Friday, April 11, 2014

Google Doodle Celebrates Percy Julian's 115th Birthday

Today (April 11, 2014), the Google Doodle honors what would have been the 115th birthday of chemist Percy Julian. Julian is most known for synthesizing hormones from soybean oil and creating a synthetic substitute for cortisone.
Google Doodle April 11, 2014

In June 2008 Inform featured Percy Julian in the article "Giants of the Past: Percy Lavon Julian (1899–1975)" by Jim Kenar.
"Percy Lavon Julian was born April 11,1899, in Montgomery, Alabama, USA,to James Sumner Julian and his wife,Elizabeth Lena Adams. Percy was the oldest of six children and the grandson of a former slave. His father, James,was a federally employed railway mail clerk and, as such, their family was better off than most blacks of the day. Although, Julian had little formal school training, since limited public education was available for blacks at the time, he had a burning desire, encouraged by his family, to pursue higher education."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Leading experts from Informa Economics, others to address outlook for animal protein markets

A new full-day Animal Protein Seminar will be offered for the first time this year at the 9th annual Oilseed & Grain Trade Summit (Summit), which will be held October 7-9 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, La. This pre-conference seminar is fashioned after the popular Spring Livestock, Meat, Poultry and Dairy Conference previously organized by Informa Economics, and will provide attendees with an outlook, delivered by industry experts, for the cattle, hog, dairy, poultry, and egg sectors.

The seminar will be offered on Tuesday, October 7 and is open to all registrants of the Oilseed & Grain Trade Summit. Space in the seminar is limited, and registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

This new animal protein outlook event was born out of a recently established alliance between HighQuest Partners, host of the Oilseed & Grain Trade Summit, and Informa Economics that has Informa rolling their Spring Livestock and Fall Outlook conferences into the Summit.  As a result, the Summit, which annually convenes buyers, sellers, and global players in the oilseed, protein meal, vegetable oils and feed grains sector, will feature richer content and more diverse networking opportunities.

Senior commodity analysts from Informa and others will be on hand at the Animal Protein Seminar and Oilseed & Grain Trade Summit to provide their expertise and strategies for addressing the opportunities and challenges facing the livestock, poultry, oilseed, and grain sectors in the coming year. Particular focus will be placed on the impact that shifting global demand and higher price expectations will have on the livestock-derived product markets in late 2014 and beyond.

“The expectation for substantially increased prices—the biggest jump some of these markets have ever seen—is of particular concern to buyers,” said Informa Economics Senior Vice President Rob Murphy. “Through a historical review, assessment of the driving factors, and guidance provided for strategic plans, attendees at this seminar will gain the knowledge required to effectively navigate this high-price environment.”

Beyond key sessions on the global outlook for the cattle, hog, dairy, poultry and egg sectors, the seminar will provide critical insights into trends in the global downstream meat market and the implications of government policies on the animal protein production sector.

The Oilseed & Grain Trade Summit is the largest annual industry event of its kind. Attendees have the opportunity to share the latest information on trends and developments in the oilseed and feed grains markets while networking with their peers, and establishing relationships with new suppliers and clients in order to enhance their competitive edge. Attendees hail from around the world – the 2013 event in Minneapolis, Minn., included over 75 exhibitors and hosted nearly 650 attendees from more than 30 U.S. states and 25 countries.

To view the full agenda and speaker and registration information, visit
HighQuest Partners, headquartered in Danvers, Mass., is a globally recognized strategic advisory and industry conference company serving the food, agriculture and biofuels markets. 
Informa Economics, Inc., a division of Informa plc, is a world leader in comprehensive agriculture, food industry, agribusiness and commodity research, information, analysis and consulting.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

FDA Issues Final Rule on Record Access Requirements for Food Firms and Announces Guidance for Industry

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing a final rule that affirms the interim final rule’s change to its regulations on record-keeping to be consistent with the expansion of FDA’s access to records as required by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The final rule adopts, without change, the interim final rule issued February 23, 2012.

The amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act made by FSMA allow FDA access to records beyond those relating to specific suspect food articles if the agency reasonably believes that other food articles are likely to be affected in a similar manner. In addition, the FSMA amendments permit FDA to access records relating to articles of food for which there is a reasonable probability that the use of, or exposure to, the article of food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. FDA's records access and the record-keeping requirements were first established by amendments to the FD&C Act made by the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002.

The expanded records-access authority is designed to improve FDA’s ability to respond to and contain safety problems with the food supply for humans and animals.

FDA is also making available a guidance document “FDA Records Access Authority under Sections 414 and 704 of the Federal Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act,” which updates with minor changes the draft guidance issued on February 23, 2012. Comments on the guidance are being accepted.

FDA also is making available a guidance document “Why You Need to Know About Establishment, Maintenance, and Availability of Records—Small Entity Compliance Guide,” which updates the small entity compliance guide issued in December 2004. Comments on the small entity compliance guide are being accepted.

Additional Information

Some personal thoughts on the demonization of saturated fat

If I were to step outside AOCS headquarters here in Urbana, Illinois, USA, and ask the next 20 persons I encountered to give me one word to describe saturated fat, I would wager that at least 19 of the 20 would use some variant of the word “bad.” Seldom has received wisdom – knowledge that people generally believe is true but often is not – been so close to unanimous on any facet of nutrition as is the case with the idea that “saturated fat is bad for you.” (A close second would be the blind acceptance of the cholesterol/lipid hypothesis and, third, that dietary fat in general is suspect . . . even the so-called “good fats.”)

How saturated fat became so universally feared is a long and complicated story that is part politics, part US dietary policy based on preliminary findings, and part bad science. At the root, however, is what I find to be a false premise – the idea that the immensely complicated human metabolic system (that is still further complicated by variations among individuals) can be reduced to its individual working parts and that scientific research can tease out truths about what is “good” and what is “bad” in dietary terms. A corollary to this premise is that the effect of a whole food is merely the sum of its individual components; there is no synergistic (or, alternatively, antagonistic) relationship among all the individual components (and an individual’s personal biology and microbiome).

If you are interested in an alternative view of saturated fat, then by all means read articles and/or books by the noted science writer Gary P. Taubes. His 2002 article for The New York Times, “What If It’s All Been a Big, Fat Lie?,” was one of the first widely disseminated salvos in the war to reclaim an honorable position for dietary fat in general and saturated fat in particular.

A new book by investigative journalist Nina Teicholz, The Big Fat Surprise, will be released on May 13 by Simon & Shuster. Teicholz says the book, which I have yet to read, “traces the origins of the bias against saturated fats and how overzealous researchers – through a combination of ego, bias, and premature institutional consensus – have allowed dangerous misrepresentations to become dietary dogma.”

Michael Pollan, an award-winning author and journalism teacher at the University of California, Berkeley, has written extensively about “nutritionism” and the damage done by a reductive approach to food and eating. (Remember the “French paradox” wherein scientists puzzle over the fact that the French – a culture well known for indulging in long, leisurely, and often fat- and cholesterol-laden meals – have a low incidence of heart disease?) To reductionism can be added the difficulty of accurately assessing an individual’s diet over time outside of a research setting where intake is strictly controlled. (If you have ever taken a food frequency questionnaire, then you know just how flawed those instruments are.) Why not toss another log on the fire and raise the problems inherent with meta-analyses (the grouping together and analysis of data from a number of studies) as well as the limitations of observational studies (research wherein groups of people are observed and outcomes are noted minus intervention by the researchers)? A point that the popular press and lay public often forget about observational studies is that they are not randomized and cannot point to cause and effect.

