[ Sitemap ] [ Contact ] [ Imprint ] [ Deutschsprachige Chemie-Nachrichten ]


Current News

Chemistry News

Current Research Articles

Job Market

Chemistry Conferences

News Archive 2007

Chemistry A to Z

Chemistry Index


Products and Companies

About Internetchemistry



German News 2008 News in German

Get Internetchemistry RSS News Feed

Chemistry News Archive September 2008

Chemistry News September 2008

News of the year 2008 in the fields of chemistry and chemistry-related topics like biochemistry, nantechnology, medicinal chemistry etc.

Main focus: press releases, scientific research results and summaries of chemistry articles, that are published in chemistry journals.

Please send us a eMail to publish your press release!

ACS News (open access articles):


Evidence that inexpensive device boosts fuel economy by up to 20 percent

A new device could enhance fuel economy by up to 20 percent.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Amid sticker-shock fuel prices, researchers in Pennsylvania are reporting results of laboratory tests and road tests verifying that a simple, inexpensive device attached to a car engine's fuel injector can boost gas mileage by up to 20 percent. That translates into several more precious miles per gallon, they say. Their study is scheduled for the November 19 issue of ACS' Energy & Fuels, a bi-monthly journal.

In the new study, Rongjia Tao and colleagues describe development and testing of a new fuel economy booster. The small device consists of an electrically charged tube that can be attached to the fuel line of a car's engine near the fuel injector. The device creates an electric field that thins fuel, or reduces its viscosity, so that smaller droplets are injected into the engine. That leads to more efficient and cleaner combustion than a standard fuel injector, the researchers say.

Six months of road testing in a diesel car showed that the device increased highway fuel from 33 miles per gallon (mpg) to 37 mpg. "We expect the device will have wide applications on all types of internal combustion engines, present ones and future ones," the report states, citing engines powered by gasoline, biodiesel, and kerosene. Further improvements in the device could lead to even better mileage, they suggest. - MTS

Energy & Fuels: "Electrorheology Leads to Efficient Combustion".


Natural Viagra?
"Horny goat weed" shows promise in lab studies

Move over, Viagra! Researchers in Italy report that an ancient Chinese herbal remedy known as "horny goat weed" shows potential in lab studies as source for new future drugs to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). The study, which provides scientific evidence supporting the herb's well-known use as a natural aphrodisiac, is scheduled for the October 24 issue of ACS' Journal of Natural Products, a monthly publication.

In the new study, Mario Dell'Agli and colleagues point out that Viagra (sildenafil) and several other prescription drugs are now available for ED, or male impotence. ED affects an estimated 18 million men in the United States alone. Studies show, however, that these drugs may cause side effects such as headache, facial flushing, stomach upset, and visual disturbances.

To find better treatments, the scientists studied herbal extracts reputed to improve sexual performance. Scientists exposed the substances to an enzyme that controls blood flow to the penis and whose inhibition results in an erection. Of the extracts tested, "horny goat weed" was the most potent inhibitor of the enzyme. By chemical modification of icariin, the active ingredient purified from the extract, the scientists obtained a derivative with activity similar to Viagra and a potential for fewer side effects because it targeted the protein more precisely than sildenafil. - MTS

Journal of Natural Products: "Potent Inhibition of Human Phosphodiesterase-5 by Icariin Derivatives".


Current government regulations miss key pollutants in Los Angeles region

Smog above Los Angeles

Smog above Los Angeles, as seen from the Hollywood Hills.

Image by David Iliff

Existing regulations may not effectively target a large source of fine, organic particle pollutants that contribute to hazy skies and poor air quality over Los Angeles, according to a study scheduled for the October 15 issue of ACS' Environmental Science and Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

In the study, Ken Docherty and colleagues point out that current air quality regulations target sources of 'primary,' or directly emitted, particles. Yet their new findings indicate that "secondary" or chemically formed, particles contribute more significantly to poor air quality.

