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Triclosan, an antibacterial chemical widely used in hand soaps and other personal-care products, hinders muscle contractions at a cellular level, slows swimming in fish and reduces muscular strength in mice, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Colorado. The findings appear online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
"Triclosan is found in virtually everyone's home and is pervasive in the environment," said Isaac Pessah, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Biosciences in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and principal investigator of the study. "These findings provide strong evidence that the chemical is of concern to both human and environmental health."
Triclosan is commonly found in antibacterial personal-care products such as hand soaps as well as deodorants, mouthwashes, toothpaste, bedding, clothes, carpets, toys and trash bags. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1998 estimated that more than 1 million pounds of triclosan are produced annually in the United States, and that the chemical is detectable in waterways and aquatic organisms ranging from algae to fish to dolphins, as well as in human urine, blood and breast milk.
The investigators performed several experiments to evaluate the effects of triclosan on muscle activity, using doses similar to those that people and animals may be exposed to during everyday life.
In "test tube" experiments, triclosan impaired the ability of isolated heart muscle cells and skeletal muscle fibres to contract. Specifically, the team evaluated the effects of triclosan on molecular channels in muscle cells that control the flow of calcium ions, creating muscle contractions. Normally, electrical stimulation ("excitation") of isolated muscle fibres under experimental conditions evokes a muscle contraction, a phenomenon known as "excitation-contraction coupling" (ECC), the fundamental basis of any muscle movement, including heartbeats. But in the presence of triclosan, the normal communication between two proteins that function as calcium channels was impaired, causing skeletal and cardiac muscle failure.
The team also found that triclosan impairs heart and skeletal muscle contractility in living animals. Anesthetized mice had up to a 25-percent reduction in heart function measures within 20 minutes of exposure to the chemical."The effects of triclosan on cardiac function were really dramatic," said Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, professor of cardiovascular medicine at UC Davis and a study co-author."
Although triclosan is not regulated as a drug, this compound acts like a potent cardiac depressant in our models."In addition, the mice had an 18-percent reduction in grip strength for up to 60 minutes after being given a single dose of triclosan. Grip strength is a widely used measure of mouse limb strength, employed to investigate the effects of drugs and neuromuscular disorders.Finally, the investigators looked at the effects of triclosan exposure on fathead minnows, a small fish commonly used as a model organism for studying the potential impacts of aquatic pollutants. Those exposed to triclosan in the water for seven days had significantly reduced swimming activity compared to controls during both normal swimming and swim tests designed to imitate fish being threatened by a predator."We were surprised by the large degree to which muscle activity was impaired in very different organisms and in both cardiac and skeletal muscle," said Bruce Hammock, a study co-author and professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology. "You can imagine in animals that depend so totally on muscle activity that even a 10-percent reduction in ability can make a real difference in their survival."
The UC Davis research team has previously linked triclosan to other potentially harmful health effects, including disruption of reproductive hormone activity and of cell signalling in the brain.Chiamvimonvat cautioned that translating results from animal models to humans is a large step and would require further study. However, the fact that the effects were so striking in several animal models under different experimental conditions provides strong evidence that triclosan could have effects on animal and human health at current levels of exposure."In patients with underlying heart failure, triclosan could have significant effects because it is so widely used," Chiamvimonvat said. "However, without additional studies, it would be difficult for a physician to distinguish between natural disease progression and an environmental factor such as triclosan."Pessah questioned arguments that triclosan – introduced more than 40 years ago – is safe partly because it binds to blood proteins, making it not biologically available. Although triclosan may bind to proteins in the blood, that may not necessarily make the chemical inactive, he said, and actually may facilitate its transport to critical organs. In addition, some of the current experiments were carried out in the presence of blood proteins, and disrupted muscle activity still occurred.
Although triclosan was first developed to prevent bacterial infections in hospitals, its use has become widespread in antibacterial products used in the home. However, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), other than its use in some toothpastes to prevent gingivitis, there is no evidence that triclosan provides other health benefits or that antibacterial soaps and body washes are more effective than regular soap and water. Experts also express concern about the possibility of resistant bacterial strains developing with the overuse of antibacterial products.Because the chemical structure of triclosan resembles other toxic chemicals that persist in the environment, the FDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are conducting new risk assessments of the chemical. Based on their study outcomes, the researchers argue that the potential health risks call for greater restrictions.
"We have shown that triclosan potently impairs muscle functions by interfering with signalling between two proteins that are of fundamental importance to life," said Pessah. "Regulatory agencies should definitely be reconsidering whether it should be allowed in consumer products."
Said Hammock: "Triclosan can be useful in some instances, however it has become a ubiquitous 'value added' marketing factor that actually could be more harmful than helpful. At the very least, our findings call for a dramatic reduction in its use."