So, where are we today, on the first day of April 2014, as I write this blog post? Official dietary guidelines such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 (PDF) continue to call for reduced consumption: “Consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.” Most if not all diabetes groups advise against consumption of saturated fat despite the wealth of research showing benefit to both serum glucose and triglyceride levels as well as lipid profiles for diabetics on ketogenic (fat-burning) diets that include copious amounts of saturated fat.

The latest in a continuing series of epidemiological meta-analyses finding no association between ingestion of saturated fat and coronary heart disease (CHD) was released on March 17, 2014, and the popular press has had a grand time acting as if this were a new finding. (See the June 2009 issue of Inform (PDF) , the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, or the British Medical Journal for proof that it is not a new idea.) However, having observed the fats and oils scene now for almost 15 years as associate editor of Inform, I think the current media brouhaha may signal that we are at a tipping point. Indeed, it is possible that we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the dogmatic demonization of saturated fat.

The new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine went beyond previous meta-analyses that found no association between dietary saturated fat and incidence of CHD or stroke. It also questioned whether polyunsaturated oils from plants and fish are inherently more healthful than saturated fats from animal or dairy sources. “Current evidence does not clearly support guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats,” the authors write.

Critics quickly pointed out errors in the data and data collection; some called for the paper’s retraction. After the study’s authors corrected those errors, lead author Rajiv Chowdhury of the University of Cambridge in the UK told Science Magazine that he feels the paper’s conclusions are valid even after the corrections.

So, what is a person concerned about things dietary to do? Here are my thoughts . . . not that anyone has asked for them. To be clear: I speak only for myself and not for AOCS. First off, I would suggest being less concerned about each bite of food, because a puritanical focus on “good” and “bad” foods sucks all the pleasure out of what should be a communal celebration of life (taking us back to the French paradox). Assuming you are eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other foods that spent some time in the sun (including meat from grass-fed animals and fatty coldwater fish, if you are so inclined and able to afford them), you are likely to do well by yourself. (Michael Pollan’s pithy aphorism comes to mind: “Eat food. Not too much. Mainly plants.”)

Beyond that, here’s a thought: Don’t monitor reporting by the popular press on nutrition, which seldom puts incremental findings in context. Either read the papers yourself, which is why we have provided links in this post, or follow Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous advice: “Moderation in all things, especially moderation.”

Catherine Watkins, Inform associate editor

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The first peanut genomes sequenced

The International Peanut Genome Initiative releases the first peanut genome sequences to the public.

Alexandria, VA – The International Peanut Genome Initiative (IPGI)  — a  multinational group of crop geneticists working in cooperation for several years — has successfully sequenced the genome of the peanut.

The new peanut genome sequence will be available to researchers and plant breeders across the globe to aid in the breeding of more productive, more resilient peanut varieties.

Peanut (Arachis hypogaea), also called groundnut, is an important crop both commercially and nutritionally. Globally, farmers tend about 24 million hectares of peanut each year, producing about 40 million metric tons. While the oil and protein rich legume is seen as a cash crop in the developed world, it remains an important sustenance crop in developing nations.

Scott Jackson, director of the University of Georgia (UGA) Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, serves as chair of the International Peanut Genome Initiative.

“The peanut crop is important in the United States, but it’s very important for developing nations as well,” Jackson said. “In many areas, it is a primary calorie source for families and a cash crop for farmers.”  According to plant geneticist Rajeev Varshney of India, “Improving peanut varieties to be more drought, insect and disease resistant, using the genome sequence, can help farmers in developed nations produce more peanuts with fewer pesticides and other chemicals and help farmers in developing nations feed their families and build more-secure livelihoods”

The effort to sequence the genome of the peanut has been underway for several years. According to plant geneticist, Peggy Ozias-Akins, UGA-Tifton, GA, while peanuts have been successfully bred for intensive cultivation, relatively little was known about the legume’s genetic structure because of its complexity. 

Plant geneticists David and Soraya Bertioli of Brazil expressed their enthusiasm for the new possibilities offered by the genome sequence, “Until now, we've bred peanuts relatively blindly compared to other crops. These new advances are allowing us to understand breeding in ways that could only be dreamt of before.”

