American Chemical Society National Meeting, March 27-31, 2011, press conference schedule

March 31, 2011

Sunday, March 27

9 a.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Sunday, March 27, 1:30 p.m. EDT

Walnuts are top nut for heart-healthy antioxidants

A new scientific study positions walnuts in the No. 1 slot among a family of foods that lay claim to being among Mother Nature's most nearly perfect packaged foods: The tree and ground nuts. Scientists present an analysis showing that walnuts have a combination of more healthful antioxidants and higher quality antioxidants than any other nut.

Joe Vinson, Ph.D., is with the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pa.

9:30 a.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Sunday, March 27, 2 p.m. EDT

Taming the flame: Electrical wave "blaster" could provide new way to extinguish fires

Scientists describe a discovery that could underpin a new genre of fire-fighting devices, including sprinkler systems that suppress fires not with water, but with zaps of electric current, without soaking and irreparably damaging the contents of a home, business, or other structure.

Ludovico Cademartiri, Ph.D., is with Harvard University.

10:30 a.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Sunday, March 27, 7:30 p.m. EDT

"Green" cars could be made from pineapples and bananas

Your next new car hopefully won't be a lemon. But it could be a pineapple or a banana. That's because scientists in Brazil have developed a more effective way to use fibers from these and other plants in a new generation of automotive plastics that are stronger, lighter, and more eco-friendly than plastics now in use.

Alcides Leão, Ph.D., is with São Paulo State University, São Paulo, Brazil.

1 p.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Sunday, March 27, 11 a.m. EDT First identification of nicotine as main culprit in diabetes complications among smokers
Scientists are reporting the first strong evidence implicating nicotine as the main culprit responsible for persistently elevated blood sugar levels -- and the resulting increased risk of serious health complications -- in people who have diabetes and smoke.

Xiao-Chuan Liu, Ph.D., is with California State Polytechnic University.

1:30 p.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Sunday, March 27, 8 p.m. EDT

New trash-to-treasure process turns landfill nuisance into plastic

With billions of pounds of meat and bone meal going to waste in landfills after a government ban on its use in cattle feed, scientists describe development of a process for using that so-called meat and bone meal to make partially biodegradable plastic that does not require raw materials made from oil or natural gas.

Fehime Vatansever is with Clemson University.

2:30 p.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Sunday, March 27, 7 p.m. EDT

Chemists play important roles as advisers for science-based television shows, movies

Do television shows like House, Breaking Bad, and Zula Patrol -- major sources of information about science and technology for millions of people -- try to get it right? Or do they play fast and loose with the facts, images, and nuances that forge public perceptions about science and help shape young people's career decisions? Producers for television shows and films and science advisers provide the answers in a special Presidential Event.

Moira Walley-Becket is with Breaking Bad, TV show.
Kath Lingenfelter
is with House, M.D., TV show.
Jaime Paglia
is with Eureka, TV show.
Kevin Gazier, Ph.D.,
has advised The Zula Patrol, Battlestar Galactica and Eureka TV programs.
Donna J. Nelson, Ph.D.,
is with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Oklahoma.
Sidney Perkowitz, Ph.D.,
is with Emory University
Mark A. Griep, Ph.D.,
is with the University of Nebraska

3:30 p.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Sunday, March 27, 5 p.m. EDT "Nano-bricks" may help build better packaging to keep foods fresher longer
Scientists are reporting on a new material containing an ingredient used to make bricks that shows promise as a transparent coating for improving the strength and performance of plastic food packaging. Called "nano-bricks," the film even looks like bricks and mortar under a microscope, they say. The coating could help foods and beverages stay fresh and flavorful longer and may replace some foil packaging currently in use.

Jaime Grunlan, Ph.D., is with Texas A&M University.

Monday, March 28

9 a.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Tuesday, March 29, noon EDT Updating the Mary Poppins solution with a better bitter blocker
With millions of adults and children avoiding nutritious foods because of the bitter taste and gagging or vomiting when forced to take bitter liquid medicines, scientists are reporting an advance toward a high-tech version of the Mary Poppins solution. It's not a spoonful of sugar to help the stuff go down, they reported at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), but a new and improved "bitterness blocker."

