Archive | Food Industry

Most Have Some Concern over Gulf Seafood

MINNEAPOLIS, June 28 (UPI) — Most U.S. adults express at least some concern over the possible effects of the oil spill on Gulf of Mexico seafood, a survey indicates.

The survey, part of an ongoing weekly consumer confidence poll conducted by The Food Industry Center at the University of Minnesota conducted jointly with the Louisiana State University AgCenter, says 99 percent of respondents say they were aware of the oil spill, while 85 percent say they are following the news closely.

The survey says 89 percent acknowledge at least some concern over the gulf’s seafood, while 50 percent say they are extremely concerned.

Fifty-nine percent say the possible effects of the spill will have some impact on their consumption of seafood, while 44 percent of that group say they will only eat seafood they know does not come from the Gulf of Mexico and another 31 percent say they will eat less seafood regardless of where it comes from.

“Given the amount of news coverage the oil spill has received, these results may not be surprising, but it does show that consumers are connecting the event to food safety,” Dennis Degeneffe, a research fellow at The Food Industry Center, said in a statement.

The ongoing study continuously tracks consumers’ perceptions about food safety and the food supply, via telephone surveys of about 175 people each week. The total sample for the six-weeks since the beginning of the oil spill is 1,076.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Discovery is Prepped for Its Final Journey

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., June 24 (UPI) — Kennedy Space Center technicians Thursday removed space shuttle Discovery’s three main engines in order to remove and replace a malfunctioning turbopump.

Workers at NASA’s Orbiter Processing Facility-3 at the space center also tested the shuttle’s power reactant distribution system, which serves Discovery’s electricity-generating fuel cells.

And at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, STS-133 astronauts Tim Kopra and Alvin Drew rehearsed spacewalk procedures Thursday at the facility’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab.??

All that activity is focused on Discovery’s planned Sept. 15 launch on its final scheduled mission into space. However, space agency officials said that date might be moved to Oct. 29, with STS-134 moving to February 2011. NASA said the requested rescheduling is under consideration and an announcement is expected by July 1.

“During space shuttle Discovery’s final spaceflight, the STS-133 crew members will take important spares to the International Space Station along with the Express Logistics Carrier 4,” the space agency said in a statement.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Hydrogen Storage-generating System Created

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., June 16 (UPI) — U.S. chemical engineers say they’ve developed a process called hydrothermolysis that generates and stores hydrogen to run fuel cells in cars.

Purdue University Professor Arvind Varma, who led the research, said the process uses a powdered chemical called ammonia borane, which has one of the highest hydrogen contents of all solid materials.

“This is the first process to provide exceptionally high hydrogen yield values at near the fuel-cell operating temperatures without using a catalyst, making it promising for hydrogen-powered vehicles,” he said. “We have a proof of concept.”

Ammonia borane contains 19.6 percent hydrogen, a high weight percentage that means a relatively small quantity and volume of the material are needed to store large amounts of hydrogen, Varma said.

“The key is how to efficiently release the hydrogen from this compound, and that is what we have discovered,” he said.

The research that included former doctoral student Moiz Diwan, postdoctoral researcher Hyun Tae Hwang and doctoral student Ahmad al-Kukhun was presented Tuesday in Philadelphia during the International Symposium on Chemical Reaction Engineering.

The study will also appear in an upcoming issue of the AIChE Journal, published by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Fuel Cell Technology Advance Reported

PROVIDENCE, R.I., May 27 (UPI) — U.S. chemists say a nanoparticle with a palladium core and an iron-platinum shell can outperform commercially available pure-platinum fuel cell catalysts.

The scientists at Brown University and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory said their finding could move fuel cells a step closer to reality.

The researchers said creating catalysts that can operate efficiently and last a long time has been a big barrier in fuel-cell technology. Platinum has been the choice for many researchers, but platinum has two major downsides: It’s expensive, and it breaks down over time in fuel-cell reactions.

In the new research led by Professor Shouheng Sun, the scientists said they created a unique core and shell nanoparticle that uses far less platinum, yet performs more efficiently and lasts longer than commercially available pure-platinum catalysts at the cathode end of fuel-cell reactions.

The research team — including Brown graduate student Vismadeb Mazumder, as well as Miaofang Chi and Karren More at the Oak Ridge Laboratory — created a five-nanometer palladium core and encircled it with a shell consisting of iron and platinum.

In laboratory tests, the palladium/iron-platinum nanoparticles generated 12 times more current than commercially available pure-platinum catalysts at the same catalyst weight. The output also remained consistent during 10,000 cycles, at least 10 times longer than commercially available platinum models, the scientists said.

