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The Chemical Industry is rising from a period of crisis thanks to technology and innovation

On June 22nd the general meeting of Federchimica, the Italian Chemical Industry Federation, led by Cesare Puccioni, was held in Milan. During his speech Puccioni underlined the link between Science and Nutrition: “the chemical industry has a leading role in fighting against hunger because the world needs more science than ideology”. Chemistry is important because it contributes to a more balanced diet and to a better environmental impact. Technology, research and innovation will help to win the challenge against hunger, ensuring abundant, safe and quality food for everyone. Federchimica is supporting EXPO to promote opportunities to think about sustainable food supply in a different way, less emotional and more conscious of its strength. Thanks to its severe rules and accurate analytical methods, this field guarantees safety products to agriculture, farm and finished food.

Italian chemical companies according to Puccioni are leaders and co-leaders in Europe and in the World in their niche market. “Many our companies, since 2007 until today, have taken the opportunity of this global market and have increased the share produced abroad from 34 to 42%. This movement towards foreign markets “does not mean only outsourcing, but, has helped Italian companies to strengthen their presence in Italy: 73% of companies that produce also in foreign countries, in 2014 had already reached pre-crisis levels also for the Italian productions”. Puccioni in fact during the meeting explained how chemical companies in Italy are coming out of the crisis (estimates indicate +1.5% at the end of the year) thanks to “specialization, innovation, internationalization and reinforcement of the most advanced activities and of quality”. The chemicals field has stood up to the crisis better than others. Puccioni has however warned everyone against the "weight of energy costs, delays in the authorizations, the uncertainty in the application of laws", under which "the Italian plants are likely to close."

Antonio Tajani and David Sassoli, both Vice President of the European Parliament, took part in the meeting as well.

Conclusions were drawn by Giorgio Squinzi, President of Confindustria, The General Confederation of Italian Industry.



What do walnuts smell like?

The UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country and the United States Department of Agriculture have identified walnut aromas which will allow walnut pests to be controlled and the use of pesticides to be reduced.

Why do some insects lay their eggs in some walnuts and not in others? The answer is to be found in the smell given off by these nuts when they are broken, and that is why it is important to differentiate between the aromas of whole walnuts and damaged ones. In collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA, California), the UPV/EHU's Department of Analytical Chemistry has identified the volatile compounds in damaged walnuts that insects find attractive and which is threatening the harvests of these nuts in California. These are the first studies carried out on walnuts which are designed to specify the components of the aroma and which can be used to control the moth pests in the most sustainable way, besides helping to cut the use of pesticides and control agents.

The UPV/EHU's research team comprising the professor and lecturer in Analytical Chemistry Rosa María Alonso, Dr Itxaso San Román, plus the Support of the technician of the Central Analysis Service of Bizkaia (SGIker) Dr Luis Bartolomé, has analysed the data coming from walnut crops in California. The work has been carried out in collaboration with the researcher Dr John James Beck of the Agricultural Research Services of the United States Department of Agriculture. The outcome of the research is that the team has identified the aromas that differentiate between intact walnuts and damaged ones and which may lure insect pests that harm the Californian crops. This pioneering research is opening up the way for conducting studies on pest control in autochthonous crops.


Two thirds of the walnuts consumed worldwide come from the central valley in California and so do over 80% of those eaten in Spain. During the last 50 years two invasions by moths —the codling moth (Cydia pomonella) and the navel orangeworm (Amyelois transitella, Lepidotera, Pyralidae)— have been threatening walnut production harvest after harvest. They lay their eggs in the damaged nuts and encourage the propagation of the fungus Aspergillus with consequences not only for ensuring food safety but also for commercial and economic development.


The strategies of the last century to control the pests have focused on the use of pesticides and control agents to which certain insects have developed resistance. This research is advancing in the search for the aromatic compounds that attract them naturally at key moments like their reproduction and feeding and which when combined with sustainable environmental techniques offer the possibility of synthesizing more selective and more efficient agrochemical products.


