Newsletter ALFA #16 - June 2015

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Dear Readers,

It seems that summer has finally arrived, but science does not take a vacation. This past month did not fall as it was filled with compelling studies and revelations from scientists. This ranges from the ordinary citizen assisting in the research to save raptors to the push for Biofuel use by the United States government.

In the highlights of this month, we wanted to stress the importance of citizen science and the success of the organic food industry in the United States. Both these trends are fairly new, but they have and will continue to strongly impact the future of scientific research.

Hope you’ll enjoy these news as much as we loved finding them for you!

Enjoy your read,

Marc Rousset, Scientific attaché
Simon Ritz, Deputy Scientific attaché

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  • Agriculture
  • Low-carbon energies
  • Food Sciences
  • Guest News
  • Seen on the web
  • Structure of the month

  • Highlights

    Food or Fuel? How about both? - May 29

    The idea of creating a sustainable future is a growing movement on a global scale. The United States recently created a mandate for biofuels. Yet, should how arable land should be balanced between agricultural crops, and those which are used for biofuels? A recent study found promising evidence that both types of crops can be implemented on the same plot of land. This revelation has a large potential to alter the organization of planting crops in the future. View more (Read more

    Citizen Science helps protect nests of a raptor in Farmland - Jun. 1

    The idea of an ordinary individual contributing to science had been unfathomable up until today. In the past years, it has been proven and related that ordinary citizens without a scientific background have the potential to give significant contributions to scientific studies and research. The protection of raptors in farmlands across France is an illustration of the success scientists have once they partner with citizens. Read more



    2In the US2

    Uncle Sam Want You…to Farm National Parkland – Jun. 1

    In the protected land of Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park, fruits, vegetables and herbs grow abundantly. Turkeys, goats, pigs and even the occasional human call this land home. They’re part of Countryside Initiative, a program to bring the area back to its agricultural roots. Read more

    Organic agriculture more profitable to farmers - Jun. 1

    A comprehensive study finds organic agriculture is more profitable for farmers than conventional agriculture. Read more

    New method may eliminate antibiotic use in livestock - Jun. 1

    An animal scientist has developed an antibiotic-free method to protect animals raised for food against common infections. The innovation comes as growing public concern about antibiotic resistance has induced McDonald’s, Tyson Foods and other industry giants to announce major cuts in antibiotic use in meat production. About 80 percent of antibiotics in the United States are used by farmers, because they both protect against disease and accelerate weight gain in many farm animals. Read more

    Bumble bees in the last frontier, Alaska - Jun. 15

    A decline in bumble bee populations in Europe and North America has been documented in a number of recent publications. Meanwhile, little is known about bee populations in Alaska, where native bee pollination is critical to the maintenance of subarctic ecosystems. Researchers have now completed a two-year study on bumble bees in agricultural areas in the region. Read more

    Flies released to attack hemlock-killing pest - Jun. 16

    West coast predator ’looks promising’ on Tennessee and New York trees infested with hemlock woolly adelgid. Read more

    2In France2

    Mountain agriculture is diverse and family owned - Jun. 16

    One and four French agricultural institutions (around 120,000) can be found in mountainous regions. This is what the resurface of a study by the minister of argiculture (Agreste) found in the recent agricultural census in 2010. This importance is equivalent to that which was observed 10 or twenty years earlier. Read more (in French)

    Low-carbon energies

    2In the US2

    Alaska Airlines, WSU partner to advance use of biojet fuel - Jun. 4

    Washington state’s hometown airline is teaming up with the Washington State University-led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance to advance the production and use of alternative jet fuel made from forest residuals, the tree limbs and branches that remain after a forest harvest. Read more

    New Report Shows U.S. Biobased Products Industry Contributes $369 Billion, 4 Million Jobs to American Economy- Jun. 17

    2014 Farm Bill provisions will expand opportunities in the biobased sector by promoting advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals, and biobased product manufacturing efforts. Read more

    States eligible for $100M in USDA biofuel infrastructure grants - Jun. 15

    Following an announcement by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on May 29, the Commodity Credit Corporation announced June 12 that all 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., may now apply for up to $100 million in grants under the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership. Read more

    Biodiesel producers take RFS advocacy to Congress - Jun. 17

    Nearly 120 biodiesel producers and other industry leaders are visiting Washington this week calling on lawmakers to push for a strong renewable fuel standard (RFS) as the U.S. EPA finalizes a long-awaited rule. Read more

    Co-located supercritical biodiesel project changes hands - Jun. 3

    The Patriot Fuels Biodiesel project in Illinois, along with its much larger, co-located ethanol plant host, were bought by Cenex Harvest States. Read more

