue on multi-purpose infrastructure and surrounding natural infrastructure at the nexus of water, food and energy. To establish and implement this project, DOS is seeking to enter into a Cooperative Agreement with one, or a consortium of several non-profits, non-governmental organizations, or international organizations. The Cooperative Agreement will support the creation of a platform to identify, analyze and disseminate best practices related to dams and water infrastructure and the surrounding environment. The award will be for up to $297,000 USD. Please note that the closing date for applications is June 4th, 2012.

For additional information, please see the full announcement on Grants.Gov
If you have any questions about this project, please feel free to contact Julien M. Katchinoff at, as well as 1-202-647-6811.


Up To $20 Million Available From EPA for 2012 Great Lakes Restoration Projects - Apr 19th

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it is requesting applications from states, municipalities, tribes, universities and nonprofit organizations for new projects to restore and protect the Great Lakes. EPA will distribute approximately $20 million through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant program during Fiscal Year 2012. "These grants will support critical work to restore the Great Lakes, which provide drinking water to 30 million Americans and support a multi-billion dollar economy," said EPA Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman. Read more


FDA issues draft guidance on nanotechnology - Apr 20th

Two draft guidance documents that address the use of nanotechnology by the food and cosmetics industries were issued today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Nanotechnology is an evolving technology that allows scientists to create, explore, and manipulate materials on a scale measured in nanometers – particles so small that they can not be seen with a regular microscope. The technology has a broad range of potential applications, such as the packaging of food or altering the look and feel of cosmetics. The two draft guidance documents are: “Guidance for Industry: Assessing the Effects of Significant Manufacturing Process Changes, including Emerging Technologies, on the Safety and Regulatory Status of Food Ingredients and Food Contact Substances, Including Food Ingredients that are Color Additives” and “Guidance for Industry: Safety of Nanomaterials in Cosmetic Products.” Read more


Integrated Assessment of Agricultural Systems (IAAS) at regional level

The CIHEAM-IAMM in collaboration with the SupAgro and the UMR-System organize an international course: "Integrated Assessment of Agricultural Systems (IAAS) at regional level". The course will be organized in the CIHEAM-IAMM from 22 to 25 October, 2012 and ensured by speakers from the SupAgro, Wagueningen University, Lund University and others. The target of the course is to present concepts for integrated assessment of agricultural systems from field and farm to regional level and understand conceptually and practically how integrated assessment and modelling can support ex-ante impact assessment and decision making processes. Concretely, besides a series of plenary presentations by speakers, a number of practical exercises will be also ensured.
For more details on the course content and the registration procedure please see the announcement.

For more details, please send an email to

Science & Technology in the US

National News


$25 million grant aims to boost food security in developing world - Apr 23rd

A UC Davis agricultural economist will direct a $25 million federal program aimed at creating financial systems that can boost agricultural productivity and food security in developing countries. The five-year project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, will finance research projects that design and test financial technologies, such as linked credit and insurance contracts, that can reduce the vulnerability of poor households to adverse events, making it easier for them to invest in new agricultural technologies and break the cycle of poverty. Read more

Long-Standing Erosion Calculator Enters 21st Century - Apr 23rd

Seth Dabney is busy tweaking a soon-to-be-unveiled update of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation, Version 2 (RUSLE2), which moves the original equation ever further from its origins in the age of slide rules to the era of computing. RUSLE2 has retained the integrity of the original Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE)—in greatly expanded form—and integrated an updated database with a computer model that reflects both the latest in computer technology and scientific discoveries about erosion processes. It is unlikely that there is a more powerful, proven, practical computer model than RUSLE2. Its ability to predict daily erosion related to any human activity anywhere in the nation, based on a host of conditions, through a combination of simulation model, vast database, and scientific knowledge, makes it an excellent example of computational science and technology. Read more


Food stamps “significantly” reduced poverty during recession: USDA study - Apr 12th

Participation in the federal food stamp program, officially known as the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, significantly reduced poverty levels during the recession, according to a new USDA study. Enrolment in the food stamp program has grown rapidly, with 45.8m Americans taking part in August 2011, up 8.1% on the previous year, and more than 75% higher than in 2006, when about 26m took part in the program. SNAP is one of the largest safety net programs in the United States, and this latest study found that it reduced the poverty rate by nearly 8% in 2009, the most recent year included in the research. Read more

