ACS Thanksgiving podcasts feature advances toward safer, healthier food

November 20, 2008

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2008 -- With a whole nation set to gather for the annual Thanksgiving Day feast, scientists are describing major advances in making Thursday's meal -- and others -- safer and more nutritious in the 10th and 11th episodes of the American Chemical Society's Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions (GC/CS) podcast series.

Part One of the podcast focuses on food safety. It includes research by Dan Donoghue, Ph.D., a chemist with the University of Arkansas, who is trying to reduce the risk of food poisoning associated with eating poultry.

Donoghue has discovered that natural feed ingredients, already approved for use in poultry diets by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, reduce the amount of Campylobacter bacteria that grow in the birds' intestinal tract. Campylobacter pose a risk of causing human food poisoning when they contaminate the skin of slaughtered poultry. Other topics include an antimicrobial food wrap that kills food poisoning germs and the use of food irradiation to kill bacteria that hide inside fruits and vegetables and cannot be eliminated by surface washing.

Part Two focuses on development of "functional foods" and "nutraceuticals." These foods have medicine-like effects in improving health and reducing the risk of disease. The podcast, for instance, describes discovery of ingredients in cranberries, blueberries, grapes and strawberries that may protect against cancer, heart disease and other conditions.

Scientists featured in the holiday-themed podcasts include: Brendan Niemira, Ph.D., of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service in Wyndmoor, Penn., who describes the use of food irradiation to kill the germs that cause food poisoning. S. D. Worley, Ph.D., of Auburn University, who developed an antimicrobial food wrap that that incorporates its own disinfectant within its chemical structure. Elizabeth Jeffery, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, who describes efforts to boost the level of cancer-fighting ingredients in broccoli and other vegetables. George Inglett, Ph.D., of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Peoria, Illinois, who uses healthful beta-glucans found in oat and barley hulls to make a material that shows promise as a zero-calorie fat substitute.

Previous episodes of GC/CS describe how scientists are responding to other challenges. The topics include Combating Disease, Personal Safety & National Security, Our Sustainable Future, Fresh Water from the Sea, Supplying Safe Drinking Water, and Confronting Climate Change. Future episodes will discuss how chemists are addressing challenges of protecting public health and the environment.

GC/CS is available without charge for listening on computers and downloading to portable audio devices at iTunes [itpc://feeds.feedburner.com/GlobalChallenges] (requires iTunes software [http://www.apple.com/itunes/download]) and other podcasting sites. They also can be accessed on ACS's Global Challenges Web site at http://www.acs.org/GlobalChallenges. The site provides audio links and full transcripts of each podcast. Additional resources on each Global Challenges topic also are available on the site, including information for consumers, students, and educators.
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NOTE TO NEWS MEDIA: Transcripts of both food podcasts and high-resolution images are available from Michael Bernstein. Part One is live and Part Two scheduled to début Thanksgiving Week.

The American Chemical Society -- the world's largest scientific society -- is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress 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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