The research appears in The Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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National Geothermal Institute Established

RENO, Nev., May 17 (UPI) — Federal officials have given the University of Nevada-Reno a $1.2 million grant to establish the nation’s first geothermal energy training program.

U.S. Department of Energy officials said the grant will be used by the university to develop and operate the National Geothermal Institute, a consortium of top geothermal schools. The consortium will include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, Stanford University, the Oregon Institute of Technology, the University of Utah and possibly others as the program expands.

Officials said the institute, which will involve all facets of geothermal energy production, is envisioned to augment the University of Nevada’s Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy by providing relevant research and trained graduates for the geothermal industry.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Atlantis Launch Still on for Friday

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., May 12 (UPI) — The Friday afternoon launch of the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis remains on schedule, NASA staff in Florida said Wednesday.

Countdown clocks at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center were activated at 4 p.m. EDT Tuesday, setting the timer for the 2:20 p.m. Friday blastoff of Atlantis on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station orbiting above Earth.

“From a space shuttle program and ISS program standpoint, we’re ready to launch Atlantis and get this mission under way,” said Mike Moses, chairman of the pre-launch mission management team at Kennedy that gave a unanimous “go” for liftoff.

Launch Director Mike Leinbach said the launch staff had not come across any issues that would prevent an on-time liftoff.

Atlantis’s astronauts spent the day relaxing while technicians at Launch Pad 39A loaded the orbiter’s power reactant and storage distribution system, which supplies super-cold propellants to the vehicle’s three fuel cells and life-support system during flight.

Weather-wise, a high-pressure system was expected to hold over Florida for the remainder of the week. Other than a low cloud ceiling, the forecast is for a 70 percent chance of favorable conditions at launch time, NASA said.

During the STS-132 mission, Atlantis and its six astronauts will transport an integrated cargo carrier and a Russian-built mini research module to the space station.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Liquid-solid Interaction Measures Improved

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 27 (UPI) — U.S.-led scientists say they’ve created a technique that produces unprecedented precision in measuring liquid-solid interactions.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers explained a liquid’s “wettability” — the degree to which it either spreads over a surface or forms into droplets — is crucial to a wide variety of processes. However, the only way to quantify such liquid-solid interaction characteristic has been to measure the shapes of droplets that form on a material.

But now MIT researchers say they’ve found a way to improve the resolution of such measurements by a factor of 10,000 or more. In addition, they said the new method can be used to study curved, textured or complex solid surfaces — something that could not be done previously.

“This is something that was unthinkable before,” said Associate Professor Francesco Stellacci, who led the study. “It allows us to make a map of the wetting,” that is, a detailed view of exactly how the liquid interacts with a surface down to the level of individual molecules or atoms.

Stellacci said the ability to obtain such detailed images is important for the study of such processes as catalysis, corrosion and the internal functioning of batteries and fuel cells, along with many biological processes such as interactions between proteins.

The research that included postdoctoral fellow Kislon Voitchovsky and colleagues in England and Italy appears in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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UPI NewsTrack Health and Science News

FDA: Not ready to regulate salt content

WASHINGTON, April 20 (UPI) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says while today’s average salt intake is too high, it is not ready to regulate the amount of sodium contained in foods.

“Today’s average sodium intake is several times what the body requires and its long-term effect on our health is very serious,” the agency said in a statement. “A new report from the Institute of Medicine this week concludes national action is imperative to reduce the sodium content of foods if we are to make significant progress toward reducing the risk of hypertension and major cardiovascular events for Americans.”

But the FDA said a story Tuesday in The Washington Post “leaves a mistaken impression that the FDA has begun the process of regulating the amount of sodium in foods.”

FDA officials said they are not currently working on such regulations, nor have they yet made a decision to regulate sodium content in foods.

“Over the coming weeks, the FDA will more thoroughly review the recommendations of the IOM report and build plans for how the FDA can continue to work with other federal agencies, public health and consumer groups and the food industry to support the reduction of sodium levels in the food supply,” the agency said.

“We are encouraged by the fact that some food manufacturers have already begun or announced their commitment to reduce sodium levels in their products,” officials said.

Study: Some may be addicted to tanning

NEW YORK, April 20 (UPI) — A U.S. study involving 421 college students found about a third who use tanning beds may become addicted, researchers said.

Dr. Catherine Mosher of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Dr. Sharon Danoff-Burg of University at Albany recruited study participants from September through December 2006 from a large northeastern U.S. university.

The researchers modified two screening instrument — one to screen for alcoholism and another to screen for substance-related disorders — to evaluate study participants for addiction to indoor tanning.

In addition, the researchers measured for of anxiety and depression.