The study found that most of the organic haze above the city is not directly emitted by vehicles or industrial processes, unlike previously thought - 75 percent of organic particle pollutants form when reactive, organic gases undergo chemical transformations and condense onto existing particles in the air. "Our study suggests that regulations need to focus much more attention on the organic gases that react chemically in the atmosphere, creating the secondary particles that make up a significant portion of haze," Docherty said. - AD

Environmental Science & Technology: "Apportionment of Primary and Secondary Organic Aerosols in Southern California during the 2005 Study of organic Aerosols in Riverside (SOAR-1)".


Microscopic version of the CT scan reveals secrets of bone formation

Biomphalaria glabrata

A juvenile snail shell of Biomphalaria glabrata, 4 weeks after hatching with a shell diameter of 3 mm.

Image by The American Chemical Society

A new version of the computerized tomography (CT) scan, which revolutionized medical imaging during the last 25 years, is giving scientists precious new information about how Mother Nature forms shells, bones, and other hard structures in animals ranging from guppies to mice. That information on "biomineralization" could form a knowledge base for understanding bone loss in humans and even snaring the Holy Grail of regenerative medicine - discovering how newts, starfish and other animals regrow amputated body parts.

Those are the observations in a new overview of the field scheduled for the November 12 issue of ACS' Chemical Reviews, a monthly journal. In the article, Matthias Epple and Frank Neues describe ongoing research in which scientists use X-ray microcomputer tomography to study biomineralization, the process in which animals form bones, shells, and other hard structures. Microcomputer tomography is the high-resolution version of conventional CT. Like a CT microscope, it constructs three-dimensional images of structures in bones and shells too small for viewing with regular CT.

The article provides a sweeping overview of current research involving X-ray microcomputer tomography, and the implications for medicine, design of new materials, and other fields. "It is of interest in modern materials science to synthetically mimic these inorganic structures to create new coatings, materials or instruments for practical application," the article states. "We are convinced that this method will be of high future value to study the spatially different mineralization processes in mineralizing animals and plants." - AD

Chemical Reviews: "X-ray Microcomputer Tomography for the Study of Biomineralized Endo- and Exoskeletons of Animals".


Unlocking the secrets of breast milk

Researchers are reporting that new insights into the composition of human breast milk may lead to new ways to prevent and treat stomach illnesses and other diseases in babies and adults. An article on the topic is scheduled for the Sept. 29 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

In the C&EN cover story, Associate Editor Jyllian Kemsley notes that human breast milk is a complex fluid composed of several key components, including lactose, a sugar that provides energy for the infant, and lipids, which are thought to provide healthy fats to infants. But scientists are just now beginning to understand the composition and function of many of the components of human breast milk.

Researchers have found, for example, that certain sugars in breast milk could be developed into treatments that help fight necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a potentially deadly disease that affects about 10 percent of premature infants. Some types of sugars in breast milk appear to prevent bacterial infections, including those that cause severe diarrhea, the article notes. A better understanding of the chemistry and function of breast milk can also lead to the design of more nutritious infant formulas and cow's milk products, the article suggests. "[Breast milk] is a remarkable fluid," remarked one researcher. "It's extremely embarrassing how little we still know about it."

Chemical & Engineering News: "Unraveling breast milk".


Purifying nanorods: big success with tiny cleanup
Rice method produces nanorods with more than 99 percent purity.

ACS News (open access articles):


New hope for tapping vast domestic reserves of oil shale


Fossils encased in an Estonian oil shale.

Image by Mark A. Wilson, Wikipedia Commons

Researchers in Canada and Turkey report discovery of a new process for economically tapping vast resources of crude oil in the United States, Canada, and other countries now locked away in rocky deposits called oil shale. The process could boost worldwide oil supplies in the future and lead to lower prices for gasoline, diesel, and home heating oil, the researchers suggest. Their study is scheduled for the November 19 issue of ACS' Energy & Fuels, a bi-monthly journal.

In the study, Tayfun Babadagli and colleagues point out that oil trapped in the world's oil shale deposits exceeds the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. An estimated one trillion barrels of oil, for instance, are in the so-called Green River Formation in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. However, existing technology for recovering that oil, termed pyrolysis, is uneconomical because it requires high temperatures (about 900 degrees F.) and large energy inputs, but yields little usable oil.