The peanut grown in fields today is the result of a natural cross between two wild species, Arachis duranensis and Arachis ipaensis that occurred in the north of Argentina between 4,000 and 6,000 years ago. Because its ancestors were two different species, today’s peanut is a tetraploid, meaning the species carries two separate genomes which are designated A and B sub-genomes.

To map the peanut’s genome structure, IPGI researchers sequenced the two ancestral parents, because together they represent the cultivated peanut. The sequences provide researchers access to 96 percent of all peanut genes in their genomic context, providing the molecular map needed to more quickly breed drought-resistant, disease-resistant, lower-input and higher-yielding varieties.

The two ancestor wild species were collected from nature decades ago. One of the ancestral species, A. duranensis, is widespread but the other, A. ipaensis, has only ever been collected from one location, and indeed may now be extinct in the wild. When grappling with the thorny problem of how to understand peanut’s complex genome, it was clear that the genomes of the two ancestor species would provide excellent models for the genome of the cultivated peanut: A. duranenis serving as a model for the A sub-genome of the cultivated peanut and A. ipaensis serving as a model for the B sub-genome. Fortunately because of the long-sighted efforts of germplasm collection and conservation, both species were available for study and use by the IPGI.

Knowing the genome sequences of the two parent species will allow researchers to recognize the cultivated peanut’s genomic structure by differentiating between the two subgenomes present in this crop. Being able to see the two separate structural elements will also aid future gene marker development — the determination of links between a gene’s presence and a physical characteristic of the plant. Understanding the structure of the peanut’s genome will lay the groundwork for new varieties with traits like added disease resistance and drought tolerance.

University of California, Davis genome researchers Lutz Froenicke and Richard Michelmore are optimistic that these genome sequences will serve as a guide for the assembly of the cultivated peanut genome that will help to decipher genomic changes that led to peanut domestication, which was marked by increases in seed size and plant growth habit. The genome sequence assemblies and additional information are available at

The International Peanut Genome Initiative brings together scientists from the United States, China, Brazil, India and Israel to delineate peanut genome sequences, characterize the genetic and phenotypic variation in cultivated and wild peanuts and develop genomic tools for peanut breeding. The initial sequencing was carried out by the BGI, Shenzen, China.  Assembly was done at BGI, USDA-ARS, Ames, IA, and UC Davis, Davis, CA.  The project was made possible by funding provided by the peanut industry through the Peanut Foundation, by MARS Inc., and three Chinese Academies (Henan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shandong Academy of Sciences). A complete list of the institutions involved with the project and the other funding sources is available at

About the peanut
In the U.S. peanuts are a major row crop throughout the South and Southeast.  While they are an economic driver for the U.S. economy, the legume is also crucial to the diets and livelihood of millions of small farmers in Asia and Africa, many of whom are women.  Apart from being a rich source of oil (44–55 percent), protein (20–50 percent) and carbohydrates (10–20 percent), peanut seeds are an important nutritional source for niacin, folate, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron, riboflavin, thiamine and vitamin E.

The Peanut Foundation                                
Howard Valentine                   
Phone:  706-579-1755                 
Cell:   770-845-0119                  

The Peanut Foundation                                
Peanut Genome Consortium Chairman
Dr. Scott Jackson
Phone:   (706) 542-4021                   
Cell:   (765) 409-4973

CEOs To Headline Montreux 2014

What’s better than having three chief executives from the largest companies in the global detergent industry? How about four? Or five? Try six! The World Conference on Fabric and Home Care has become such an important forum for the industry, that organizers have outdone themselves this year, delivering a-half-dozen leaders from some of the most important companies on earth.

The chief executives scheduled to appear include:
• Kasper Rorsted, Henkel;
• Michitaka Sawada, Kao;
• Peder Holk, Novozymes;
• Kurt Bock, BASF;
• Itsuo Hama, Lion; and
• H. Fiske Johnson, SC Johnson & Son.

