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# NEWS

REACTORS WITH ULTIMATE MIXING PERFORMANCE OFFER SIMPLER SCALE-UP

Asynt Ltd. in conjunction with Innovative Physical Organic Solutions (IPOS), a research group based within the University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom, have cooperated over the last 2 years to develop a new generation of chemical reactor. By better understanding and improving the flow and thermal dynamics of the Asynt ReactoMate system the co-operation is able to now produce reactors that offer ultimate mixing performance. The benefits of this development for chemists will be simpler process development and scale-up, faster reactions, better reproducibility and improved selectivity. Martyn Fordham, Managing Director of Asynt Ltd. commented: "We were pleased to cooperate with IPOS on this development because of their considerable expertise in chemical engineering and experience in advising chemists on scaling reactions that were often rate limited by poor mixing". He added: "At the start of our cooperation - Asynt ReactoMate reaction systems as with all of our competitors did not offer optimised mixing. Today however, we can offer customers the option to use ReactoMate to scale chemistries with well-designed mixing by IPOS. This consideration has proven especially important when reaction chemistries are exothermic for example". Dr Nicholas Powles, a Senior Research Fellow at IPOS commented: "The complexities associated with optimising and scaling-up laboratory reactions are of critical importance in industrial process development. Our co-operation with Asynt will help commercialise the essential tools and 'know-how' for efficient process understanding and optimisation".
www.asynt.com

SAFE & RAPID BIOLOGICAL SAMPLE CONCENTRATION

For laboratories looking for a safe, rapid and affordable sample concentrator for biological samples - Genevac reports on the significant operational benefits of their miVac sample concentrator compared to “blowdown” evaporation systems. Removing solvent by blowing inert gas into open sample vessels, blowdown evaporators often have to operate at 60°C or more to concentrate samples in a relatively short space of time. For many laboratories dissolution of samples in low boiling solvents is not always an option. To efficiently remove water and other higher boiling solvents, vacuum concentration, as used by the miVac sample concentrator, is widely accepted as the only effective method. For laboratories looking to concentrate samples that may thermally degrade, the miVac sample concentrator is able to reduce the temperature of the solvents being concentrated therefore your samples are always kept cool and safe. Unlike blowdown evaporators that often have no means of preventing sample splashing during concentration - miVac vacuum concentrators completely eliminate this potential source of sample cross-contamination. Increasing environmental concerns are making venting of removed solvents to the atmosphere, the method used by blowdown evaporators, unacceptable. In conjunction with the highly efficient SpeedTrap the miVac sample concentrator is able to safely recover almost all removed solvents. The miVac sample concentrator range has been designed to meet the requirements for safe and rapid drying at a highly affordable price. Featuring capacity from six to twenty stacked shallow-well microplates or 48 to 200 micro centrifuge tubes of 1.5ml size - miVac concentrators are able to operate effectively even in high throughput environments. Each system features an LCD display with digital controls enabling programming of time and temperature. Requiring only electricity to operate the running costs of a miVac concentrator are very low.
www.genevac.com/movie/miVac/

POST ACCELERATED SOLVENT EXTRACTION (ASE) SAMPLE PREPARATION

The Genevac Flip-Flop system is an innovative tool designed to facilitate post ASE® concentration and preparation of samples. Samples are collected in the special Flip-Flop tube, the funnel and vial are fitted, the tube flipped over and second cap removed. Your ASE sample can now be concentrated directly into a GC autosampler vial using a Genevac ROCKET Evaporator. The Genevac ROCKET Evaporator enables rapid concentration or evaporation of up to 18 Dionex ASE® vials simultaneously. Using this simple procedure eliminates manual transfer steps and helps automate the ASE® sample concentration / preparation process resulting in improved laboratory workflow, increased reproducibility of results and enhanced sample recovery. Genevac, part of the SP Scientific group, was founded in 1990. Today the company employs around 85 people, with manufacturing, R&D and marketing headquartered in Ipswich, United Kingdom. Genevac today offers a comprehensive portfolio of evaporators to suit almost any solvent removal application, purchasing budget or productivity requirement.
salesinfo@genevac.co.uk