The UPV/EHU team has analysed the data coming from intact walnuts and previously damaged ones so that once their volatile compounds have been identified and compared, they can determine whether the damaged nuts emit any exclusive aroma. The samples were selected between May and September 2014 in five phenological phases, five climate and biological moments of the walnut tree. As a result of the data processing applied to the samples, the UPV/EHU team has identified 92 aromatic components. Of them, eight compounds are characteristic of damaged nuts (pinocarvone, αα-aldehyde canfolenic, chrysanthenone, trans-pinocarveol, trans-ββ-farnesene, trans-ββ-verbenol, αα α-terpinene and αα α-terpinolene). The combination of these volatile compounds will enable a blend that is attractive to insects to be synthesized and which can be used to control and monitor the pests that harm the walnuts.



Itxaso San Román, Luis Bartolomé, Wai S. Gee, Rosa M. Alonso, John J. Beck. Comparison of ex situ volatile emissions from intact and mechanically damaged walnuts. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2015.04.009

University of the Basque Country



The all new Series 3 HT evaporator range from Genevac represents the ultimate in solvent removal technology. Incorporating new high performance vacuum pump, the latest touchscreen technology and a sleek ergonomic design makes optimising your evaporation processes effortless. New intuitive touchscreen controls enhances monitoring and review of the whole evaporation process. For popular solvent removal protocols pre-set 'Press & Go' methods makes operation easy and productive even for occasional users. Simplified manual and automatic programming means even the most complex multi-stage evaporation methods can be set-up and run quickly and easily. Incorporating an integrated -75 °C condenser with auto defrost and drain facilities the compact Series 3 HT evaporators are easy to maintain and very economical on bench space. Front opening for easy access - Series 3 HT evaporators feature a new 6-place rotor which accepts Genevac’s wide range of sample holders. Developed by Genevac in response to customer demands these evaporators offer leading edge features and functionality that provide consistent top quality results, superior sample protection, flexibility for multiple applications, robust build quality, ease-of-use, rapid high-throughput results and low maintenance. Available in HT-12 and HT-6 configurations, Genevac's advanced technological capabilities including Dri-Pure anti-bumping, Automatic end of run monitoring and LyoSpeed fast lyophilisation are included as standard. Additional options for Series 3 HT evaporators include HCl resistance, Inert Gas Purge and EXALT controlled crystallisation.



Genevac has announced that its popular miVac SpeedTrap cold trap can now be used for freeze drying or configured as a combined concentration / freeze drying workstation with a miVac vacuum concentrator. Utilising the updated miVac SpeedTrap with continuous chill mode in conjunction with the miVac Super Vacuum pump, up to 250ml of water, or other solvents such as 1,4- dioxane, may be freeze dried in a single operation. Samples to be dried are simply placed in the rotor of the miVac concentrator and dried at full vacuum. The vacuum boils the samples at below their freezing point, therefore the samples freeze and the ice sublimes away, leaving the sample as a dry powder. To reduce drying times a pre-concentration step, at a controlled vacuum, can be easily incorporated. The miVac SpeedTrap and Super Vaccum pump may also be used as a stand-alone freeze drier. A range of accessories have been designed by Genevac to allow the SpeedTrap to directly accept pre-frozen samples in either flasks or vials. Simply attach the freeze drying accessory jar in place of the regular SpeedTrap collection vessel. Flasks can be attached to the valves, or vials may be placed directly in the accessory jar, using the holders provided. Being only being only 212 mm (8.3 inches) wide the miVac SpeedTrap offers a compact and cost effective solution for low volume freeze drying. As a combined system the miVac provides a versatile concentration and freeze drying tool for busy Life Science labs.