Ioana Ungureanu is with Flavor Ingredient Systems, Givaudan Flavors Corp., Cincinnati, Ohio

10 a.m., PDT -- EMBARGOED for Sunday, March 27, 6:15 p.m., EDT Research across the universe spans multibillion-dollar industry at home
Scientists are spending scarce government money to study mysterious black stripes in the rainbow of light given off by celestial objects millions of light-years across the universe. There is no practical use for knowledge about these colors missing from the glow of Andromeda, Triangulum and other distant galaxies. Nevertheless, their research on this arcane topic, termed Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs), gives birth to a new, multibillion-dollar-per-year industry on earth.

Harold Kroto, Ph.D., Florida State University

11 a.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Tuesday, March 29, 1:05 p.m. EDT

Creating the perfect Bloody Mary: Good chemistry of fresh ingredients

After tackling the chemistry of coffee, tea, fruit juices, soda pop, beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages, why not take on the ultimate challenge -- the Mount Everest of cocktails and what may be the most chemically complex cocktail in the world -- the Bloody Mary? And in this the International Year of Chemistry (IYC), why not include its global offspring, the International Mary? Scientists have done just that: They have produced a recipe for the perfect Bloody Mary.

Neil C. Da Costa, Ph.D., International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., Union Beach, New Jersey

12:30 p.m. PDT - EMBARGOED for Sunday, March 27, 12:15 p.m. EDT Debut of the first practical "artificial leaf"
Scientists today claimed one of the milestones in the drive for sustainable energy - development of the first practical artificial leaf. Speaking here at the 241st National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, they described an advanced solar cell the size of a poker card that mimics the process, called photosynthesis, that green plants use to convert sunlight and water into energy.

Daniel G. Nocera, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

1:30 p.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Monday, March 28, 8:30 p.m. EDT

Mimicking Mother Nature yields promising materials for drug delivery and other applications

Mimicking Mother Nature's genius as a designer is one of the most promising approaches for developing new medicines, sustainable sources of food and energy, and other products that society needs to meet the great challenges that lie ahead in the 21st century, according to a noted scientist.. In the inaugural Kavli Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lecture, Virgil Percec, Ph.D., says the approach -- often termed "bioinspired design" -- can stake a claim to becoming one of the most innovative fields in science.

Virgil Percec, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

2 p.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Monday, March 28, 8:15 p.m. EDT

From crankcase to gas tank: New microwave method converts used motor oil into fuel

That dirty motor oil that comes out of your car or truck engine during oil changes could end up in your fuel tank, according to scientists. They describe development of a new process for recycling waste crankcase oil into gasoline-like fuel -- the first, they say, that uses microwaves and has "excellent potential" for going into commercial use.

Su Shiung Lam, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

3 p.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Monday, March 28, 11 p.m. EDT

Some ingredients in "green" products come from petroleum rather than natural sources

With more and more environmentally conscious consumers choosing "green" products, scientists today report that the first reality check has revealed that the ingredients in those products may come from a surprising source - petroleum, rather than natural plant-based sources. In a new study, scientists describe their analysis of more than a dozen samples of commercial liquid laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids, and hand washes.

Cara Bondi is with Seventh Generation, Inc., Burlington, Vt.

3:30 p.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Monday, March 28, 4 p.m. EDT

Potential new medicines show promise for treating colon cancer, asthma

In what they described as the opening of a new era in the development of potentially life-saving new drugs, scientists today reported discovery of a way to tone down an overactive gene involved in colon cancer and block a key protein involved in asthma attacks. Those targets long had ranked among hundreds of thousands that many scientists considered to be "undruggable," meaning that efforts to reach them with conventional medicines were doomed to fail.

Gregory L. Verdine, Ph.D. is with Harvard University.