NANOCRYSTALS AND NICKEL CATALYST SUBSTANTIALLY IMPROVE LIGHT-BASED HYDROGEN PRODUCTION

Hydrogen is an attractive fuel source because it can easily be converted into electric energy and gives off no greenhouse emissions. A group of chemists at the University of Rochester is adding to its appeal by increasing the output and lowering the cost of current light-driven hydrogen-production systems. The work was done by graduate students Zhiji Han and Fen Qiu, as part of a collaboration between chemistry professors Richard Eisenberg, Todd Krauss, and Patrick Holland, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Their paper was published later in November in the journal Science. The chemists say their work advances what is sometimes considered the "holy grail" of energy science—efficiently using sunlight to provide clean, carbon-free energy for vehicles and anything that requires electricity. One disadvantage of current methods of hydrogen production has been the lack of durability in the light-absorbing material, but the Rochester scientists were able to overcome that problem by incorporating nanocrystals. "Organic molecules are typically used to capture light in photocatalytic systems," said Krauss, who has been working in the field of nanocrystals for over 20 years. "The problem is they only last hours, or, if you're lucky, a day. These nanocrystals performed without any sign of deterioration for at least two weeks."
Richard Eisenberg, the Tracy H. Harris Professor of Chemistry, has spent two decades working on solar energy systems. During that time, his systems have typically generated 10,000 instances—called turnovers—of hydrogen atoms being formed without having to replace any components. With the nanocrystals, Eisenberg and his colleagues witnessed turnovers in excess of 600,000.
The researchers managed to overcome other disadvantages of traditional photocatalytic systems. "People have typically used catalysts made from platinum and other expensive metals," Holland said. "It would be much more sustainable if we used metals that were more easily found on the Earth, more affordable, and lower in toxicity. That would include metals, such as nickel." Holland said their work is still in the "basic research stage," making it impossible to provide cost comparisons with other energy production systems. But he points out that nickel currently sells for about $8 per pound, while the cost of platinum is$24,000 per pound.
While all three researchers say the commercial implementation of their work is years off, Holland points out that an efficient, low-cost system would have uses beyond energy. "Any industry that requires large amounts of hydrogen would benefit, including pharmaceuticals and fertilizers," said Holland.
The process developed by Holland, Eisenberg, and Krauss is similar to other photocatalytic systems; they needed a chromophore (the light-absorbing material), a catalyst to combine protons and electrons, and a solution, which in this case is water. Krauss, an expert in nanocrystals, provided cadmium selenide (CdSe) quantum dots (nanocrystals) as the chromophore. Holland, whose expertise lies in catalysis and nickel research, supplied a nickel catalyst (nickel nitrate). The nanocrystals were capped with DHLA (dihydrolipoic acid) to make them soluble, and ascorbic acid was added to the water as an electron donor.
Photons from a light source excite electrons in the nanocrystals and transfer them to the nickel catalyst. When two electrons are available, they combine on the catalyst with protons from water, to form a hydrogen molecule (H2).
This system was so robust that it kept producing hydrogen until the source of electrons was removed after two weeks. "Presumably, it could continue even longer, but we ran out of patience!" said Holland.
One of the next steps will be to look at the nature of the nanocrystal. "Some nanocrystals are like M&Ms – they have a core with a shell around it," said Eisenberg. "Ours is just like the core. So we need to consider if they would work better if they were enclosed in shells."
CdSe Nanocrystals absorb light and transfer electrons to a Ni catalyst (blue), which subsequently generates hydrogen (white). (Photo by Ted Pawlicki/University of Rochester.)