    2In France2

    France Biotech Announces the Second Edition of "French Life Science Days" New York - Jun. 10

    France Biotech (, an association of entrepreneurs in the life sciences industry, today announced the companies and partners which will participate in the second edition "French Life Science Days," a major event that brings together French biotech, medtech, and cleantech companies with specialized American investors. Read more

    Food Sciences

    2In the US2

    Body’s response to spicy foods guides design of new pain relief drugs - Jun. 9

    UC Davis researchers have identified the molecular interactions that allow capsaicin to activate the body’s primary receptor for sensing heat and pain, paving the way for the design of more selective and effective drugs to relieve pain. Their study appeared online June 8 in the journal Nature Chemical Biology. Read more

    Trans Fatty Acids and Memory - Jun. 19

    Eating too much food containing trans fatty acids may lead to poorer memory function, according to a new study. Read more

    FDA takes step to remove artificial trans fats in processed foods - Jun. 16

    Action expected to prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks. Based on a thorough review of the scientific evidence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized its determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not "generally recognized as safe" or GRAS for use in human food. Food manufacturers will have three years to remove PHOs from products. Read more

    Is aspartame safe?- Jun. 15

    It’s been around for decades and it’s probably in your diet soda - for a little while longer anyway. PepsiCo announced recently it was removing the artificial sweetener aspartame from its Diet Pepsi products in the U.S. starting in August. Read more

    FDA regulation to help ensure judicious use of antibiotics in food-producing animals - Jun. 2

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) final rule, an important piece of the agency’s overall strategy to promote the judicious use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals. Read more

    2In France2

    F. Hollande responds to the CNAOC - June. 15

    During the inauguration of the Vinexpo (Wine Expo) on the June 14th 2015, Francois Hollande agreed to interview with CNAOC and their professional wine publications. In front of the leaders of the wine industry, Francois Hollande addressed the following industry debates concerning wine: wine and public health, commercial agreements, and the renegotiation of the PAC. Read more (in French)

    Guest News

    Farm Technology Days 2015, Jun. 2015

    The Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is the largest agricultural show in Wisconsin and one of the largest in the nation. Read more

    Send us your ALFA news for July/August’s Newsletter here!

    Seen on the web

    Graphic novella could help prevent hearing loss in spanish-speaking ag workers - Jun. 17

    Graphic novels usually conjure up dark images of superheroes cleaning up the mean streets of Gotham or Metropolis. Mark Guiberson may not be a superhero, but he is trying to improve life for a particular population. Read more

    French Gov to Grocers: Toss Food Out, Pick Up Fines - Jun. 2

    As the phenomenon of global food waste gains attention, France plans to ban grocery stores from tossing unwanted food. Read more

    Structure of the month

    National Institute of Quality and Origin

    The National Institute of Quality and Origin, rather known as the INAO is a governmental administrative agency in France. Under the guide of the Minister of Agriculture, Food-Processing, and Forestry, the INAO institutes minimum standards and controls to follow the Signs of Identification, Quality, and Origin (SIQO). With this role, 70% of the agency is financed by governmental grants. The INAO reviews more than 1000 products and 20% of French agricultural products are placed under the SIQO.

    The role of the INAO is a step of validating the methods of quality and of verifying the origin of production. The INAO has several domains of expertise which include:
    - Supervision of controls and protected practices
    - Instruction of how to request and obtain official recognition
    - Protection of protected practices and company names
    - International Cooperation
    - Information on protected practices
    - Boundaries of production and of regions. Read more

    News articles : News from the United States covering advancements in science and technology (French articles).

    For France information

    Research centers : A vast source of information encompassing the fields of human health, animal health, and plant health. : Access new frontiers of Science through CNRS, the largest research organization in all of Europe. : Learn more from Europe’s leading agricultural research institution.

    Information centers : News from France on advancements in science and technology (French articles). : Discover information and the direction of French Agriculture : An in depth discovery of French food and France’s agricultural economy. : See France’s new collaboration initiative with the state of Vermont.

    2Coming Events2

    IFT 2015 McCormick Place Chicago, Illinois July 11-14
    International Conference on Global Business, Engineering, Energy, Agriculture, and Health View of the World New York, New York July 10-11
    Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior Renaissance Pittsburg Pittsburg, Pennsylvania July 25-28
    International Association for Food Protection Oregon Convention Center Portland Oregon July 25-28
    Agtech Week Hilton San Francisco Financial District San Francisco, California June 22-24

    French Office for Science and Technology at the Embassy of France in Washington, DC - website:
    Consulate General of France in Chicago - website:


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