Under European MA and produced according to stringent pharmaceutical standards, Eurartesim® meets the WHO recommendations for endemic areas. Eurartesim® (dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine), a drug granted marketing authorization in Europe in 2012, is entrusted exclusively to Pierre Fabre in 32 African countries. Pierre Fabre will register, distribute and promote Eurartesim® in Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger, Madagascar, Togo, Benin, RDC, Congo, Chad, Gabon, Cameroon, Mauritania, Burundi, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Angola, Ethiopia, Malawi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia. Eurartesim® is a fixed-dose artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) comprising dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine. This European quality standards drug has been developed by the Italian pharmaceutical company Sigma-Tau, an ALFASIGMA Group company, in partnership with the not-for-profit research foundation Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV).




MoRe Research, alongside Holmen and SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, is investing in nanocrystalline cellulose by building a pilot facility in Örnsköldsvik. The facility will be the first of its kind in Europe and represents an important step, allowing interested companies to develop nanocrystalline cellulose from cellulose-based material on a large scale. Nanocrystalline cellulose has many interesting material properties, and can be used for example as a building material, in biocomposites, printed electronics and dye additives. The operation in the pilot plant is based on technology developed by an Israeli start-up company Melodea. "This is a fantastic opportunity for MoRe to be part of the development of nanocrystalline cellulose for commercial applications”, says Stefan Svensson, President of MoRe Research. "Contributory reasons for the pilot facility being located directly adjacent to MoRe in Örnsköldsvik include our in-depth knowledge about cellulose, our wide-ranging experience of pilot operations and our extensive laboratory and analysis resources". "The investment in nanocrystalline cellulose is important in order to realise sustainable material solutions and to advance the field of bioeconomy“, says Maria Khorsand, CEO of SP. "We are helping to make the pilot facility an environment that is open to all. SP operates in many different sectors and will also be able to pave the way for commercially interesting applications beyond the forestry sector's traditional boundaries".




PCAS has obtained the "Innovative Business" label awarded by Bpifrance. This label rewards the many years of service PCAS has given to research & development through dedicated programmes and partnerships forged with world leaders in health and leading-edge technologies, two fast-growing fields with strong potential. Obtaining this label for a renewable period of 3 years confirms the ability of French Innovation Funds (FCPI) to invest in the capital of PCAS and of their subscribers to benefit from the corresponding tax advantages. Mr Vincent Touraille, CEO of PCAS, said: "We are very happy that PCAS has been recognised as an "Innovative Business" by Bpifrance. This is proof of our Group’s capacity for innovation, its ongoing work in R&D and its recognised expertise in rapidly growing, front-line sectors of activity. This label means that French Innovation Funds can now buy shares in the company, thus widening our base of potential investors".




AbbVie has announced it will further expand its medical device manufacturing facility in Ballytivnan, Sligo, Ireland, and over the next four years, create 50 new highly-skilled jobs focused on devices that deliver AbbVie’s medicines to patients around the world. The investment is supported by the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) of Ireland and was announced at an event attended by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Employment, Richard Bruton, TD.

The company’s manufacturing site in Ballytivnan currently produces drug delivery devices, including a pen-style injector that is used by patients around the world who use AbbVie’s treatment indicated for a range of auto-immune conditions. The site is AbbVie’s ‘centre of excellence’ for medical device manufacture, precision engineering, plastics moulding and metrology (the theoretical and practical aspects of measurement). “For more than 40 years, our expert team in Ireland has been committed to serving patients around the world”, said Joe Kumor, Site Director at Ballytivnan for AbbVie. ”The IDA’s support allows us to build our capabilities and help ensure that patients of AbbVie medicines continue to have access to best-in-class medical devices for their treatment”.



Chemtrix recently introduced its new industrial flow reactor, Plantrix® MR555. Plantrix® enables efficient, continuous production at 1000's of tonne scale, with a dramatically increased throughput. Using 3M™ Advanced Ceramic, Plantrix® MR555 has excellent corrosion resistance, high heat transfer and a low-pressure drop. Plantrix® MR555 joins the company’s existing portfolio of flow reactors which facilitate the transfer of Flow Chemistry from lab to production.