Tuesday, March 29

10 a.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Tuesday, March 29, 11:15 a.m. EDT First practical nanogenerator produces electricity with pinch of fingers
After six years of intensive effort, scientists report development of the first commercially viable nanogenerator, a flexible chip that can use body movements -- a finger pinch now en route to a pulse beat in the future -- to generate electricity. They describe boosting the device's power output by thousands times and its voltage by 150 times to finally move it out of the lab and toward everyday life.

Zhong Lin Wang, Ph.D. is with Georgia Institute of Technology.

11 a.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Tuesday, March 29, 4:30 p.m. EDT

Waste ash from coal could save billions in repairing U.S. bridges & roads

Coating concrete destined to rebuild America's crumbling bridges and roadways with some of the millions of tons of ash left over from burning coal could extend the life of those structures by decades, saving billions of dollars of taxpayer money, scientists report. They describe a new coating material for concrete made from flyash that is hundreds of times more durable than existing coatings and costs only half as much.

Charles Carraher, Ph.D., is with Florida Atlantic University.

11:30 a.m., PDT -- EMBARGOED for Tuesday, March 29, 5 p.m. EDT

Household bleach can decontaminate food prep surfaces in ricin bioterrorist attack

Help for a bioterrorist attack involving ricin, one of the most likely toxic agents, may be as close at hand as the laundry shelf, scientists report. They conclude that ordinary household bleach appears to be an effective, low-cost, and widely available way to decontaminate food preparation surfaces in homes, restaurants, and processing plants that are tainted.

Lauren S. Jackson, Ph.D., is with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) National Center for Food Safety and Technology.

Noon, PDT -- EMBARGOED for Tuesday, March 29, 4:50 p.m. EDT

Antibiotics wrapped in nanofibers turn resistant disease-producing bacteria into ghosts
Encapsulating antibiotics inside nanofibers, like a mummy inside a sarcophagus, gives them the amazing ability to destroy drug-resistant bacteria so completely that scientists described the remains as mere "ghosts."

Mohamed H. El-Newehy, Ph.D., is with King Saud University, Saudi Arabia

1:30 p.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Tuesday, March 29, 10:30 p.m. EDT

Safer, more effective skin-whitening creams from ancient Chinese herbal medicine

Scientists report discovery of the active ingredients in an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine for skin-whitening, changing skin color to a lighter shade. The ingredients are poised for clinical trials as a safer, more effective alternative to skin-whitening creams and lotions that millions of women and some men use in Asia and elsewhere, they say.

Hui-Min Wang, Ph.D., is with Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan Republic of China.

2:30 p.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Tuesday, March 29, 1:15 p.m. EDT "Bacterial dirigibles" emerge as next-generation disease fighters
Scientists report development of bacteria that serve as mobile pharmaceutical factories, both producing disease-fighting substances and delivering the potentially life-saving cargo to diseased areas of the body. These new candidates for treating diseases ranging from food poisoning to cancer are termed "bacterial dirigibles."

William E. Bentley, Ph.D. is with the University of Maryland.

Wednesday, March 30

9 a.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Wednesday, March 30, 7:15 p.m. EDT

Fast-recharge, lithium-ion battery could be perfect for electric cars

The next-generation battery, like next-generation TV, may be 3-D, scientists report. They describe a new lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery, already available in a prototype version, with a three-dimensional interior architecture that could be perfect for the electric cars now appearing in auto dealer showrooms.

Amy Prieto, Ph.D., is with Colorado State University.

9:30 a.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Wednesday, March, 30, 9 p.m. EDT First report on bioaccumulation and processing of antibacterial ingredient TCC in fish
In the first report on the uptake and internal processing of triclocarban (TCC) in fish, scientists show strong evidence that TCC -- an antibacterial ingredient in some soaps and the source of environmental health concerns because of its potential endocrine-disrupting effects -- has a "strong" tendency to bioaccumulate in fish.

Ida Flores is with the University of California, Davis.