Today a significant source of potential renewable feedstock for polymers is represented by waste material from the fishing industry, exceeding 250 billion tons/years, and is considered hazardous due to its high perishability and polluting effect, both on land and sea. To improve the recycling of this marine-waste the EU project n-CHITOPACK started to use a sugar-like polymer, the Chitin Nanofibrils (CN), coming from this waste, to produce innovative food packaging processes and products.The n-CHITOPACK consortium involves SME ingredient supplier of CN and patent holder MAVI sud srl (Aprilia, Italy), and complementary SME’s packaging producers: MICROTEC (Padova, Italy) for flexible food packaging, AROMA SYSTEM (Bologna, Italy) for rigid packaging, RODAX IMPEX (Bucharest, Romania) for packaging equipment, and BIOZOON (Bremerhaven, Germany) for marketing analysis and identification of consumer demand. The RTD Performers IMC (Praha, Czech Republic), NOFIMA (Tromos, Norway) and INSTM (Firenze, Italy) ) will perform research on the optimal composition of CN-based packaging, functionalized  with other different biologically active polymers in order to meet and characterize its mechanical and chemicalphysical activities together with its hydrophobic and biodegradable requirements for food packaging.The RTD NOFIMA will analize the products selected in order to evaluate the antimicrobial properties, shelf life extension, and food-safety of their materials.
The Project is coordinated by MAVI sud, Italy.

In a discovery with applications ranging from hair dyeing to electronic sensors to development of materials with improved properties, scientists are reporting the first synthesis of gold nanoparticles inside human hairs. Their study appears in ACS’ journal Nano Letters.Philippe Walter and colleagues explain that gold nanoparticles — 40,000-60,000 of which could fit across the width of a human hair — are a hot topic. Scientists are exploring uses, ranging from electronics and sensors to medical diagnostic tests and cancer treatments. Gold nanoparticles have been deposited on hair for use as electrodes, and gold nanoparticles had been used to dye wool. Walter’s team looked at a new use — dyeing hair, inspired by the ancient Greeks’ and Romans’ use of another metal, lead, to color their hair.They describe the first synthesis of fluorescent gold nanoparticles inside human hair. It involved soaking white hairs in a solution of a gold compound. The hairs turned pale yellow and then darkened to a deep brown. Using an electron microscope, the scientists confirmed that the particles were forming inside the hairs’ central core cortex. The color remained even after repeated washings.

Figure 1. Gold nanoparticles darken hair after treatment for one day, center, and 16 days, right.
Figure 1. Gold nanoparticles darken hair after treatment for one day, center, and 16 days, right.

Figure 2. The synthesis and detailed characterization of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) inside human hair
Figure 2. The synthesis and detailed characterization of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) inside human hair has been achieved by treatment of hair with HAuCl4 in alkaline medium. The AuNPs, which show a strong red fluorescence under blue light, are generated inside the fiber and are arranged in the cortex in a remarkably regular pattern of whorls based on concentric circles, like a fingerprint. It opens an area of genuine nanocomposites with novel properties due to AuNPs inside the hair shaft.

In a new approach for tapping biomass as a sustainable raw material, scientists are reporting use of a Nobel-Prize-winning technology to transform plant "essential oils" — substances with the characteristic fragrance of the plant — into high-value ingredients for sunscreens, perfumes and other personal care products. The report on the approach, which could open up new economic opportunities for tropical countries that grow such plants, appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.Deryn Fogg, Eduardo dos Santos and colleagues explain that breaking down plant material into ingredients for making commercial products is getting much attention as a sustainable substitute for raw materials now obtained from petroleum. They decided to test a complementary approach, which involves enhancing the complexity of substances found naturally in plants in ways that form antioxidants and other components of cosmetics and perfumes. Current methods for making some of these ingredients from plants are time-consuming, costly and wasteful. That's why the scientists turned to "metathesis" — topic of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry — to make personal care product ingredients from plant essential oils.They describe use of metathesis in the laboratory to transform compounds in essential oils into highly valuable personal care product ingredients. "These methodologies offer the potential for economic expansion via the sustainable cultivation and elaboration of high-return source species in the tropical countries that represent the major producers of essential oils," say the researchers.

a powerful complementary approach that amplifies the complexity of molecular structures present in plant materials.
Figure1. As society faces a future of dwindling petrochemical supplies at increasing cost, much attention has been focused on methods to degrade biomass into renewable commodity-chemical building blocks. Reported here is a powerful complementary approach that amplifies the complexity of molecular structures present in plant materials. Essential-oil phenylpropenoids are transformed via acrylate cross-metathesis into potent antioxidants that are widely used in perfumery and cosmetics, and in treating disorders associated with oxidative damage.