The study, published in the Archives of Dermatology, found among 229 study participants who had used indoor tanning facilities, 39.3 percent met the criteria for tanning addiction using one measurement instrument and 30.6 percent met the criteria for addiction to indoor tanning using the other measurement instrument. In addition, the study participants also showed symptoms of anxiety and depression.

“The findings suggest that interventions to reduce skin cancer risk should address the addictive qualities of indoor tanning for a minority of individuals and the relationship of this behavior to other addictions and affective disturbance,” the study said.

Possible nano treatment for acne created

SAN DIEGO, April 20 (UPI) — A U.S. bioengineer says she has created a possible new acne treatment that uses nanotechnology to deliver the therapy directly to skin-dwelling bacteria.

University of California-San Diego graduate student Dissaya Pornpattananangkul said she, along with Professor Liangfang Zhang, developed a “smart delivery system” that uses nanotechnology to deliver lauric acid — a natural product found in both coconut oil and human breast milk — directly to the bacterium propionibacterium, which causes common acne.

“It’s a good feeling to know that I have a chance to develop a drug that could help people with acne,” Pornpattananangkul said.

The new delivery system includes gold nanoparticles attached to surfaces of lauric-acid-filled “nano-bombs.” The scientists said the gold nanoparticles keep the nano-bombs — artificially made microscopic sacs into which the lauric acid can be packaged — from fusing together. The nanoparticles also help the liposomes locate acne-causing bacteria based on the skin’s microenvironment, including pH.

Once the liposomes reach the bacterial membranes, the acidic microenvironment causes the gold nanoparticles to drop off, allowing the lauric acid to kill the bacteria.

The research appeared in the March edition of the journal Nano.

Discovery and crew return to Earth

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., April 20 (UPI) — Space shuttle Discovery touched down safely and on schedule Tuesday at the Kennedy Space Center, ending its 15-day mission to the International Space Station.

The shuttle landed about 9:08 a.m. EDT traveling at slightly more than 200 mph after flying southeastward over a large portion of the United States, crossing over or near Vancouver, Canada, before overflying Helena, Mont., Casper, Wyo., Tulsa, Okla., Montgomery, Ala., and Gainesville, Fla., en route to Cape Canaveral.

Monday’s landing attempts in Florida were foiled by unacceptable cloudiness over the space center, but Entry Flight Director Bryan Lunney and his team cleared the shuttle for landing as conditions improved early Tuesday.

The STS-131 crew was awakened at 10:21 p.m. Monday as mission controllers in Houston played “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson for astronauts Alan Poindexter, James Dutton Jr. Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Clayton Anderson and Japanese Space Agency astronaut Naoko Yamazaki.

The landing marked the end of Discovery’s next-to-last mission to the International Space Station, with only three scheduled missions remaining before the space shuttle program ends. Discovery will make the final flight Sept. 16, with space shuttle Atlantis to make its final flight May 14 and Endeavour making its last trip into s space July 28.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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FDA: Not Ready to Regulate Salt Content

WASHINGTON, April 20 (UPI) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says while today’s average salt intake is too high, it is not ready to regulate the amount of sodium contained in foods.

“Today’s average sodium intake is several times what the body requires and its long-term effect on our health is very serious,” the agency said in a statement. “A new report from the Institute of Medicine this week concludes national action is imperative to reduce the sodium content of foods if we are to make significant progress toward reducing the risk of hypertension and major cardiovascular events for Americans.”

But the FDA said a story Tuesday in The Washington Post “leaves a mistaken impression that the FDA has begun the process of regulating the amount of sodium in foods.”

FDA officials said they are not currently working on such regulations, nor have they yet made a decision to regulate sodium content in foods.

“Over the coming weeks, the FDA will more thoroughly review the recommendations of the IOM report and build plans for how the FDA can continue to work with other federal agencies, public health and consumer groups and the food industry to support the reduction of sodium levels in the food supply,” the agency said.

“We are encouraged by the fact that some food manufacturers have already begun or announced their commitment to reduce sodium levels in their products,” officials said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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U.S. Planning to Reduce Salt in Food

WASHINGTON, April 20 (UPI) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is planning to prevent thousands of deaths from hypertension and heart disease by reducing salt in food, insiders say.

FDA sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the government intends to work with the food industry to gradually reduce sodium in everything from soup to nuts, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The sources said a gradual reduction in sodium over a period of years will adjust the American palate to a less salty and healthier diet.

The effort will involve analyzing the amount of salt in thousands of products on supermarket shelves.

One source told the Post the project would likely take as long as 10 years.

“We’re talking about a comprehensive phase-down of a widely used ingredient,” the source said.

Currently there is no limit on the amount of salt in food because salt falls into a category deemed “generally recognized as safe.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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