USDA Announces New Farm to School Program to Improve the Health and Nutrition of Kids Receiving School Meals - Apr 17th

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced today that USDA will be investing in farm to school programs nationwide to help eligible schools improve the health and wellbeing of their students and connect with local agricultural producers. Merrigan joined students at Southern High School to announce the new program that will promote opportunities for nutrition and agriculture education while providing new economic opportunities for food producers of all kinds and communities nationwide. Students at the school displayed and highlighted their farm to school efforts with a tour of the school’s greenhouse. "School cafeterias are great places to champion U.S. agriculture and to teach students where their food comes from," said Deputy Secretary Merrigan. "More and more, schools are connecting with their local farmers, ranchers and food businesses each day and these programs are a great way to bring more local offerings into school cafeterias and support U.S. producers as well. As we struggle with obesity and associated diet related diseases, farm to school programs give us one important tool to help our kids make lifelong healthy eating choices." Read more

USDA Announces New Safeguards to Protect Consumers from Foodborne Illness - May 3rd

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a series of prevention-based policy measures that will better protect consumers from foodborne illness in meat and poultry products. These measures will significantly improve the ability of both plants and USDA to trace contaminated food materials in the supply chain, to act against contaminated products sooner, and to establish the effectiveness of food safety systems. "The additional safeguards we are announcing today will improve our ability to prevent foodborne illness by strengthening our food safety infrastructure," said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen. "Together, these measures will provide us with more tools to protect our food supply, resulting in stronger public health protections for consumers." Read more

Great recession reflux amounts to more hunger among seniors - May 14th

A new study that looked at the hunger trends over a 10-year period found that 14.85 percent of seniors in the United States, more than one in seven, face the threat of hunger. This translates into 8.3 million seniors. "In 2005, we reported that one in nine seniors faced the threat of hunger," said Craig Gundersen, University of Illinois associate professor of agricultural and consumer economics and executive director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory who led the data analysis on the study. "So, unlike the population as a whole, food insecurity among those 60 and older actually increased between 2009 and 2010." Read more


Obama official reaffirms White House commitment to biofuels - Apr 18th

The Obama Administration is firmly in the corner of domestic renewable fuels a top aide to President Obama told attendees of the Renewable Fuels Association’s Washington Legislative Forum held today at the Newseum in Washington, DC. “One of those most promising [clean energy] industries has been American biofuels,” said Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change. “Right now, domestic biofuel production is at the highest level ever. In fact, monthly production has increased more than 40% in the last three years. That means that biofuels are already reducing our dependence on oil, cutting pollution, and creating jobs across the country.” Read more

Boeing, ANA celebrate first 787 biofuel flight - Apr 17th

Boeing (NYSE: BA) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) made aviation history today as a 787 Dreamliner flew for the first time powered in part by sustainable biofuels. "The 787 is the most environmentally progressive jetliner flying today, combining fuel efficiency and comfort with reduced carbon emissions," said Billy Glover, Commercial Airplanes Vice President of Environment and Aviation Policy. The delivery flight between Boeing’s Delivery Center in Everett, Wash. and Tokyo Haneda Airport is also the first ever transpacific biofuel flight. Read more

Midwest news


Modern hybrid corn makes better use of nitrogen, study shows - Apr 30th

Today’s hybrid corn varieties more efficiently use nitrogen to create more grain, according to 72 years of public-sector research data reviewed by Purdue University researchers. Tony Vyn, a professor of agronomy, and doctoral student Ignacio Ciampitti looked at nitrogen use studies for corn from two periods – 1940-1990 and 1991-2011. They wanted to see whether increased yields were due to better nitrogen efficiency or whether new plants were simply given additional nitrogen to produce more grain. "Corn production often faces the criticism from society that yields are only going up because of an increased dependency on nitrogen," said Vyn, whose findings were published in the early online version of the journal Field Crops Research. "Although modern hybrids take up more total nitrogen per acre during the growing season than they did before, the amount of grain produced per pound of nitrogen accumulated in corn plants is substantially greater than it was for corn hybrids of earlier decades. So, in that sense, the efficiency of nitrogen utilization has gradually improved." Read more

U of I facility provides training in erosion control, storm-water management - Apr 24th

The Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) at the University of Illinois has teamed with state and federal organizations to develop a facility that will provide a multitude of research and training opportunities in erosion and sediment control and storm-water management. The Erosion Control Research and Training Center was originally created under a research project administered by the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT), with in-kind contributions from the Illinois Land Improvement Contractor’s Association (ILICA). ICT is an innovative partnership between the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the University of Illinois. Professor Imad L. Al-Qadi of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department serves as director of ICT. ICT administers IDOT’s contract research program, which is funded using IDOT’s federal State Planning and Research funds. Read more

The head of Purdue University’s Department of Animal Sciences was on a team of experts who examined the relationship between the health of agricultural animals and consumers’ increasing demand for safe food. The report will be released Monday (May 7) in Washington, D.C. Alan Mathew co-wrote "Healthy Animals Make Confident Consumers" with five other members of a task force organized by the nonprofit Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. "This was our attempt to review the literature regarding animal health and food safety and determine what research needs to be conducted to determine the connection between the care and health of food animals and food safety," Mathew said. Read more


Researchers reveal ‘dark side’ to high beta-carotene intake - May 3rd

Consumption of high amounts of beta-carotene could pose a health risk to people by blocking the action of vitamin A rather than enhancing it, according to new research. Writing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry researchers from the Ohio State University, USA, revealed that the natural pigment beta-carotene – perhaps best known as a precursor of vitamin A – could also have a ‘dark side’. But now a team of scientists led by Professor Earl Harrison have found that certain molecules derived from beta-carotene have an opposite effect in the body – by blocking certain actions of vitamin A, which is critical to human vision, bone and skin health, metabolism and immune function. Read more

Discovery of plant proteins may boost agricultural yields and biofuel production - May 13th

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Iowa State University discovered a family of plant proteins that play a role in the production of seed oils, substances important for animal and human nutrition, biorenewable chemicals and biofuels. Scoring a rare scientific hat trick, the researchers identified three related proteins in thale cress plants (Arabidopsis thaliana) that regulate the metabolism of fatty acids, chemical components of all cell membranes and vegetable oils. They dubbed these fatty-acid binding proteins FAP1, FAP2 and FAP3. The findings, reported May 13 in Nature, may lead to the development of improved crops yielding higher qualities and quantities of oils, helping to address growing demands for food and fuel and the consequent environmental pressures on the world’s ecosystems. Read more

Other states’ news


A New Approach to Molecular Plant Breeding - Apr 16th

An ARS scientist in Ithaca, New York, is using a new statistical approach to help speed the development of improved varieties of crops. Plant breeders constantly strive to breed new varieties that yield more, resist emerging pests and pathogens, tolerate heat and drought, and grow in marginal soils and environments. Increasingly, molecular tools are used to speed those efforts. By identifying genes associated with desirable traits, scientists don’t have to wait for time-consuming field observations. Read more

New Tool for Tracking a Voracious Pest - May 8th

Mention barcodes and it often brings to mind the sales tags and scanners found in supermarkets and other stores. But Agricultural Research Service scientists are using “DNA barcodes” in their search for ways to control and monitor insects that pose the greatest threats to crops as diverse as wheat, barley, and potatoes. In DNA barcoding, scientists sequence a designated part of an organism’s genome and produce a barcode from it for a systematic comparison with the sequenced DNA of other closely related species. DNA barcodes are being developed on a wide range of plants and animals as part of a global effort to catalog the diversity of life on Earth. Read more


UCSB researchers discover particularly dangerous Salmonella - Apr 18th

UC Santa Barbara researchers have discovered Salmonella bacteria that are up to 100 times more capable of causing disease. Their findings may help prevent food poisoning outbreaks that continue to plague public health and the food industry. These "hypervirulent" bugs can override vaccines and pose a risk to food safety –– and mitigation efforts are currently under way. Previous strategies to find the more dangerous bugs were unsuccessful since they behave like a "Trojan Horse" –– exposing their weapons only when causing disease –– but looking much like their less-virulent cousins in the environment. Now that scientists know what to look for, they are developing methods to discriminate them from their less-virulent cousins. The researchers have been successful in forcing the bacteria to reveal their weapons in the laboratory –– the first step in combating them. Read more

Obtaining Key Nutrients from Canned Foods Can Save Consumers Money Compared to Fresh, Frozen, Dried Varieties - Apr 22nd