10 a.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Wednesday, March 30, 9 p.m. EDT U.S. troops exposed to polluted air in Iraq, researchers report
Military personnel and contractors stationed in Iraq risk not only enemy gunfire, suicide bombers, and roadside bombs, but the very air they breathe often is polluted with dust and other particles of a size and composition that could pose immediate and long-term health threats, scientists report. Their ongoing study, begun in 2008, indicates that personnel in Iraq often breathe air polluted with the most worrisome kind of dust particles -- fine particles, or "particulate matter," that lodge deep inside the lungs. It is the first long-term study of the situation, with previous studies lasting less than a week.

Jennifer M. Bell is with the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

10:30 a.m., PDT -- EMBARGOED for Thursday, March 31, 1:25 p.m. EDT Advance toward making biodegradable plastics from waste chicken features
In a scientific advance literally plucked from the waste heap, scientists describe a key step toward using the billions of pounds of waste chicken feathers produced each year to make one of the most important kinds of plastic. Thermoplastics are one of two major groups of plastics and include nylon, polyethylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, and dozens of other kinds. They are used to make thousands of consumer and industrial products ranging from toothbrush bristles to soda pop bottles to car bumpers.

Narendra Reddy, Ph.D., is with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

11 a.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Thursday, March 31, 6:45 p.m. EDT

New nanomaterial can detect and neutralize explosives

Scientists describe development and successful initial tests of a spray-on material that both detects and renders harmless the genre of terrorist explosives responsible for government restrictions on liquids that can be carried onboard airliners. The new ink-like explosive detector/neutralizer is going to be used anywhere terrorist explosives are used, including battlefields, airports and subways. The material is a type of ink made of tiny metallic oxide nanoparticles -- so small that 50,000 could fit inside the diameter of a single human hair. The ink changes color, from dark blue to pale yellow or clear, in the presence of explosives.

Allen Apblett, Ph.D., is with Oklahoma State University.

11:30 a.m. PDT -- EMBARGOED for Tuesday, March 29, 2:10 p.m. EDT

Imaging the paintings under the paintings of the Old Masters

An international team of scientists describes use of a new technique to see the paintings under the paintings of Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Rubens, and other 17th Century Old Master painters. The scientists say that using the new technique, they hope to disperse doubts about the authenticity of several paintings or to confirm that these paintings were not by the painter they have been attributed to.

Matthias Alfeld, Center for Micro and Trace Analysis, Universiteit Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium

*Instructions for joining chat room sessions
Chat Room Sessions from the ACS National Meeting in Anaheim

The American Chemical Society (ACS) Office of Public Affairs is offering the news media the opportunity to join press briefings during ACS's 241st National Meeting, whether covering the meeting onsite or from a remote location. This format will provide access to the increasing number of journalists who cover scientific meetings from their home base during the meeting, held March 27-31 in Anaheim, Calif.

Borrowing the popular chat room concept from the Internet, we will provide news media with access to both real and virtual chat room sessions during the Anaheim meeting.

Reporters attending the meeting can gather with scientists in an informal setting in our Press Briefing Room at the ACS Press Center in the Anaheim Convention & Exhibition Center, Hall C. There is no room number, but signs will point the way. Scientists will summarize their research and field questions. Offsite reporters can enter a virtual version of this Chat Room over the Internet. In addition to seeing and hearing the real-world activity, offsite reporters can submit questions.

Like hosts of a traditional chat room, we never know how many participants will join a session. Each session will proceed, regardless of attendance, so that digital transcripts can be made and posted online as a resource for individuals unable to attend.

Chat Room sessions begin at noon, Eastern daylight time, on Sunday, March 27, and continue during the week. Get a head start by registering at, a live, interactive online video site.

ACS' Virtual Press Conference room

To register with, go to It's free and only takes a minute or two to sign up. To join the chat room during one of our sessions, visit and click the "Login" button at the top right of the Ustream window. Ustream requires the latest version of Adobe Flash, which can be downloaded without charge at

Use the built-in chat box to ask questions during the press conference (requires registration).

Use the chat box to the right of the video window to submit questions to the researchers. To resolve connection problems, contact Adam Dylewski ( or Mike Woods ( Recorded versions of the sessions will be available at after the press conference is complete.
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

American Chemical Society

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