The scientists describe laboratory scale experiments in which addition of inexpensive iron powder to oil shale, combined with heating with electric heating coils, substantially increased oil production - by more than 100 percent for some shales. "The experimental and numerical results show that field-scale oil recovery from oil shales by electrical heating could be technically and economically viable," the report concludes. - MTS

Energy & Fuels: "Experimental and Numerical Simulation of Oil Recovery from Oil Shales by Electrical Heating".


Calorie-free natural sweetener moves one step closer to use in the U. S.

Researchers in Georgia are reporting an advance toward the possible use of a new natural non-caloric sweetener in soft drinks and other food products in the United States. Stevia, which is 300 times more potent than sugar but calorie-free, is already used in some countries as a food and beverage additive to help fight obesity and diabetes. Their study is scheduled for the October 8 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

Indra Prakash, John F. Clos, and Grant E. DuBois note that so-called stevia sweeteners, derived from a South American plant, have been popular for years as a food and beverage additive in Latin America and Asia. But several factors have prevented its use as a sweetener in Europe and the United States. Those include concerns about safety and hints that exposure to sunlight degrades one of the key components of stevia.

In research that eases concerns about stevia's stability, the scientists studied clear glass containers of cola and lemon-lime sodas containing the two major naturally sweet components in stevia. After exposing the beverages to sunlight for one week, they found no significant degradation in either component of the natural sweetener. - MTS

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: "Photostability of Rebaudioside A and Stevioside in Beverages".


Toward a fast, life-saving test for identifying the purity of heroin

A sample of black tar heroin.

Image by US Drug Enforcement Agency

Scientists in Spain are reporting an advance toward a new method for determining the purity of heroin that could save lives by allowing investigators to quickly identify impure and more toxic forms of the drug being sold on the street. Unlike conventional tests, it does not destroy the original drug sample, according to their report. It is scheduled for the Oct. 1 issue of ACS' Analytical Chemistry, a semi-monthly journal.

In the new study, Salvador Garrigues and colleagues point out that the purity of heroin can vary widely, since pushers often mix it with chalk, flour, or other "cutting agents." Because heroin users do not know the exact purity of the drug, they are more at risk for overdose and even death. Conventional tests for determining the purity of street heroin involve destructive and time-consuming sample preparation, the scientists say.

They studied 31 illicit drug samples from Spain that contained six to 34 percent heroin. The scientists tested the samples using the new analytical method, called Diffuse Reflectance Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (DR-NIR). It involves shooting a beam of infrared light into a sample to determine its chemical composition based on the wavelength of light emitted. The method quickly and accurately determined the chemical content of the samples without any prior sample preparation, the scientists say. - MTS

Analytical Chemistry: "Nondestructive Direct Determination of Heroin in Seized Illicit Street Drugs by Diffuse Reflectance near-Infrared Spectroscopy".


Key proteins identified in the quest for male contraceptive

In an advance toward a long-sought new male contraceptive, researchers in China have identified key proteins in men that suppress production of sperm and could become new targets for a future male birth control pill. Their study is scheduled for the October 3 issue of ACS' monthly Journal of Proteome Research.

Jiahao Sha and colleagues point out that scientists do not understand one effect of the male sex hormone, testosterone - how injections of the hormone suppress production of sperm. Building on a previous study showing almost total sperm suppression with an injectable testosterone combined with a synthetic hormone called levonorgestrel (LNG), the researchers sought new insights into how hormones affect sperm-producing cells in the testicles.

In a new study on men, they found that testosterone combined with LNG changed the body's production of 31 proteins compared to only 13 proteins for men given only testosterone. The scientists identified proteins that could serve as both targets for new male contraceptives as well as medications for treating infertility. - JS

Journal of Proteome Research: "Proteomic Analysis of Testis Biopsies in Men Treated with Injectable Testosterone Undecanoate Alone or in Combination with Oral Levonorgestrel as Potential Male Contraceptive".