Amid the steady drumbeat from nutrition experts and others to consume a healthier diet — particularly one rich in fruits and vegetables — there often is a bias to eat more of the fresh variety for optimal nutrition. But is fresh always best? Not necessarily. Dr. Cathy Kapica, PhD, RD, adjunct professor of nutrition at Tufts University, and Wendy Weiss, MA, RD, both with Ketchum Global Health and Wellness, conducted a market-basket study comparing the cost of obtaining key nutrients from canned, fresh, frozen and dried varieties of common foods. The study found that when price, waste and preparation time are considered, canned foods almost always offered a more affordable, convenient way to get needed-nutrients. Read more

Using Limes and Synthetic Psoralens to Enhance Solar Disinfection of Water (SODIS): A Laboratory Evaluation with Norovirus, Escherichia coli, and MS2 - Apr 25th

A study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene shows that adding lime juice to water that is treated with a solar disinfection method may help remove detectable levels of harmful bacteria such as Escherichia coli significantly faster than solar disinfection alone. “For many countries, access to clean drinking water is still a major concern. Previous studies estimate that globally, half of all hospital beds are occupied by people suffering from a water-related illness,” said Kellogg Schwab, senior author of the study, Director of the Johns Hopkins University Global Water Program and a professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences. “The preliminary results of this study show solar disinfection of water combined with citrus could be effective at greatly reducing E. coli levels in just 30 min, a treatment time on par with boiling and other household water treatment methods. In addition, the 30 mL of juice per 2 L of water amounts to about one-half Persian lime per bottle, a quantity that will likely not be prohibitively expensive or create an unpleasant flavor.” Read more


Researcher’s waste-to-energy technology moves from the lab to the marketplace - Apr 19th

Technology invented by a University of California, Davis, researcher that converts solid waste into renewable energy is debuting today as the first commercially available, high-solid anaerobic digestion system in the United States. Ruihong Zhang, a UC Davis professor of biological and agricultural engineering, has been working on her anaerobic digester technology for the past decade, bringing it from the laboratory to the pilot stage in 2006. When Clean World Partners, a Sacramento-based startup that licensed the technology from UC Davis, unveils the biodigester today at a Sacramento, Calif., packaging company, it will mark the first time her research has reached the market. Read more

Feed and Fuel - May 1st

The biofuels and livestock industries have a history of discord when it comes to the use of corn and soybeans as feedstock for biofuel production. Feed research conducted at Texas AgriLife Research and West Texas A&M University, however, is showing that crude glycerin resulting from the biodiesel production process can be used to reduce feed costs by offsetting a portion of corn in forage diets. It is important to note, however, that not all crude glycerin produced by the biodiesel industry is of the same quality. The crude glycerin used in the feed trials met certain quality standards related to methanol, salt and fat content. Read more

From Soil Microbe to Super-Efficient Biofuel Factory? - May 3rd

Is there a new path to biofuels hiding in a handful of dirt? Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) biologist Steve Singer leads a group that wants to find out. They’re exploring whether a common soil bacterium can be engineered to produce liquid transportation fuels much more efficiently than the ways in which advanced biofuels are made today. The scientists are working with a bacterium called Ralstonia eutropha. It naturally uses hydrogen as an energy source to convert CO2 into various organic compounds. The group hopes to capitalize on the bacteria’s capabilities and tweak it to produce advanced biofuels that are drop-in replacements for diesel and jet fuel. The process would be powered only by hydrogen and electricity from renewable sources such as solar or wind. Read more

Science & Technology in France

Institutions / Universities


New Insights into the High-Pressure Processing of Meat and Meat Products - Apr 9th

For years, high-pressure processing has been viewed as useful for pasteurizing food while maintaining the quality of fresh food. However, even at moderate pressure, this process is not without effects on food, especially on meat products. These effects are especially important because pressure greater than 400 MPa is generally necessary to achieve efficient microbial inactivation. In this review, recent advances in the understanding of the impacts of high pressure on the overall quality of raw and processed meat are discussed. Many factors, including meat product formulation and processing parameters, can influence the efficiency of high pressure in pasteurizing meat products. It appears that new strategies are applied either (i) to improve the microbial inactivation that results from high pressure while minimizing the adverse effects of high pressure on meat quality or (ii) to take advantage of changes in meat attributes under high pressure. Most of the time, multiple preservation factors or techniques are combined to produce safe, stable, and high-quality food products. Among the new applications of high-pressure techniques for meat and meat-derivative products are their use in combination with temperature manipulation to texturize and pasteurize new meat products simultaneously. The objectives of this review are, first, to present recent knowledge regarding the effects of high-pressure treatment on raw meat and meat products and, second, to identify the limitations and potential of high-pressure treatments for meat and meat products. This study was conducted by French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) Read more