Recognizing that sustainability megatrends will drive the need for change in business and national vision, the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) is integrating changes into its business strategy and priorities to position the company and the nation for the challenges faced now and in the future. Speaking at a panel discussion on “Innovative Business Models in the Middle East” at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha on December 3, Mohamed Al-Mady, SABIC Vice Chairman and CEO, said that to accomplish its sustainability mission, the petrochemical industry, including SABIC, will need to make significant contributions and innovations: “It will require collaboration with government and all contributors across the value chain. We need many solutions; but solutions to tough challenges have always been what businesses must provide if it expects to sustain itself”.

AMSilk is developing a novel spider silk-based coating, called BioShield-S1, for silicone breast implants designed to reduce commonly known side effects that are initiated when the immune system reacts to the implants. Silicone implants are primarily in use for reconstructive and aesthetic breast surgery. The BioShield-S1 coating consists of a thin layer of recombinant spider silk proteins manufactured at AMSilk. It modifies the implant, presenting a more biocompatible surface to the immune system. This new technology addresses a number of problems associated with silicone implants.

Minafin Group has announced the acquisition of majority shares at Pressure Chemicals Inc. headquartered in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA). This acquisition, as the company refers, should generate synergies with Minasolve’s personal care business line. Their product range includes Cholesterol based liquid crystals, specialty esters, water soluble polymers, monomers for artificial nail enhancement products.

The New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) honoured scientists from Evonik’s Personal Care Business Line with the Shaw Mudge Award for best paper presented at SCC‘s annual scientific meeting and technology showcase. Titled “Understanding the Influence of Emulsifiers, Emollients and Additives on Lamellar Phases in Cosmetic Emulsions”, the paper was mainly authored by Juergen Meyer, Ph.D. of Evonik Industries. Co-authors were Verena Dahl, Ph.D. and Joachim Venzmer, Ph.D. as well as Brajesh Jha, Ph.D. also working for Evonik Industries.

Air Liquide reinforces its activity in healthcare specialty ingredients with the acquisition of BiotechMarine by its subsidiary SEPPIC. BiotechMarine is a leading player in the design and marketing of active ingredients for the global cosmetics industry. Pascal Vinet, Vice President, Healthcare Global Operations and member of the Group’s Executive Committee, commented: "We are delighted to welcome these new employees to the Group. With this acquisition Air Liquide intends to reinforce its position in the field of healthcare specialty ingredients. The complementarity of BiotechMarine and SEPPIC allows us to widen our know-how and continue the development of this activity. Health is one of the Group's growth drivers".

During the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) 2012 Annual Scientific Meeting and Technology Showcase from December 6-7, 2012 Dow Personal Care presented its innovative technologies. EcoSmooth™ Silk Polymer for use in shampoos offers an improved environmental profile by lowering the aquatic toxicity profile and for increased thermal protection on hair, EPITEX™ 66 Polymer for improved water resistance and skin feel, and MoistStar™ HA+ Moisturizing Technology for increased surface skin moisturization.

Rousselot®, the world's leading producer of gelatine and collagen peptides, will be present at the next Gulfood tradeshow in Dubai, UAE, from 25th to 28th February, 2013. Rousselot will be presenting the world largest range of gelatines and collagen peptides with a specific focus on its fish and Halal certified grades. Rousselot® Gelatines are renowned for their outstanding versatility and their ability to facilitate the formulation of dairy products, confectioneries, desserts, snacks or meat-based applications. Innovative gelatine applications showcased at Gulfood will include Bee Gums™ - new soft gummies flavoured with pure honey, Tof'Gums™ - the first gummy with toffee flavour, Rousselot® Delight – grained and ultra-soft "gummies", Mint marshmallows, and a reduced in-fat-and-sugar chocolate brownie.

BASF will increase its annual global capacity for manufacturing the chemical intermediate 1,6-hexanediol (HDO) by more than 20 percent to more than 50,000 tons per annum by 2014. For this purpose, the company will further optimize its production processes, carry out various infrastructure projects and enhance its logistical processes. BASF will invest more than €30 million. Through these measures BASF will strengthen its position as the globally leading HDO supplier. BASF operates HDO production facilities at its Verbund sites in Freeport, Texas, and Ludwigshafen, Germany.

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