Toward more effective drugs, vaccines for fighting HIV

Researchers are reporting progress toward a wave of new drugs and vaccines that could significantly improve the health and lifespan of millions infected with or at risk for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to an article (http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/86/8638cover.html) scheduled for the Sept. 22 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine. The findings offer hope for the estimated 33 million people worldwide who are currently infected with the virus.

In the C&EN cover story, Senior Correspondent Ann Thayer notes that when HIV was first identified almost 25 years ago, the life expectancy of an infected person was only about one year. Today, with more than 20 so-called antiretroviral drugs now available to treat the disease, an infected person can expect to live many years, at least in developed countries. With new insights into how the virus works in the body, pharmaceutical companies are now attempting to develop even more effective drugs that are safer and easier to use.

While there's still no cure for the disease, Thayer notes in a companion article in C&EN, researchers are working hard to develop an effective HIV vaccine, considered the ultimate way to prevent infection. But there's still a lot to learn about the virus itself and the human body's response, as setbacks in recent clinical trials have shown, according to the article. "Failure is the norm in product development, particularly for something as difficult as HIV," notes one researcher.

Chemical & Engineering News: "New Antiretrovirals Change HIV Treatment".


Curbing coal emissions alone might avert climate danger, say researchers
Oil and gas seen to have lesser effect.

ACS News (open access articles):


Drinking chamomile tea may help fight complications of diabetes

Chamomile tea could help prevent complications of diabetes, scientists report.

Image by Wikimedia Commons

Drinking chamomile tea daily with meals may help prevent the complications of diabetes, which include loss of vision, nerve damage, and kidney damage, researchers in Japan and the United Kingdom are reporting.

The findings could lead to the development of a new chamomile-based drug for type 2 diabetes, which is at epidemic levels in this country and spreading worldwide, they note. Their study appears in the Sept. 10 issue of the ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

In the new study, Atsushi Kato and colleagues point out that chamomile, also known as manzanilla, has been used for years as a medicinal cure-all to treat a variety of medical problems including stress, colds, and menstrual cramps. Scientists recently proposed that the herbal tea might also be beneficial for fighting diabetes, but the theory hasn't been scientifically tested until now.

To find out, the researchers fed chamomile extract to a group of diabetic rats for 21 days and compared the results to a group of control animals on a normal diet. The chamomile-supplemented animals showed a significant decrease in blood glucose levels compared with the controls, they say. The extract also showed significant inhibition of both ALR2 enzymes and sorbitol, whose elevated levels are associated with increased diabetic complications, the scientists say. - MTS

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: "Protective Effects of Dietary chamomile Tea on Diabetic Complications".


Low-emission, high-performance engine for future hybrids

A cross-sectional view of the FPLA.

Image by Qingfeng Li

In an advance toward introduction of an amazing new kind of internal combustion engine, researchers in China are reporting development and use of a new and more accurate computer model to assess performance of the so-called free-piston linear alternator (FPLA). Their study of the FPLA, which could provide a low-emission, fuel efficient engine for future hybrid electric vehicles, is scheduled for the Sept. 17 issue of ACS' Energy & Fuels, a bi-monthly journal.

Qingfeng Li and colleagues point out that the FPLA has only one moving part and is an engine designed to generate electricity. In the device, a piston in a cylinder shuttles between two combustion chambers. Permanent magnets on the piston generate electricity by passing through the coils of an alternator centered on the cylinder. The engine can burn a variety of fuels, including natural gas and hydrogen, and seems ideal use in a future world of climate change and possible fossil fuel shortages, they suggest.

Their report describes development of a better computer model to evaluate performance of the FPLA and guide engineers in construction of the engine. Results of their initial simulations showed that the FPLA could accelerate three times faster than other internal combustion engines and burns fuel in ways that minimize air pollution. "It is an environmentally friendly power source for the future," the report concludes. - AD

Energy & Fuels: "Simulation of a Two-stroke, Free-Piston Engine for Electrical Power Generation".


Potential new drug for cocaine addiction and overdose

Chemists have developed a substance that could help fight addictions and overdoses of cocaine.