Gut Organisms Could Be Clue in Controlling Obesity Risk - Apr 23rd

The international obesity epidemic is widespread, nondiscriminatory, and deadly. But do we really understand all of the factors underlying this alarming trend? The concept of energy balance (energy consumed = energy expended + energy stored) is undeniable, being driven by the first law of thermodynamics. Consequently, there is no contradiction that excessive calorie intake and plummeting levels of physical activity are largely to blame for our ever-expanding waistlines. To determine whether altering one’s bacterial profile can change obesity risk, researchers from the French Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) transferred the intestinal bacteria of obesity-prone or obesity-resistant rats into the intestinal tracts of germ-free mice recipients, therefore having no innate gut microbiota. Read more

Plant extract blend may cuts cholesterol levels by 14% - May 2nd

Daily supplements containing red yeast rice, policosanols and artichoke leaf extracts may reduce cholesterol levels by 14%, according to data from a human trial. Sixteen weeks of supplementation with the plant extract blend also reduced LDL cholesterol levels by 21%, report researchers from the Laboratoire Lescuyer and Aix Marseille Universite in France. “This new dietary supplement with a combination of plant extracts including red yeast rice, sugar cane-derived policosanols and artichoke leaf extracts seems to be satisfactory in terms of efficacy, tolerability and safety as this short-term trial has demonstrated,” they wrote in the European Journal of Nutrition. Read more

Companies and Research Cluster


Growth factors in milk and dairy products: The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety publishes its opinion on their impact on the risk of developing cancer - May 4th

Growth factors are molecules naturally produced by humans and many animal species. They play different physiological roles within the organization and act primarily on cell growth, differentiation and metabolism. Depending on their role in the body, there are several families of growth factors. The IGF (Insulin-like growth factors or growth factors insulinomimetic), and in particular the molecule IGF-1 are the most studied by the scientific community. The analysis of available scientific data produced by the ANSES in humans shows positive associations between blood levels of IGF-1 and the incidence of certain common cancers (prostate, breast, colorectal). Thus, one question that arises is to determine the contribution that could be the IGF-1 in milk and dairy products on blood levels of IGF-1 in humans. Read more

Microbiological risks in food - May 2012

The Bulletin Epidémiologique, issued by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) and the Directorate General for Food (DGAL) of the French Ministry of Agriculture, is an information exchange tool between ANSES, the DGAL and all local, regional and national stakeholders working in the fields of food safety, animal health and human health.
Epidemiological surveillance is an essential area in public health that makes it possible to identify current or emerging health risks, to monitor their course, and to evaluate the effects of measures taken to control them. This surveillance is carried out by a network of actors in the field. It requires regular feedback on data collected and periodic analysis of interpretation of results. The Bulletin Epidémiologique relays this information and thereby contributes to effective circulation of information. 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

For the United States information

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 National Institute for Agricultural Research release this month an article about bacterial pathogen and some opportunities to work with them.

Information centers

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

JPEG : You will find some article about cheese, food in the hospital and French forest.

Coming events

Whole Grains Summit 2012 here Hilton Minneapolis
1001 Marquette Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota May 20-22, 2012 More information
Grid ComForum East Raleigh, North Carolina May 22-24, 2012 More information
30th West Coast Energy Management Congress 2012 Washington State Convention & Trade Center - Hall 4 DEF Seattle, Washington May 23rd - May 24th, 2012 More information
International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting Austin Convention Center and the Four Seasons Hotel Austin, Texas May 23-26, 2012 More information
Water for Food Conference
Blue Water, Green Water and the Future of Agriculture
The Cornhusker Hotel Lincoln, Nebraska May 30-June 1, 2012 More information
Corn Utilization and Technology Conference Indianapolis, Indiana June 4-6, 2012 More information
International Fuel Ethanol 
Workshop & Expo
Minneapolis Convention Center Minneapolis, Minnesota June 4-7, 2012 More information
IFT Annual meeting + Food expo Convention center Las Vegas, Nevada June 25-28, 2012 More information


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 23/05/2012

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