For many years the Zinsser minilab has been an important component as a teaching aid in chemistry lessons in schools and universities. Now, with improvements to the product and above all with enhanced documentation, the new minilab presents a huge number of new research opportunities for any user. Even though in the modern fine chemical industry and in pharmaceutical research and development where the smallest possible sample and reagent volumes are used (from a few ml and µl), for practical teaching, the experimentation often takes place in the front of the whole lesson with the use of larger volumes - up to 100ml - in schools and universities. Containing an innovative set of glass equipment, the Mini Lab „lab in a suitcase“ is now used in many schools in different countries. There is now a new manual available for Mini Lab which includes more than 40 experiments - from basic operations such as distillation, filtration etc. to complex syntheses such as colorants as designed by Prof. Michael Schallies. The instructions for the equipment configuration are easy to understand and are explained by simple drawings. General tips for the implementation of single experiments, material notes as well as danger symbols for the reagents are also included in the test description. The expected experimental results are also described in detail and partly documented with pictures or graphics. In the appendix of the manual there are detailed explanations of the potential dangers and also safety tips. Current Owners of the Mini Lab can have a new updated manual for a small nominal charge.



Johnson Matthey announces that it has agreed to divest its Alfa Aesar Research Chemicals business to Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, for £256 million in cash, subject to typical post-closing adjustments. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the 2015 calendar year, subject to satisfaction of typical pre-closing conditions. Johnson Mattheys Research Chemicals business, which operates globally under the Alfa Aesar brand, is a supplier of over 46,000 specialty chemicals into both industry and academic institutions in small scale research quantities via its catalogue. It has a global network of operations with eight core sites supported by five stand-alone sales offices. In total, the business employs approximately 480 people and is part of Johnson Mattheys Fine Chemicals Division. Commenting on the transaction, Julie Butterfield, Global General Manager of Alfa Aesar, "On behalf of Johnson Matthey I would like to thank the employees of Alfa Aesar for their hard work over the years. I believe this is an exciting step in the further growth of our business and we look forward to working with Thermo Fisher Scientific in the future".




As further evidence of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's successful establishment of a dynamic and growing bio-pharma sector in Buffalo, New York, Albany Molecular Research Inc. and PerkinElmer, Inc. has announced the formation of a strategic collaboration in connection with the opening of AMRI's drug discovery centre as part of the new Buffalo Medical Innovation and Commercialization Hub (BMIC). Co-located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and part of the larger commitment by the State of New York with SUNY Polytechnic Institute, the Hub will accelerate drug discovery and innovation, and ultimately support the creation of more than 250 high tech jobs. As the anchor partner of the BMIC Hub, AMRI is able to provide integrated and translational approaches, including the deep expertise and capabilities required to move drug development programs from early discovery to the clinic. Located all within a single site on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, AMRI will be working closely with BMIC and off-campus customers and partners to provide solutions for their drug discovery and translational science needs. Scientists at the BMIC hub will be able to leverage AMRI's chemistry and biology expertise, alongside PerkinElmer's informatics technologies and high content screening, cellular imaging, and analytical instruments. PerkinElmer will also deploy technical and informatics experts to facilitate technological and drug discovery innovations. The collaboration will also provide the foundation for new research and development opportunities and catalyse the expansion of the BMIC hub.




On Saturday, June 6, Aquarion Water Company announced the winners of its fifth annual Aquarion Environmental Champion Awards at a ceremony held at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. The ceremony was part of the 2015 Wild Wine, Beer and Food Safari, the Beardsley Zoo’s annual fundraising event. And The Winners Are: Large Business Category – PerkinElmer, Inc. – Shelton, CT. The focus of Shelton’s PerkinElmer is not only on human health; it’s also on the health of the environment and the company’s surrounding community. PerkinElmer has been extraordinarily active in encouraging employees to participate voluntarily in a wide variety of internal and external projects, including many in the environmental arena.