Image by US Drug Enforcement Administration

Chemists are reporting development of what they term the most powerful substance ever discovered for eliminating cocaine from the body, an advance that could lead to the world's first effective medicine for fighting overdoses and addictions of the illicit drug. Their findings are scheduled for the Sept. 24 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a weekly publication.

In the new study, Chang-Guo Zhan and colleagues point out no effective anti-cocaine medication currently exists for cocaine abuse. One of the most promising approaches focuses on substances that mimic butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), a natural blood protein that helps break down and inactivate the drug, researchers say. However, natural BChE is too weak and ineffective for medical use, the researchers note.

The researchers describe design and produce the most potent, stable BChE structure ever produced. In lab studies, that form of BChE broke down, or metabolized, cocaine 2,000 times faster than the body's natural version of BChE, the scientists say, noting that reducing levels of the drug in the blood is a key to fighting overdose in humans. The substance also prevented convulsions and death when injected into mice that were given overdoses of cocaine, they note. - MTS

Journal of the American Chemical Society: "Most Efficient Cocaine Hydrolase Designed by Virtual Screening of Transition States".


Flower-shaped nanoparticles may lead to better batteries for portable electronics

Want more power and longer battery life for that cell phone, laptop, and digital music player? "Flower power" may be the solution. Chemists are reporting development of flower-shaped nanoparticles with superior electronic performance than conventional battery materials. These "nanoflowers" may power next-generation electronic devices, say the scientists in a report scheduled for the Oct. 8 issue of ACS' Nano Letters, a monthly journal.

Gaoping Cao and colleagues point out that nanoflowers are not new. Researchers have developed various types of flower-shaped nanoparticles using different materials, including manganese oxide, the key metallic ingredient that powers conventional batteries. However, older-generation nanoflowers were not suitable for electronic products of the future, which will demand more power and longer battery life, the researchers say.

In the new study, scientists first grew clusters of carbon nanotubes, strands of pure carbon 50,000 times thinner than a human hair, that are known to have superior electrical conductivity. The scientists then deposited manganese oxide onto the nanotubes using a simple, low-cost coating technique called "electrodeposition," resulting in nano-sized clusters that resemble tiny dandelions under an electron microscope. The result was a battery system with higher energy storage capacity, longer life, and greater efficiency than conventional battery materials, the researchers say. - MTS

Nano Letters: "Growth of Manganese Oxide Nanoflowers on Vertically-Aligned Carbon Nanotube Arrays for High-Rate Electrochemical Capacitive Energy Storage".


New medications for schizophrenia

New scientific insights into schizophrenia are pointing toward new drugs that offer hope for millions of individuals with the disease - the most serious form of mental illness, according to an article scheduled for the Sept. 15 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine. Schizophrenia affects about 25 million people, or about one percent of adults, worldwide.

In the article, C&EN Assistant Editor Carmen Drahl notes that existing medications for schizophrenia, so-called antipsychotics, help ease some symptoms, such as hallucinations and disorganized speech. However, they do not deal with all of the disease's symptoms, such as lack of motivation and impairments to decision-making.

Researchers are now moving beyond traditional drugs, which generally target dopamine neurotransmission, and focusing on new targets that might tackle a wider range of symptoms. The article describes animal and human trials of several potential new drugs that focus on new disease targets, including the glutamate neurotransmitter system, a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, and a signaling pathway mediated by cyclic nucleotides.

These substances appear to help relieve a wider range of symptoms while causing fewer side effects, the researchers note. "We're still trying to understand the basic mechanisms of schizophrenia, which will hopefully lead to more effective treatments that target core features of the illness," notes an outside expert.

Chemical & Engineering News: "Rethinking Schizophrenia".

Chemistry news archive 2008 - ordered by month














Further Information:


 Site Information:


The author- or copyrights of the listed Internet pages are held by the respective authors or site operators, who are also responsible for the content of the presentations.


April 29, 2011

Site URL:



Chemistry, news archive, September, 2008




Chemistry Information not found? Try this form:


Custom Search

Internetchemistry � 2007 - 2008 A. J.