University of Rochester - www.rochester.edu

THE BIOCLEAN PROJECT
New BIOtechnologiCaL approaches for biodegrading and promoting the environmEntal biotrAnsformation of syNthetic polymeric materials
In this project, novel and robust microorganisms (i.e., aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and fungi) able to attack polyethylenes, polypropylenes, polystyrol, polyethers and polyvinyl chloride and/or polyesters will be isolated from actual-site aged plastic wastes obtained from landfills, terrestrial and marine sites and characterized for their biodegradation potential, mechanism and taxonomy. A large number of microbes from existing bacterial and fungal collections as well as robust hydrolytic enzymes already available in the labs of the project partners will be screened for their ability to degrade/cometabolize the target polymers. The breakdown mechanisms of the most biodegradable polymers by the selected microbes will be investigated under defined aerobic and anaerobic conditions and via an integrated methodology, relying on advanced analytical methods (i.e., NMR, HPLC-MS, FT-IR, GPC, etc.) coupled to tailored microbiological and ecotoxicological monitoring methods. This to determine biodegradation rate, extent and pathway by which major polymers are biodegraded and the potential impact of the produced metabolites on target environmental biota. The opportunity to have controlled depolymerisation of some polymers by selected enzymes to get oligomers to be reused in new or hydrid polymer production will be studied. The impact of mechanical, physical-chemical (i.e., UV, O3 and γ radiation) and thermal pretreatments on the biodegradation rate, yields and pathways of the target polymers by the active microbes will be determined by using the same methodology. Pilot scale bioremediation processes relying on the exploitation of the most active microbes in slurry phase stirred thank bioreactors, solid-phase fermentation schemes and composting will be developed and assessed for each basic or pretreated polymer. SMEs dealing with the pretreatment, innovative biotreatment and composting of polymers will be actively involved in the project. Stakeholders and associations dealing with the collection, storage and reuse of polymers will be also involved in the project.
Project is joined by 19 full partners coming from 9 different EU partners, and one from China (Nanjing University, one of the 5 best Chinese university). 7 of them are SMEs, then there are the European association of the plastic producing industries (Plastics Europe) and 11 Universities or Research centers. The project is funded by the EU commission with 3 mil euros
The project will also rely on an stakeholder advisory board (SAB) consisting of 21 delegates from companies and international associations dealing with marine environmental and biodiversity protection, polymer production and biodegradation, plastic waste biodegradation in composting and wastewater treatment plants. Among these there are the Italian Novamont, Versalis (ENI) and the Associazione Italiana Compostatori . The Italian Ministry for industry (Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico) and the SusChem Italy technology platforms are among the other Italian stakeholders joining the SAB.
Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna (UNIBO)

ATOMIC FORCE MICROSCOPY (AFM) AND SINGLE-CELL FORCE SPECTROSCOPY TO LOOK INTO BIOFILM FORMATION FROM BACTERIA

JPK Instruments, manufacturer of nanoanalytic instrumentation for research in life sciences and soft matter, reports on the research studies of Dr Rikke Meyer who is looking into biofilm formation from bacteria using atomic force microscopy, AFM, and single-cell force spectroscopy. The interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) was formed by various research groups at Aarhus University together with groups from the Faculty of Science at Aalborg University. iNANO comprises facilities for the synthesis of nanostructured and nanopatterned 0D (i.e. nanoparticle), 1D, 2D and 3D materials. The group of Dr Rikke Meyer works at the interface between microbiology and nanoscience in the quest to understand how bacteria form biofilms and how this may be prevented. AFM and optical microscopy are used to visualize bacterial cells and to study the interaction forces between cells and an abiotic substrate. AFM imaging and single-cell force spectroscopy are excellent tools to visualize detailed structures on the bacterial cell surface and to study how these contribute to cell adhesion to other substrates. The motivation for using AFM in Dr Meyer's research was firstly to obtain detailed images of bacterial cells without extensive sample preparation. Furthermore, as she is interested in the interactions between bacteria and abiotic surfaces, she and her team use AFM force spectroscopy to quantify these interaction forces. AFM is one of several techniques used in these studies. These also include brightfield microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Dr Meyer comments on her research and reasons behind her choice of AFM: "The coupling with optical microscopy is no doubt the feature that was most important for me in deciding to go with an AFM from JPK. As a microbiologist, I work with very heterogeneous samples and it is not feasible to use AFM imaging to locate the field of interest, as large areas of the sample are often visualized to locate a site of interest. In the combined system, we can use the optical image to locate cells of interest before engaging the AFM for imaging or other measurements." Continuing, she said, "AFM has mostly been used to study bacterial cells that are isolated in pure culture. However, the vast majority of the bacterial species we know to date have not been isolated and can only be studied in situ. Fluorescence labeling allows a rough identification of bacteria directly in the sample and fluorescence imaging can thus be used to locate cells of interest before AFM imaging begins. The combination of AFM with optical imaging is thus particularly important for the analysis of bacteria in environmental samples."