With a lineup like that, it’s no wonder why organizers expect more than 700 industry executives to attend Montreux 2014.

“We had two CEOs in Montreux (2010) and four CEOs in Singapore (2012),” recalled General Chairman Manfred Trautmann of WeylChem, Switzerland. “This time, we have six CEOs from various industries—all of them sure to provide thought-provoking commentary on the global fabric and home care business.”

- See more in a video from happi

According to Trautmann, the conference is designed to challenge attendees about the way they think of problems regarding water scarcity and hygiene issues in the developing world.

“It is the opposite of a typical meeting, in that it isn’t about the laboratory; it is about challenging the existing thinking regarding the problems we face in the world.”

Other industry experts who are scheduled to present will include:

• James C. Collins, DuPont;
• Leandro Soncini Rodrigues, Oxiteno;
• Gianni Ciserani, P&G; and
• Nitin Paranjpe, Unilever.

But besides well-known brands in the household and fabric care space, organizers also invited executives from game-changing companies such as Facebook, Walmart and Coca-Cola.

“We opened up the speaking schedule to include people from outside the industry to foster new ideas,” explained Committee Member Mike Parkington of Unilever. “In this VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world we need people from outside the industry to challenge us.”

In addition to the conference program, attendees will be able to visit with key partners during a three-day exhibition of supplies and services available to the fabric and home care industry. Organizers expect 45 companies to exhibit. Furthermore, the event will feature an Innovations Incubator, where participating companies can present cutting-edge ideas. This novel approach to showcasing emerging companies will be an integral part of Montreux 2014, according to organizers. The Innovations Incubator is accepting applications. To be considered, the company must have an innovative product or service that could affect the future of the industry. Furthermore, the company’s 2012 sales must be $25 million or less and the company must employ fewer than 200 people.

More info: Montreux 2014


Originally posted by happi at

Monday, March 24, 2014

IESD Expo 2014 International Exhibition on Surfactants and Detergents

IESD Expo 2014 International Exhibition on Surfactants and Detergents will be held at Shanghai Everbright Convention and Exhibition Center on April 14 - April 16, 2012. The theme of the event is "Focus on Industrial Upgrading/Serve for Industry Development". This event, showcasing the surfactants and detergents industry's most advanced technologies and products, has become important for domestic and oversea surfactants and detergent products manufacturers, agents, distributors to the extended market, industry education, understanding today's international market fashion trends, and the latest technology.   AOCS is a supporter of IESD 2014.

Concurrent to IESD 2014 is ICSD 2014. ICSD is an international conference focused on the research, production, application and commercialization of surfactants and detergents. In addition, it is an important platform for all international colleagues to know more about China, and for the Chinese enterprises to introduce themselves to the world. As an international academic conference for surfactants and detergents with the highest standard and great influence, ICSD is now attracting more and more enterprises, colleges and universities, governmental organizations, associations and individual visitors. In fact, it has built an important bridge of exchange and cooperation in China and foreign countries. Moreover, ICSD has become a leading conference in Chinese surfactants and detergents industry.   

2014 International Conference on Surfactant & Detergent (ICSD2014)

10th~12th April, 2014
Shanghai Everbright Convention & Exhibition Center
Shanghai, China

New Technologies and New Thinking---Breakthrough Industry Development Bottleneck

  • China Cleaning Industry Association (CCIA)
  • China Research Institute of Daily Chemical Industry (RIDCI)
  • China Information Center of Daily Chemical Industry
  • China National Productivity Promotion Center of Surfactant and Detergent
  • China National Cleaning Products Quality Supervision and Testing Center
  • Surfactant Committee of CCIA
  • Science & Technology Committee of CCIA
  • China National Engineering Research Center for Surfactant
  • China National Standardization Committee of Surfactant and Detergent
   Conference Language
Chinese and English(simultaneous interpretation)

  Official Web site