Dr Rikke Meyer of iNANO at Aarhus University, Denmark, with her JPK NanoWizard SPM system: photograph courtesy of Mikal Schlosser, Herlev, DK, http://www.mikals.dk/
http://www.jpk.com/

OPENLAB DATA STORE WITH LAB APPLICATIONS
Agilent Technologies Inc. introduced OpenLAB Data Store with Lab Applications, an out-of-the-box solution for smaller laboratories that provides secure central storage of the data produced by Agilent’s OpenLAB chromatography data systems. Bruce von Herrmann, vice president and general manager of Agilent’s Software and Informatics Business refers: “Smaller chromatography labs want to adopt a networked solution that’s simple to deploy with minimal on-going IT support […] Because OpenLAB Data Store with Lab Applications is designed to work without customization, labs can expect to be up and running in only two days. That’s up to ten times faster than other solutions”.
www.agilent.com

STW HAS AWARDED SPINID
SPINID, a spin-off company of the Eindhoven University of Technology, designs and builds chemical reactors based on spinning disc technology. Recently, the Dutch Technology Foundation STW awarded SPINID a Valorisation Grant, a grant supporting the development of promising innovative high-tech start-ups. They awarded SPINID a Valorisation Grant worth €225.000. SPINID will use this Grant to bring the spinning disc technology to the market.
www.spinid.nl

US PATENT FOR EVACUATION SYSTEM FOR PLASTICS EXTRUSION
Future Design Inc. has announced the receipt of US patent #8,282,374 for their Evacuation System for Plastics Extrusion. Robert Krycki the inventor refers: “I am pleased to continue the trend of technical innovation within our company […] This will help the operators in the plant environment by removing smoke, fumes, and contaminants from the air, a definite benefit for their health and safety”. More commonly known as the Saturn Evacuation System (SES), its function is to reduce the amount of airborne contamination that fills the plant during the blown film extrusion process.
www.FutureDesignInc.com

DKSH HAS ACQUIRED STAERKLE & NAGLER
DKSH, the leading Market Expansion Services provider with a focus on Asia, has acquired the Swiss specialty chemicals distributor Staerkle & Nagler. With this move, DKSH is driving forward the on-going consolidation of the rapidly growing, yet highly fragmented Market Expansion Services industry. With the acquisition of Staerkle & Nagler, DKSH is enhancing the position of its Business Unit Performance Materials as a pan-European distributor, particularly in its domestic market of Switzerland. Moreover, DKSH can extend its activities to Austria through the established distribution channels of Staerkle & Nagler.
www.dksh.com

VAPOURTEC R-SERIES HIGH-PRESSURE PUMP MODULE
The new High-Pressure Pump module from Vapourtec allows the R-Series systems to reach up to 200 bar, but has all the functionality of Vapourtec’s standard pump modules (including full integration with the powerful FlowCommander software) and can also be added to an existing two pump system for increased capability. In continuous flow chemistry the reaction temperature is limited by the boiling point of the solvents and reagents. Increased pressure leads to increased boiling point, opening up opportunities for new reaction methodologies.
www.vapourtec.co.uk

LEAN & GREEN AWARD
The Lean & Green award is given exclusively to companies that commit themselves to significantly reducing their CO2 emissions, submitting a satisfactory action plan that is subsequently assessed and approved. In 2011 IMCD Group was the first and remains the only distributor to be awarded the prestigious Lean & Green Award. One year later IMCD Group is amongst a select group of 16 companies, out of an eligible 250, that successfully reached the set goals in order to be awarded the Lean & Green Star award.
www.imcdgroup.com

BRENNTAG & ALTIVIA CORPORATION
Brenntag has acquired ALTIVIA Corporation (“Altivia”), a water treatment chemical distributor headquartered in Houston, Texas. William Fidler, Member of the Management Board of Brenntag AG refers: “Altivia has a leading market position in one of the largest industrial distribution markets in the United States. The acquisition will considerably strengthen our regional organization in the Southwest as well as our water additives business, which is one of our focus industries globally. Its strategically located facility in Houston with river barge and rail capabilities will allow for efficiency gains and further expansion of our business”.
www.brenntag.com